To the left™

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The political fashion trend of the times: if someone—anyone—from an oppressed group criticizes a cis-white progressive activist, we need to apologize and move on. Because of colonialism, patriarchy, sexism and racism, we white folks on the Left have it coming.

Well, yes, in fact we do. As readers of my recent article on Yusra Khogali can attest, I for one recognize and accept the anger of oppressed people, and have no defensive criticism to make of it. But I do think that this is separable from the substance of the expression of that anger. I can defend Khogali without having to discuss, much less accept, her off-the-wall theories about melanin. I can be pro-feminist without agreeing that men were a mutation caused by the sun’s radiation. And I can be progressive without swallowing the notion of “cultural appropriation,” a notion that is highly problematic, to say the least.

Niki Ashton is running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party on a left-of-Mulcair platform. For those unaware, she Tweeted a reference to a popular song by Beyoncé, *Irreplaceable,” specifically the phrase “To the left,” as in

To the left, to the left
To the left, to the left (mmmmmm)
To the left, to the left

Everything you own in the box to the left.

The song is about showing a boyfriend to the door. Ashton was punning on the phrase.

A group called Black Lives Matter-Vancouver took exception to this, calling Ashton out for “cultural appropriation.” She deleted the Tweet and apologized.

As some have pointed out, this is pretty minor in the scheme of things. In any case, Ashton is looking for support from progressive groups, and here she took the path of least resistance. That’s understandable, even defensible, in the heat of a political campaign.

But there is a wider issue at stake here—actually, several.

The first of these is how we deal with criticism and the taking of positions in Left ranks. “Call-out culture” is still in vogue, a kind of Maoist echo. Whatever happened to the respectful dialectic of debate, the open exploration of issues from differing perspectives, and the building thereby of a deeper solidarity?

An illustration: when I first became involved in the labour movement, my union tended to avoid “social issues” because they were felt to be “divisive.” There was little recognition that those divisions were already present among the rank and file, and that papering over them in the name of “solidarity” could only have the opposite effect. But those of us who felt that we should not only recognize but even celebrate those differences, while working to achieve a solidarity based upon the recognition that racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism were serious issues that needed to be addressed, eventually prevailed, at least to a point.

That took a lot of work. The first step in an as-yet unfinished process, one that has been going on for many years now, was to get people to debate and discuss the issues: to listen and be listened to. The issue was forced by strong groupings of women and various ad hoc ginger groups representing people with disabilities, LGBT, and racialized minorities, who pushed for substantial change within the union. Allies rose to support them. Major policy shifts were made over time.

That’s how engagement works. That’s how we grew our solidarity.

Refusing to face our differences would have merely avoided issues that sooner or later would erupt anyway. And the same sort of thing is at work, I suggest, when one major player refuses to discuss the matters at hand, but simply nods meekly. That builds nothing.

What I find even more bewildering is that some on the Left are defending the criticism itself. So, very quickly: “cultural appropriation” is a meaningless concept—all culture is appropriation. Cultural (or, as I would prefer, “social”) misappropriation is a real issue—fake “Aboriginal” costumes, for example. But that isn’t an issue here. Beyoncé’s song was written by Epsen Lind, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Shaffer Smith, Tor Erik Hermansen, Amund Ivarsson Bjoerklund, and Beyoncé herself. Four of the six collaborators are white. One could hardly imagine a worse example to reinforce a point about misappropriation.

As noted, Ashton bowed and moved on. If this was merely pragmatism, then so be it—let it go, by all means. But if this represented an actual organizing principle—termed by one commentator “rigorous solidarity“—then we have a serious problem. Because that “rigorous solidarity” sounds a great deal like the paper solidarity I was referring to above: proceeding as though in sweet harmony while, under the surface, our critical faculties, suppressed in the name of “allyship,” are bubbling and simmering. As a strategic approach, it’s staggeringly dishonest and ultimately doomed to failure.

It’s also great fodder for assorted right-wing pundits and knuckle-dragging commenters on news threads, who lose no opportunity to mock us for trying to negotiate the intricate maze of intersectionalism. The latter project is well-founded and necessary, of course. There is no other way forward if we want to build a mass progressive movement among diverse groups. But we—and by that I mean all of us seeking social change—need to talk more, not less.

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The Chrystia Freeland debacle

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I have never believed that the sins of the fathers (or grandfathers) should place a burden of guilt upon succeeding generations, so at first I found myself detached from the current Chrystia Freeland brouhaha, and even a little embarrassed that some of my political allies were making such a great to-do over it. So her grandfather, Mykhailo Chomiak, was a pro-Nazi Ukrainian collaborator—so what?


As it turns out, Freeland has quite an affection for the old man, whom she describes as someone who “worked hard to restore freedom and democracy to Ukraine.” And this is the person chosen by the Trudeau government to be our Foreign Minister, dealing with a nation that is still a bubbling hotbed of contending factions, ethnic hatreds, and alternate versions of history. Ukraine is a country where streets are now being named after Jew-killers, and where it is now illegal to refer to these butchers and their militias as anything other than heroes.

Some just throw up their hands and say the situation there is and was too complex to permit moral judgements. Others pick sides. But I cannot share in the apparent nostalgia for the past that leads some of my comrades to support the Great Russian chauvinist Vladimir Putin, while the continual whitewashing by the West of the ultra-right influence in Ukraine deserves unqualified censure.

We all know, or should know, that Russia delights in mischief-making and fake news—recent events in the US are proof of that. Nor could we expect any love on Russia’s part for the outspoken pro-Ukrainian activist Chrystia Freeland. So is this story just more Russian disinformation, as Freeland claims?

No, it isn’t, as it happens.

One salient point is the lengths to which Freeland has gone to present her grandfather as a mere victim. For example:

I’m…a proud member of the Ukrainian-Canadian community. My maternal grandparents fled western Ukraine after Hitler and Stalin signed their non-aggression pact in 1939. They never dared to go back, but they stayed in close touch with their brothers and sisters and their families, who remained behind. For the rest of my grandparents’ lives, they saw themselves as political exiles with a responsibility to keep alive the idea of an independent Ukraine, which had last existed, briefly, during and after the chaos of the 1917 Russian Revolution. That dream persisted into the next generation, and in some cases the generation after that.

This is an unvarnished lie. Chomiak did not flee in 1939. He moved to Cracow, the capital of the Nazi Generalgouvernement, to become chief editor of a pro-Nazi collaborationist newspaper called Kravivski Visti. He worked out of offices that had been emptied of their Jewish owners, and then, when the tide of war turned, he continued his work in Nazi-occupied Vienna. He presided over the publication of virulently anti-Jewish articles in 1943, under orders from the occupying Nazi forces, and his editors actively solicited them.

“We need serious articles that would reveal the harmful and disintegrative role of the Jewish element in literature, the press, art and philosophy,” an editor wrote to one author, who eagerly accepted his assignment. But several authors simply refused his invitation: one, in fact, was hiding a Jew in his home in Warsaw at the time. Indeed, there was a negative reaction from several Ukrainian intellectuals, who saw this collaborationist kowtowing for what it was. But the editors, according to the historian John-Paul Himka, a relative of Freeland’s, saw in this campaign of anti-Semitism an opportunity to promote Ukrainian nationalism.

No, Mykhailo Chomiak did not flee to the West after the Hitler-Stalin pact. He actively collaborated with the Nazis until the end of the war, and made his way to Alberta after that, where he died peacefully of old age in 1984. And Freeland, who collaborated on the Himka article, has known all this for at least two decades.

Some commentators, motivated by anti-Russian animus (not entirely undeserved, in my opinion), have gone so far as to excuse Chomiak’s conduct:

[T]he newspaper, Krakivs’ki Visti, was the only intellectual lifeline left to the people of the dismembered Ukraine at the time, and…Freeland’s grandfather, the journalist Michael Chomiak, had no control over the Nazi mumbo jumbo he was obliged to print as the newspaper’s titular editor.

One only needs to recall White Rose, or the countless resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied countries who were captured and shot, or tortured to death, and that morally lax position falls to pieces. Chomiak didn’t have to be chief editor of a pro-Nazi newspaper: he had a choice. Even Himka, who is generally sympathetic to the squeeze the editors of Kravivski Visti were in, concludes: “[T]hat more than submission to coercion came into play is suggested by the conviction on the part of the editors that they could use the series [of anti-Semitic articles] to promote the Ukrainian cause” —this, while Jews were being slaughtered all around them. As to the writers solicited for the vile articles that appeared, Himka writes of their “indifference to and even approval of the destruction of the Jews.”

Again, Chrystia Freeland is not responsible for any of this. But her cover-up of the facts is worrying, and her helming of Global Affairs Canada must be causing more than a few ripples in diplomatic circles. Dislike of Putin’s endless shenanigans shouldn’t blind us to the fact that, at least on occasion, the truth can be even more devastating than fake news.

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The amazing Toronto Sun memory hole

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The following are screenshots of the Sun fake news story. Once we broke this on Facebook, only the hed and a picture survived (last photo).




Toronto Sun memory hole.jpg

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Toronto Sun Pwned

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Check out this alleged “ABC News” report picked up by the Toronto Sun (and attributed to the Associated Press). Anyone find it…kind of funny? A sample:

David Mikkelson, founder of Snopes.com, a website known for its biased opinions and inaccurate information they write about stories on the internet in order to generate advertising revenue, told ABC News that he approves of what a story like this is accomplishing.

“You have to understand that when a story like this goes viral, and we spend a minute or two debunking it, we make lots of money. Stories like this have helped put my children through college, buy a new car, a home and even get the Silverback gorilla my wife Barbara always wanted since she was a child,” Mikkleson said.

If anything qualifies as “fake news,” this has to be a textbook example. In fact, it is so badly done, a farrago of hyperbole and factitious nonsense, that is almost seems that it might be fake fake news.

But in any case this bogus “report” was retailed holus-bolus by the Toronto Sun and foisted upon its unsuspecting readers.

Note that the actual ABC newslink is: http://abcnews.go.com/. The URL in the story is blocked on Facebook.

Fake news from the credulous (and I am being charitable here) Toronto Sun. Checking sources? Why would they do that?

UPDATE: (2:45pm) As a reader notes in the comments, the “story” has now disappeared from the Sun—leaving only a headline and a picture.

UPPERDATE: And Alison Creekside tracked down the source. I particularly like this bit:

It was created by Paul Horner, who posts fake news on a variety of websites. Some of his posts go viral, presumably boosting his standing with Google’s news algorithm. The fake news posts typically earn Horner — according to an interview with the Washington Post — $10,000 a month in ad sales.

… “[Trump’s] followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything,” Horner said. Referring to then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Horner said, “His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

UPPESTDATE: Oh, this is delicious. The “reporter” who wrote the fake news story had pompously lectured us all a mere two days ago about the dangers of circulating—you guessed it—fake news stories. [Big tip o’ the hat to Canadian Cynic.]

EVEN UPPIERDATE: I may have to go back to reading Twitter if this keeps up. The fellow who wrote the original fake news story, Paul Horner, has a message for those he sucked in. Thanks again to Canadian Cynic, who’s been doing a little follow-up.

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When the subaltern speaks

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Yusra Khogali, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Toronto, has been in the news recently for calling Prime Minister a “white supremacist terrorist.” She’s had a few other interesting things to say as well in the recent past. She asks Allah to prevent her from committing violence. She refers to whites as genetically defective. She’s really angry. And, from what I know second-hand about racism and misogyny, I don’t blame her.

We can argue about the strategic usefulness of deploying inflammatory public rhetoric, shorn of context and explanation, that divides and excludes—I do, as a former union leader who knows what draws people in and what doesn’t—but that isn’t the issue. Khogali is expressing the anger of the oppressed, she has a right to do it, and she is accountable only to the people in her movement. White folks calling for her removal as a leader rather make her point. They would prefer that oppressed people remain polite and respectful and use their indoor voices at all times: otherwise these outside commentators feel uncomfortable. But put up their discomfort against the everyday racism, the personal and institutional violence, that is a Black person’s life experience, and there is simply no contest.

Besides, the content of her most recent remark bears a little attention. As others have noted, you can indeed argue her case against Trudeau. White supremacy is not just the ideology of Nazis. Terrorism is more than shooting up a mosque or a nightclub. Trudeau’s refusal to accede to a court ruling and two compliance orders by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal continues to victimize First Nations children simply for being First Nations. Canada’s Middle Eastern ally Saudi Arabia is obviously terrorizing a lot of civilians in Yemen at present. Trudeau’s massive export of light armoured vehicles to the Saudis, not to mention the Canadian military training that goes with it, will only encourage further interventions, as well as enabling the House of Saud’s bloody rule at home.

Discomfort is the point at which we privileged white folks can either move forward or stay in place. Confronting and reflecting upon our own socialized attitudes is not infrequently unpleasant. This isn’t a moral matter: we aren’t necessarily “guilty” of anything. Most of us simply sleepwalk in our privilege. But when we’re called on it, we should be willing to learn.

Well, here is what I have learned, for what it’s worth. Khogali’s remarks take place in a context of oppression, and they should be interpreted in that manner. She’s not just another talking head on a reassuring TV panel show: she’s a pissed-off Black activist, every atom of whose being is engaged in resistance. Must we expect that she follow polite rules of discourse established by the very society that oppresses her? Very little real-world resistance is drawing-room. A lot of it can be raw and ugly. And the white liberal response is too often to wag a finger. They liked Martin Luther King for his non-violent resistance; Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, not so much.

But here is what King himself had to say about them:

First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. ~Letter from a Birmingham Jail

When I read Khogali’s commentary, I’m not surprised or offended. Asking Allah to help her check her rage is hardly worth the ink spilled by affronted pundits attacking that Tweeted prayer. As for the alleged genetic defectiveness of white people, I have no reason to believe that she is not entirely sincere about that amalgam of pseudo-science and mysticism, but I can’t help being struck by its ironic effectiveness. She is holding up a cracked mirror to hundreds of years of white pseudo-science about “race” and Blacks in particular, and just look at the shock and outrage she’s been causing among the chattering classes. Three or so remarks! Imagine the emotions they might have caused to well up in us were the historical tables turned.

None of this is to say that anything goes, particularly if one is attempting to build a mass movement, but, rather, that we should try to understand how what we might regard as rhetorical excesses are generated by the very system that is now clutching its pearls. Can the subaltern speak? You betcha. And we won’t always like what we hear—but that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

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I said it first

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An Oklahoma legislator recently made a stir when he bluntly explained his thinking behind yet another abortion restriction:

Ultimately, he said, his intent was to let men have a say. “I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”
(Emphasis mine.) Let the record show that I said it before he did:
In an alternate universe where sentient, human-like intelligences only reproduce asexually, the concept of mammalian reproduction would be the subject of lurid and imaginative horror novels (which might possibly be similar to our romance novels or, I guess, pornography). Particularly disconcerting would be the concept of “male” and even worse, the idea of “sperm”.

(Later from comments) It has cells. That take over other cells. To make another version of It, by hijacking the cells and internal budding chamber of a member of a similar species.

But I suppose it’s nice for the anti-abortion lobby to say it so plainly: that women are hosts for an alien parasite and must be prevented, for the sake of the injector of the organism, from choosing to cease to be hosts.

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Straight talk on C-23

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Political deep integration continues apace. The Liberal government is in the process of passing an extraordinary piece of legislation, C-23, which effectively cedes Canadian sovereignty to US border officials. Under this Bill, expected to pass shortly, Canadians can be held for interrogation by US border guards at airports, even if we decide we’ve had enough hostile questioning about our religion, political views, social media habits, or mode of dress, and decide to stay in Canada after all. If we try to get up and leave at that point, or decide we don’t want to answer more questions, we will be breaking Canadian law, and liable for arrest, conviction and imprisonment. Meanwhile, Canadian border officials in American airports will now have the right to prevent Canadian permanent residents from boarding an aircraft.

At a stroke, what we assumed were basic civic rights are being whisked away by the Trudeau government. American authorities will be able to detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil, and the Liberals are making it a crime for us to refuse to cooperate. And just as American green card-holders are being harassed and blocked at US airports, so Canada is now following suit against its own permanent residents, who—until now—had the unfettered right to enter Canada.

Pre-clearance has, of course, been a convenient way of entering the US. Better to be refused here than have to pay your way back from there. But this new law will apply, as noted, even to Canadians who change their minds about traveling to the US after getting a taste of the Orange Era from a sneering and hostile American immigration official. It’s worth reiterating: you won’t just be able to walk away. You will remain under American authority, in Canada, and if you resist or refuse to answer an American interrogator’s questions, you can be prosecuted—by Canada.

This may seem to some like small potatoes. Most Canadians don’t fly to the US. Most who do are unlikely to be harassed at the border. But it is wrong, I think, to dismiss this move so easily. Giving Americans the right to detain Canadians on our own land, and subjecting the latter to prosecution if we fail to comply, is a significant break from the past. Does anyone believe that US pressure will stop there, and that more concessions won’t be made?

Trudeau’s grinning performance in Washington, strong handshake and all, was really a gesture of obeisance. It was a dutiful visit to the court of the mad king. He will sound tough on trade issues for domestic consumption, and try to recover his shining mantle after his dismal performance of late, but he is what he is: little more than a satrap, not the leader of a sovereign nation. Just watch him.

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On originalism

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The Donald’s pick to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States is Neil Gorsuch. He is a constitutional originalist.

That means he interprets the US Constitution according to its original meaning. I haven’t gone deeply enough into the man’s beliefs to determine whether he is among the minority of originalists who look for the drafters’ intent, or, instead, is a textualist who goes by the original plain-language meaning of the Constitution as understood at the time it was written.

Both propositions, of course, are a nonsense.

On the question of intent, reading the minds of dead men is a form of divination, nothing more. And recourse to the debates at the time doesn’t help: all that does is attempt to conflate the alleged intentions of a lot more dead men. “Intent” is, in any case, impossible to determine. Must we go back to the New Critics, or at least to Roland Barthes, to explode that notion? Put simply, even if an author expresses an intent, that expression is a series of signifiers that merely point to other signifiers. What did the author mean by their expression of intent? And what, in turn, does the new explanation mean? That way, madness lies. And it only gets worse when the text is a collective enterprise.

So, what about plain-language “original” meaning? What does “original” signify? Even more dead men (and women) must be enlisted, in an impossible quest. Meaning shifts continually: the relation between signifier and signified is ever-changing, and is continually contested. One determines a meaning of any text from context, which itself is never fixed. There is no such thing as “original” meaning.

Let’s bring this down to earth. The Constitution proscribes “cruel and unusual punishment” (Eighth Amendment) and “unreasonable searches and seizures” (Fourth Amendment). Rights not explicit in the Constitution are protected by the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

What did the Framers mean by “cruel and unusual?” How do we determine what they meant by “unreasonable?” What “rights” (unnamed) are protected in the Constitution? What did that reference to other “retained” rights mean at the time?

Originalism is the new bibliomancy. A magic means of getting to a preordained legal conclusion.

A lawyer on Facebook told me he had never heard of Ferdinand de Saussure. No surprise there. But perhaps an introductory course in semiotics would be good for law students whose certainties about textual meaning have so perverted the course of American legal hermeneutics.

[Disclaimer: I am not by any stretch of the imagination a US Constitutional scholar, or even a lawyer, although I know a thing or two about textual theory. Perhaps I’m missing something obvious. If so, the lawyers who visit this place are invited to clarify and explain. —DD]

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WYSIWYG politics

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Trump fighting pose.jpg

Until very recently, electoral politics has been a contest of facades, rhetorical and visual simulacra competing with other ones. Somewhere underneath it all, real flesh-and-blood people are strait-jacketed in talking-points and boilerplate, forming over them like a full-body mask. This is such a commonplace that no one questions it. We expect it. Even those of us who like to get at the root of things—literally, radicals—find ourselves quite at home in this discursive world of the anodyne, the commonplace, the glib and thoughtless formulation. We, too, share in the babbled, incoherent language of somnambulists, and speak it too often ourselves.

I am not here merely recapitulating Orwell, whose essay “Politics and the English Language” should be required weekly reading for anyone commenting upon current events, let alone entering what we laughingly call public life. The latter is neither public (what is made public is only a series of reassuring signifiers) nor, it must be said, alive. When one listened during the US Presidential election to the ultimate machine candidate, Hillary Clinton, the word “undead” came to mind: not one original thought was enunciated, not a single unique phrasing. She opened her mouth and the system spoke. She was just an echoing shell, amplifying the political commonplaces of the day; rising, in the immortal words of Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley in 1968, to ever higher and higher platitudes.

There is more than a bad use of language here, disguising a laziness of thinking. There is a bad style, and worse, a bad culture. The language is used deliberately and strategically, not out of sloppiness. Politics has only one audience: the trick has been to say things that cause as few as possible of the snoozers in the cheap seats to come fully awake.

But last Fall, the snoozers were becoming wakeful all on their own. For some, the system was causing palpable harm. For many others, the system had no discernible effect, pro or con, and the seats in the audience had become hard and uncomfortable. It was impossible to connect abstract policy pronouncements with their own lived daily lives. The largely empty ritual of elections had lost any mana it might have once possessed as a periodic reaffirmation of American democracy.

Enter Bernie Sanders, and enter Donald Trump.

Neither man traded in evasive, ambiguous abstractions. They spoke as though they shared the same world as their audiences. They said what they meant. Their frankness was fresh and to many, jarring. Both, as it turned out, attracted surprising support—surprising to the dominant political culture, at least. They raised issues in flesh and blood fashion, speaking to a collective sense of loss. Their solutions were, of course, diametrically opposed, but it was not the substance of their critiques of business as usual that their audiences were after. It was their lack of careful parsing, of cultivated ambiguity, of being all things to all people. It was their language that seemed to go to the heart of things that jolted their listeners awake.

I don’t want to pursue the Sanders-Trump parallelism too far, obviously, although there is, it must be said, an odd commingling of world-views in some respects. Who was the anti-war candidate? The anti-free trade candidate? Who spoke directly to a wide swathe of bruised and battered citizens? The Democratic machine ensured that Sanders, with his mega-crowds of eager listeners and followers, would be shut out of the game by any means necessary. The Republican machine, for its part, was simply unready and unable to withstand the flood. The time of raw authenticity had come. A Sanders-Trump contest would arguably have been a victory for Sanders, a plain-speaker of substance versus a gaseous windbag, but Americans were denied that choice. We know the result.

It didn’t matter a whit that Trump is a crude and oafish bullshitter who doesn’t say what he thinks, because he actually thinks very little. Language for him is the gauze wrapping of his hyper-narcissism. But his voters, like cutters who injure themselves deliberately so that they can actually feel something, cast their ballots in defiance: in Michael Moore’s words, it was the largest “F*ck You” in human history, not to the Democrats, but to the smarmy political culture of the day. Instead of the politics of interpretation, nuance, image, razzle-dazzle and inevitable disappointment, the US electorate opted for What You See Is What You Get.

This is why it’s so pointless to express daily outrage about the behaviour and shambolic public utterances of this oik: it’s precisely because of that sort of thing that he won the election. Where the china shop is out of reach, root for the f*cking bull.

The first week of the bull’s Year Zero has targeted a lot of people for injury, but offered succour to none. His words and those of his spokespeople are becoming wilder and sillier. As one might have confidently predicted, signs of rising resistance are now everywhere visible. No President in history has been inaugurated with such a low standing in the polls, and it continues to sink. His inaugural crowds were relatively small, dwarfed by the Women’s March. “Sanctuary cities” are point-blank refusing to implement his racist policies.

For better or worse, millions of American voters are no longer asleep. Machine politics-as-usual has been torpedoed. We’re in new, frontier political territory, offering both danger and opportunity to all sides. Let’s see what Week Two brings.

[Note to commenters: the URL keeps flipping to a non-existent one. Please paste in “http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2017/01/wysiwyg-politics.shtml#disqus_thread” when you get that “404,” and then fire away. —DD]

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Res ipsa loquitur

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Obama, it seems, is not a credit to his race.

But by this logic, if we survive the next four years, we will not see a white President again. Ever. So there’s that.

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