Truth swept over the land on Tuesday, the Trumpian truth of what America is, the America we don’t want to see. This election is like the portrait of Dorian Gray unveiled: a hideous deranged figure too long kept in the closet but now in the lovely brightness of the sun.
Because Trump is the honest representative of the American people. Narcissistic, grasping, greedy, boorish, arrogant, ugly with ambition, boiling with threats, reveling in ignorance, seething with resentment: This is America. It has always been America, the land of the temporarily embarrassed millionaires who vote for the millionaires they wish to be. A culture of hustling, cheating, lying, fraud, exploitation, business and money. The American Dream, that we’re all going to get rich, is a pathology.
Like it or not, Trump is us. He is an exemplar of the Pentagon of Power Lewis Mumford sketched out in The Myth of the Machine, the power complex that rules the United States: politics, profit, publicity, productivity (more consumption for more profit), and physical power (the harnessing of fossil fuels for more productivity). Mumford called it the “megamachine,” whose goal is always and only its own perpetuation and growth.
Clinton, like Trump, is an operative of the megamachine, but she veils herself in the anti-intellectual trickery of identity politics. She is a woman ready and willing to exercise the instruments of the patriarchy of the megamachine, but who the liberal class – bourgeois, affluent, comfortable, complacent, and crushed under the correctness of identity concern – embraced as they did Obama.
In the mire of identity politics, all you need is a person with the right skin tone or gender to run the megamachine empire. Recall that the liberal antiwar movement died the moment a black liberal came to office and perpetuated, institutionalized and reified Bush-era policies. Obama slaughtered brown people overseas with drone missiles in unprecedented numbers.
Liberals deserve nothing but contempt. The folks with a brain working for the Trump campaign are thanking the gods for the spineless chickenshit stupidity of the identity-obsessed left.
I’ve been emailing back and forth recently with good liberals in my old hometown Brooklyn, including one sweet-hearted dude, a folk singer who I consider a friend and whose name I’m not using because we were corresponding privately. For eight years, he wrote many hard and beautiful songs of protest critical of President Bush. Then he went quiet with the election of Obama. As he explained to me: “Since I am never interested in writing songs other than political songs, if I have any hope of having anything heard, which means HAVING ANY EFFECT [sic], (it) is by having the music be special.” He went on that in the Obama years, “I have not been moved to write.”
A fine rationalization, and so much for the moral compass of protest. He and his wife emailed me this year to remind me that I needed to circle the wagons and vote for Hillary.
I told him, and I tell all of you good Brooklyn liberals: By your support of Hillary and the machinations and frauds of the Democratic elite, you colluded in the destruction of the one candidate, Bernie Sanders, who every poll showed could have tackled head-on the Trumpian nightmare. Now, you pay the price.
For the past year, Trump has spit his authentic, putrid words across America’s face. And Americans have welcomed it. The authenticity of Trump is that of the huckster who tells everyone willing to listen that he’s lying. The Clintonites have always pretended to be something else than representatives of the oligarchy. Trump is open about it. He loves money and power. He loves violence. He expresses strong-man charisma. That is why we on the left need to embrace him.
On Tuesday night, after the returns were in, I called up my old friend Brian Ertz in Boise. Ertz was elected as a Sanders delegate from Idaho, travelled to Philadelphia last July for the Democratic National Convention, and watched as the Clintonite cabal acted in underhanded and cheating ways to dismiss, disregard and ultimately disenfranchise the Sanders people. He came away from the convention sick to his stomach.
But at the news of Trump’s victory, Ertz laughed uproariously. “It’s so beautiful I’m tearing up. It’s wonderful. It’s just like a warm happy feeling over my body. Finally, it’s honesty. It’s admitting that deep dark secret and being liberated by the revelation of that secret. It’s a great big fuck you to the liberal elite. It’s a first step toward truth.
“The first step is abandoning denial. Trump is undeniable. Without the false hope of a responsive executive, the intellectual and creative ambition on the left will have no place to go to be co-opted. Their talent will be forced to the street.”
With Obama, there was denial. But that's gone now. As any addict can attest, the first step toward a meaningful recovery is the end of denial.
I wrote back in June at the Daily Beast that I would be voting for Trump precisely because he is a capitalist bastard and a monstrous human being, and that his monstrousness would be a wonderful thing in the White House, a galvanizing factor for the opposition:
…there’s no way I’ll pull the lever for Clinton, because I know what a Clinton presidency bodes. More of the same neoliberal plundering with a friendly Democratic smile to quiet the left.
It happened under Obama: the warfare state and Wall Street reigning supreme while we all sing kumbaya because a black man has stamped his imprimatur on an intolerable status quo. It will happen again under Hillary.
What’s needed now in American politics is consternation, confusion, dissension, disorder, chaos — and crisis, with possible resolution — and a Trump presidency is the best chance for this true progress. This is a politics of arson. I’d rather see the empire burn to the ground under Trump, opening up at least the possibility of radical change, than cruise on autopilot under Clinton.
Yes, I mailed in a vote for Trump and I stand by that. Go Trump! He is the horrific face of America. The lines are now clearly drawn, as they never were under Obama, as they have not been in recent history. Let us wield our best leftist knives in revolt.