A tsunami of outrage

15 Nov

A day and a half after we knew Trump had won, I emailed friends on both sides of the Atlantic with this heavily edited version of an open letter by Thomas Harrington, Professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College, Connecticut.

I would love to share, my liberal friend, your incredulity on the election of Donald Trump … to stand with you in the sense of woundedness that, while painful up front, carries with it the compensation of a warm solidarity. I would love to sit with you in righteous anger on the vulgarity and cruelty of Trump and his followers …

But I know you, perhaps better than you do. I watched over three decades and learned, sadly, that you are as much about image and self-regard as any of the laudable values you claim …

I watched you accommodate to the retrograde social forces you claim to abhor. I have seen you silent before the world’s greatest evil, unprovoked war, embracing one who carried out the destruction of Libya, a real country with real people who love their children like you and me, to further, as the Podesta emails make clear, her ambitions …

I monitored as you normalized Israel’s erasure of the Palestinian people and culture …

And now you want me to share your shock and incredulity? I’ll save my tears for those you abandoned along the road to this day.

I prefaced his harsh words with the question, does the cap fit?  I did so confident that for most recipients of my email it did not. That I saw fit to circulate Harrington’s letter at all reflects two related things. One was the refusal by every single HRC supporter I engaged with, and there were many in the months prior to November 8, to address my points on her record of raining death or endorsing the same on far-off peoples to the enrichment of Wall Street, the US Arms Industry and senior politicians. (And, see video below, of placing Russia on the back foot in the name as ever of freedom and democracy but in the interests of a declining hence unusually dangerous American Empire.) Ditto the other silences Harrington speaks of, to which I’d add refusal to condemn her role, far from trifling, in pushing a NATO predicated on ‘containing’ Russia ever closer to that country’s western borders.


The other is the tsunami of moral outrage poured out on social media at Trump’s win. So many of those who fulminate did indeed ’embrace’ her – joyfully or in ‘sober realism’ –  and now lack the self awareness to see that the shock and sorrow they queue up to pour out on FB and Twitter are laced through and through with a faux and selective moral outrage they’re getting collectively high on.

In taking a stand against what Harrington rightly calls the greatest evil of all, waging unprovoked war, we all could have done more. But unless you are one of those now publicly weeping over Trump’s victory, while damning to hell and back those who did not vote for Clinton, his letter is not for you. You were merely copied in, FYI.

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