Thoughts on the Catastrophe by Peter Eisenstadt

images-143Oh my poor country, my poor stupid, gullible, country, my needy country, my ignorant country, what have you done?

As I look at the results this morning, Hillary has about a 200,000 vote lead in the popular vote, and the Times is predicting (as if we should ever again take any election prediction seriously) that it will hold. But of course, winning the popular vote in a presidential election is meaningless, and Trump, like George W. Bush, will operate as if he had an overwhelming mandate. But it only shows how utterly divided we are, and how Donald Trump is the last person in the world to bind up our nation’s wounds, and show charity to all and malice to none.

I guess the only question remaining is how terrible will it be, how many undocumented persons will he expel from the country, how many people he will strip of their health insurance, how bad will be the recession that will follow from his trade policies, how long it is before Roe v. Wade is overturned (not long), how much his blundering will make the Middle East even more chaotic (I’m betting on a military confrontation with Iran by 2018), how many settlements will Netanyahu be emboldened to build, how many more young women will be harassed and bullied, how much coarser will our national discourse be, how much global temperatures will rise in the next four years, how much black lives will not matter, how will civility and our basic civic institutions survive, how much of America will be recognizable four years from today?

There is tremendous anger in America. It’s much less clear what that anger is directed at, except for generalities—the supposed condescension of the elites, the decline of the manufacturing base, the presence of immigrants, at a black president, at a female presidential candidate—I suspect that most of Trump’s supporters will soon be disappointed that he did not change anything, except for the worse, but we shall see.

We will live through a very dark time, when the Democrats and the left will likely be powerless, reduced to complaining on the margins.   Powerlessness always leads to debate; when there is no clear path forward, there will be many suggestions on what path to take; turn left, turn right, stay in the center, work with the Republicans when possible; block them and obstruct them whenever possible (to the limits of our feeble abilities.) Let us have that debate; let us recognize that not everyone who voted for Trump is as evil as he is; let us fight for the dignity of women, of immigrants, for those of all sexual orientations.   Let us fight for economic justice, let us fight for open borders in a world that is closing itself up upon itself; let us fight for peace and justice in the Middle East.

I am writing this, heartsick and dumbstruck, mourning and weeping, in large part to try to convince myself that I will go on, and we will go on, and that there will be, after the coming battles, new victories.