Who’s at fault for the Trump presidency? Ariel Dorfman says it so well. It’s not the Russians, it’s us.
I’m tired of hearing about how Russia intervened in the recent U.S. election and tired of the talk about collusion, and I’m especially fed up with the speculation that all this will doom the Trump presidency.
My weariness is not due to a lack of indignation at how a foreign country covertly helped a reckless con man become president. And I would certainly celebrate if the uncovering of crimes forced President Trump to abandon the White House and slink back to his tower. But I fear that the Russia investigations — and the hope that they will save the republic — are turning too many opponents of this administration into passive, victimized spectators of a drama performed by remote actors over which they have no control.
The psychic, intellectual and emotional energy expended on this issue would be better employed, I believe, by addressing a more fundamental concern: What was it, what is it, in our American soul that allowed the Russians to be successful?
Short of evidence that Russian hackers explicitly flipped voting machines, all they did was feed false information to a receptive audience that wanted to believe what Fake News was selling. We keep looking for an external cause for an American failure, and the real cause is right here at home: a wealthy oligarchy that’s been wrecking education for decades, that feeds the sense of entitlement of racist white people, that discourages taking a close look at policies and practices of the military-industrial complex, because that’s become a wonderful money funnel for the rich. Both Republicans and Democrats have been supporting a system of oppression that keeps the electorate fat, stupid, and greedy, and makes them easily manipulable. That we’re also vulnerable to manipulation by foreign sources is our fault, our weakness.
Real patriots would have been working for the last several decades to make the electorate better educated, better able to evaluate information, and more critical of our government. That’s where the strength of a democracy lies, and we’ve been undermining it for generations. Instead, we’ve built up a population that listens to Fox & Friends uncritically, that keeps Alex Jones and Ann Coulter in business, that thinks their illusory notions about what God is thinking is a path to truth.
The investigation into the Russian conspiracies is a good thing — if it ends a dangerous and corrupt regime, I’m all for it. But it’s superficial. At best, it’s going to flip open a manhole cover that will expose the sewer of the American id. The real test will be whether we can then dive in and clean up our own problems.