Four Post-Election Messages
Dear artists and musicians,
Don’t give up in despair. The narrative that Trump, Clinton and the corporate media have tried to sell us in 2016 is: “humanity is ugly, cutthroat, dark and pointless. If you’re evil, self-serving, elitist, rich, abusive, incompetent, a cheater, a liar or a thief, you will be rewarded. If you point out this fact publicly, you will be destroyed. If your contribution to society is life-affirming, imaginative, loving, decent, empathetic, victimless, clever, or nourishing you will be automatically shut out of cultural discourse, for not being serious enough.” We artists and musicians have to keep doing what we do, to prove that narrative false. Enduring and resisting the inhumane plans of the GOP will take inspiration and ideas and human energy and encouragement. It will take art and music. And as Salman Rushdie said, the enemy of fanaticism is pleasure. Fight it best by dancing madly.
Dear Trump voters,
Your man is already double-crossing you. You elected him partly on a platform of economic populism and Drain-The-Swamp disgust with crooked Clintonism and establishment politics. Several states voting Trump also passed ballot initiatives for raising minimum wage hikes and getting money out of politics, and rightly so. I find many of your grievances legitimate. But it’s only been three days and Trump is already starting his transformation into a Hillary Clinton imitator: He’s hired seven of Clinton’s D.C. lobbying firms. He’s tapped a Goldman Sachs exec as possible Treasury Secretary. Establishment consultants are convincing him to soften his rough edges and he’s suddenly gone press-shy a la Clinton. Corrupt Democrats (many undoubtedly hoping to avoid jail) are seeking “conciliation.” If you don’t pressure him to keep his promises of a better economy for everyone, single payer healthcare, saving social security, investing in infrastructure, ending the Bush/Obama/Clinton foreign policy of failed/wasteful foreign invasions, and holding corrupt politicians accountable, then Trump is just another phony Washington politician making suckers out of you. May I also suggest that sometime soon, once your victory celebrations die down, you quietly ask yourself if you and your family really are actually safer with a government whipping up anti-Islamic hysteria or massed gun ownership. Also consider that any president who rips up climate agreements is destroying the lives of your own children.
Dear Clinton die-hards,
It is time for you to get out of the way. Your right-centrism, neoliberalism, meritocratic elitism, corrupt incrementalism and “that’s just the way politics works” defeatism just committed suicide on live TV with the world watching. Your worldview is an abject failure. All the professional pundits, paid operatives, colluding journalists, Beltway insiders, self-proclaimed polling experts, campaign consultants, faux-progressives, helpful war criminals and mansplaining snobs whose pro-Clinton deceptions we’ve tolerated for the past year are utterly disreputable now, and should be shunned from power or influence. Forget the myths the media has created about Team-Clinton luminaries like Donna Brazile, John Podesta, Howard Dean, Paul Krugman, Kurt Eichenwald, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, John Chait, Jamil Smith, Joan Walsh, Jamelle Bouie, David Plouffe, Hillary and Bill Clinton. The truth is these people are amoral and not very bright.
Thanks to Clinton pocketing 99% of the DNC fundraising money meant for down ballot races, both houses of Congress will now be Republican. For the next two years, our government will provide no checks and balances on Trump’s power whatsoever. You are now the only ones standing between us and oblivion. What to do? There’s no more need for the sensationalism and fake smears that just handed Trump the presidency. Real Trump is bad enough and anyway Trump loves that stuff and so do his fans. Screaming “Fuck Trump” does no more to generate positive policies than did the Tea Party/GOP screaming “obstruct Obama” for eight years. The Clinton strategy of setting wacko Trump apart from other Republicans has totally backfired, and also legitimizes all those other Republicans who actually hold similarly perverse views.
If we are confused and scared by Trumpocalypse and don’t know what to do, I suggest looking to those movements that have already been enduring their own various apocalypses for years: the world’s indigenous and impoverished peoples whom climate change already affects disproportionately (think of No DAPL, anti-fracking, and anti-fossil fuel, the ones Clinton said should “get a life”), those already enduring racial injustice (movements like Black Lives Matter, BDS, anti-bigotry groups), those already having their lives destroyed by American wars (refugee advocacy and support, Doctors Without Borders), the anti-war movement (both in the US and in the nations we bomb), the No Nukes movement, the anti-corporatist cause (like No TPP, labor unions, Occupy Wall St), the pro-choice movement, the feminist movement, the gun-control movement, the LGBT rights movement, non-electoral/non-heirarchical democratic movements (OWS, Nuits Debout), progressive media (like Democracy Now, TYT, The Intercept, Znet), whistleblowers, those advocating media accountability, those fighting mass incarceration, mass surveillance, police brutality/militarization, and the corrupting influence of money in politics. These are the causes that deserve our attention, contribution and participation.