As Trump gives up his law suits to overturn the election results, it remains to be seen what he will do next. Some say he won’t come back from Christmas vacation in Mar a Lago or maybe he’ll try to press the nuclear button and be escorted out or, as my friend loves to say, frog marched out by the Secret Service. Whatever happens there will be libraries written about this short-lived era. Contrary to the Progressives, I will be glad to see a couple of people heading up our government who are not there to overturn the society, which is a true goal and a great many people. While FDR had enemies of the New Deal to contend with, most Americans either watched what was happening – at least something was happening – or happily received the benefits of the New Deal. Biden/Harris do not have that support; 70 million people voted for Trump, some who did not vote last time.
Who are these people? Look at my blog entry We the Who? That has always been a question in a country made up of non-indigenous people (the indigenous were excluded from the beginning). Is this a solid mass, a base? Or are there threads that must be unraveled: economic interests, religious interests, policy interests, and so forth with economics including both business and corporate people wanting fewer regulations and taxes and people yearning for job security and more in their pay checks. Some even want ACA coverage while despising Obama Care.
The one connecting factor seems to be the one permanent fixture in the Trump orbit who was there at the start of Trump’s campaign and has survived when no one else has (even Hope Hicks was gone for a while) other than family: Steven Miller. Why has Miller survived? Because he is the beating heart of Trumpism (so that’s where his heart went). That gives us our starting point.
But how can we start when every attempt to get Americans in general to look at how we got here goes awry. If Starbucks can’t get a conversation on race started, if Desmond Tutu could not get anyone in his Truth and Reconciliation campaign to tell the Truth, how will we Reconcile? We need to start at both ends in my opinion, at the present where we look at the role of social media, right and left wing public media, government programs, the entertainment industry, and anything else that impacts people’s views. At the other end, 1619, we not only look at the role of slavery but at the role of genocidal and near-genocidal dealings with the only indigenous population we have. As we pull the two ends together like an accordion, we will see how current practices reinforce age-old beliefs generated by economic and social pressures to create and maintain as caste system.
Isabel Wilkerson has done something like this with her two books: The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste. The former depicts in detail the lives of several African-Americans spanning the better part of the past century; the latter tracks back to the early instantiation of caste in the colonies, to be upheld at every turn by the courts and societal norms. I’m almost 80 and anyone much younger than me will not know first-hand that caste system. The epitome arrives when the election of Barack Obama is labeled the end of racism in America.
So I look forward to the onrushing bibliographic flood shining light on all aspects of Trumpism. It is an ism. And it is not going away.