Trump Embodies America’s Worst Traditions

In the age of Obama, I believed that most or at least a majority of Americans had overcome, had been educated out of racism, prejudices, their worst fears and traditions. They would no longer embrace dangerous demagogues like Joe McCarthy and George Wallace, and would respond primarily to positive aspirations and to appeals to reason. I fear I was wrong.

“America achieved greatness by reluctantly undergoing a painful process of critical introspection that forced it, time and again, to look in the mirror and come to terms with its worst demons as the prerequisite for exorcising them. To remain true to that process, we should acknowledge that Trump doesn’t stand apart from American traditions. He just embodies some of the worst,” writes Yoav Fromer, who teaches politics and American history in Israel.

He offers a litany of some of the worst moments in American history — hostility to and violence against immigrants, bullying other countries and engaging in imperialism so much that scholars have sometimes viewed the US as a “Dangerous Nation,” with a long history of “regeneration through violence.” Indeed, violence is deeply ingrained in American society.

Violence enforced slavery, Jim Crow and brutal suppression of organized labor’s demands for improved wages and conditions in relatively forgotten episodes like the 1892 Homestead Strike in Pennsylvania, the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in Colorado and the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia.

The whole piece is worth a read. As are these two pieces:


Are We on the Path to National Ruin?

A partly burned flag before a 2015 demonstration on the anniversary of a fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Mo.

Europe in the 1930s and America in the 1890s faced many troubling conditions like we do today. They responded with very different answers.comment icon Comments

How Dangerous Is This Moment?

Flowers left at police headquarters in Dallas.

Historical parallels can take us only so far, but the echoes of everything from the populism of 1896 to the violence of 1968 are audible

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