By Lloyd Succes
Outrage. Now that’s a word that clearly defines the American political climate. I think of the word as I contemplate bourgeois liberals’ knee-jerk reactions to the slightest utterances of Donald Trump on Twitter. I think of that word as I observe how the mainstream media has largely abandoned journalistic integrity to prop up sketchy state-sanctioned narratives of Russian interference in the American presidential election of 2016. I also think of that word as I realize that Donald J. Trump will be officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, January 20, 2017. The word comes to mind in many interactions of the social media sphere, and I predict that this feeling will not go away anytime soon.
But why even spend time talking about this? Well, first off, the feeling of outrage was pervasive throughout the election season of 2016, especially in the primary season for Democratic and Republican nominations. But the outrage expressed was of two types in my observation: real outrage and a lot of faux outrage. There was real, palpable outrage by many on the left and the right over declining outcomes for working and middle class people. There was real outrage over how the media and the political establishment openly rallied for specific candidates and smear campaigned others that didn’t fit into the elitist paradigm. There was real outrage felt by conscientious citizens of America over endless war, the destruction of the environment, for-profit health insurance and the prison-industrial complex, among many pressing issues. And this outrage still burns in the hearts of many die-hard conscientious Americans who fight for social justice, economic justice, and environmental justice.
Alongside real outrage expressed by many Americans, there was quite a lot of faux outrage from many other Americans of the Democratic loyalist “alt-center”. Faux outrage over Bernie Sanders pointing at Hillary Clinton in a debate, to later be called sexist. Faux outrage by Clinton surrogates over a supposed lack of diversity in a Bernie Sanders campaign montage. Faux outrage by the cushy center over the supposed electorate that showed up for Bernie Sanders (which were people of every demographic, not young, white “sexist” men). All these and more instances of supposed outrage were neither constructive nor teachable moments, but plain distractions. Distractions designed to muddy the conversation about the real problems that plague America: soaring economic insecurity and widespread political bribery.
Always remember: the political establishment of both Democrat and Republican parties wants Americans to be divided over wedge issues and political ideologies so that they fail to unite over truly consequential issues. The establishment wants nothing more than to “whisper sweet nothings in [Americans’] ears”, as per the words of Democratic progressive rock star Nina Turner.
So what must we Americans do to change our society and the wider world? Channel our collective outrage, not simply into symbolic gestures of boycotting a presidential inauguration, but into failing to condone political corruption at all levels of government.