Sunday, December 24, 2017

Kicking Away Tiny Tim's Crutch Because His Father Voted for Trump

Just last week I realized that it has been less than a year since Donald Trump became President.  It seems like so much longer.  And we have at least three years more to go.

Today Corey Robin, whom I've begun following lately, posted this on Facebook, referring to this tweet from Eric Alterman.  (Doug Henwood also noticed the tweet.)  I'm glad I'm not the only person who's noticed the behavior he's talking about:
I'm surprised when liberal writers and journalists say they're fine with Trump voters losing their jobs, health care, access to potable water, and so on, because they had it coming to them. Since jobs, health care, and clean water are critical to one's survival, such calls are essentially an endorsement of death on the installment plan for one-half the country. Imagine the reaction of these very same writers and journalists if the radical left were to call for—or endorse—the death of their domestic political enemies.
Or if the radical right were to do so.  Recently my Right Wing Acquaintance Number One gleefully linked to an article about child malnutrition in Venezuela, sneering at that country as a "worker's paradise."  Of course, those children had voted for Chavez and Maduro, so they had brought their misery on themselves.  A day or so later RWA1 linked to a story about Roy Moore's attack on the gay son of his victorious opponent Doug Jones; RWA1 declared that Moore, like the late Fred Phelps, was of Satan.  I commented that RWA1 needs people like Moore and Phelps so that he can pretend to be a moderate while he does a happy dance at the plight of starving brown children.  I might also have pointed out that child malnutrition is a serious problem in the United States, thanks to the policies of both parties over the past few decades; but I doubt RWA1 cares about that either, since those children probably voted for the "aspiring Mussolini" Barack Obama.

Robin's post sparked some discussion, with a few people actually defending Alterman's remarks.  Some denied that anyone besides him had expressed such sentiments; a couple doubted that he or any other liberal could actually mean such a thing.  That excuse could probably be made for many Trump voters, though.  Later in the thread Robin added:
This country has had a large anti-democratic element since its founding. If anything, I would say the size of that element is considerably smaller (and less violent) today than it was the year I was born. I also think comments like the one I posted are not symptoms of populism; they're symptoms of tribalism. Party tribalism, where your team is the good guys and the other team is the bad guys. Even tribalism is too fancy: it's just groupiness and cliques. That again is why you see a lot of heated rhetoric from this quarter but no action.
I was glad to see that he too has noticed the limitations of the word "tribalism."  This, as Henwood noted, is why liberals are so popular, and as one of Henwood's commenters remarked, it's how to win elections.

Unlike Corey Robin, I'm not all that surprised by Alterman's sentiment, since I've seen so much of it already -- just extremely pissed off. But it also makes me feel a bit more hopeless, because it means that the people who are supposedly, nominally, on my side are really not, which means that there may be hardly anyone to make common cause with. In the US at least. As a result, I get called a nihilist, which is funny but stupid - and also depressing since it comes from people who are nominally on my side. Well, you live and learn.