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"We Need to Change Everything so that Nothing Changes": A Post-Mortem Analysis "We Need to Change Everything so that Nothing Changes": A Post-Mortem Analysis
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2016-11-13 08:52:42
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The unthinkable has happened. Donald Trump has won the presidency. "Oh, my God, they did it" were the headlines of a European newspaper, echoing those of the Brexit. The journalist pundits and experts, with eggs all over their face, just as in the case of Brexit, are now busy in explaining what went wrong and in predicting what will go wrong in the future, stopping short of explaining why they got it wrong this time around. I have yet to see at their tables’ one of those secret voters who voted for Trump (they claim that there were many secret admirers who came out only on election day and now refuse to come forward and acknowledge their vote, thus offering another bizarre and absurd explanation. 

Indeed, this will continue for days and weeks, in an attempt to cover up their colossal failure at analysis, not to speak of insights. It is reminiscent of those conferences on poverty attended by experts on poverty (usually academics and politicians) where one never sees a poor and disadvantaged sitting at the table, but the analysis and the post-analysis go on for days and weeks while no general consensus is ever reached on a possible reasonable solution.

And yet there was somebody who predicted the outcome of this election weeks ahead and sounded the alarm. Just as with Cassandra, nobody listened. His name is Michael Moore. He simply pointed out that both in Michigan and Wyoming, the primaries were won not by Hillary Clinton but by Bernie Sanders, and that the young, the millennials were not in favor of Clinton but of Sanders. He himself ails from those regions from working class parents. He also observed that most of those people who had voted for Sanders were working class, poorly educated, low income kind of people who had actually voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. So, perhaps the motivation of well half of the people of the country to vote for Trump was not exclusively racism or bigotry, as many experts on the left of the political spectrum had vociferously speculated. Those experts are living in the bubble or a privileged comfortable class earning salaries three or four times larger than those of the average citizen who is struggling to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck and working harder than ever.

Moore predicted that ignoring the discontent of a middle class who had seen its wages stagnating since the 80s, the Regan years, while the rich and well-to-do tripled and quadrupled their income within a system rigged in their favor, was equivalent to ensuring that they would have nowhere else to go and that Trump would win the election. Bernie Sanders of course had already been eliminated by tipping the scales in favor of Clinton within the Democratic Party. So, those working class people who had understood Sanders' argument about bad distribution of income and distributive injustice, decided to take their grievance somewhere else. They were left with Trump who, con-man that he is, promised them radical changes, and turning the tables on the privileged and the powerful in Washington. 

Of course they are misguided: they have failed to reflect that Trump, somebody born in privilege, who had stiffed the middle class all his business life, who paid no taxes, could not and would not suddenly become their champion. And so they have deluded themselves and, out of desperation voted for him anyway, while the pundits continued talking ponderously about resurgent racism and xenophobia and sexual deviancy in America. They continue to do so, expecting the leopard (who is 70 years old) to change its spots and begin acting presidential and become the white in shining armor, champion of the poor and underprivileged. Good luck.

To be sure racism remains a persistent virus of the American political body-politic. But those issues, at best belong to some 20% of the population (the so called basket of deplorable mentioned by Clinton before the election) not to the whole Republican Party. The real issue is ultimately philosophical. It has to do with the wrong paradigm; that of positivism: the belief, since the 19th century, buttressed by the Enlightenment that science and extreme rationalism will give us the answers to the ultimate end and purpose of life and that science and science only will solve all our problems, even those existential problems of survival of the species. The belief that progress always arrives at the end and change is always for the better. It is progressive, in other words. But, alas, if history teaches us anything it is that sometimes change is not for the best is regressive. Such was the case of the election of Hitler. Such is the case of the election of Trump. But most people that voted for him do not know it yet. They will soon find out and be sorely disappointed.

If there is a new political movement in America and elsewhere when the silly analysis of the experts is over, it will not be due to Hillary Clinton, or Donna Brazil, or Wesserman Shultz, but to Bernie Sanders. So, the ghost of Bernie Sanders, whom I branded as the best possible candidate for the Democratic Party to nominate for president, hangs over this election.

Let me end with a final thought. In the famous 1956 novel by Giuseppe di Lampedusa Il Gattopardo (then made into a movie in 1963 by Luchino Visconti, which is about the unification of Italy, there is a conversation between the prince of Salina and his nephew Tancredi about the new imminent social changes about to happen in Italy and where their class (the aristocracy) belongs. Tancredi at one point says to his uncle: "uncle, we must change everything so that nothing really changes." That is to say, the people must be fooled by believing that change and progress is coming. In reality nothing will change and the rich and powerful will retain control and things will not only not get better but will get much worse. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

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Check Dr Emanuel Paparella's EBOOKS
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Rose2016-11-13 16:48:34
As your sister I keep answering to your articles because I believe in our Constitution. I too would have voted for Sanders, but that was not to be because of crooked Hilary. Now that we have a new president let's give him a chance and let's talk about it in four years. Remember it was not just Trump that won. It was the Senate the House of Representatives and the Judicial System. No one can blame the other for not making the changes that are so badly needed, so that we can prosper as a nation and if nothing else protect us from countries that are trying to do us in. I could not care about how many women are saying they were molested or how many women screwed Clinton while in the Whitehouse. I do care about the millions we just gave to Iran and others. Reality Lino the country could not go on the same path. Obama Care was a disaster. The trade deals were a disaster, Our Embassy was attacked and we did nothing. Secretary of State decided she could lie to the people it would be all right. I told you than I would never vote for her. So again let's talk about this in four years. You know our democracy is still the best. Your sister Rose


Emanuel Paparella2016-11-14 10:27:52
Thanks for proving my point Rose that there were those who would have voted for Sanders who felt that they had nowhere to go but Trump but to confuse the incoherence of a Trump for the clarity of a Sanders is puzzling to say the least. Also you say that change was needed but alas you ignore the point of Tancredi to his nephew that "we need to change everything so that nothing changes." Our grandfather had to emigrate from Italy because people were told that things would get better with Italian unification but in reality they got worse. So, it seems to me that we don't need to wait for four more years. We already know how this movie ends. If I was wrong and it turns out that the leopard has changed its spots, I'll be the first one to acknowledge. I remain skeptical and saddened that so many people, including my sister, who understood Sander's argument were taken in by a con man who will never deliver on distributive justice. But as you say, time will tell.


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