I found myself watching a live video feed on Facebook, waiting for Hillary Clinton’s Press conference to begin. There were five or maybe 10 minutes of a shot of 12 American flags,and there were peppy, ‘socially conscious’ tunes playing in the background as people waited. The camera then turned on the left of the chamber, where there were two secret service agents or maybe corporate lawyers in suits, standing around. After a minute or so of enduring this I abandoned my morbid curiosity and went off to raid what remains of the children’s Hallowe’en stash of sweets.
What was I waiting for? I expect nothing of Hillary Clinton and there I was, lingering so that she would provide it. From what I could pick up off Twitter and news reports a little later, nothing she said was in line with my expectations. There were a couple of things, though, that give me some pause for thought. She said that American constitutional democracy demands continuous participation, and not just voting.
Coming from the professional politician par excellence, atop a Wall Street-funded machine that uses polling data and focus groups in place of real democratically organised institutions and that exists only to make sure that the decisions that matter are kept safely in the hands of the ‘experts’ and that the range of issues up for public debate is kept as small as possible and within the narrowest parameters possible, the remark is not without a hint of piquant irony.
She also said, calling for (the racist misogynist conman liar and thug) Donald Trump to be given recognition as the president, that people in her country had to cherish the principle of the peaceful handover of power. One might add here that this principle is not deemed to apply, by the state department that she used to run, to other countries. Such as Honduras. Or Chile, where her trusted friend Henry Kissinger had other ideas, or in Palestine, where Clinton supported placing a population under brutal siege because of the government it elected, and rued the fact that more had not been done to subvert the elections.
For all that, I still find myself regretting the fact that Trump won and Clinton lost, simply because the effect of a Trump victory will be far worse on the lives of people who did not elect him, on the tens of millions who voted against him because they knew the licence his victory would give to the resentments of White America.
In this regard, it is one thing for such people to demand of their own accord that they be recognised as American citizens the equal of anyone else in the country. It is quite another for them to be told by the likes of Hillary Clinton that since they are Americans, the President of White America is their President too, and that he should be welcomed with an open mind.
Once Clinton and her colleagues, along with the US political, military and media establishments, have seen to it that Trump is safely ensconced in the White House, the siren warnings from those quarters about fascism and Nazism will peter out to silence. The idea that Russia is pulling the strings of the US President will die before it is even born. What once appeared (and what are in fact) Trump’s dangerous predilections will be boiled down to appear as occasionally infuriating eccentricities. Perhaps common cause will be found, across the ‘political divide’, for the chanting of USA! USA!, against some foreign devil or some band of local malcontents, and it may begin to dawn on people that many of those warning of the threat from barbarism were part of the barbarism all along.
In the choice between socialism and barbarism, it is already too late, but then again, it always was.