Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Chris Hedges Vs. Robert Reich on Differences That Simultaneously Make No Difference and All the Difference in the World

If you haven't watched the debate on Democracy Now! between Chris Hedges and Robert Reich (7/26/16--linked above), please do yourself the favor of reviewing the last 90 seconds, in which Hedges says:
I don't think it makes any difference [whether we elect Trump or Clinton]. The TPP is gonna go through whether it's Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is gonna be continued whether it's Trump or Clinton. We're not gonna get our privacy back whether it's under Clinton or Trump. The idea that at this point the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth.
Hedges' points are not only true, but virtually indisputable.

Nevertheless, Robert Reich roars back with heartfelt resentment: "I just wanna say equating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is absolute nonsense."

The video closes out before Hedges can explain that he isn't equating the person of Donald Trump with the person of Hillary Clinton. All his argument does is highlight the absence of any practical distinction in the ways their policies will affect people in the U.S. and throughout the world.

That bitter and brutal truth is difficult for Clinton supporters like Reich to swallow even though they have already accepted it on some level. They know that Clinton will support the TPP once she's in office and that she'll promote aggression by the U.S. military throughout the globe and that she'll expand the powers of the surveillance state instead of curtailing those powers.

To people like Reich, however, it's preposterous to say that a Trump presidency and a Clinton presidency will come to the same thing because Trump will make them feel horrible about such policies and Clinton will make them feel good about the exact same policies.

Will Clinton stop police brutality against people of color in the U.S.? Certainly not--but every now and then she'll get some of the members of a choir in a black church to go on camera and forgive the police. Trump, by contrast, will laugh openly at the oppression of communities of color.

Will Clinton stop the U.S. military from murdering innocent civilians all over the globe? Certainly not--but she'll make long, incomprehensible speeches with lots of irrelevant (but nevertheless correct) facts that seem to warrant continuing the murders. Trump, on the other hand, will make short, incomprehensible speeches with a few irrelevant (and completely incorrect) facts that seem to warrant continuing the murders.

When Trump signs the TPP into law, he'll simply give the middle finger to the white working class people who voted him into office. When Clinton signs it into law, she'll just avoid press conferences for the next 200 days while occasionally appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show to deny that she is avoiding press conferences.

Trump will make us feel terrible about the moral bankruptcy of our country, but the Clinton media machine will do a top-notch job of distracting us from that moral bankruptcy.

So that's why Chris Hedges is crazy to suggest that it makes no difference whether we elect Clinton or Trump--because he's just focusing on what will happen instead of how we'll feel about what will happen.

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