Who are we?

My biggest concern going into November’s election is the possibility of a Trump victory. Indeed, I’m as apprehensive as hell. While any of us is free to speak our minds, and Trump is certainly doing that, whether or not he ascends to the White House depends on numbers. How many votes will he garner vs. Clinton?

Michael Moore, the film maker, believes that Trump will win, though he is certainly repulsed by the notion. He is speculating, of course. But another set of numbers bolster his fatalistic conclusion.

Writing for the New York Times, sociologist Thomas Edsall reports on the cultural-cum-ideological division among Americans. Basically, we are a nation of authoritarians, and authoritarians embraceĀ strong leaders, or those who profess to be. He includes the following chart in his essay. (Look at “All Americans.”)

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I’m sure that many books will be written about Donald Trump and what happens this November. Yet, one thing jumps out at me, regardless of the outcome. Those of us taken in by the “audacity of hope,” must now wonder how shallow such sentiments were. Moreover, the America we thought we knew, one of progressive ideals and hard-fought social and economic victories (for example, Social Security, environmental laws, voting rights), just doesn’t exist. We are discovering a new audacity, one of hate. And it’s always been there, waiting for someone or some events to expose the dark underbelly of this country.

Oscar Wilde nailed it a hundred years ago:

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.