"Shiny Objects", Shiny Words
The End of Identity LiberalismTalk about double-speak. Let me reiterate the still-deaf-dumb-blind parts of that, so that all can understand, perhaps, how those who voted for Trump hear the reality of that piece:
By MARK LILLA, NOV. 18, 2016
"The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and 'celebrate' our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.
One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.
"A convenient liberal interpretation of the recent presidential election would have it that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage — the “whitelash” thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become.
"Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by 'political correctness.' Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.
"We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them. It would speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another. As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale. (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)
"Teachers committed to such a liberalism would refocus attention on their main political responsibility in a democracy: to form committed citizens aware of their system of government and the major forces and events in our history. A post-identity liberalism would also emphasize that democracy is not only about rights; it also confers duties on its citizens, such as the duties to keep informed and vote. A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension."
This liberal New York Times writer laments that liberalism hasn't proved itself "capable of governing." Governing? You're still focused on being "The Governing Class"? Isn't that supposed to be done "by the people, for the people"? How about becoming capable of actually "helping", "leading" all Americans to stand on their own two feet and pursue the real American dream?
He says liberals "better mention all of them." Just mentioning us, is mere lip service.
"...they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity..." No, they're reacting against the loss of their jobs, their freedoms, their rights, their ability to survive and thrive and pursue happiness.
He repeats liberalism's actual goal: "widening its base." Not for helping the base, but so the base helps them.
How? By "emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them," by "speak[ing] to" them. Words, words, more (of the same) words.
He says the "new" liberalism "would emphasize that democracy...confers duties on its citizens...to keep informed and vote." Meaning, we were pitifully uninformed if we voted for Trump while the rest of you reneged on your duty if you stayed home instead of voting for Hillary because our liberal media convinced you she was going to win in a 99% landslide anyway.
And this "new" liberalism "would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans." Meaning, we're clearly not already educated enough, as evidenced by the fact that we voted Trump in as President.
"Governing." "Mention them." "Emphasizing." "Speak to." "Do your duty to keep informed and vote." "Educate you."
Firstly, since when do teachers have a "main political responsibility...to form committed, aware citizens", while other citizens, like parents, preachers, priests, friends and coworkers, are perhaps labeled as racist/deplorable/etc. when we do the same on the Republican side? The writer is saying teachers didn't do their job, to form you, me, our kids and grandkids as "aware, committed citizens," because Hillary didn't get elected. How about that?
Note how none of this advocates actually "doing" anything for those who "felt excluded" by the elites/academics/intellectuals?
This liberal New York Times writer is advocating that liberals should pay lip service to and merely acknowledge the angry white (and other/Latino/legal immigrant) voters mainly because not doing so cost them the election, not because it's the right thing to do.Uuhhh-mazing.
The more things change, the more (liberal) things stay the same. Liberals think if they call it something other than "the identity game", you'll be fooled. It's still the same game: "Tell the people what they want to hear, then do whatever we know is best for them."
The liberal elites still think we are just idiots. Remember, for them, "shiny objects" are nothing more than "shiny words."