Friday, May 12, 2017

The Final Solution: Collective Trauma

trauma room (photo: Walleigh)
There have been many divisive and hotly contested elections and hated candidates. By most accounts, Al Gore was robbed of the election in 2000. For all the good he did advancing the Great Society, Lyndon Johnson was hated for his prosecution of the war in Vietnam. All the suspicion and paranoia about Richard Nixon coalesced in the Watergate Scandal and there are even those who wondered if Camelot was the right way to describe the debaucheries of the Kennedy White House. Bill Clinton was a charismatic president in the LBJ mold, though he didn’t tell the truth, at least when it came to his philandering. But it’s safe to say that no president has been as despised as Donald Trump whose election caused a collective trauma starting slightly right of center and all the way to the left. If there is anything good about the Trump presidency, it’s that it’s created is own Rainbow Coalition, uniting a vast swathe of interest groups who would not otherwise have had anything to do with each other and bringing those who might never before have had an interest in politics or even voted, into the political spectrum. The onerous conditions of the Versailles treaty may have led to the rise of Hitler. However, Trump’s ascendency has resulted in a polarization so great that it threatens the very fabric of American society creating distrust in the very institutions that are the bulwark of democracy. Each day brings new executive orders that attempt to remove everything from constitutional rights to environmental protection while fattening the purses of those who already have everything. The recent firing of F.B.I. director James Comey, in the middle of the bureau's investigation of the administration's Russia ties has been the last straw. And with Trump’s approval ratings reaching historical lows, it seems that even those who once supported him are starting to waiver.

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