“These are thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Such were the words with which the Israelites greeted the Golden Calf furnished by Aaron during Moses’s absence, as the prophet ascended Mount Sinai to converse with God. The proverbial Golden Calf is a fetish, a false idol, an irrational obsession that afflicts a community and blinds its members to more sober and realistic habits of mind. The story is a reminder that, whether or not God himself exists, humans will always create a god to prostrate themselves before.
Bernie Sanders’s insurgent campaign was propelled by different data: gaping income inequality, stagnant wages, the amount of growth siphoned off by the 1 percent, and the underemployment rate. Donald Trump’s campaign has partly been a cri de coeur against a neoliberal consensus that had favored trade deals at the expense of manufacturing jobs in the United States. Both candidates, using new economic criteria, brought new voters into the fold and have helped lay the foundation for an alternative way to determine whether the economy is doing what it should be doing.
...Sanders has made it excusable to mention the interests of workers, as opposed to that of growth and profit, when it comes to gauging economic health. His egalitarian vision has gone a long way towards expanding our collective vocabulary for considering economic life. And that vocabulary, in significant ways, has become embedded in the platform of the Democrat who defeated him in the primary and will likely occupy the Oval Office come 2017.
Has Sanders sent America's pendulum swinging back? Will this election mark the beginning of a process to change America's economic and political paradigm? What of Canada where we have a prime minister who tenaciously clings to the Golden Calf?