Perhaps because I spent my entire career as a teacher, perhaps because I was in my teens before I even saw a television set, I have a rather old-fashioned sense of this blog as an on-going conversation, a grand seminar save for the fact that we meet here in cyberspace rather than face to face. Some young friends have cautioned me that this entirely misunderstands the nature of what they call “social media,” and perhaps they are right, but I persist in my antique understanding. It is because I understand my blog in this fashion that I strive to maintain a courteous and welcoming voice, even when disagreeing with those who honor me with their comments. A few of you, like Tom Cathcart, I know personally [I persist in thinking of Mr. Cathcart, very much a senior citizen, as Young Tom because that is who he was when he sat in my Junior Tutorial at Harvard in 1960.] Several of you I have exchanged email messages with, which is one step closer to actual personal contact. But most of you are only web names to me – “Ed Barreras, S. Wallerstein, anonymous [a number of those, it seems.]
I say all this because after reading some of the comments posted yesterday, I grew so agitated that I lay awake for three or four hours last night, too upset to sleep. Let me explain what had me so distressed. No doubt it will make no sense to some of you who visit this blog, but were we all together in a seminar room, I would feel compelled to say something, so I have decided to do so now. I am writing before my morning walk, before six a.m., before my wife has awakened. Think of this, if you will, as my night thoughts.
Let me begin with a fact. One month from today, Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office and become President of the United States. I view this fact with horror, because I believe that Trump’s presidency will pose an existential threat to the future of such democracy as we still have in this country. I believe he will do vast harm to many millions of Americans by cooperating with his Republican colleagues in shredding as much of the so-called safety net as has been created by three generations of Democrats. I believe he poses a grave threat to many nations and peoples in the world. For these reasons, I believe we must together do everything we can to mitigate the damage and recapture control of our nation.
You may think I am wrong. If you do, I desperately hope you are right. Time will tell.
Now, listen very carefully to what I say next. You may think that Hillary Clinton, as president, would pose an existential threat to such democracy as we have. You may believe that her presidency would do great harm to millions of Americans. You may think her presidency would pose a grave threat to many peoples and nations in the world. It does not matter, because she is not going to be the next President of the United States.
I would like to grab you by the shoulders and shake you and raise my voice as I say this, but this is a blog, not a seminar, so I will do the next best thing. I will hit the capslock key, then I will type control-b, and I will retype what I have just written:
YOU MAY THINK THAT HILLARY CLINTON, AS PRESIDENT, WOULD POSE AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO SUCH DEMOCRACY AS WE HAVE. YOU MAY BELIEVE THAT HER PRESIDENCY WOULD DO GREAT HARM TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. YOU MAY THINK HER PRESIDENCY WOULD POSE A GRAVE THREAT TO MANY PEOPLES AND NATIONS IN THE WORLD. IT DOES NOT MATTER, BECAUSE SHE IS NOT GOING TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
You may think that Clinton ran a terrible campaign, and lost for that reason. I happen to agree, but it does not matter, because she is not going to be the next President of the United States. You may think that Bernie Sanders lost the nomination because of DNC dirty tricks. I think you are kidding yourselves. You may think Bernie Sanders would have won had he been the nominee. I tend to agree, but that also does not matter, because he was not the nominee, and Hillary Clinton, who was, lost. You may think the Russians had nothing at all to do with the election. It does not matter, because Donald J. Trump, for whatever reason, will be the next President of the United States.
Now, a word specifically to Robert Shore. I have been publicly protesting America’s overthrow or attempted overthrow of foreign governments since 1960, which is now fifty-six years ago, probably since you were in whatever passed for knee pants when you were a boy. I do not appreciate being lectured about the subject by you, and I very much wish you would just cut it out.
So I issue a challenge to you and to Chris. I challenge each of you to write an entire lengthy comment about what you foresee as the character and consequences of Donald J. Trump’s presidency. You may say anything you like. If you think a Trump Presidency will be morning in America again, fine. If you think Trump will advance the cause of socialism, fine. Say so. But whatever you choose to say, I challenge you to say it without mentioning, alluding to, linking to, or otherwise invoking, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the DNC, Wikileaks, Wikitruth, Wikidirt, or any other Wiki. Just state simply in declarative prose what you think Donald J. Trump will do as president.
Try it. It might help you to focus your mind for the coming struggle.