Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!
This is the sound of the journalists’ and party hacks’ jackboots in the blathersphere as they march to the tune of the money machine. Their argle-bargle captivates those whose sole focus is on this miserable man whom we (yes WE even if you did not vote for him) elected as our president. If we do not turn our focus toward discovering what we did collectively to elect this man, then we have no expectation of recovering from this disaster in which we find ourselves.
In order to make these discoveries, we must first examine our own contribution through ignorance and neglect, some of it willful. We must admit to and take stock of the consequences of the last eight years of the devastating neoliberal reign of Barack Obama and recognize that his legacy is, and forever will remain, Donald J. Trump.
In a 3 January article entitled “Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: Rightward Drift and Donald Trump”, Paul Street says “...a nominal Democrat was elected president along with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2008. What followed under Obama (as under his Democratic presidential predecessors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton) was the standard “elite” neoliberal manipulation of campaign populism and identity politics in service to the reigning big money bankrollers and their global empire. The Wall Street takeover of Washington and the related imperial agenda of the “Pentagon System” were advanced more effectively by the nation’s first black president than they could have been by stiff and wealthy white-male Republicans like John McCain or Mitt Romney. The underlying “rightward drift” sharpened, fed by a widespread and easily Republican-exploited sense of popular abandonment and betrayal, as the Democrats depressed and demobilized their own purported popular base.”
I voted for Obama in 2008 and contributed to his campaign due to my own ignorance and desire to put the era of that sociopath, George W. Bush, in the dust bin of history. I was not to be had yet again in 2012. But many continued to support this Wall Street sympathizer, in spite of the man’s first term record which provided all the signals we needed but mostly ignored.
Street continues: “With ... Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and an angry, “pitchfork”-wielding populace at the gates, an actually progressive President Obama could have rallied the populace to push back against the nation’s concentrated wealth and power structures by moving ahead aggressively with a number of policies: a stimulus with major public works jobs programs, a real (single-payer) health insurance reform, the serious disciplining and even break-up or nationalization of the leading financial institutions, massive federal housing assistance and mortgage relief, and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have once again legalized union organizing in the U.S. But no such policy initiatives issued from the new White House. Obama and his Citigroup- and Goldman Sachs-appointed team opted instead to pick up the ball from Dubya in giving the U.S. populace what William Greider memorably called “a blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn’t.” Americans “watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe.”
This is the reality we need to internalize.
At Counterpunch, Michael Albert questions. “To correct our failings we must acknowledge them. But do any individuals, organizations, or outlets urge correcting their own prior failings as part of mounting an effective opposition? If everyone avoids identifying their own choices as contributions to Trump’s victory, won’t our own choices remain as they were? Is finding fault with ourselves more painful than spinning nightmare scenarios of Trumpian apocalypse? More painful than piling on essay after essay documenting coming disasters to audiences who already know how horrible Trump will be? More painful than finger pointing at everyone other than ourselves? More painful than calling for unity while shrouding our own past mistakes?” [From “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” 3 January 2017]
In the last 40 years our commons have been stolen and polluted, our civil rights trampled, our constitution shredded, our national treasure strewn in the sands of the Middle East, our governance stolen, our voices strangled, our country brought to ruin…perhaps beyond repair. How much pain of self-examination are you willing to endure to recapture our country for ourselves and our posterity?