Friday, November 11, 2016

E.J. Dionne on the catastrophe

CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA
The victors

The Responsibilities of Opposition

by E.J. Dionne

All Americans who are alarmed, angry and disheartened that a large minority of our fellow citizens made Donald Trump the president-elect must quickly learn to distinguish between blame and responsibility.
I freely admit that my own list of those who deserve to be held accountable is long. It includes Vladimir Putin, who intervened shamelessly in our internal affairs, and FBI Director James Comey who, apparently under pressure from politicized bureau agents, changed the trajectory of the campaign and helped accomplish what the former KGB operative could not have achieved on his own.
I blame Republican leaders who knew better but nonetheless aligned themselves with Trump. I blame a media that created an outlandishly false equivalence between Hillary Clinton's sins and the corruption of her opponent. And then there is our foolish and antiquated Electoral College system: For the second time in 16 years, the candidate for whom a plurality of Americans voted will not become president. 
Finally, I blame people of my gender, race and class—college-educated white men—for giving Trump his margin. Yes, a class rebellion among less-educated whites was key to his victory. But we cannot forget that a large majority of well-to-do white men chose to vote for a dangerous misogynist who demonized immigrants and people of color.
While the wounds are still open, others have already started blaming Clinton herself and Democratic Party insiders who supported her. The party's left is arguing that Clinton should have heeded the warnings of Bernie Sanders' rebellion and spoken much more to the nation's economic injustices. If the past is any guide, more moderate Democrats will talk about how, perhaps, the country was asked to accept too much cultural change too quickly, or that whites, especially white men, were exhausted from having every other group lifted up except themselves. I fear that this argument will tear apart those who must now stand together.

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