The earth has been shifting under our feet for a while, but all liberals want to do is desperately cling to the status quo like a life-raft. Middle-class Britons are still hyperventiliating about Brexit, and now middle-class America is trembling at the prospect of Donald Trump in the White House.
And, of course, middle-class Americans are blaming everyone but themselves. Typifying this blinkered self-righteousness was a column yesterday, written before news of Trump’s success, from Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland, Britain’s unofficial stenographer to power and Washington fanboy. He blamed everyone but Hillary Clinton for her difficult path to what he then assumed was the White House.
Well, here is some news for Freedland and American liberals. The reason Trump is heading to the Oval Office is because the Democratic party rigged the primaries to ensure that a candidate who could have beaten Trump, Bernie Sanders, did not get on the ticket. You want to blame someone, blame Clinton and the rotten-to-the-core Democratic party leadership.
But no, liberals won’t be listening because they are too busy blaming Julian Assange and Wikileaks for exposing the truth about the Democratic leadership set out in the Clinton campaign emails – and Russia for supposedly stealing them.
Blame lies squarely too with Barack Obama, the great black hope who spent eight years proving how wedded he was to neoliberal orthodoxy at home and a neoconservative agenda abroad.
While liberals praised him to the heavens, he poured the last US treasure into propping up a failed banking system, bankrupting the country to fill the pockets of a tiny, already fabulously wealthy elite. The plutocrats then recycled vast sums to lobbyists and representatives in Congress to buy control there and make sure the voice of ordinary Americans counted for even less than it did before.
Obama also continued the futile “war on terror”, turning the world into one giant battlefield that made every day a payday for the arms industry. The US has been dropping bombs on jihadists and civilians alike, while supplying the very same jihadists with arms to kill yet more civilians.
And all the while, have liberals been campaigning against the military-industrial complex that stole their political system? No, of course not. They have been worrying about the mass migrations of refugees – those fleeing the very resource wars their leaders stoked.
Then there is the liberal media that served as a loyal chorus to Clinton, trying to persuade us that she would make a model president, and to ignore what was in plain sight: that Clinton is even more in the pocket of the bankers and arms dealers than Obama (if that were possible) and would wage more, not less war.
Do I sound a little like Trump as I rant against liberals? Yes, I do. And while you are busy dismissing me as a closet Trump supporter, you can continue your furious refusal to examine the reasons why a truly progressive position appears so similar to a far-right one like Trump’s.
Because real progressives are as frustrated and angry about the status quo as are the poor, vulnerable and disillusioned who turned to Trump. And they had no choice but to vote for Trump because there was no one aside from him in the presidential race articulating anything that approximated the truth.
Sanders was ousted by Clinton and her corrupt coterie. Jill Stein of the Greens was made invisible by a corrupt electoral system. It was either vote for Clinton and the putrid status quo, or vote for Trump and a possibility for change.
Yes, Trump is very bad. He is as much a product of the plutocracy that is now America as Clinton. He, like Clinton, will do nothing to fix the most important issue facing humankind: runaway climate change. He is a climate denier, she is a climate evader.
But unlike Clinton, Trump understood the rising popular anger at the “system”, and he was articulate enough to express it – all it took was a howl of pain.
Trump isn’t the antithesis of liberal America. You liberals created him. You unleashed this monster. It is you in the mirror. You stayed silent, you took no stand while your country was stolen from you. In fact, you did worse: you enthusiastically voted time after time for those who did the stealing.
Now the path is clear and the route fast. The precipice is ahead, and American liberals are firmly in the driving seat.
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.
This article first appeared on Jonathan Cook’s blog