Sunday, November 27, 2016

Don't blame the victims

Red flag
By Ssolbergj, via Wikimedia Commons
The "Left", however you conceive that vast, amorphous, and spectacularly undisciplined entity, the "Left" does a great many things very very wrong. When people associated with the "Left" do or say things wrong, we can criticize them. Indeed, at times we have an obligation to criticize.

None of these legitimate criticisms have anything but an incidental relation to Donald Trump and his impending elevation to the United States presidency. We have seen multiple articles recently, blaming "Liberals" or the "Left", primarily for the supposed lapses of embracing "identity politics", or for neglecting the "white working class". Leave aside the ways these arguments contradict each other, and the accusers contradict themselves; nobody has so far explained how the Left could have come to the rescue of the "white working class" without embracing identity politics. Ignore the way they contradict common sense and common decency: nearly three centuries of experience show the impossibility of meaningful working class solidarity in a country divided by racism. The basic principle remains: no argument, however good or bad, against the choices made by the "Left" explains or excuses the willingness of millions of Americans to hand the launch codes for the largest thermonuclear arsenal on Earth to Donald Trump. None of them justifies the willingness of millions of Americans to bring an enabler of the American neo-nazi movement into the White House.

All valid criticisms of the "Left" would have the same validity with Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Kshama Sawant preparing to assume the office of President of the United States. A criticism that depends purely on the election of Donald Trump has no validity. Invalid criticisms often amount to nothing more than victim blaming. They rub salt in the wounds of people already frightened and in pain, and they reflect poorly on the character and judgement of those who make them.

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