Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Awaking to the Nightmare: "Strength of Populist Nationalism in the West Is Reaching a Turning Point" (and White American Christians Are Marching Lockstep with the Movement)

After a sleepless night last night (I expect I'm far from the only person who can say that), I had decided I would not even look at the news this morning. I literally cannot stomach it. My stomach is in knots and was in knots through the night.

If I should live to the age of 70, I will turn 70 with this nightmare show running the "free" world. This is a horrifying and deeply depressing thought. The lives of many human beings on the margins of society have just been made much more tenuous, and I doubt we have even begun to imagine the suffering that will be inflicted on very many people now that the White House belongs to the gross clownish emcee of the nightmare show, and Congress is in the hands of his party. 

More depressing still: this nightmare has been brought to us by American Christians — by white ones. Polls are showing white evangelicals having voted for the nightmare show in record numbers. Such polling data as I've seen about the Catholic vote also shows white Catholics voting solidly for the nightmare show. 

When the suffering is legislated for all of us whose lives have just been made more tenuous by the decision of white American Christians, we cannot turn — we have just been told this loudly and clearly — to the Christian churches for support, solace, to have our wounds staunched and bandaged.

Quite the contrary. (But for some of us, what is new about the realization that, when we are singled out for abuse, Christians will not be there to protect us or bandage our wounds — but are actively assisting in attacking us?)

I'm posting these reflections because I appreciate the remarks you readers left here last evening and this morning. Chris, yes, CNN's Van Jones is correct to say that this was a whitelash against the first African-American U.S. president. See Brad Heath's tweet on this point last evening:

This election was about the confluence of toxic racism with toxic misogyny, and the determination of a sector of the American population, who were fired up with the hateful rhetoric of the emceee of the nightmare show, to believe that they are "taking the nation back."

Taking it back is definitely what's happening, if by "back" we mean back to norms and behaviors acceptable in previous periods of history that will inflict massive suffering on many citizens while privileging a handful of citizens — back to darker periods of history from which some of us hoped we had finally begun to crawl. You're right in your comment, Old Quaker, about how we are now Koch nation. The 1% have been working very hard for some years now to engineer this event — a right-wing president with a right-wing Republican Congress at his disposal, who will lock in right-wing control of the Supreme Court for as long as can be imagined — and this nightmare event is the culmination of their dream.

The future is in their hands, and the plans they have for all the rest of us are hardly salubrious ones — something the fired-up enraged white crowds who flocked to the polls to do the bidding of the 1% yesterday cannot themselves foresee, and will begin to see only when their healthcare coverage is yanked from them, and their economic futures are made more impossibly precarious than they have begun to imagine.

I may not write much more here for some time to come. I am doing so this gray morning because I don't want those of you who left your welcome comments here last evening and today to think I do not value them. It meant the world to me today, too, to open my email and see a message from a survivor of clerical sexual abuse, a leader in the movement of survivors, sending me an email to say, "want you to know that, through my tears today, i'm thinking of you and steven. it must get better. .  ."

Great suffering is going to ensue from what the citizens of the U.S. just chose. And the people who will be hurt first and foremost are those who already live lives made difficult, sometimes well-nigh unbearable, by marginality and unmerited abuse and neglect. Mere words on a tiny little ineffectual blog cannot change this and apparently have very little effect on the people — including large percentages of white U.S. Christians — who want the world to be arranged in just this way.

P.S. Please note that I deleted a tweet at the head of my original posting after Chris and sonje pointed out it was a bogus tweet (and I'm grateful for that information). I apologize for passing on to you bogus information.

P.P.S. What Rosie Gray calls populist nationalism I'd be inclined to call ethno-nationalism. I'd like to salvage the word "populist/populism" for more productive uses than are possible when it's equated with an ethno-nationalism that frequently exhibits murderous intent towards targeted Others, is predictably white-supremacist in much of Europe and North America, and is promoted by many Christians today to the tremendous shame of the Christian churches — and with baleful effects on those targeted in the name of the ethno-nationalist white-supremacist god preached by many Christians at this point in history.

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