We have alluded to the Whig notion that the people, being untutored, prone to passions, subject to being led by charlatans, snake oil peddlers and the like, should not to be trusted with the ultimate leadership of a nation. Yet, we proudly state that the people are sovereign. We have seen how strategically planted lies – the lies about Kerry and the swift boats, the lies about Hillary Clinton’s emails- can affect the outcome of a democratic election.
Is that reason to discard our democracy, the worst possible form of government except all the others? The others offer no solution either. If the English Crown had assumed some level of political leadership, or stewardship, perhaps the Brexit vote would have been different. But the Crown remained aloof. The people spoke and they might have been right or wrong. Only time will tell. What they did was create turmoil, uncertainty and indecision. No one knows what will happen, but it could be catastrophic. For sure, several thousands of people will lose their jobs. The position of London as a financial center may be diminished.
Will we able to survive a presidency of inexperienced, uneducated amateurs whose prior experience is limited to real estate promotions and third-rate television?
Roger Cohen of the NY Times is less than hopeful. He predicts that the president-elect will end us in Armageddon. Rather than heal our divides, he will amplify them.
Walls and deportations serve no purpose but to ratify the worse instincts of the angry white unemployed who have no policy credentials and no sense of our own heritage. They will slam the door shut to protect the exceptionally ignorant and small-minded, touting exceptionalism as a national rite while stocking up on guns. They spread the message that gun owners can take law into their own hands, trusting not the authorities who they themselves elected to carry out law and order. Meanwhile, who will pick and sort the harvests, who will labor on our farms? Who will perform the countless jobs that we need to have done? Will we continue to keep our labor force in a limbo status, deportable at a whim?
The inconsistencies multiply; the outlook gets hazier and hazier. The fear that gripped much of the nation has not abated.