Liberal Fantasies Flounder

It is interesting to note how the ruling class, through the promotion of cultural icons, promotes false notions of what it takes to sort out the problems humanity faces. On the eve of the 2016 U.S. election, media and liberal leaders were celebrating hard work and representation as the key characteristics of a leader and everyone else that mattered. Acquiring these qualities would set everything right. Hillary Clinton was their poster child to promote a narrative which claimed that recognition of diversity and difference are decisive. This recognition would conquer racism and the alleged small-minded conformity of presumably uneducated rural and small-town America. It would put violence against women to rest. Notwithstanding the real Hillary Clinton who followed no rules, the idea promoted was that all that was needed was to play by the rules, work hard within the wonderful system established by the U.S. founding fathers, and be rewarded with the chance to smash through the barriers of racial discrimination, the so-called glass ceiling and the like. The flat cardboard cut-out caricature of Hillary Clinton dominated what was referred to as the "left-wing political ecosystem."

"True change" is brought about by those willing to put in the time and follow the rules, media pundits assured the world. Identity politics became the banner of the liberals desperate to impose their beliefs on society and have everyone fall in line.

In the same way as Obama was promoted, "Hillary was also celebrated for the historic nature of her identity. She was the first woman to win the nomination of a major party for the presidency. She was the first woman to win the popular vote for the presidency. Regardless of where her politics lay, the sheer fact of her existence was radical and boundary-breaking. It was all about the symbolic force of their version of politics of representation," as one writer put it.

Then Trump was declared the next President. Hillary and her image as hard working and her commitment to navigating the constraints of the system and her politics of representation did not save the U.S. democratic system, did not eliminate racism, violence against women or any other state violence against the people. Everything then became about flawed people getting the job done and not always succeeding. We are to recognize that public services are gutted, for good; a handful of uber wealthy individuals and their corporations dominate the economy, and one's only hope is to achieve a happy life for oneself within a dysfunctional family, a dysfunctional school system, health care system, economy and world. The climate crisis is wreaking its revenge on even this limited hope for the future where, if only niceness, civility, acceptance and understanding of difference can be made to prevail, everything will be okay; it will be hunky dory once again.

In this vein, Justin Trudeau was used by the champions of 19th century liberalism to promote the idiotic notion that acceptance of difference would get rid of racism and inequality. For the first two terms of Trudeau's ministry this was promoted and we saw it crumble bit by bit in the face of the realities of life. For some time, the cardboard cut-out of Trudeau has no longer been working for the rulers. Today it flails helplessly, tattered and torn like an abandoned billboard faded by sun, wind and rain. The allegedly young hip leader was to eliminate racism and discrimination against women and set everything right. His supposed understanding of difference and unabashed ability to apologize for crimes said to be of the past, and for which the government today is not responsible, and to put women, Indigenous people and "people of colour" into positions of influence was supposed to be all that was needed. But now this narrative seems to have gotten crushed once and for all by the revolving door of key operators stepping in and out of boardrooms and cabinet positions, doing the bidding of the financial oligarchy and the U.S. military, Secretary of State, Homeland Security and departments dealing with all aspects of the economy.

The rulers are now in search of a new narrative. They are floundering because the force of history is such that it debunks fraud which is the hallmark of reactionary ruling elites today. A year after the January 6, 2021 failed coup in the United States, the approval ratings of President Biden are plummeting. He was supposed to be the new champion capable of setting everything right in the U.S. So too in Canada, Trudeau's image is tattered and torn. The collective liberal fantasy of who our leaders could be if only we wish it hard enough has run out of steam. There is a vacuum they are desperate to fill by promoting false ideological beliefs and historical fraud.

Articles in this issue of TML Monthly also deal with this matter. It is up to the working people to take matters into their own hands and become the political replacement by taking over decision-making on the basis of a nation-building project of their own.

This article was published in

Volume 52 Number 1 - January 9, 2022

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