democracy, empire watch, latest, United States, USA
Comments 25

Open Letter to American Liberals

by Thomas S. Harrington, via Common Dreams

I would love to share, my liberal friend, in your sense of incredulity about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of United States. I would love to stand with you in the sense of woundedness that, while certainly painful up front, carries with it the secondary compensation of a warm and nurturing solidarity. I would love to sit with you and fulminate in righteous anger about the unparalleled vulgarity and cruelty of Trump and his followers.

As much as I’d like to do these things, I won’t.  Why?

Because I know you, perhaps better than you even dare to know yourself. I know you well because I have watched you with great and detailed care over the last three decades and have learned, sadly, that you are as much if not more about image and self-regard as any of the laudable values you claim to represent.

I have watched as you accommodated yourself to most of the retrograde social forces you claim to abhor.  I have seen you be almost completely silent before the world’s greatest evil, unprovoked war, going so far as to embrace as your presidential candidate this year a person who cold-bloodedly carried out the complete destruction of Libya, a real country with real people who love their children like you and me, in order—as the Podesta emails make clear—to further her personal political ambitions.

I watched as you stood silent before this same person’s perverse on-camera celebration of the murder by way of a bayonet thrust to the anus of the leader of that once sovereign country, and before the tens of thousand of deaths,  and hundreds of thousands of refugees, that  war provoked.

I watched during the last eight years as you sought refuge in the evanescent qualities of skin color and smooth speechmaking so as to not to confront the fact that your “liberal” president was almost totally lacking in actionable convictions regarding the values you claim to be about.

I watched as you didn’t say a peep as he bailed out bankers, pursued whistleblowers and deported desperate and downtrodden immigrants in heretofore unimaginable numbers.

And I didn’t hear the slightest complaint (unlike those supposedly stupid and primitive libertarians) as he arrogated to himself the right to kill American citizens in cold blood as he and he alone deemed fit.

I monitored you as you not only completely normalized Israel’s methodical erasure of the Palestinian people and their culture, but made cheering enthusiastically for this campaign of savagery the ultimate litmus test for social and political respectability within your ranks.

I watched as you breezily dispatched the memories of the millions of innocent people destroyed by U.S. military aggression around the world and damaged police brutality here at home in order to slavishly imitate the unceasing orgy of uniform worship set in motion by the right and its media auxiliaries in the wake of  September 11th, 2001.

In short, since 1992, I have watched as you have transformed a current of social thought once rooted in that most basic an necessary human sentiment—empathy—into a badge of cultural and educational superiority.  And because feeling good about yourself was much more important to you than actually helping the afflicted, you signed off, in greater or lesser measure to almost all of the life-sapping and dignity-robbing measures of the authoritarian right.

And now you want me to share in your sense of shock and incredulity?

No, thanks, I’ll save my tears for all of the people, ideas and programs you heedlessly abandoned along the road  to this day.

Thomas S. Harrington is a professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of the recently published book, Livin’ la Vida Barroca: American Culture in a Time of Imperial Orthodoxies.

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25 Comments

  1. Eve Was a War Prize/ We Are a Post-Bellum Species

    They were nomads, herdsmen, wranglers of animals. Their homes were the deserts and steppes; lonely places with wide horizons and vague boundaries delimited only by looming mountains.

    The gender war was insidious and victory was swift and decisive but in the context of the times, not unusual. Conquest and usurpation was considered the norm by the victors who ravaged and pillaged at will. The resultant disenfranchisement of the entire female gender continues

    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    Like

  2. sojourner says

    Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II and commented:

    In short, since 1992, I have watched as you have transformed a current of social thought once rooted in that most basic an necessary human sentiment—empathy—into a badge of cultural and educational superiority. And because feeling good about yourself was much more important to you than actually helping the afflicted, you signed off, in greater or lesser measure to almost all of the life-sapping and dignity-robbing measures of the authoritarian right.

    Like

  3. Haley Fallowfield says

    “I would really like to be able to watch the news, for just one day, without hearing the words “Black”, “White”, “Latino”, “Educated”, or “Uneducated”. As if being born into a circumstance that did not afford you the opportunity to seek higher education means that you are somehow less human. Shame on you – who have been fortunate enough to go to College or University – for failing to show true leadership and compassion to those who have not.”

    An excerpt from my open letter “We are with Each Other”.
    Read it here – http://www.opnlttr.com/letter/we-are-each-other.

    I appreciated your letter, and share many of your positions. We need to finally create a truly inclusive society and stop repeating the same mistakes in the name of progress. I just want people to know that there is a large portion of the population that truly feels the same way.

    Like

  4. Quizzical says

    I have emailed this article to several of my “liberal” friends. It is a brilliant indictment of “Guardian” politically correct liberalism where a, nevertheless unacceptable, racist slur carries more weight than the deaths of hundreds of people in the Middle East.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly Quizzical; the fact that Trump, unguarded, may have bragged about kissing or grabbing the pussy of the sort of women who flock to celebrity (ok, undeserved, but…), was suddenly seen as somehow more important than the lives of all those women and children droned, cluster-bombed in all these far-flung places by the psychopathic duo of Obama-Clinton.
      The pussy-grabbing storm-in-a-teacip also ignored the fact that Bill Clinton, great friend of Epstein of the Lolita Express, would be re-entering the White House by the front door.
      A plague on both your houses, but especially Hillary’s!!

      Like

  5. michaelk says

    This article in the Guardian is an example of what I’m on about.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/12/lithuania-donald-trump-nato-putin-fears

    It’s basically Lithuanian nationalist propaganda and very little else. Nowhere does it mention the role of the substanitial number of ethnic Russians living in these small Baltic states who are massively discriminated against in the most outrageous manner by the majority population. It’s almost like Northern Ireland.

    So, here, in a nutshell, is the problem with the Guardian. How much it leaves out of stories like this one. How much is missing. How much is crassly over-simplified. How much is misinformed.

    Like

  6. michaelk says

    The big problem with educated liberals/lefties is that they wrongly assume that they are too smart to be ‘played.’ The whole Obama thing typifies what I mean. Propaganda aimed at the left, is a bit like advertizing aimed at the educated, urban, sophisticated person who sneers at advertizing and imagines they are ‘immune’, but they are not, because the people producing the commercials are far smarter and better at their jobs than the average liberal.

    But, to be fair, the mass media has an awful lot to answer for, typified by the Guardian. Liberals are, just like most people, badly informed, they’re just misinformed using a different language, a language aimed at them and designed to misinform them… nicely. If the entire mainstream media, including the Guardian says that Assad is a bloodthirsty monster and Putin is Hitler bent on ruling the world, how is the average liberal going to know any different?

    If one looks at the comments under many of the Guardian’s articles; there’s an awful lot of criticism. The journalists don’t really reflect the attitudes of the readers on a whole range of issues. This isn’t really surprising because the establishment don’t and the journalists, the big and important ones, like Freedland, are clearly part of the establishment.

    The gap is turning into a chasm, between what the liberals are told to think by the Guardian and what they actually think beause ‘reality’ keeps forcing itself in the way of the propaganda, and it’s only getting worse.

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  7. When the Wikileaks Podesta emails came out that Clinton and the DNC had sabotaged Sanders campaign in favor of the Witch, they didn’t riot then, wonder why, no money from ‘Big Daddy Soros?’

    It’s an American ‘Color Revolution’ right in front of our faces, using the color purple, which is usually reserved for royalty, like Queen Hillary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laid khan says

    If all that is so and I think it is, the democrats supported all the way by the horrific GOP git whatcthey deserve.
    Trump can do no worse! It’s all be done the murder the mayhem the betrayal of the weak.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. DavidKNZ says

    Kudos to Thomas S. Harrington.
    A laser light shining on the comfortable..
    ..determined to be unaware of their part in creating hell on earth

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amen!
    Normally an expat in London, I am writing from Mexico at the moment, where my “liberal” family and friends are probably planning how to lynch me for expressing similar ideas. For calling their faux indignation and “terror for the fascism” that arrived to our northern neighbour. Indeed, the same people that praised a president that deported more of our nationals than any other president in history, the ones that share “funny” videos of the charming president that willfully set up -not a wall, that´s racist!- but the most militarised border in the world, forcing hundreds of our nationals to die in the desert; the ones that called me a misogynist for warning of the dangers of voting for that feminist warmonger that makes a fortune dealing with women decapitators and whose neoliberal policies brought such degree of violence that made the murder of our women a daily reality..

    All of them are now being told that (hypothetical) deportations are not cool anymore, that no one should have the power to blow up a wedding in the other extreme of the world if he feels like it, that using demeaning language is worst than murdering hundreds of thousands and that no one doing such a horrible thing should be taking the place in office of a proven mass murderer and their morally superior cohort of highly educated, well meaning and all compassionate cohort.. and they are going mad,they are scared, they feel entitled, but they also feel that the cognitive dissonance is about to blow up their minds for good… it has to, it really has to…

    If only, the prospect gives some kind of sad relief to someone like me that, like the author, has been feeling appalled for many years because of the emptiness, superficiality, and yes, lack of empathy and common human decency in those that pretend to be the vanguard of the progress of our species.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The Chimera of identity politics awakes, ideologically weak and fed by the power lust of the exceptionalists. Their cult of the personality is a hollow shell – an echo chamber and nothing more.

    Blake knew it two centuries ago:

    “Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy,
    And in the wither’d field where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain.”

    ‘The Four Zoas’
    [The Wail of Enion] -William Blake
    http://www.bartleby.com/235/269.html
    Read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bevin says

      Thanks for the links to Bartleby and Blake.
      Harrington, deservedly, attracts a literate audience.

      Like

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