An ominous portent: The day after Donald Trump's election to president is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, Hitler's 1938 attack upon Jewish businesses.
Garrison Keillor, who noted the Kristallnacht anniversary in his Writer's Almanac, sought in his Washington Post column this morning to take a philosophical view of Trump's stunning win over Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's presidential election.
I agree with the general spirit of Keillor's column. Life will go on. Middle-class liberals will seek solace in intellectual and artistic pursuits. Our daily lives of work and leisure mostly will be unaffected by GOP-dominated politics. I see the appeal of the philosophy of decompressing from politics, also recently expressed by Roilling Stone's Matt Iaibbi.
Yet, I was bothered by Keillor's column. Is he describing an attitude similar to that of sophisticated German citizens, a refusal to take a stand against the Nazis and their war against the Jews and others? With the GOP in control of the House and Senate and most state governments, this is a time of crisis for progressives, a time for stepped up engagement.
Trump's dangers are many. A ruined economy. Increased tensions with Mexico, Europe, China, Iran and so on. The most serious threat is his denial of climate change. At age 70, Trump is likely to last for only one term, if that. (Chances are good that the GOP Congress will impeach him). Those four years will be too long to prevent permanent climate change disaster.
Already the Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins is crowing that Trump's triumph will mark the death knell for the environmental movement. Progressives must raise their efforts against Trump's vow to back away from the world treaty to halt global warming.
As Keillor suggests, Trump cares nothing about the white working class, except as tools for his rise to power and policies that will benefit the GOP's rich corporate backers. Working class Americans of all races will suffer from Trump and the Republicans' plans to dismantle social programs, environmental regulations and public education.
The "president-elect" has promised to deport Mexicans, build a wall and promote police intimidation of blacks.
He's also vowed to wage war against the media, including the Washington Post, owned by true billionaire Jeff Bezos, and The New York Times, owned by the Sulzbergers. He's threatened and demeaned women journalists Megyn Kelly of Fox News and Katy Tur of NBC.
When will he and his Republican cohorts turn against books they don't like, TV shows they oppose, writers, musicians and comedians they find dangerous?
Will the good liberals be allowed to read Jane Austen and prune their roses?