Thursday, June 09, 2016

America's "Lose-Lose" Election

American intellectual, Henry Giroux, doesn't know who will win the White House in November. He knows who is going to lose - America.

...we are living through an ongoing crisis of democracy in which both the agents and institutions necessary for such social order are being dismantled at an accelerating rate in the face of a massive assault by predatory capitalism, even while there is growing resistance to the impending authoritarianism. It gets worse.

We live in a moment of political change in which democratic public spheres are disappearing before our eyes, language is turned into a weapon and ideology is transformed into an act of hate, fear, racism and destruction -- all of which is informed by a dark history of political intolerance and ethnic cleansing. The war on democracy has produced both widespread misery and suffering and finds its ideological counterpart in a culture of cruelty that has become normalized.

The bankers, hedge fund managers, financial elite and CEOs who rule the United States' commanding institutions have become the modern version of Mr. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. As Hannah Arendt describes them in The Origins of Totalitarianism, citing Conrad: "'these men were hollow to the core, reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity and cruel without courage ...' the only talent that could possibly burgeon in their hollow souls was the gift of fascination which makes a splendid leader of an extreme party."

In the age of Trump, anticipation no longer imagines a better world but seems mired in a dystopian dread, mimicking the restlessness, chaos and uncertainty that precedes a historical moment no longer able to deal with its horrors and on the verge of a terrible catastrophe. We now live in a time in which mainstream politics sheds its ideals and falls prey to choices that resemble a stacked deck of cards and mimic the values of an authoritarian society. All the while politics is being hollowed out as lawlessness and misdirected rage, while a loss of faith in electoral politics has given rise to a right-wing populism that is more than willing to dispense with democracy itself.

Demands to support Hillary Clinton as a lesser evil compared to Trump refuse to acknowledge that such mandates keep existing relations of power intact. Such actions represent more than a hollowing out of politics -- they represent a refusal of the affirmative nature of political struggle. They also represent the surrender of any hope of moving beyond the enveloping fog of authoritarianism and a broken political system. Put bluntly, such choices sabotage any real hope for developing a new politics and a radical democracy. These limited choices also undermine the need to develop a broader vision of struggle, a comprehensive politics and the need to engage multiple publics in the quest to rethink the political terrain outside of a neoliberal notion of the future. At issue here is the moral blight that permeates the United States: a politics of the lowest expectations, one saturated in lies, deceptions and acts of bad faith.


Steve said...

If I am voting its Trump, and I consider myself a socialist. He is the lesser of two evils. A Hillary presidency would be a thrid term for GWB.

Anonymous said...

When you consider how far Bernie got with a shutout from the MSM it truly remarkable that he did what so well. And without any Corporate or PAC money.The people who voted for Bernie were obviously the ones who don't just watch the MSM but are those who truly understand the issues and searched for the person that reflected their solutions to those issues. On the good side I heard on Thom Hartmann that there are 191 Bernie people running for office this year.

And it appears the Japanese understand Hillary as well as Bernie supporters do.......

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference Tuesday, “[Clinton] is a highly energetic and cheerful person,” expressing his favorable view of her. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refrained from evaluating candidates in the U.S. presidential election at a press conference. But he said: “A U.S. president greatly affects the world. I’ll continue to closely watch [the U.S. presidential election].”

Regarding trade, Clinton had promoted the TPP while secretary of state, but she has changed her stance to opposition to the TPP. She seems to be paying consideration to labor unions, which are support bases for the Democratic Party.

A senior Japanese government official predicted that Clinton “will change her stance again to supporting [the TPP], if she becomes president.” But it is a source of concern for Japan.