Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Saturday, June 03, 2017
Getting Past The Trumpian Impasse
You know, ten or fifteen years ago Atrios used to say on his blog all the time that the best way to understand Republicans was just to assume that they do whatever they think will piss off liberals. That has always seemed too true, but we may have arrived at the time when that is literally all that remains to hold one of the two national parties together even as it devotes itself to taking the nation apart. I am not a psychologist, and I do not like celebrity profiles of politicians. I have given up trying to figure out what drives Donald Trump. The only thing that seems to logically connect his many initiatives is Trump's hostility to his immediate predecessor. I mean, I do see quite a bit a self-serving corruption and impropriety and deception and ignorance and indecency that reflect Trump's whole life up to this point, and which obviously did and should have disqualified him from the presidency. Like Gingrich, Trump is hard to distinguish from most other d-list conservative hate-media liars grifting for cash on the lecture circuit like their cousin conservative televangelists.... I mean, little to distinguish him apart from the pointless and portentous accident that he is the lying d-list conservative hate-media grifter who happened to be catapulted at this supremely dysfunctional conjuncture into the most dangerous position in the world. The Republican Party has been a shambles as a governing party for years and years by now. But I don't think there has been a Republican governing philosophy for many, many years now. (Anti-governmentality doesn't exactly lend itself to coherence in governing philosophies anyway.) Trump has no principles we can appeal to, the Trump base just wants to poke liberals to watch them scream, the Republican party no longer has a electorally-viable coalition apart from the Trump base -- there is very little sense of an availability for shared assumptions, contexts, values, hopes, norms to which the reasonable might make recourse to move us from where we are. I teach students how to think critically, how to argue more effectively, how to articulate complex problems, how to historically situate political struggles... at a time when it feels as though these skills are failing their address, stuck in stasis, demoralized. Radical and provocative visions of sustainability, equity, diversity, consent, flourishing are not to be found in the idiotic minute by minute fray of Trumpian follies -- but on the streets, in the classrooms, in the studios, in the conversations that look past the Trumpian impasse to a futurity with civil rights for all, accountable representation in government and policing, a living wage for all, unemployment disability and retirement security for all, lifelong education and training for all, healthcare for all, securing the scene informed nonduressed consent to the terms of everyday commerce, and paid for by progressive taxation and tolls re-internalizing the costs and risks of unsustainable enterprise.