We’re in a hostage crisis. And a fog.
What I think those of us who are white males haven’t absorbed yet about this election is that there’s no being a “citizen,” male or female, second-class or otherwise, in a liberal democratic republic anymore.
We all lost the country this year. All of us. Including those Trump voters who thought they were voting to defend the Constitution.
If you’re now feeling a twinge of apprehension in having voted for Trump, or are a white Clinton voter feeling sorry for Muslim Americans–or wondering what it might feel like to be black in Trump’s America–I’ve got news for you. You’re now a rolling stone as well. If you think the Bob Dylan song is a romantic fancy, listen to the lyrics closely at the dawn of the Age of Trump, and weep.
We’ve lost the country, not in a partisan sense, but in the literal sense. There are no second-class American citizens now, male or female, patriot or hippie, Muslim or non-Muslim, because there are no American citizens.
I’m trying to describe the situation. This is Donald Trump’s America. We just live here. Going forward, we’ll all become increasingly aware that we’re moving about in this country, not because the law protects us, or because we’re citizens and this country is ours, but because we are at his sufferance. He’s going to be tolerating us being here–and he’ll be revoking that tolerance if we cross him in a way that threatens his grip on power. His loyalty is not to democracy, the rule of law, and its institutions, but to himself. He owns us.
This is a daddy-child and master-slave situation, not a citizenry to public servant situation. We have seen nothing all year in his character that suggests he can exercise self restraint, and in two months, he’ll be the boss, and he’ll believe the law won’t apply to him. There will be no effective balance of powers to check him because he’ll be ignoring them, and if anybody tries to resist him, he’s going to crush them (first with soft power, but with hard if that becomes necessary). And in four years, he’s not leaving office, even were he to lose an election. (“It was rigged, it was totally unfair.”) In four years, if he’s gathered sufficient power to himself, and can figure out a way not to, he may not even hold an election.
If you resist, and you persist in your insolence, rising above the radar into his attention, expect to be deemed an enemy of the state. There will be no normal avenues effective against him now.
That’s where we are. Washington to Obama. That was America’s Republic. We’re now dealing with a completely different animal. The veneer of the old laws and the old Republic will be cloaking a lawless authoritarian attempting to grab all the power he can get, dangerous to ourselves and the rest of the world, propped up by a system of mass propaganda, popular will, and force. This veil of the old, but dead, Republic, with its forms and laws, by cloaking this new thing that has come into existence, is going to make it very difficult to think clearly about what’s really going on. It’s the emperor’s new clothes, and we’re going to have to see through them to the truth of our situation.
How will Trump consolidate power? What will be his modus operandi? The same as we’ve witnessed all year. He’ll defame and threaten, ramping up crisis after crisis, and won’t budge–and people will relent because he’ll simply make it too hot for them if they don’t. Watch Paul Ryan buckle again and again. Watch yourself. There will be lots of rationalizing. You’ll be doing it as well. You’re not going to be witness to many profiles in courage in this age we might properly call The Fog of Trump, and you’re not likely to be one yourself.
How does it feel?