Trump’s Debasement of Civilization

Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment was surely a campaign gaffe, but she wasn’t wrong about Donald Trump’s exploitation of white grievances and other ugly attitudes, writes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

There is more to being civilized than being a citizen of some political entity. This is so despite the fact that both the verb civilize and noun citizen are derived from the Latin civitas. To be civilized demands more than just having the language and mannerisms of the Fifth Century BCE Greeks, or the Second Century BCE Han Chinese, or the Sixteenth Century CE French. All of these groups believed that being civilized meant living and acting like them.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Today the Americans have joined the chorus. They sing to the world that theirs is the home of the brave and land of the free, and claim that they are the real model for civilization. They throw in that rather ill-defined notion of freedom as a modern customizing point.

None of these claims are very convincing. After all, each claimant has waged bloody wars of aggression, discriminated against outsiders and their own minorities, and generally sought aggrandizement by stealing other people’s land.

Only recently, since the end of World War II, has there grown up an understanding that: (1) language, mannerisms, and race are so varied that they cannot be used as prerequisites for civilized status without breeding mass intolerance toward minorities and “others,” and (2) aggressive war and the pursuit of conquest actually dehumanizes your nation and destroys one’s civilized standing. Postwar international law has been designed to make intolerance on a large scale illegal – a crime against humanity – and the same goes for the waging of wars of aggression. It is questionable how effective such laws have been. Nonetheless, they are undeniably a step in a civilizing direction.

If you dig under the surface of ethnic- or nation-based claims to civilized standing, you often find that they rest on such things as military prowess, technological advancement, and/or a dubious claim to be some god’s favorite. Collective cultural expressions of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia and other such displays of intolerance, as well as the carrying on of a “muscular” foreign policy, seem not to complicate claims to civilized status for many average citizens. But, of course, they should. In fact, not being or doing any of these things should be a necessary prerequisite for any group’s appeal to civilized status.

Based on such a requirement, the claim of the United States to be a civilized society seems in serious trouble. For instance, no one is going to accuse Donald Trump of being a model of tolerance. Indeed, it would seem that his election as president has inaugurated a time of intolerance embracing just those prejudices that erode a nation’s civilized standing.

Hillary’s Greatest Gaffe

It is true that during her run for the presidency Hillary Clinton made many mistakes. She was wedded to a traditional, and very corrupt, version of U.S. politics – a version that put her in the pocket of an array of special interests that, themselves, were not very civilized (for example, the Zionists). And, as Secretary of State under President Obama, she did her part to wage aggressive war.

A sign supporting Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016 (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Yet, she was, at least in terms of her rhetoric, ready to take a stand for tolerance when it comes to social and cultural diversity within the United States. Ironically, that willingness to, in this regard, be publicly civil – and call out those who were not – led to her biggest political gaffe of the election.

The campaign faux pas came on Sept. 9, 2016, during a speech to a group of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) supporters. Here is what she said:

We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he [Trump] has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people – now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks – they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

The Trump campaign people jumped on this statement and declared that it was a sign of “her true contempt for everyday Americans.” In other words, from the Trump perspective, “those folks” were the real America. Trump’s  supporters proceeded to turn the term “deplorable” into something of a battle cry. I remember driving through the small Pennsylvania town of Red Lion soon after Clinton’s speech. There was a big sign declaring “Welcome to the Home of the Proud Deplorables.”

Trump the Decivilizer

Of course, Clinton was correct in her criticism of Trump and some of his supporters. In fact, they were more than just deplorable. They were downright uncivilized. And, she was right that Trump has incited and manipulated them and their prejudices during the campaign. And, he has continued to do so as president.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

I think this became quite obvious at the Aug. 12 “unite the right” protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. That event signaled the fact that Trump, a wealthy, self-righteous, impulsive, one-dimensional man who, in his simplistic ignorance, cannot tell the difference between his own opinion and fact, had let loose a substantial group of racist and reactionary citizens. These people see themselves not as the uncivilized of America, but rather as saviors of an anachronistic pseudo-civilization – one based on white supremacy and mass intolerance. Regardless of how they see themselves, the behavior of both these “average Americans” and their approving President, is actually tipping America toward being unquestionably a “deplorable” and uncivilized place.

It must be kept in mind that President Trump did not originate all this prejudicial horror. It has always been there in the U.S. However, since the 1960s it has, for the most part, been kept out of the public realm. That is what the Civil Rights Movement and President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs accomplished – to make it socially unacceptable, and in some cases illegal, to practice these prejudices publicly.

This was actually a great step forward in the process of civilizing the United States, and if it had been maintained for say, another five generations, the number of “deplorable” voters may have shrunk to the point that the election of a decivilizer such as Trump would have been much less likely.

However, as it was, those who harbored simmering prejudices, restless anachronistic traditions, and a fear of losing privileges in an ever more diverse society, almost immediately came together to support Donald Trump when he appeared on the political scene. And the rest of us were caught unawares.

The fact is that most people do not think about what it means to be civilized, often assuming that this status is synonymous with having an I-phone and a twitter account. Among those who do think about it, some may identify the term with those who are snobbish and think they are better than others.

Or, perhaps they see civilization as a class thing to be identified with wealth. Those who think in these terms may develop resentment toward the concept of civilization. They may come to see it as a threat to their local culture and ways of life.

Finally, who knows how many macho males there are out there who might see too much civilization as a subversive factor – something that would make the nation effete. Too much enlightenment could undermine that “muscular” foreign policy (perhaps reviving, in the case of the United States, the dreaded Vietnam Syndrome) that has always been a mark of nation-state greatness.

Of course, this is not just an American problem. The “deplorables” are to be found in all populations – more in some and less in others – but never absent. In the U.S., Donald Trump is their leader. No doubt he also serves as a symbol of leadership for “deplorables” worldwide. As such President Trump and his following subvert our future – luring us in the direction of barbarism.

Remember Arnold Toynbee observation: “civilizations die from suicide and not by murder.”

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism. He blogs at www.tothepointanalyses.com.

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63 comments for “Trump’s Debasement of Civilization

  1. Tannenhouser
    November 15, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Nah…. both of them and the world as a whole are pretty uncivilized. Not sure what could trump HRC’s gleeful cackle over Gaddafi’s public sodomy with a knife and summary execution in the ‘civilized’ department? While being uncivilized grabbing them by the pussy isn’t even close. The support by the 5 eyes for genocide in Yemen in exchange for bribes, (massive MIC contracts) is hardly civilized yet here we are. How civilized we are. The biggest lie, told for millennia now….

    • mike k
      November 15, 2017 at 11:37 am

      The article tried to make clear that Hillary was plenty deplorable in her own ugly way.

      • Annie
        November 15, 2017 at 2:38 pm

        No it didn’t!

        • mike k
          November 15, 2017 at 8:12 pm

          Yes he did: “It is true that during her run for the presidency Hillary Clinton made many mistakes. She was wedded to a traditional, and very corrupt, version of U.S. politics – a version that put her in the pocket of an array of special interests that, themselves, were not very civilized (for example, the Zionists). And, as Secretary of State under President Obama, she did her part to wage aggressive war.”

          Not strong enough condemnation for your taste Annie”? Mine either. But he did nail her on some of her evilness.

          • Annie
            November 15, 2017 at 9:17 pm

            “Yet, she was, at least in terms of her rhetoric, ready to take a stand for tolerance when it comes to social and cultural diversity within the United States. Ironically, that willingness to, in this regard, be publicly civil – and call out those who were not – led to her biggest political gaffe of the election.” I’m not interested in her willingness to solely take a stand on tolerance of Muslims in this country when she has none for the Muslim populations in other countries she was so willing to slaughter, and on a lie. That is incredibly hypocritical. Calling half of the people who voted for Trump, some 30 million, deplorables, is not my idea of being civil either. He excuses her and calls it a gaffe. Side lining Bernie Sanders wasn’t civil, and helping to instigate Russia-gate is equally uncivil, and blaming everyone for her loss, but herself is deplorable. His bias was blatant.

      • Tannenhouser
        November 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        Oh ya Mike it sure did……all in less than a third of the articles text right?…Sure buddy. My point that obviously went directly over your head was that the Earth/Civilization has been/is debased long before Trump. Like since at least the 16th century. HRC and her slick Willy have more to do with that that Trump ever could in the possible 8 years he may be around too. You and those like you are seriously part of the problem because you just do not, will not get what is actually going on. Hillary was never supposed to win, it was always Trump. ALWAYS. Since the 80’s at least. Good thing to because now people like you have someone to blame for it all. That IS the point of a TRUMP POTUS, to cover up all the misdeeds perpetrated before him, mainly by two families. Do carry on with your silly the sky is falling narrative and it’s Trumps fault. It would be funny if it wasn’t so darn ignorant.

    • Broompilot
      November 15, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Talking nice while picking your pockets qualifies one as “civilized”? I haven’t given up on Trump, yet.

    • Piotr Berman
      November 15, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Well, HRC have shown some knowledge of ancient history. However, my personal favorite is her exclamation, made in one of the debates that “you will never see me singing praises of foreign dictators or strongmen who do not love America”. Given the tradition of her family, one can conclude that if we now see HRC praising someone outside USA than either

      — she speak rather than sings, or
      — the person showed some warm feeling toward USA, or
      — the person is somewhat weak (not a strongman).

      • dahoit
        November 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm

        She got that quote from a pack of marbulo.(sic)

  2. fudmier
    November 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Consortium news should be congratulated for its “Trump’s Debasement of Civilization” article because it challenges those on this list to think. Why? How? Who?

    To be civilized: a society must be organized and its bureaucracies, leadership, and mainstream culture must practice global language, social, historical and journalistic, religious, and racial tolerance, in other words to be civilized a society must be intolerant to the intolerance of its members.
    Missing from LD’s analysis, is control, Trump/Obama/Bush/Clinton/notCarter/Regan/Johnson and the congressional and juristic co participants in their respective positions headed societies that practiced unaccountable corruption. To be a modern society, the governed must be able to make those who lead, personally responsible for any, even the slightest corruption, resulting from a governors position in government, or from others who use our government or engage in journalism about history or government.
    No society has yet addressed accountability..yet every society has been abused by corruption? No society has made its leadership (political, economic, religious, and journalistic components) truly accountable to those who are the governed?
    Accountability to me means, that any citizen can bring a suit of corruption against any who “use a position said person occupies within, or any person (in or out of government) who influences (journalism, lobbying, bibes, etc.) a government, or one of its employees, to engage or accept a corrupt deed or purpose of any kind.

    I believe the reason accountability for corruption has not come into vogue is because the people who constitute governments intend to use the governments they constitute for corrupt or personal gain purposes and it always those who have a lot of resources to lose that have the education and position and standing that places them in position to dictate how a nation of people shall be organized and governed. So to make clear my point, unless everyone is fully, completely and equally educated, and unless communications and those that express such communications are made truly accountable for corruption, nothing will change. Tolerance for corruption is a feature of top down government, intolerance for corruption is a feature of bottom up government.

    • mike k
      November 15, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Well said fudmier.

    • Brad Owen
      November 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Nothing will change? The article mentions Toynbee saying that civilizations die from suicide, and every known society has collapsed; ours will be no exception. Also, we will just have to quit dodging, and GRAPPLE with the problem of a National Security Deep State having been created in the late forties that was allowed to handle the “Hot Potato” of WWII foo-fighters, and UFOs unsupervised by our elected officials because they just didn’t want to deal with this “Hot Potato” themselves. I would mention the name of the person who has shown voluminous amounts of light on this problem, but it just gets me “moderated” outta here, so I won’t say it. BUT, this condition has allowed a “Frankenstein Monster” to grow in our midst, enabling previously existing conspirators to collude and grow even more powerful, unaccountable to Presidents or Congress, and siphon off hundreds of billion$ in unacknowledged above-top-secret projects that the President nor the CIA director even has a clue about (ever wonder about those 1200$ hammers the pentagon buys? Or its bloated budget over ten times bigger than Russia’s? Read: “unacknowledged black projects” that the President and Congress are judged as not having “a need to know” about them). This spells “Civil War” between the elected governments of We The People around the World, and this Shadow Government, unknown to the average citizen, un-elected, unaccountable to ANYONE, Global in scope, in command of GREAT power & wealth, and CONSTANTLY up to no good.

  3. mike k
    November 15, 2017 at 11:47 am

    The article makes an important point – the fact that deplorable Hillary got the political equivalent of stoning for her awkward “deplorables” comment, did not mean that her contention was wholly without merit. There is a part of the Trump gang that is truly a lot worse than the word deplorable can convey. This basket of ugly thugs was only a part of Trump’s electorate, but it was necessary to get him elected. They don’t get a pass just because Hillary called them out.

  4. j. D. D.
    November 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

    The greatest “deplorables” in the American political system are not to be found among the unemployed blue-collar workers of the rust belt, but rather among those elite Democrats, who along with their neocon allies, continue a relentless campaign of demonization and feamongering of both Russia and China, and especially Presidents Putin and Xi. They are, as President Trump rightly stated, obstructing the full cooperation of the United States and Russia in dealing with the falshpoints for WWlll, such as Syria, Ukraine ad N. Korea, and are indeed right now, as the president also stated “costing lives.

    • Dave P.
      November 16, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      j. D. D. –

      Yes. Very true. I agree with your comments.

    • Robbi Gomes
      November 19, 2017 at 8:07 am

      I sent money to the Sanders campaign only to learn that Hillary and the DNC had rigged the whole primary race
      against Sanders and his supporters. How civilized is that? Now the democrats, as you say, are risking WW3 for their own political advantage. This is one democrat who won’t vote for this pack again!

  5. November 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    It takes courage to defend Hillary. .All the major media does, of course so I guess they are courageous.

    “It is true that during her run for the presidency Hillary Clinton made many mistakes. She was wedded to a traditional, and very corrupt, version of U.S. politics – a version that put her in the pocket of an array of special interests that, themselves, were noivet very civilized (for example, the Zionists). And, as Secretary of State under President Obama, she did her part to wage aggressive war.”

    I don’t really think she made mistakes, she just figured her divisive campaign would produce enough votes to win. The very civilized version of Hillary’s attacks is presented by the author. All those things the author claims are true in some respect but it misses the point that good people often have very conservative views as do a far smaller number of bad people. I grew up with those kind of people and I know when their fellow man or women needs help, whatever race or color, they would be the first to help. I know when confronted with an interracial marriage, they are the first to want to see the baby. That’s the way it works, evolution not revolution and violence.and demonization. The so called left, which is a very large group, have an abolitionist mentality with the desire to punish.

    Conservatives people don’t like seeing their world change but they adjust to it. On the other hand those who see themselves as on higher plain seem unwilling to listen or adjust. The first step for the “liberals” who are anything but is to listen and try to understand and not to use any incident or statement as confirmation that they are right and those “deploreables” are wrong.

    My opinion, thank goodness the “deploreables” rose up en masse and kept the lady from the presidency. Too bad what the alternative turned out to be.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      November 15, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      I concur with this view and, adding that, though Trump is terrible, she would have been worse: rule by trade agreements and the possibility of nuclear war with Russia on behalf of the jihadi thugs being used to overturn Syria.

    • ToivoS
      November 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      I don’t really think she made mistakes, she just figured her divisive campaign would produce enough votes to win.

      Well she figured wrong. Doesn’t that fit the definition of “mistake”.

  6. Drew Hunkins
    November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    The United States was a politico-economic nightmare long before Trump ever slinked across the stage of American political life.

  7. Billy
    November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Hillary and her supporters are more deplorable than Trump supporters. Arrogant snotty creatures that run interference to keep real liberals from getting elected. And deplorable people didn’t just magically appear because of Trump.

  8. Zachary Smith
    November 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Of course, Clinton was correct in her criticism of Trump and some of his supporters. In fact, they were more than just deplorable. They were downright uncivilized.

    Clinton was indeed correct. What Mr. Davidson overlooks is that “Clinton and some of her supporters” were equally deplorable. The embrace of either candidate meant buying into their corruption and foul doctrines.

    A smooth and cultured and well-educated “blue” person can be every bit as destructively ugly as any of Trump’s “red” boys and girls. In some cases, even more so.

    • Robbi Gomes
      November 19, 2017 at 8:11 am

      I hope we eventually find out who murdered Seth Rich. If we do then we’ll see how civilized this pack of “do-gooders” is.

  9. siberiancat
    November 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    What’s wrong with talking about legitimate white grievances?

    • jaz h
      November 24, 2017 at 12:18 am

      legitimate white grievances are just grievances! there are problems, but not exclusively for whites! immigrants, blacks, muslims, minorities et al have actual issues on top of lack of jobs, opportuities, representation which we all have!

  10. Abe
    November 15, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Support for Israeli apartheid, a gross debasement of civilization, is a bi-partisan ugly enterprise thanks to pro-Israel Lobby interference in American elections.

    Both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump pandered to the prejudices of pro-Israel extremists during the 2016 campaign.

    The Democratic Party’s shift to the right and unquestioning support for Israel accelerated under Barack Obama.

    Back in April 2010, over 1000 pro-Israel Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan to rally against the Obama administration’s call for a freeze on construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to demand unlimited rights to colonize illegally occupied Palestinian territory.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R611drTEHPA

    American journalist Max Blumenthal reported in 2010:

    “With Obama and top White House officials engaged in a charm offensive to repair their relationship with mainstream American Jewish organizations, speakers at the rally lashed out at the Jewish groups and Democratic politicians, warning that cozying up to Obama would endanger Israel and imperil their cherished settlement enterprise.

    “[United States senator Chuck] Schumer and another major New York-area Jewish Democrat, Rep. Anthony Weiner, have scrambled to appease the extreme pro-settler elements railing against Obama. On the radio show of Nachum Segal, a right-wing Orthodox Jew popular among the demonstrators, Schumer called Obama’s demands to stop the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem ‘counter-productive’ and boasted about warning White House aides that he would “publicly blast” them if the President did not relent.

    “But Schumer’s pandering appeared to be futile. At the rally, demonstrators waved placards reading, ‘Where’s Schumer?’ and complained to me that the senator’s criticism of Obama was too little, too late.

    “Meanwhile, according to the New York Jewish Week, Weiner had begged organizers for a chance to speak at the rally but was rebuffed out of fear that he might put ‘some sort of Democratic ‘spin’ on the president’s policies.’ Beth Galinsky, a rally organizer, claimed Weiner was waiting in a nearby car during the rally, hoping that his desperate pleas would provide him an opportunity to address the crowd.

    “While the Democratic congressman was shut out, the Republican Jewish Coalition was afforded a prominent role at the demonstration beside far-right groups like the Zionist Organization of America, Z Street, Americans for a Safe Israel, members of Christians United for Israel, and Manhigut Yehudit, an anti-democratic group that calls for theocratic rule over Israel.

    “Supporters of Manhigut leader and Likud politician Moshe Feiglin distributed fliers promoting Feiglin’s upcoming campaign for prime minister of Israel. An open advocate of ethnic cleansing who has proposed depriving the Palestinians of drinking water, Feiglin recently called Vice President Biden ‘a diseased leper.’

    “While the pro-settler elements rallied in Manhattan, their counterparts from the radical Kahanist movement in the Hebron-based settlement of Tel Rumeida rampaged through Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, inciting violent confrontations while announcing their intention to rid the area of its historical Arab presence.

    “Dov Hikind, a Democratic New York Assemblymember who represents Orthodox Jewish areas in Brooklyn, is a longtime supporter of Baruch Marzel, the settler leader who orchestrated the provocations in East Jerusalem. ‘These are people who love us and help us, they are real lovers of Israel,’ Marzel once said of Hikind and his allies. Hikind’s role as a keynote speaker at the New York rally was one of many hints that the events in Manhattan and Jerusalem were closely coordinated.”

    Close coordination with pro-Israel groups was a hallmark of Hilary Clinton’s 2012 and 2016 political campaigns.

    Donald Trump’s purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel’s commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel’s undivided capital, were all stage-managed for the campaign by the pro-Israel Lobby.

    Cheap theatrics notwithstanding, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has unconditional support from the Trump regime, and bought-and-paid-for figures like Clinton and the majority of Congress are steadfast in their defense of Israeli interests.

  11. john wilson
    November 15, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    The notion Clinton is tolerant of anyone but herself and her cronies is a non starter. Like Trump, she sucked up to the people who she thought would give her the most votes. Had she got in all the feigned care and love this women espoused on the campaign trail would have evaporated like a drop of of water on a hot stone in the desert.

    • Tannenhouser
      November 15, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      She ran a campaign based on the popular vote, she ignored the Electoral College in the USA no less. She and anyone who thinks she was trying to win is a certified idiot.

      • Joe Wallace
        November 21, 2017 at 12:12 am

        Tannenhouser:

        She certainly miscalculated by ignoring the Electoral College, but surely you don’t believe she was not trying to win. If she didn’t want to become president, she came perilously close by winning 3 million more votes than Trump.

  12. Annie
    November 15, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    “…This was actually a great step forward in the process of civilizing the United States, and if it had been maintained for say, another five generations, the number of “deplorable” voters may have shrunk to the point that the election of a decivilizer such as Trump would have been much less likely.” One can only assume that the author of this article is saying that a Hillary victory would have been the better choice, since Trump is a decivilizing voice in America. He calls it a gaffe when she called Trump’s base deplorables. I didn’t see it that way, and take her use of the word to mean half, some 30 million Americans who supported him could be thrown into one category, all of whom are xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, and well, basically no good, and this from a woman who initiated the war in Libya, that killed some 25,000 Muslims, many of them women and children. Not to mention her laughing at the death of Gaddafi who was sodomized by a sword. I also don’t see it as very civilized to side line Sanders during his campaign for president, and basically take over the party and it’s operations to insure her win. Not democratic either. She belongs to the contingency of the democratic party that represents the top 10% in this country and long ago gave up their working class base.

  13. DFC
    November 15, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    /And the rest of us were caught unawares./ And after reading this I think you and they still are.

  14. geeyp
    November 15, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I thought Halloween was over. This piece is deploringly out of touch with reality. This piece makes excuses for a war criminal and I am not having it. Mr. Davidson, with respect, you don’t get it. And I, after 40 years straight of voting, did not vote last year. I am done with the utter nonsense. Your mileage may vary.

    • DFC
      November 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Probably would have helped if Mr. Davidson interviewed a few Trump voters. But that would have meant getting up out of his office chair and leaving the city limits. Instead what we get is an armchair piece, saturated in ethnocentric musings, akin to a Cambridge educated British aristocrat of the Imperial Age, between polo matches, pontificating about the true nature of the Indian people and their deep seated need for the British Raj. No doubt such a person would have been caught unawares as well when a man emerged from the unwashed multitude, sporting homemade sackcloth, to snatch away the Jewel of the Crown. lol.

    • Annie
      November 15, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      geeyp
      I didn’t vote either, and for the same reasons. I didn’t trust Trump and his promises, or the Republican party, and I really dislike Clinton. Wasn’t happy with her husband either. I don’t know about you, but because I didn’t vote for Hillary several people who define themselves as liberals heaped a lot of verbal abuse on me, and I do mean abuse. I severed these ties which go back decades. It’s amazing how abusive the so called liberals in this country can be, and mostly it goes unrecognized, including journalists who rarely call them out on it.

      • M. L.
        November 15, 2017 at 9:43 pm

        Happened to me as well, Annie. I can’t help but think that they must be intellectually lazy. It was like speaking heresy to say “NO” to their Queen. Lost a good friend over it. Now I count among my dearest friends, people who are willing to listen to my side of things without casting aspersions upon those who feel as I do. And I listen to them, too- without rancor. People sort of ran amok last election cycle. I fear it is a trend. Think I will withhold my own vote for the next presidential dog and pony show extravaganza.

  15. S Black
    November 15, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Groups identified as victims of hate crimes (gays, racial and religious minorities) have been targeted for decades by conservative religious groups and right-wing talk radio as well as the U.S. government (e.g., Muslim groups as a national threat). Professor Davidson acknowledges in his essay that these longstanding prejudices cannot be blamed on Trump, but the link he provides under the phrase “Trump has incited and manipulated them” does not prove the allegation as it reports an increase in hate crimes from 2015-2016 which is prior to the Trump presidency. It is true that Trump played on some of the inculcated attitudes while campaigning for president in order to secure the enthusiastic support and votes of poor and lower middle class whites, but of course Hillary did the same for a different voter group with her smug “deplorables” comment — which Professor Davidson glosses over as a mere “gaffe.”

    Shortly before taking office, however, Trump abandoned prejudicial speech and began expressing concern for groups such as inner city Blacks. As president, Trump’s rhetoric has been generally inclusive with regard to civic life in America; thus it was revelatory to see the legacy media’s horrified reaction after Charlottesville when the president asserted that there was blame on both sides and there were also “very fine people” on each side. This civil act of presidential nonpartisanship was greeted with cries of outrage from the mainstream media who had been actively stoking the flames of a potential race riot throughout the event.

    I disagree with Professor Davidson’s assertion that a workable civilization could be secured with a few more decades silencing the voices of those who have been led to believe that their degraded, impoverished lives and reduced opportunities are due to unfair competition from racial and religious minorities and women. Silencing and censorship will not improve their lot in life — which is itself the result of Reagan’s assault on labor unions and his trickle-down economics as well as Bill Clinton’s trade agreements that destroyed jobs here at home while subjugating democratically representative government to the will of private corporations.

    So it would be a terrible mistake to forcibly censor disgruntled whites as crude, ungracious louts; that is precisely what would drive them to more radical solutions. What is needed is greater, more open dialogue where grievances can be respectfully aired with the focus directed less to other groups and more to the nature and origin of the radically changed conditions that have so altered their lives over the past four decades. But to do that, we would need impartial, non-corporate media as a platform, since the most vital and decisive struggle in this country runs not horizontally between groups but vertically between the citizenry and those who determine government decisions.

    • dahoit
      November 15, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Great post.

  16. fudmier
    November 15, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    No society has given its governed the means to regulate and control those who govern. Authority to govern must not be infringed by those who are the governed, but the governed must be enabled and fully empowered to timely remove the governors who abuse their authority or corrupt the purposes for which they were given such authority. .
    If the daily global dialogue could be changed from sex, corruption, money and war to how to change government so that the governed could regulate and control those who govern, war would be short lived; because no one would agree to allow those who are now corrupt to continue.

    • jaz h
      November 24, 2017 at 12:54 am

      well said!

  17. mike k
    November 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    The content of these posts leads me to ask – how many flies can you swat swinging a dead cat?

    • Annie
      November 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Mike, how many flies can you kill by swinging a dead cat? I’m curious. I’m also curious as to what you mean by that.

    • Tannenhouser
      November 16, 2017 at 9:09 am

      In a fun’s fun, but get your ass off the pillow way steve?

  18. SteveK9
    November 15, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    And, Hillary Clinton is not deplorable?? Trump can be a jerk a lot of the time, but remember the choice … I’m afraid I find her brand of arrogant corruption, deplorable indeed.

  19. UH
    November 16, 2017 at 1:53 am

    “Of course, Clinton was correct in her criticism of Trump and some of his supporters. In fact, they were more than just deplorable. They were downright uncivilized. And, she was right that Trump has incited and manipulated them and their prejudices during the campaign. And, he has continued to do so as president.”

    I have very little clue why you, Lawrence, former admirer of yours, typed these sentences. As if any FAN of the hopeful Hillary Prez was anything other than either an a) moron, ignorant, or b) LOVES FUCKING AND MURDERING BROWN PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD AND LETS GET SOME MONEY DESTROY LIBYA DESTROY SYRIA DESTROY IRAQ DESTROY HONDURAS DESTROY LEBANON NEW MODERN BANANA REPUBLICS, DIE CONGOLESE AND SOUTH SUDANESE AND SYRIANS. USA USA USA.

    And as if “Trump” or “Sanders” was also not correct in their criticism of blah blah supporters.

    And I mean just to try to ground you a bit: “Inciting and Manipulating and seeking Prejudices” isn’t a proper reason for a coup.

    • Annie
      November 16, 2017 at 3:33 am

      Also, she openly called for Gaddafi to be killed. “We hope he can be captured or killed soon,” was exactly what she said. Not very civilized, and against US law to call for his assassination.

  20. backwardsevolution
    November 16, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Hillary Clinton, that wonderfully civilized lady who vilified the women that her husband sexually assaulted? Is that the type of civility you’re talking about?

    The civilized lady who laughed with glee when a sovereign leader was sodomized with a knife and then died? You know, the “we came, we saw, he died” civility?

    How about the lady who erased 30,000 emails after they were subpoenaed, who destroyed hard drives. Is that what you’re talking about?

    I have a feeling, once Fusion GPS and the Clinton Foundation get investigated, that “deplorable” is how she’s going to feel behind some good, thick bar cells.

    Lawrence Davidson, whenever so-called “civilized people” try to force their opinions and attitudes down other people’s throats, who insist “their” civilization experiments (and experiments are all they are) are the only way a country should be run, who try to dictate what they think makes a good country, they are sure to fail. Whatever needs to be rammed always backfires.

    How’s that diversity working out in the U.K.? Hungary? South Africa? Zimbabwe? Israel?

    How has non-diversity worked out for Japan and China?

    I have generally found that whenever one group wants to change something, it’s usually so that they can gain something at the expense of the other group (and, yes, it is at their expense). In fact, if it wasn’t to protect themselves, build a big safe barrier around their group, they wouldn’t bother.

    “These people see themselves not as the uncivilized of America, but rather as saviors of an anachronistic pseudo-civilization – one based on white supremacy and mass intolerance.”

    A “pseudo-civilization”? Really? Aside from the ridiculous wars, which the average person has absolutely no say in, do you want me to sit here and list what this pseudo-civilization accomplished? Do you?

    Wow!

  21. Anon
    November 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

    America has always been a violent, uncivilized society. I see no difference between Hillary or Trump supporters.

  22. RenoDino
    November 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

    The country has reached a tipping point in the last 40 years. We have transitioned from social democratic state to an Empire. With this new role comes new responsibilities and priorities, total world domination being first and foremost.
    National security is now our highest stated priority. Patriotism is now our single most desired personal attribute. LIving in a martial society requires many sacrifices. Personal freedom being one because everyone is under suspicion as a potential enemy of the State. Under this scenario, those in leadership positions and those who aspire to leadership positions must rise to the occasion to ensure there will be no backsliding into decline. Across the board, their job requires them to be Awful People doing Awful Things.

    That is where we are today. It is a condition of the Project of Empire and failure is not an option because everyone knows that should we demure, we will be torn apart by our enemies and our former allies because we have already done many Awful Things. There is no personal “time out” for an Empire and saying, “sorry, our bad” is not going to cut it.

    In light of this circumstance, it’s rather silly to see one group claiming their leader is more or less than Awful than the leader of another rival group when, in fact, they are all Awful People doing Awful Things and it’s a prerequisite of the job when running a ruthless, ravenous F**king Empire. Stop splitting hairs, I beg you. Trust in the process. The worst people imaginable will rise to the top. Thankfully, they have already and there are more than enough from both parties ready to fill their shoes. We are blessed with a bottomless pit of truly Awful People. Sleep well tonight knowing the Empire is in capable hands. Be safe. Think safe. Act safe. Citizenship is Freedom.

  23. Paolo
    November 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

    IMO this definition of civility is too superficial. Being European, and even Italian, I could say it is the typical american superficiality if I didn’t know that unfortunately this type of ”liberalism” is widespread also in modern day Europe and causing similar problems.

    A civilized society should first of all think about the well being of it’s citizens and see that they live in harmony. That’s why Politics used to be called the “art of what is possible”: it should avoid big leaps forward but prefer slow progression, so that nobody is left behind.

    If the liberal agenda and it’s claim of being civilized created such resentment and thereabouts, well, rather than civilization we should be talking about arrogance. Because these “deplorables” are mostly located in rural areas and other poor or impoverished places, they ought to be treated as any other minority, that is helped. Insulting them is not only arrogant but also stupid because counterproductive.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 16, 2017 at 11:11 am

      You are right Paolo, we need to come together.

  24. Abe
    November 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    “The residual of 9/11 (conservatively, 100 X more people die every year from medical mistakes than did from the attacks) made planting the seeds of fear in the New York Times and Washington Post and then harvesting the crop of faux-consent for his war an ‘investment’ in original psychological coercion. That the Clintons so willingly chimed in to sell baby Bush’s war illustrates the role of operational logic as subtext.

    “With Democrats again in political ascendance and progressive candidates winning elections, reforms along the social trajectory that elevated Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama will undoubtedly be moved forward. For all of the hand-waving and heated rhetoric, the ‘age of Trump’ follows this political trajectory discouragingly well. Bill Clinton was the progressive face that saved ‘us’ from the excesses of Reagan / Bush by ‘freeing’ Wall Street, ‘ending welfare as we know it’ and inaugurating the new Jim Crow.

    “If this reads like an alternatively worded exposition of Donald Trump’s program, what form of ‘resistance’ wouldn’t? Progressivism emerged from a hyper social-logic that was anything but. And neoliberalism is the renamed logic of the capitalist state that exists to further the interests of prominent capitalists. The Republican ‘mistake’ has always been to be too explicit in pursuit of this end at inconvenient moments in history, witness the Great Depression that ‘demanded’ an FDR to right the ship of economic exploitation.

    “When former DNC head Donna Brazile reported that the Clintons’ money had sustained her organization (the DNC) during the Democrat primaries and general election, a merging of realms was made visible. Barack Obama engineered the salvation of the political economy he inherited as if doing so weren’t political. In fact, ‘the system’ he saved is ideology, the embodiment of particular interests as social organization. This largely explains the inconvenient, if predictable, continuity of Mr. Trump’s service to his class despite his rhetorical threat of breach.

    “The Democrats’ ‘the Russians stole the election’ fantasy is a doubling down on product differentiation (think Coke versus Pepsi where nutrition never enters as a qualifier). As a reminder, the charge wasn’t that Donald Trump and his entourage are corrupt global business parasites— this describes the Democrats’ donor class all too well. The charge was that Mr. Trump’s presidency is illegitimate because ‘the process’ was corrupted. In the context of American politics, charges of corruption suggest at worst poor execution.

    “Now, with Ms. Brazile’s charges, it appears that the Clintonites compromised the ‘integrity’ of the Democrats’ ‘process’ as well. The question in need of asking is: if money, or more precisely, the people and entities (people) who contribute money, already controlled the ‘process,’ does the locus of this control really matter? Put differently, with the political establishment going ‘Democrat,’ meaning acting in defense of the status quo, how successful would Bernie Sanders’ ‘classic’ Democrat program have been? And with recent history as a guide, would it be the Democrats or Republicans who sank it? Otherwise, good luck with that ‘unity’ thing.

    “The Gramscian conundrum that emerges is of political logic. Oppositional reasoning, Democrats versus Republicans, is a strategy to control the political realm and not to define ‘natural’ boundaries. The violence of current political rhetoric is in inverse proportion to the programmatic differences between Ds and Rs. But it is in near proportion to the systemic violence of American political economy. It was Barack Obama that began the ‘modernization’ of nuclear weapons that Donald Trump now uses to threaten nuclear annihilation. And Hillary Clinton’s use of money as political ‘speech’ to amplify her ‘voice’ so as to control electoral outcomes in the Democrat party is fully the logic of corporate-state integration— s/he who has the golds, rules.

    “Through the effective sale of the American ‘lifestyle’ around the world, small steps in one direction or the other politically will continue to exist on a broader trajectory toward social catastrophe. Ending militarism means ending the political economy that produces it. Ending environmental crisis means ending the political economy that produces it. And electing progressive candidates without fundamentally reorienting political economy away from the violent, antagonistic logic of capitalism will produce only more of the same.”

    The Left Gets Rolled Again
    By Rob Urie
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/13/the-left-gets-rolled-again/

  25. john ocallaghan
    November 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Trump has unlocked the gate that kept intolerance homophobia paranoia racism and hate from escaping, and now we need a Leader in the true sense of the word to put it right!*!*

    • D.H. Fabian
      November 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      No, that gate had already been thrown wide open in the 1990s. Our more fortunate just didn’t notice.

  26. D.H. Fabian
    November 16, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Middle classers inevitably disregard the consequences of our war on the poor. The liberal campaign of middle class elitism (recently revised to “working class”) over the past quarter-century has served powerfully to (at the least) distract the public from the dramatic social and economic deterioration of the US. We watched as the overall quality of life went from a rating of #1 when Reagan first took office (far from perfect, but…) down to #48 by the time Obama was elected. The US began shipping out jobs in the 1980s — lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs alone since 2000 — while Democrats earned the rage of the masses who were left behind.

    Consider the fact that we stripped the US poor of the most basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) of food and shelter in the 1990s, and never bothered to look back at the consequences. While we were Standing in Solidarity with the middle class, the overall life expectancy of the US poor fell below that of every developed country. This shows how debased the US already was before Trump ran for office.

  27. LJ
    November 16, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Civilization has never been what it’s cracked up to be. Don’t believe the hype. All of us humans means that we require more order, Things like laws and sewers and police and basic education. Maybe , i guess i might have to say these are the best of times but there is no doubt that given the threat of Global Warming and overpopulation, loss of topsoil, over fishing of the oceans, desertification, really bad television, nuclear conflict and/or etc. that these may be the worst of times as well. Is it a case of the calm before the storm or the darkest hour always before the dawn. Luckily there is more access to clean and warm running water and we can all just rinse a little debasement off and start again tomorrow after we brush our teeth put on some deodorant and gas up the car.

  28. Charles S. Ferguson
    November 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I would have been more impressed if HRC had admitted her own deplorability. Trump won because he promised a series of changes which were viewed by many in flyover land and elsewhere as positive. He has not delivered and has chosen to surround himself with a plethora of bad associates. The problem of a decline of civility is reflective of the fact that there appears to be a dearth of qualified and moral leaders extant at this point in United States history. If that is the case then we are in trouble.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 17, 2017 at 6:01 am

      Charles S. Ferguson – I’m wondering how many past leaders have been anything close to “moral”. The more I read, the more I find out, it seems that history has been written by very creative writers who are good at putting lipstick on a pig. Has it been all an illusion? I’m putting my money on that.

      These leaders aren’t serving their country out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re not thinking about what’s good for the country. They’re thinking about lining their pockets. Lobbyists and corporate interests are running the country. Kennedy and Carter were two who I actually think cared.

      But I do think it is getting worse. Corruption is right out in the open now, a law for the rich and a law for the poor. Losing the Rule of Law spells trouble.

      The government and the elite are in league.

  29. November 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Consortium News is about to make itself completely irrelevant by publishing articles like this one. People find their way to this site and others like it, to think outside the box – not to repeat the same dead-end parameters of the mainstream talking points. HRC vs. Trump is dead meat. Ditto for Republican vs. Democratic blather.

    • LJ
      November 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      There does seem to be some kind of recalibration going on. Reminds me of what happened on Asia Time s on LIne., Don’t say anything about it though or you will be purged from the illuminatti and it will be soooo humiliating. And no jokes either.

  30. hyperbola
    November 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Lawrence Davidson seems to be another member of the tiny, provincial, incestuous, racist-supremacist sect that knows what is required for the rest of humanity. Killary became increasingly racist and abusive the more she was controlled by Davidson’s sect. The sooner we ignore this boring sect and clean them out of “our” meida, politics, government, ……, the better our chances of recovering a decent society.

  31. November 18, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Mr. Davidson’s article is ethically and morally deficient. He ignores Hillary Clinton’s
    war criminality, which led to the deaths of many thousands of innocent men, women
    and children. Is this War Criminal someone to be looked at as “civilized”???
    Based on this article of his, it seems that Mr. Davidson could be described as a “useful idiot”.

  32. DMH
    November 19, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Two words, Lawrence: Uranium One. Now that’s deplorable, and so are you for trying to distract from it.

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