American Rage

Photo by Giuseppe Milo | CC BY 2.0

“The Bonaparte dynasty represents not the revolutionary, but the conservative peasant; not the peasant who strikes out beyond the condition of his social existence, the small holding, but rather one who wants to consolidate his holding; not the countryfolk who in alliance with the towns want to overthrow the old order through their own energies, but on the contrary those who, in solid seclusion within this old order, want to see themselves and their small holdings saved and favored by the ghost of the Empire. It represents not the enlightenment but the superstition of the peasant; not his judgment but his prejudice; not his future but his past…”

-Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon

There is a certain sense of smallness, as well as meanness at the heart of American life. It typically gets projected onto the villain of the day, and for the last two years, it has happened to be Donald Trump. The president’s vile beliefs and behavior are not in question, but what is more interesting to me is just how much Trump has become a convenient scapegoat. There are millions of Trumps in this country, as seen by his approval ratings hovering around 40% through his entire presidency.

The undercurrents of seething rage, anger, racism and sexism are not exclusively a Republican or conservative trait. Millions turned out for Clinton either in spite of, or ignorance of, her bellicosity towards Iran, Russia, and Syria. Clinton’s…

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