Monday, November 28, 2016

"Work, for the Night Is Coming": More Commentary on Who Elected Trump and Why They Did So (and What We Can Now Expect from White Churches)

"Work, for the night is coming," I was taught to sing in the white evangelical church that nurtured my faith as a child (Anna Walker Coghill wrote the words of the hymn in 1854, and Lowell Mason put them to music a decade later). The night is soon to be on us — brought to us by 8 in 10 white evangelicals, 6 in 10 white Catholics, and 3 in 5 Mormons.

While there's still some daylight left, I intend to keep sharing information and trying to stir discussion, as futile as this process may now be. Because I was taught to sing that hymn as a child, and it has shaped my view of my vocation as a follower of Jesus throughout my life . . . . Here's more commentary for you from my reading in the past two days:

Anna Theriault on the cop-out of smug white liberals (of the ilk of those who dominate in the lay Catholic commentariat in the U.S.) who want to pretend that racism is beneath notice when we discuss the major challenges of our society (so-called working-class white rage is "real," by contrast), and had nothing to do with the white-lash that has placed Donald Trump in the White House and all the reins of government in the hands of his party:

White liberals take comfort in the idea of the white rural voter carrying this election because we want so badly to believe that it wasn't white people like us—the good whites, the educated whites, the liberal whites. What's much harder to confront is the fact that many of the people who voted for Trump are not so different from us. Fifty-four percent of college-educated white men voted for Trump. Forty-five percent of college-educated women voted for Trump. White Americans make up nearly 70% of all eligible voters, and of that enormous group of people, 63% of white men and 53% of white women voted for Trump.  
Also consider this: While much has been made of Trump tapping into economic desperation, in fact, more higher-income people voted for Trump, and more lower-income people voted for Clinton. 
So no, it wasn't the poor uneducated yokels who carried Trump. It was white people, across all swaths of class, household income, education, and gender. 
And that's the place we have to start from: Whiteness voted for Trump. Because whiteness will benefit from Trump. 

Isaac Bailey exploding the silly, self-serving claim of white liberals that the media (and the previous administration) have ignored the struggles of white working-class citizens.

Despite their well-documented stressors, the white working class remains on the positive side of economic disparities of every measure when compared to people of color. 
These families just experienced the largest annual increase in incomes on record, with most of that going to the poor and middle class during an unprecedented streak of job creation that has pushed the jobless rate to 4.9 percent. 
Their story has been told, repeatedly. We ignore that reality because it's easier than asking why so many of them voted to make a man president who ran on open bigotry in the 21st century. 

Andrew O'Hehir about whom right Christian voters have really punished in this election — who's going to bear the brunt of the political disaster first and foremost, and why we now have a moral emergency on our hands: 

Those who try to assure us that the emergency is not an emergency, or to insist that the enduring institutions of democracy will surely triumph over this mass hallucination, are either cowardly or stupid or have their heads buried somewhere that isn’t the sand. Furthermore, they are steadfastly refusing to learn anything from recent experience: Aren't these the same responsible grownups who understood how things worked in the real world, and who felt sure that Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee,and then that Hillary Clinton would win the election in a historic landslide? At some point, clinging to your broken idols while barbarians ransack the temple just becomes pathetic. 
To be more charitable, the "normalizers" are just afraid. Which is understandable; we should all be afraid. We have good reason to be afraid if we are Muslim, if we are gay or lesbian or trans, if we are black, if we are recent immigrants with or without papers. We have good reason to be afraid if people in those communities are our neighbors, our family members, our friends, our loved ones. We have reason to be afraid if we are Americans who do not define that nationality by looking backward to an imaginary past. The question now is how we respond to that fear. What we do with it.

Joy Reid on the role the media and morals-lite "liberals" are already playing in normalizing what is absolutely not normal — and what we can expect from the nation's white Christians, who put Trump into office, as the attacks on targeted minority communities get cranked up from the top levels of government: 

You may be asked, over the next four years, to accept things you never dreamed would be acceptable, and to turn a blind eye to vulgarity and hypocrisy and failure. You’ll be sold the pageantry of presidential succession, along with lighthearted stories about Melania’s New York shopping sprees or Ivanka's parenting tips. Long forgotten will be questions about the former’s immigration lies or the fact that potentially any world leader has seen photographs of the first lady naked; or about the many times the latter has been the object of prurient commentary by her father. Religious leaders will grin and embrace the Trump presidency as if it was blessed by God almighty, even as they hover over bill signings designed to consign women and gays back to second class status and ignore the Biblical admonition to see to the poor, the widow and the orphan. 
You may be asked to look away; to pretend it's all good, as foreign interests feed Trump with flattery and graft. Russia’s Vladimir Putin will likely be first in line to ooh and ahh at our emperor’s brilliant new clothes; the better to have his way around the world.

Frank Joyce on how abysmally stupid it is to pretend that Christians cannot do what they have just done (white ones, that is to say) in electing Donald Trump: 

An article here on AlterNet asked how a "Christian" could vote for Donald Trump.  As though Christians didn't vote repeatedly for slavery; or carry out witch trials in Salem;  or elect brutal Indian remover Andrew Jackson in 1828;  or impose Jim Crow segregation in the United States;  or,  in 1912,  elect Woodrow Wilson whose first act as President was to fire all of the black employees of the Federal government;  or poison Viet Nam,  Laos and Cambodia with napalm and Agent Orange;  or set up torture sites all over the world after 9/11;  or create the biggest system of mass incarceration the world has ever known.  
To be fair,  some Christians opposed all of that.  But their version of Christianity did not and does not usually prevail.  

Lisa Belkin on what she learned in interviewing a white Catholic voter in New York about why he supported Trump:  

The appeal, he [Chris Fresiello] said, was that Trump stands for "law and order," and "I am a rule follower. You've got to follow the rules — they are there for a reason."

Belkin's interview bears out much analysis prior to the election that those strongly supporting Donald Trump are staunchly authoritarian: they have a law-and-order philosophy that they want to see imposed by force of law and coercion when necessary on the entire nation, and they're furious because they imagine that this law-and-order approach had been compromised by the Obama administration. And so, no matter their disclaimers about not having a racist bone in their bodies, they are very much motivated by racism, because they imagine that black citizens, quite specifically, have gotten out of hand under President Obama.

What Belkin's findings remind us to remember all over again is that the so-called ethnic (white) working-class Catholic voters of the urban northeast and rust-belt North began making their shift to the Republican party in the years of the GOP's Southern strategy due to the very same racist dog whistles that motivated white Southerners to make that transition. But both media gurus and the leaders of the lay Catholic intellectual establishment in the U.S. have long sought to deny the racism that is at the bottom of the transition of "law-and-order" white Catholics to the GOP, and have sought to gussy this transition up as culture-war rage or "economic rage."

Belkin reports that Fresiello is a bundle of inconsistencies and, quite simply, a seething mass of rage. (One would have to be totally inconsistent to see a man who has always broken every rule possible to line his pockets with money as an advocate of law and order, wouldn't one?)

And so Fresiello says he does not want to impose laws criminalizing abortion on pro-choice citizens, but when Belkin goes to his Twitter feed, she finds Fresiello raging about Hillary as a baby-killer. This analyis bears close attention, since it shines light on why, in the last analysis, the U.S. Catholic bishops and many lay Catholic leaders who function as their cheerleaders in the media and academy chose Trump while claiming that they vote "pro-life" above all else. The bishops as a body did choose Trump by their complicit silence. They wanted him in the White House and did not want Hillary Clinton there, and they will pay a very high price at the judgment seat of history for their immoral behavior in this election period.

There is, quite simply a deep, fatal fascist strain in Catholicism, and Vatican II did not remove it from Catholic institutional life. If anything, it has grown stronger in key sectors of the church's hierarchy and in many lay Catholics like Mr. Fresiello. These Catholics are much more comfortable having a man with fascist leanings appointing a new Supreme Court justice and running the country than they were with the thought of having Hillary Clinton, a woman and feminist, in the White House. They have long known that their anti-abortion position cannot be enshrined in law without force and coercion, because it does not represent the position of most Americans including most U.S. Catholics.

They want it imposed by law, from the top down, with fascist enforcement, if necessary. And that's very likely what we're now going to see not merely in the area of abortion but in all sorts of other areas of American life under Donald Trump, with the U.S. bishops and many white Catholics cheering the repression on — while the bishops utter mild clucks of disapproval when immigrants are targeted, since they are the "good" victims that the "pro-life" bishops will defend when they defend no other post-birth groups subject to this kind of repression, especially women and LGBTQ folks.

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