There is a sense of crazy freedom in the air: It is as if some people on the right found their voice, and now say: ‘We are allowed some Schadenfreude; we won. We can now say anything we like. Begone political correctness; welcome nastiness.’ The emotions were simmering all through the elections: PC morality is arrogant, tyrannical. This got intermingled with partial truths about an oppressive establishment—“rigged system, believe me”—which fail to identify some very real reasons why people got stuck living lives they don’t like (globalization, money in politics…)—and played on the strings of deep-seated anti-monarchical sentiments. There are many tyrannies these days to fight: big Government, big Media, big Hollywood, big Science, PC. If this is not anarchism, it is still an image of anarchism; it is an across-the-board assault: on politics, on human decency, on science, on reason, and on logic: also on the very notions of ‘making a promise,’ “believe me,” or on the notion of ‘saying how things are,’ “I’m telling it like it is.” The situation feels like a huge commotion, and disorder—not (yet?) political perhaps, but of values and reason—in which the kings are the hooligans and the thugs. They are not the majority, they are probably a tiny minority, but everyone else right now is either voiceless beaten or silenced like the liberal left, or confused like the republican establishment that are trying to find a way to fall into line with Trump and avoid his angry vindictive side.
Yes, there is a bit of Shadenfreude; yes there is a bit of nastiness. It is serious, but it is also expected. There was a fight. It’s over. The adrenaline is still a bit high. It will calm down. The system is strong enough to contain such upsets. Even if tilted a bit, it will regain its balance eventually. Not every disagreement is an assault on morality itself. Not every fight is a fight with the devil. And I’m on the losing side, so it is natural that I feel the need for some solemn soul-searching—trying to make sense of what has happened. Those on the winning side are not part of that conversation. They don’t need solemnity; they need Champaign and paper hats. Their circumstances now don’t call upon them to reflect. So yes, pain and loss tend to put a bubble around us, confine us to ourselves, and shut us from the outside world. So we are currently a bit remote from one another; we need to heal. But that’s not a reason to think we won’t be able to find our way back to talking to one another. The legal system is still in place, the dollar hasn’t lost its value, Florida s still above water. People still can make promises, and they can tell the truth. One must wait the storm out, and in the meantime hold on to what is stable—family, friends, daily routines.
[Inside the commotion] – Hanoch Levin
There was some kind of disturbance, a fire or some other scare. People were running everywhere, here and there, vigorously shouting, and waiving their hands. It was hard to see why.
Suddenly, a woman halted. She looked back, and bellowed at a scrawny man, who was running behind her in his pajamas: “You are worthless!” The man froze for an instant too, not at all surprised—as if this was what he expected—and like an oily, protective layer, he put an abashed smile on his face. The bellower—her body already leaning forward to resume running— lingered and continued to glance backwards for a while longer, until the abashed smile achieved its full width on the face of runner behind her. She then turned from him again, disengaged, and continued to run. The runner in his pajamas now followed her twice as hard, as if wishing to drown the abashed smile that was now fading from his lips inside the general commotion. And indeed there was a kind of euphoria, a kind of elation. And like a thick and foggy cloud of smoke, a general bustle flared up and engulfed it all.