A Victory for ‘White’ America

The narrow split in the U.S. electorate revealed by Donald Trump’s election as President ended with a victory of “white” America over “diverse” America with long-lasting consequences, says moral theologian Daniel C. Maguire.

By Daniel C. Maguire

My reaction four days out from the moral tragedy of Donald Trump’s election as President is this: we are two nations, not one nation. On Nov. 8, 2016, one nation, a very white, very gerrymandered nation, braced by feeble voter turnout, conquered the other.

The conquest will continue for at least a generation since it includes control of the U.S. Supreme Court. Mid-term elections may bring minor relief (or possibly not because Senate Democrats have far more seats to defend than Republicans) but the conquering nation knows that the Supreme Court and other judges pipe the tune to which all must dance.

President-elect Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence thank their supporters for the upset victory on Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo from donaldjtrump.com)

President-elect Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence thank their supporters for the upset victory on Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo from donaldjtrump.com)

In this new regime, the environment loses, true democracy loses, unions lose, education loses, women lose, especially those with problem pregnancies, a free press loses, peace-makers lose, people of color lose, “illegal” immigrants lose, international alliances lose, the goal of basic health care for all loses, the regulations of corporate greed lose, occupied people like the Palestinians lose, sexual minorities lose, real religious freedom loses, the splintered Democratic party loses, and voter turnout continues to lose. And in all losses, the poor are the greatest losers.

There is nothing new in this. The Exodus story in the Bible (when not misunderstood as history) is a metaphor for human societies. Properly interpreted, Exodus was saying that human social organization teeters between the Egyptian pyramidal model of one percent rule and the alternative Sinai model based on appropriate sharing where “there will be no poor among you” (Deut. 15:4) and where swords will gradually be beaten into plowshares.

In the brief period after the Second World War, ending in the early 1970s, the United States was getting closer to the Sinai sharing model. Even under Republican Dwight Eisenhower, the top marginal income tax rate was 90 percent. “Justice consists in sharing,” said Thomas Aquinas.

During that brief moral interlude, there was sharing and a healthy middle class, along with the best-educated young in the world. We receded from that in subsequent decades, and on Nov. 8, 2016, we solemnly broke faith with humanity’s best hopes.

The tragedy is terminal only if hope, the most revolutionary of emotions, also dies. The Deuteronomist said that we can choose life or we can choose death and then begged us, choose life for your children’s sake. That salient challenge remains in the wake of this debacle.

Daniel C. Maguire is a Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit institution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is author of A Moral Creed for All Christians and The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy [Fortress Press]). He can be reached at [email protected]

13 comments for “A Victory for ‘White’ America

  1. November 16, 2016 at 12:27

    Both parties ignored the immigration situation for years, each for their own selfish interests. As a long time fan of Dan’s, I want to say this liberal (me) has been trying for years to suggest that abandoning the Rule of law on immigration as both parties have permitted, set up Trump’s election.

    I have been working for improved reproductive rights for women for 50 years; I can only hope that the Pence position does not prevail.

    Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    November 12, 2016 at 14:16

    Trump didn’t win, as much as Hillary lost. Let’s face it, the Democrate’s helped a cheater win through the primaries so as to crown her queen, and that is how Trump won the day. Now, rather than cry over spilled milk, I would rather focus on a new truly liberal candidate to run in 2020. In fact it would be even greater for if the people were to take back the Democratic Party, and make it a party which honestly petitions for liberal and fair minded policies. No time to be sad, but a time to rebuild a platform which may serve all people through out the world to have a better level playing field to play on against the mighty corporate giants of our time. Cheer up, with Hillary gone, now may be is a time to rejoice as we the people get behind the wheel, and drive our bus to a better future. Oh, and who knows what kind of President Trump will make, after all he is known to be full of surprises, so let’s give him a chance.

    • J'hon Doe II
      November 12, 2016 at 15:51

      Now that the South has risen again, and the Right wing is in total control of all branches of gov’t, “equality” will fall far behind privilege.



      • Joe Tedesky
        November 12, 2016 at 22:10

        Because of the racial card that Trump supporters cling to, is why I could never have voted for Trump. With that said, now that we are here, I see a golden opportunity for the Democrate’s to take a turn to the sensible Left. Hillary and Bill took the Democrate’s from the party of the average folk, to become the party of Wall Street. The Democrate’s if mobilized correctly could pull a Teaparty move, and win governorships and legislative seats all over the country in 2018, and be the better off for it. Pendulum or see saw politics isn’t so bad, as long as you have a plan, and follow through with effective counterpunches, then your still in the game. And yes racism is always bad, no matter who the racist rally behind. Thanks for the link, I enjoyed reading it.

  3. Patrick
    November 12, 2016 at 13:42

    What drivel. Way too much sour grapes there. According to Maguire, everything about this election is a loss. For me, it came down to one big issue–foreign policy–in particular, Hillary’s violent hawkish nature. There are too many examples of her unjust, violent, and hawkish nature: her fervent support for the slaughter of Gazan citizens–nearly 2000 women and children; her pet project, the Libyan destruction, which Obama was reluctant to engage in and he has since called his greatest regret while Clinton cackles with glee over the death of Qaddafi which occurred the day we bombed his convoy (protect citizens only indeed; and why was NATO involved?); and her call for a no-fly zone over Syria, which is just about exactly how the Libyan destruction began. We are supporting rebels who are essentially led by Al Quada, if not indeed members of Al Quada. Regarding Libya–interesting that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were fighting the proxy war there which we helped them out with; why does her special relationship with them keep popping up? It now turns out they had special forces there before we got involved, and that Qadaffi was right–he was under attack from foreign Muslim extremists–he just did not know that we were funding them.
    I forgot to mention Ukraine; interesting that Clinton appointed Victoria Nuland, wife of Robert Kagan (neocon extraordinaire, co-founder of PNAC, fervent supporter of any Middle East wars–after all, we are so exceptional–conservative Republican, and lately, fervent supporter of HRC) to the top U.S. position in Europe–after all, she had been Cheney’s chief foreign adviser and with credentials like that, how could she not be used?. Have you heard the audio tape of Nuland discussing with our Ukrainian ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt, who the new leader of the country should be, two weeks before the coup of the elected president? BBC has a great transcript of it, fascinating read! By the way, since the parliament vote for impeachment of Yanukovich fell short, that makes this an illegal coup–although we were guaranteeing them huge loans the next day… Did I forget to mention Yemen? Sorry, throw out the garbage, that is what this election was about. I am thinking the human race dodged a bullet. Speaking of bullets, they are still guaranteed by the Constitution, aren’t they? Swords into plowshares indeed. Amazing the capacity we humans have for seeing only the good in those we like (those that make us feel good) and demonizing those we don’t like (those that scare us). Reverse shadow concept here I might add–whereas so many Germans elected Hitler in part because they identified with his blaming the Jews, rather than seeing their own faults–so many Americans now are repulsed by Trump’s obnoxious personality. Are we really so obnoxious, so fickle, so contradictory, so unintelligent, so egotistical, so narcissistic, so bombastic? “How awful!” Thus the repugnance that so many feel.
    The mantra I am working on these days is “roll with it.” After all, Trump has been a Democrat several times, just about the same amount of times he has been a Republican. Perhaps this is just the balance that we need!

  4. Gregory Herr
    November 12, 2016 at 13:14

    OMG…the hand wringing continues in earnest. So the election of Trump is a moral tragedy? And now, only now, will it be that the environment, unions, education, and the Palestinians lose?
    The idea that “faith in humanity’s best hopes” was dashed by Trump’s election over and against Clinton is hogwash. Can we dispense with the gloom and doom for a bit?

  5. Antonia
    November 12, 2016 at 12:54

    Do tell me Mr McGuire? Where is your Moral outrage that has happened to the peoples of Libya and
    the Middle East and to the Greek People or the Greeks of Cyprus? Your Evil Government has practically allowed the Christians living in the Middle East to be decimated.
    You call yourself a Moral Theologian!!
    God Help Us!

    • Regina Schulte
      November 12, 2016 at 15:21

      When contributing opinions/reports/rebuttals, etc., such as this by Daniel Maguire (note the spelling of his name), it is obligatory and proper to limit one’s aim to the heart of the selected target. A discussion of U.S. foreign policies was/is not the focus of this article, much less our behavior with regard to specific situations, nations, etc. In this genre, one uses a rifle, not a shotgun. Hence, he did not address the areas Antonia names.

      HOWEVER, He has done so many times and in many publications and other venues, and continues to speak out against our policies in the Near East, particularly with regard to the Israeli travesties. That was simply not the focus of this piece.

      • RPDC
        November 14, 2016 at 14:45

        That was exactly the focus of this piece. Trump, for all his many warts, was the anti-war candidate. Simply by being elected, he has done more for peace in the Middle East than Hillary ever did, with Putin and Assad both reaching out to work with him, and the following day Obama finally gave the order to start bombing Nusra (instead of funding them).

        Add to that the fact that his election killed the TPP, and it’s hard to argue that we’re not off to a much better start than we would’ve been if Hillary had been elected.

  6. Zachary Smith
    November 12, 2016 at 12:27

    My reaction four days out from the moral tragedy of Donald Trump’s election as President is this: we are two nations, not one nation.

    I stopped reading right there. Couldn’t the author grant Trump even a mini-honeymoon? Wait a few more days or weeks until Trump actually does something truly awful?

    I’m quite sure that’s going to happen, but so far as I know it hasn’t happened yet. And for whatever it’s worth, there is another factor to consider. Consider this headline:

    Donald Trump’s victory averted World War Three, top Putin aide claims

    Since Hillary was promising policies which might have started a needless nuclear war, surely there would have been some kind of “moral tragedy” involved in her election too.

  7. Stephen Franzoi
    November 12, 2016 at 12:03

    Thanks Dan. This election was a crushing blow to my hope for a better and more just society in the USA; your article is a salve for my faith in the American people, which is at an all-time low right now.

  8. Regina Schulte
    November 12, 2016 at 11:22

    Once again, one of today’s major prophets for social justice calls our attention to
    “what is,” how it came to be, and (unless we dramatically change the trajectory)
    what are its consequences. Thank you, Professor Maguire.

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