America’s Moral Angst

Photo by Dave Hosford | CC BY 2.0

For all those who in 2016 closed their eyes, held their noses and took a leap into the unknown by voting for Donald Trump, it is time to pry open those eyelids, gaze upon what they have wrought, and smell the decay pervading the country’s public sphere. And indeed, it seems that growing numbers have, rather belatedly, noticed the signs of moral degeneracy coming from the Oval Office. What took them so long?

Actually, the time lapse is not really unusual. These Trump voters, having taken the leap sometimes for no other reason than they disliked Hillary Clinton (and her “politics as usual” ways), returned to their local lives and carried on as before. It was Mrs. Clinton’s defeat that satisfied them more than any concern with who had actually been elected. They had not paid attention to Trump’s malicious humbug.

These rather absent-minded balloters can be contrasted with another subset of voters, represented by the likes of former Klan leader David Duke, who went into their polling stations with eyes fully open. In February 2016 Duke had informed his white supremacist followers that “not voting for Trump was really treason to your heritage.” Later he would declare that “we are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.” The “we” here are those American whites who feel that social justice and civil rights for anyone but themselves would be an affront to their…

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