Monday, October 2, 2017


Since the publication of Secretary Clinton's book about the last presidential election, the comments multiply. Her analysis is pertinent, lucid and not defensive, while she lays the blame mostly in the former FBI director's court.  As usual, she is informed, somewhat didactic and impressive. Paradoxically those same qualities might help understanding how she lost. She ran on a number of priorities which were rationally presented and explained and for which she suggested a given therapy. Her approach was one of a designer of several road maps. She (and others) forgot that those Michelin maps are boring (unless they figure in Houellebecq's La carte et le territoire ). Trump & Co. understood that America had entered the culture war, that the North/South divide was still raw, that the Obama years had enraged white frustration in the rust and religious belts and that the urban/liberal tide could be stopped.

In reality, the United States is now giving proof that the divisions run deep and that the eight Obama years have been undergone rather than enjoyed by conservatives who felt that power and culture had been stolen from under their feet. Trump switched on a backlash, which was not grounded in legitimate demands but in a Leitmotiv of reclaiming, taking back, turning back and reversal of principle rather than correction of achievement.

It is impossible now to value any argument or event per se. Everything is dragged through the murky mass of nativism and populism. The Puerto Rico disaster or the Las Vegas shooting end up playing a secondary role versus the label they are given by persistent, perverse stealth. The victims are now moved like pawns on the chessboard of the culture wars. Cries for help have become seditious. Spilled blood has to make room for the Second Amendment hysteria. In the world at large, the image of post-Obama America is one of denial, tariffs and incompetence. The clumsiness and parody in foreign affairs would be a matter of ridicule if it were not that serious.

In recent months books, plays, commentary, creativity have proven that real moral and intellectual opposition do exist and that on the Right, too, outrage and disgust are alive. Unfortunately the culture war is driven by the 35% who have no inclination for introspection or for a comparative mindset. This "born under Saturn" (Shakespeare) gun and Bible tribe has found in a con man (in mayor Bloomberg's words) its prophet. The usual Rhine maidens (Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham) and Peter Lorre-like (the two Steves--Bannon and Miller--and syndicate of corrupts) who surround their inflated hero might end up choking him under the pillowcase of their fake news.

It looks sometimes as if the time for being polite is running out. It certainly feels as if those current Hamlet Democrats must finally choose to "be", clean house, send "thank you notes" (deserved) and come out with more dare than caution, more aggression than sheepishness, more leading than following.

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