Sunday, January 15, 2017

Comfortably Back in Opposition

A new spectre is haunting the American progressive media-sphere: Trumpism. At least a thousand gallons of ink have been spilled warning us, preparing us, defining for us what this shifting, ephemeral threat could mean. Yet underlying this daily barrage of doomsday scenarios (Nazis in the streets, police rounding up protestors, Mc Carthyite hearings, etc) one senses a profound relief, a joy even, to finally be back in opposition. No more having to support a bunch of crappy programs (like the ACA), or policies (like drone strikes)Now we can really protest! March and carry banners, ( certainly no lack of slogans)give heartfelt speeches in support of all the programs and policies we hope to save from the reactionary onslaught. The landscapes and little children! Democracy itself in peril! Lions and tigers and bears and Rex Tillerson, oh my!

The dudes name is Rex, I mean c'mon, square jawed, graying at the temples, manly and yet thoughtful, a walking Viagra ad,if Delillo or Pynchon were to write this character into a novel, in their most post-modern, literary ironic spoof, they could barely get away with Rex. So who names their kid Rex? And who would you rather have on your team growing up, Steve over there with the glasses- or Rex. Yeah. So be afraid, be very afraid. Michelle is out and Melania in.

Getting back to Trumpism, really? because we needed a new "ism" to hate?; what parts of the brain does it attack? Will I know it when I see it? I remember Bush though I don't recall Bushism, but maybe that was just what we called "stupidity". As in, has anybody found those weapons of mass destruction yet? What? Trump is a liar? His cabinet is all Big Money boys? I'm shocked! This is totally unprecedented!

The problem for me is one of age. I have seen this movie too many times and it just doesn't entertain anymore. How long can you actually ride a merry-go-round and not notice that the scenery is eerily familiar. Despite all the breathless claims that "this is unlike anything we have ever seen before" I still have this Groundhog Day feeling, disturbing at first but quickly sliding into under-whelmed boredom.

Yeah, if only Hillary or Bernie or Jill got more votes. But since they didn't, now we can be against stuff. Against the wall, and against the registry and against the cabinet picks and the generals. Against hate and discrimination and sexism and xenophobia. Damn, I feel better already!

Just don't ask me how we ever get off the merry-go-round.

1 comment:

  1. Writing about racism, Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein asked:

    "[s]hould we attach so much importance to justifications which continue to retain the same structure (that of the denial of rights) while moving from the language of religion into that of science, or from the language of biology into the discourses of culture or history, when in practice these justifications simply lead to the same old acts?...This is a fair point, even a vitally important one, but it does not solve all the problems. For the destruction of the racist complex presupposes not only the revolt of its victims, but the transformation of the racists themselves and, consequently, the internal decomposition of the community created by racism. In this respect, the situation is entirely analogous, as has often been said over the last twenty years or so, with that of sexism, the overcoming of which presupposes both the revolt of women and the break-up of the community of 'males'. Now, racist theories are indispensable in the formation of the racist community. There is in fact no racism without theory (or theories). It would be quite futile to inquire whether racist theories have emanated chiefly from the elites or the masses, from the dominant or the dominated classes. It is, however, quite clear that they are 'rationalized' by intellectuals. And it is of the utmost importance that we enquire into the function fulfilled by the theory-building of academic racism (the prototype of which is the evolutionist anthropology of 'biological' races developed at the end of the nineteenth century) in the crystallization of the community which forms around the signifier, 'race'."

    I'm curious Troutsky, if a similar analogy (problem) exists for Americans and our social reproduction as political objects? Shouldn't therefore a foundation of our revolt stem from our work on theory and understanding first? Watching and listening to the many speakers across the U.S. today, I was struck by the profoundly disparate and disjointed critique of what has happened...and the result was inane and repeated platitudes and cliches. The connection as women was made tenuous by their lack of shared understanding of the structural nature of their struggle. Some were powerful politicians and powerful entrepreneurs, while others were disenfranchised poor women of color who have very little in common with them.