Consider this: when the first Africans stepped foot on the Americas’ shores, they had little information about what lie ahead. They took a radical step: they stopped to think! They went deep, pinned details, adopted yielding until it became a strength, they found a way to enable generation after generation to survive and rise. As one who fancies the inheritance of that thinking elite, and one who recognized the dislocation of that identity in the minds of many as a young Negro child, I note: bigotry expanded and became more inclusive doing Trump’s campaign; intensifying his toxic stew. Doing so doubled its appeal: many voters were attracted to this new intense combined flavor, but many voters compartmentalised their disdain, closed their eyes and voted blindly. This blind vote has been viewed incorrectly. They were not blind to information–they chose to be blind to consequences. Their denial of consequences put Trump over the top!
Put women, mainstream Republicans, some Latinos and African-Americans in this group. The question is why they deliberately chose to undermine their interests through their denial and their vote?
Paul Krugman, today in his New York Times column, added a new dialectic to the bigot stew, the virulent anti-intellectualism of the Right/Trump/voters. Paul forces a detailed look: it is easy to see it everywhere, esp. in the media (where “analysis” is mainly spin!); esp. in the Congress!!! Especially in the stories and conversations that treat Trump as the new normal and ignore his flashing disgrace. (He misspelled Theresa May’s name (“Teresa”). He called the Japanese Prime Minister, PM Shinzō (rather than PM Abe).
Marvin Harris, the Brooklyn-born, Columbia Univ. sociology professor (a cultural materialist) noted the participant’s view of events is different from the observer’s, and he noted the social function of the clown in society. One role of the clown (Charles A. Frye noted) is to offer society a chance for reset, inspired by the clown’s destructive challenges and disregard of stable norms.
The clown appeals to those who are usually indifferent. In turn, the clown’s acts and behavior awakens the next level of actors who push back against his antics–(he often stumbles, blocked by his own behavior from his goals (a familiar routine!).
Are we rapidly discovering that Trump (unlike Living Color’s “Homey,” the anti-clown, or Ringling Brothers’ Emmett Kelly, the sad clown) is the latest form of the all-American clown–pathetic, cruel, bigoted, inept, who hates being the source of the ridicule and scorn he heaps on others. He offers much to laugh at, as we react to him, from a unique frame of observation. (But remember he is a clown with a killing, cruel touch; he has killed children and separated mothers from their families, and tried to lock down the country as a test of his clown powers.)
From that same frame, Congress and the Cabinet hold men (women) whose actions are not funny. They have proven by documented records of theft/bunce/corruption/interest conflicts that anything that does not enhance their wealth and increase their excess is waste.
Trump entertains. By their excess, they spread the American wasteland.