Thesis: The great victory of the Trumpists would be in the destruction of faith in the American system, now approaching the consensus position.
…to which responds net-friend and former colleague “OG Jaybird“: “Where you see destruction, I see manifestation of evidence of it already having been destroyed years prior.”
Far be it from me to refuse the resort to context and history: For me it goes without saying that any particular event, to be understood, must be understood concretely: as realization of a process or development, as conditioned rather than random incident. So, we can say that the Soviet Union did not defeat Nazi Germany in Berlin, but over the course of titanic battles fought to and from Moscow and Stalingrad all across Central and Eastern Europe, and, furthermore, we can say that the Red Army would almost certainly have failed without allies. We can go a step further and say that the hopelessness of the Nazi position was itself pre-figured in the hopelessness of the German position in the general European and global conditions of the era, as already understood by German strategists at what seemed the last possible moment to alter them by intervention, on the eve of what became the First World War.
Rather than give up, the Germans under Hitler sought to defy the verdict of history one last time, and, according to historical justice, received an even harsher punishment for the second great offense. In retrospect, Germany had already defeated itself long before Hitler took power, and geography had already defeated Germany long before Bismarck, long before Frederick the Great, long before Otto, long before the deceptive victory in the Teutoburger Wald, if not before the triumph, no doubt fleeting by geological standards, of the Cro-Magnons over Neanderthals… and so on. All the same, something was different in Germany and for the Germans in May of 1945 as compared to April of 1945, or May of 1939 or 1933… and so on. Something was confirmed for Hitler and his movement in April 1945 that had previously existed only in principle, and therefore remained susceptible to doubt or hope.
Likewise, if we say that with or without Trump and his movement, the destruction of faith in the American system was well under way, or in some sense must already have occurred, for Trump and his movement even to arise, we can still also say that the remnant defenders of the remnant faith have witnessed last and vaunted bastions fall. In sum, before 11/9 they still believed or could believe, as many said, that in the end the Trump appeal would fail for many reasons but most of all because it had to; that by a respectable margin Americans would reject it because they simply could not do anything else, and not merely or mainly or even significantly because “elite opinion” told them Trump was unacceptable as President of the United States of America, but because Trump himself, in his behavior and his own words, in the sheer reality of Trump himself as conveyed in every-any medium, told them Trump himself was unacceptable. Some portion of the electorate might choose to misuse its sacred vote for protest or partisan self-defense, but, surely, sufficient majorities of voters producing a safe majority of electors would draw the line, on this side civic duty and duty even to a planet full of people whose welfare often greatly depends on ours or on our wisdom, on the other side Trump or anyone like Trump, with associates, allies, and even hostile foreign sponsors like his, and conducting himself as he conducted and conducts himself.
Now, where previously we may have suspected or believed, we can conclude and state that political things in this nation and the world, perhaps by sheer weight of odds and history, must have been bound to reach this faith-forbidden outcome, sooner or later. That a full mobilization of spiritual resources may allow us to conceive of this moment as one of those where “also grows the saving power”; in other words by dialectic that America may have had to reach this nadir, or even greater depths to come, if ever actually to become “great again” or truly “great,” does not alter the fact that something now is no longer as it was, that it is May not even April for us on this matter of the worthiness of the regime, and that perhaps millions or perhaps even billions of people whom we may now conclude should have known better, now think they know, because now proven, something very other than what they thought or believed or preferred to think and believe.
Certainly not everyone agrees that the result is a bad result; soon somewhere if not already a Trump supporter will be found shouting up an unexpected restoration of belief; and, if we possessed unanimity of opinion regarding a better system, we would already have implemented it, but something happened here that even if it could happen here we thought would not happen here, or certainly not yet, not so soon, not on “our watch.” Trump and Trumpists told us over and over again that the system was rigged and rotten, and it turns out they were right. The American system, meaning the institutions we inherited but also, as a tolerably democratic system, encompassing our very selves as fostered by those institutions – or We the People – are poised to place Donald J. Trump in the highest office in the land, the most powerful single position for a single person to occupy on Earth, and ever on Earth: Minority President Degenerate Alt-Right Russian Troll, brought to you by the American system and no other system (if with, apparently, some possibly significant outside assistance).
At this moment, which may yet last a while, uniting Trumpists who still believe as they believed before 11/9, and anti-Trumpists newly informed, from after 11/9, we must, if we are honest, concede that that system appears no longer worthy of our or anyone’s faith, in quite crucial – one might fear, the most crucial – respects.