Hillary Clinton was roundly criticized when she called Trump’s hard right anti-government supporters, deplorable. The deplorables loved it, taking up the mantle as a badge of identity emblazoned on t-shirts and banners. The rest of us tut-tutted. It wasn’t a nice thing to say and we’re supposed to be nice. After all, every side deserves an equal right to be heard – or does it?
The thing is Hillary was right about the hard right core of the Trump movement. They were and are deplorable. They include the willfully ignorant who bought into the government is your enemy schtick sold by Limbaugh & Co. They eagerly followed would-be fascists promising the strong leadership of a democratically elected dictator who would be their agent in the seat of power. Higher up leadership came from well informed, calculating, political opportunists. They in turn were encouraged and financed by libertarian oligarchs who expected to pull the strings from behind the scenes. No doubt many of the crowd were among the aggrieved and gullible, but the core and its leadership were morally corrupt, a clear and present danger to American democracy.
Frankly, it’s time to get angry. Our democracy and the well being of our people cannot be held captive in fearful niceness to a relatively small group of strident voices intent on destroying all that America stands for. Yes that small band just mentioned numbers in the millions but the rest of us number in the hundreds of millions.
Trumpism has morphed into a deplorable movement that will long outlive Trump. The libertarian oligarchs who helped give it birth now realize the mistake they made. Their puppet strings never existed and whatever control they expected to have evaporated overnight. They are quietly backing away, but we should not be quiet.
But, and it’s a big but, trumpism’s base is right about one thing. Coastal interests have ignored rural and mid-America. They’ve relied on polls, studies, and economic data to create ways to pompously tell rural and mid-Americans who they are, what they need, promising it all and seldom delivering. They have rarely bothered to talk WITH and listen with understanding to rural and mid-Americans speaking for themselves. If they had they would have discovered a much larger population of well informed, sophisticated persons, more conservative than liberal but not off the rails. They would have discovered people who know their local environment better than most coastal people know theirs. It doesn’t help that the political professionals who inhabit the D.C. arena tend to live in a self generated bubble in which they drink from an imaginary well of all important knowledge and wisdom, and spar with each other for power, position and recognition.
John Lewis called it “Good Trouble”. It’s time for the rest of us to make some Good Trouble. To fail to do so would be…….deplorable.