We Shall Overkill

Presidential transitions are slow motion previews of the next phase of plunder. Cabinet positions are filled amid murmurs and rumors; pundits speculate or celebrate, depending on partisan mood. And we are constantly assured that this process is, if not a miracle, then certainly something to behold.

Donald Trump’s transition may be the exception. Not since Reagan has such a polarizing figure assembled a toxic crew, though Reagan was much more popular coming in. It was Morning in America all over again, and even mainstream liberals looked to find something positive, a resurgent patriotism if nothing else.

Trump hasn’t been given such latitude. Unlike Reagan, who was a two-term governor and took two stabs at the presidency before succeeding, Trump remains the wild card he was when first announcing his candidacy. Despite long months of rancid behavior, Trump’s presence is still shockingly fresh. Each day, people wake up to the fact that he is indeed the next president. It may take years, or some catastrophic event, before that realization seems less bizarre.

So far, liberals have done an awful job fomenting resistance. Stunned by Hillary’s collapse, American liberals grab at any phantasm they hope will ease their pain or clarify their confusion. The Russians Did It is still the main excuse (had Hillary won to antagonize Putin, one can see how triumphant liberals would rally for war), but any reaction will do, so long as it reinforces the fantasies projected on Clinton and, by extension, themselves.

Say what you will about Cold War liberalism, at least it was moored to the labor and, to a degree, civil rights movements. Contemporary liberalism, primarily as expressed on social media, is attached to little more than corporate power, assuming that corporatists have any further use for Hillary fans. Lacking solidity, liberals are free to float any notion, regardless of pressing realities.

Their bitterness has curdled into hatred and blame, their favorite targets (after the Russians) being poor/working class whites and socialists, who are often conflated, albeit for reactionary reasons. Instead of reflecting on their election-year tactics in order to understand what went wrong, numerous liberals have doubled down on their arrogance and elitism.

They want nothing to do with powerless people or economic justice; too grimy, too déclassé. They somehow see their stance as anti-racist and pro-LGBTQ, simply because they say so. And as good Americans know, if something should be true, then it is true.

So, as Trump assembles his gang dedicated to strip mining what’s left of the economy and culture, liberals have decided to wage a two-front battle: Trump, of course, and those who believe in a more direct democracy. The former receives cultivated scorn; the latter, unbridled contempt. Mercifully, liberals don’t hold much actual power. Sadly, they reject those committed to power’s redistribution. All they have is their hostility, and they wonder why people don’t like them.