Henry A. Giroux: Anti-Politics and the Plague of Disorientation: Welcome to the Age of Trump
Desperation among many segments of the American public has become personal, furthering a generalized anger ripe for right-wing populism or worse. One consequence is that xenophobia and economic insecurity couple with ignorance and a collective rage to breed the conditions for symbolic and real violence, as we have seen at many Trump rallies. When language is emptied of any substance and politics loses its ability to hold power accountable, the stage is set for a social order that allows poor Black and Brown youth to continue to be objects of domestic terrorism, and provides a cover for corporate and political criminals to ravage the earth and loot the public treasury. In the age of Trump, truth becomes the enemy of governance and politics tips over into a deadly malignancy.
One thing about the political impasse facing the American public is that it finds itself in a historical moment in which language is losing its potential for imagining the unimaginable, confronting words, images and power relations that are in the service of violence, hatred and racism — this is the moment in which meaning slips into slogans, thought is emptied of substance and ideas descend into platitudes and sound bites. This is an instant in which the only choices are between political narratives that represent the hard and soft versions of authoritarianism — narratives that embrace neo-fascism on the one side and a warmongering neoliberal worldview on the other.
This is the age of a savage capitalism, one that the director Ken Loach insists produces a “conscious cruelty.” The evidence is everywhere, not only in the vulgar blustering of Donald Trump and Fox News, but also in the language of the corporate-controlled media apparatuses that demonize and prey on the vulnerable and proclaim the primacy of self-interest over the common good, reinforce a pathological individualism, enrich themselves in ratings rooted in a never-ending spectacle of violence and legitimate a notion of freedom that collapses into the scourge of privatization and atomization.