Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rage in two kinds

It's not hard to find descriptions of the rage of Donald Trump's "base" -- those white, often rural, older, and predominantly male citizens whose disaffection stuck the rest of us with this vicious, blustering idiot. Here's an articulate sample from the National Review (via Kevin Drum):

Trump is stoking a particularly destructive form of rage — and his followers don’t just allow themselves to be stoked, they attack Trump’s targets with glee. Contrary to the stereotype of journalists who live in the Beltway and spend their nights at those allegedly omnipresent “cocktail parties,” I live in rural Tennessee, deep in the heart of Trump country. My travels mainly take me to other parts of Trump country, where I engage with Trump voters all the time.

If I live in a bubble, it’s the Trump bubble. I know it intimately. And I have never in my adult life seen such anger. There is a near-universal hatred of the media. There is a near-universal hatred of the so-called “elite.” If a person finds out that I didn’t support Trump, I’ll often watch their face transform into a mask of rage. Partisans are so primed to fight — and they so clearly define whom they’re fighting against — that they often don’t care whom or what they’re fighting for. It’s as if millions of Christians have forgotten a basic biblical admonition: “Be angry and do not sin.” ...

The Harvey Weinstein story ("revelations" only to those not placed to look or to see) is a unleashing a righteous rage just as deep, more wide, though not nearly so empowered. Here's Lindy West:

When [Woody] Allen and other men warn of “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere” what they mean is an atmosphere in which they’re expected to comport themselves with the care, consideration and fear of consequences that the rest of us call basic professionalism and respect for shared humanity. On some level, to some men — and you can call me a hysteric but I am done mincing words on this — there is no injustice quite so unnaturally, viscerally grotesque as a white man being fired.

Donald Trump, our predator in chief, seems to view the election of Barack Obama as a white man being fired. He and his supporters are willing to burn the world in revenge. This whole catastrophic cultural moment was born of that same entitlement, of Trump’s paws and Weinstein’s unbelted bathrobe, of the ancient cycles of abuse that ghostwrote the Trump campaign’s real slogan: If I can’t have you, no one will.

Setting aside the gendered power differential inherent in real historical witch hunts (pretty sure it wasn’t all the rape victims in Salem getting together to burn the mayor), and the pathetic gall of men feeling hunted after millenniums of treating women like prey, I will let you guys have this one. Sure, if you insist, it’s a witch hunt. I’m a witch, and I’m hunting you. ...

West is certainly not alone; anyone who has looked at a Facebook feed full of "me too" over the last few days knows that.

The moment feels much akin to the heady times in the 1960s and 70s when 20th century U.S. feminism lurched awkwardly out of the lineage of previous freedom struggles. Only this time, the witches may indeed represent a broader swath of humanity (one that even includes a lot of well-raised men!) Time will tell; we women are good at endurance. The slogan from the South African freedom struggle seems on point.


Rain Trueax said...

Ironic, as I hear the most rage coming from leftists (recently I learned to separate that word from liberals as they aren't the same thing). When I go to FB, the rage against Trump and Republicans is constant and such that I often have to hide posts for the vitriol that I don't need in my life. The righties, the ones i do know, seem pretty content right now by comparison. The dislike (and that's how I see it from those on the right) for the media is mostly because it's so one-sided right now for what it puts out. Out where I live, rural Oregon, politics is almost never discussed and for the most I don't know who neighbors even voted for (but it would not surprise me if most voted for Trump). Last election, no signs were on the roadways.

DJan said...

This moment in history frightens me, but I keep my talismans close to me. Your blog is one of them. I read it but don't often comment because I rarely find anything I can say to enlighten or inspire. I'm barely hanging on. Just started reading Hillary's book and hope it will help me find ways to cope.