subscribe: Posts | Comments      Facebook      Email Steve

Too little, too late from the inciter-in-chief



It’s not a Saturday Night Live parody, but it could be: A professor of humanities at Columbia University complaining about “colleges and universities where liberal elites are formed.”

What’s that old saying about the pot calling the kettle black?

The professor is someone called Mark Lilla. He works in Columbia’s History Department, where he “specializes in intellectual history with a particular focus on Western political and religious thought.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s about as elitist as academia gets. I’d like to be a fly on the wall in the faculty lounge at Columbia when Prof. Lilla is sipping a nice foamy latté as his colleagues approach him.

“Hey, Mark, am I a liberal elite?”

“Mark, were you talking about me?”

Well, that’s Lilla’s problem. His silly remark was in a column he wrote headlined “The Liberal Crack-Up,” about the alleged death of liberalism, and while it wasn’t surprising for it to be in the Wall Street Journal, what made it super-weird was Lilla’s use of the phrase “we liberals.” Prof. Lilla, I hate to break the news to you, but you’re not liberal. If anything, you’re a neocon.

Lilla’s thesis is that liberals need “a unifying vision.” He claims, falsely, that “identity politics” has destroyed the Democratic Party. Gay rights, women’s rights, Black rights, immigrants’ rights, transsexual rights—he wants nothing to do with any of it. It’s “done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions.” Well, that very notion itself is a mainstay of the American right, so why should Lilla support it? He’s correct about the right’s “grip,” but wrong on what caused it. Rather than complain about the way Democrats have embraced diversity, he should complain about Republicans becoming more fascist, white supremacist and theocratic every day.

Starting with the white supremacist-in-chief, the man who is personally responsible for Charlottesville: Donald J. Trump.

You know what I hate about this alt.right stuff? It’s their fondness for the past—a mythical, lost golden age. You see this longing in Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The key word is “again.” According to this analysis, we were better in the past than we are now. Well, let me remind this alt.right crowd, including the current president, that the past they yearn for was a time when women couldn’t vote, black people were slaves, non-European-Americans were hated, homosexuals were killed, child labor was the norm, Jews were discriminated against, and businessmen hired thugs to shoot unruly workers.

Is that what made America “great”? Do we really want to go there “again”?

Look, Trump has spent years stoking this white anger and resentment. It was the basis of his birtherism, which appealed only to unreconstructed racists. He sent endless dog whistles to these neo-nazis signaling his affections, and he hired people like Bannon, who was their champion at Breitbart, the Vatican of white supremacy. Trump is the de facto leader of the American fascist movement, and nothing he says now—no mentioning of “white supremacists” or “nazis”—can change that. It simply is too little, too late. Charlottesville blood, including that of the police officers who died, is on his small hands.

Trump may or may not be impeachable on Russiagate, but more than ever, he and his cohort—Bannon, Sessions, Gorka, Huckabee Sanders and the rest of the storm front enablers–need to go. The Republican Party is formally on notice: There will be Nuremburg justice, and it is you who will be in the dock.

Leave a Reply


Recent Comments

Recent Posts