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David Brooks’ Must Read Column On Donald Trump

April 29, 2016

This is why I love newspapers so much.

David Brooks wrote the following in The New York Times.

The leaders of the Republican Party are … going down meekly and hoping for a quiet convention. They seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter.

The better course for all of us – Republican, Democrat and independent – is to step back and take the long view, and to begin building for that. This election – not only the Trump phenomenon but the rise of Bernie Sanders, also – has reminded us how much pain there is in this country. According to a Pew Research poll, 75 percent of Trump voters say that life has gotten worse for people like them over the last half century.

This declinism intertwines with other horrible social statistics. The suicide rate has surged to a 30-year high – a sure sign of rampant social isolation. A record number of Americans believe the American dream is out of reach. And for millennials, social trust is at historic lows. Trump’s success grew out of that pain, but he is not the right response to it. …

We’ll probably need a new national story. Up until now, America’s story has been some version of the rags-to-riches story … I don’t know what the new national story will be, but maybe it will be less individualistic and more redemptive. … We’ll probably need a new definition of masculinity, too. … The traditional masculine ideal isn’t working anymore. It leads to high dropout rates, high incarceration rates, low labor force participation rates. This is an economy that rewards emotional connection and verbal expressiveness. …

We’ll also need to rebuild the sense that we’re all in this together. … Maybe the task is to build a ladder of hope. … Trump will have his gruesome moment. The time is best spent elsewhere, meeting the neighbors who have become strangers, and listening to what they have to say.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. tom permalink
    April 30, 2016 8:12 AM

    Brooks is like the Democrats I knew growing up. The old democrats used to be focused on the needs of the working class, but I understand why they moved instead into the special interest game.

  2. April 29, 2016 11:00 PM

    I just want it noted that David Brooks is a Republican. One of the type I knew when growing up–but still a Republican.

  3. tom permalink
    April 29, 2016 10:07 PM

    As far as I can see, most of the bullying now is being done by the Anti-Trump people. The scene they created outside the convention on California was quite disturbing. Action like that will only cement support for Trump. It certainly plays into narrative about the authoritarian nature of “liberals” in America.

    Brooks mentions the anger on the right and of poor white males who are less educated that we would like. However, what he misses behind the narrative behind the whole “no more American dream” crap is the dangerous growth in the sense of entitlement that so many citizens are infected with. The current generation of young voters in America will never ask what they can do for their country. In this regard, the old themes of conservatism: self-reliance, individuality, and hard work as a virtue cannot compete. Liberals, with their never ending class warfare and endless promises of free stuff for votes is too easy and appealing. Sadly, with a 19 trillion dollar debt already, this cannot end well.

  4. Marilyn permalink
    April 29, 2016 12:27 PM

    As long as “Trump’s moment” does not include 4 years as President..At the end of that…all ability to express ourselves will be quieted thru bullying…his and his followers’.

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