As we enter into the last weeks of the liturgical year the readings get more eschatological. The preacher here today was of a mind that we should not ever be prone to thinking that we are in the last days. To be sure, there has been many a Protestant sect that has predicted even the very day of the parousia, with results we can all to easily guess. Yet the end has to come some time, and both our Lord and the apostle assure us that there will be signs of its impending arrival.
What a year it has been. IS/Daesh apocalyptic atrocities, the disaster in the Yemen, a new cold war between Russia and the West, renewed attempts at militant Muslim terrorism in the West (most of which we will not hear about for a long time to come), an even more fanatical North Korea, and the election of Donald Trump.
Not that the election itself has apocalyptic overtones really. Rather it is the response to it on the streets of many US cities that makes one think that the game is up. The election was messy and divisive, a objectionable candidate beat a similarly objectionable candidate (objectionable on different grounds, to be sure) in an election so free and fair that it would be the envy of all the democratically-inclined-but-deprived people of the world. Trump was scolded by the totalitarian urban elites for refusing to affirm that he would accept the result of the election. Now we find these same urban liberals (a misnomer if ever there was one) refusing to accept the result of a free and fair election, and rioting in the streets, posting teary, spittle-flecked videos of pure self-indulgence and self-pity lamenting that their world has ended (Google it!) and some supposedly liberal voices calling for the assassination of Trump before he has even taken office.
Assassinate Trump, say these liberals (read, social totalitarians), even before he has done anything. He has said a lot in his campaign, but as yet done nothing. Indeed, he is already signalling a softening in his line on Obamacare, and has already appointed a (Catholic) woman, a homosexual man and a black man to his team. He has pledged to be President for all Americans. He has intimated that he wants to pull American back from its recent precipitate interventionism in other nations’ affairs, and he seems likely to usher in détente with Russia. Yet all this counts for nothing as the urban juvenilariate spit their dummies, destroy other people’s property and assault police and those they suspect of voting fro Trump. Is this the sign of a healthy democracy?
The voice of the juvenilariate in full gush (obscenity alert)
In The Week, the short op-ed by Jeremy O’Grady observes that Trump is not the problem; he is the outcome of a more fundamental problem in American society, “a crisis of representation”. Keeping in mind the American Revolution had as its original war-cry, “No taxation without representation”, this crisis of representation signals the advent of another potentially revolutionary moment. So far the revolution has been conducted at the ballot box, and quite rightly. What we see on the streets are the forces of counterrevolution which refuse to abide by the rules behind which they have hidden for so long and which have protected their influence.
It is not really about money, given that the poorer classes have been instrumental in electing Trump. It is also a stretch to say that Trump is any more socially divisive than Clinton as he seems to have increased the Republican vote among African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and women from the last election. It is also a bit rich, given the emerging clarity of the context of this election, for Hillary to blame the FBI director for the failure of her campaign. She was already doomed, and she, not the director, is to be numbered among those to blame.
It seems that huge swathes of America no longer find that the “liberal” urban elites represent them or their interests in any meaningful way. Abortion rights, for example, or the issue of transgenderism and access to women’s toilet facilities are the smaller cases in point. Rather than the FBI investigation into her, at best, unprofessional and reckless, at worst, criminal handling of secret state emails, it is the revelation from Wikileaks that she engages in doublespeak regularly, and is serving first the interests of Wall Street and big business, and accepts large donations from such alarming sources as Qatar (who fund IS/Daesh and no doubt expect something back from Clinton for their money). It is ironic that these urban liberal elites are happy to use Wikileaks when it suits their agenda, but revile it when it does not.
The unrepresented masses have used the democratic process to their advantage, as the urban liberal elites have done for decades, but with farm ore subtle manipulativeness. Yet now many among the urban liberal elites refuse to accept the outcome, having had decades of their opponents sucking it in and accepting their own, far more insidious, manipulation of the democratic process. Their creature, identity politics, has bitten the hand that fed it. The response of those rioting on the streets, assaulting Trump voters and calling for the President-elect’s assassination (stop for a second, and let that sink in) has revealed the illiberality of the so-called liberals, and indeed their latent totalitarianism, their hypocrisy, and their adolescent self-pity. With such as these as her support base, Clinton should be blaming them and her own pandering to them for her demise. And note, she did not lose because she is a woman; Trump increased the female vote for the Republicans. (PS It is worth remembering that Hillary wants to take on Russia, and keep the “nuclear option the table”. HILLARY said this, not Trump.)
In most civilised countries, and even the uncivilised ones, advocating the assassination of the head of state, specially an elected one, would be classed as sedition. In liberals’ terms it is at the very least an extreme act of intolerance and immaturity. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, and it is to be found among the more educated and sophisticated classes. Their social sophistication is little more than a veneer. The best that can be said in their defence is that they have fallen victim to their now propaganda, and the irony is striking.
One thing that those calling for Trump’s assassination (or for the “moderates”, impeachment) is that if he were suddenly to go, American law says he would be replaced by the Vice-President, Mike Pence. This should make them stop and think. He is far more morally conservative, and consistent, than Trump. He advocates banning abortion and pornography, restricting contraception, re-criminalising marijuana where it has been legalised, striking down same-sex marriage and restricting stem-cell research. These a precisely the things that the urban illiberal elites are most desperate to preserve. Trump may restrict some of these; a President Pence would certainly act on all of these. They could assassinate him too, I suppose. But then America would officially be a failed state.
Now that liberal America has exposed its fundamental illiberality, and advocating the most illiberal means of reversing their loss, one might reasonably ask if the end is nigh. At least, is the end of America as we know it nigh? Or can the American bishops carpe the diem and lobby for the restoration of the Christian values that used to be intrinsic to American society and identity, and lobby at the same time for Trump to moderate his more absurd stances? Would they get support from Pope Francis to do so? For I suspect that if he did not support them, the courage of many bishops would fail, and the desire to keep in the papal good books prevail.
Mention of Pope Francis brings to mind the latest interview, with Fr Spodaro, another public relations crisis. Has a papacy ever sent out such confusing and mixed signals? That too raises the prospect of the end times. But we shall leave Spadarogate till the next post.