Until now, the Republican Party has mainly drawn its leadership from the secular right. The Christian right has been a powerful presence during the past few decades, but mainly at the local and state level. And it has distanced itself from the xenophobic right, at least publicly. Trump is changing all of that.

Understanding Trumpism by Arlene Stein

You cannot pledge allegiance to a nation state and its flag in the name of God, for God has no political boundary. God is love, period. God is universal, nameless, faceless, and with no allegiance to anything other than love. A “Christian Nation” is absolutely heretical. Christ did not come into this world to become a modifier.

Sufjan Stevens. 

Not sure if I agree with his entire statement, but this part comes close to my own beliefs and thoughts. “Christ did not come into this world to become a modifier.” is a great line against the so-called Christian right, particularly in the contemporary United States, when lip service sometimes seems more important than service. 

Need to think about this some more.

Why, then, does anyone consider him a “populist”? It’s basically all about affect, about coming across as someone who’ll stand up to snooty liberal elitists (and of course validate salt-of-the-earth, working-class racism.) Maybe some protectionism; but there’s no hint that his economic program will look anything like populism abroad.

Orwell was prescient in other ways: a paper called “Crisis? Whose Crisis? George Orwell and Liberal Guilt” points out that Orwell was fixated on what he deemed “one of the more embarrassing moments in twentieth-century liberalism: the failure of middle-class liberals to connect with the working class.” According to scholar Rob Breton, Orwell sought to “expose the intelligentsia’s self-congratulating assumption that they were harmoniously attuned to the lower classes, the masses.” Sounds…familiar

Read the Political Divide

Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, recommends two books to read to understand the current US – and help each ‘side’ understand the other: 

This year’s National Book Award finalist Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild about tea party supporters in Louisiana, and last year’s winner Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

Between the World and Me is perhaps teh best book I’Ve read in the last five years, I might just reread Coates open letter about the Black condition, and I’ll add Strangers In Their Own Land to my to-read list.

Read the Political Divide

100 Days of Bad Ideas

The smart people at NPR Politics went through Trump’s “Contract with the America Voter,” i.e. his first 100 days plan, to see how feasible is.
For example, here is their analysis of Trump’s plan to gut the Affordable Care Act:

The GOP Congress has already demonstrated its willingness to repeal the insurance tax subsidies and Medicaid expansion portions of the Affordable Care Act, along with the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, using a fast-track legislative maneuver known as “reconciliation” that prevents a Democratic filibuster. President Obama vetoed that measure, but President-elect Trump would presumably sign it. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that could strip health insurance coverage from more than 20 million people – although the change would most likely be phased in over a couple of years. Trump’s replacement plan is less clear. Health savings accounts would allow more people to buy insurance with pre-tax dollars, and selling insurance across state lines might increase competition and reduce prices. But coverage will very likely remain out of reach for many. The requirement that insurance companies provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions cannot be repealed through reconciliation. But preserving that requirement without the individual mandate to purchase insurance could create a costly situation in which people wait until they’re sick to buy coverage.

Trump’s rejection of Obamacare without presenting a true alternative for those insured by the program alone shows that his plan only creates a government of, by and for some people.  

But today I do not care about being a phoenix. I care about witnessing again the abusive relationship I have with my country and its democracy. Today, it feels like flags should be flying at half-staff. Not because democracy is dead, but because it is broken, and we have all watched it break and we have not done enough to keep it alive in a way that ensures an inclusive future.