Thursday, October 4, 2018
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Reception to follow.
Here’s one voice from Trump country: People have to choose between heating their homes, buying food or buying health care and you want them to worry about the survival of the planet or transgender stuff? I respect business and I distrust government. That’s the American way. I don’t want illegal immigrants taking our jobs. I don’t like liberals who shop at Whole Foods talking down their noses at me because I shop at Wal-Mart. White lives matter, too, you know. We lost our discipline and our moral code in this country. So we need honest Trump to shake things up.
Honest Trump? Yes, there are now two definitions of truth in the United States. The first is that a truthful statement is one that conforms to facts. By that standard, President Trump is a serial liar. The second is that truth is “telling it like it is,” or speaking in a direct, unvarnished way without regard to political correctness. By this measure, for his supporters, Trump remains the most honest president ever.
America needs the conversations it’s not having. In part it’s not having them because it’s difficult even to agree on language any longer. Signal and noise can no longer be distinguished.
This is the chasm to which Fox News, herd-reinforcing social media algorithms, bots and trolls, Republican debunking of reason and science, the money of Koch and Mercer (and, yes, billionaire Democrats too), liberal self-obsession, rightist racism, and spreading technological autism have ushered us.
The structures that helped preserve actual community, dignity and power among working-class people—labor unions—have been systematically eroded. Main Street, having given way to the shopping and strip mall, is dead in most places. Absent anything else, blue-collar whites decided to unify around whiteness, and Trump became their mouthpiece.
Trump, in turn, stirring up division rather than trying to overcome it, choosing to lead the mob rather than his country, has taken a sledgehammer to America's values, to its responsibilities, and to the anchors of its prosperity in the post-war world. Dishonoring the United States, he has brought down the curtain on the American century.