Peter Laarman: This year we gained an opportunity to achieve greater clarity about how fear and hate reinforce each other, how inspired demagoguery foments both, and how fatal to the health of a body politic a deliberately induced tribalism can be.
Peter Laarman: Even now, and even especially now in the pit of winter and on the cusp of our unsought descent into Trump Time: all those tidings of great joy, all those angels heralding the dawn of new hope and light, mean more to me than my rational mind can quite comprehend.
Peter Laarman: Thomas Jefferson, who owned over 600 enslaved persons during the course of his long life, was highly conscious of the ways in which his wealth increased as long as enslaved women could be made to produce a new baby at least every two years.
Peter Laarman: Raboteau’s prose is spare and elegant, and the book will be instructive even for people who think they know all they need to about the members of this Magnificent Seven.
Peter Laarman: It’s not a bad thing to feel dislocated and to realize that the strategies and tactics, and even the renewing rituals, that we have always relied upon may not be sufficient in this hour.
Peter Laarman: On this dark day of reckoning, we can of course choose to to continue to condescend to the people who supported Trump, dismissing them as ignorant racists and misogynists–in short, as “deplorables.”
Peter Laarman: The candidates hate each other’s guts and make no pretense about it. The partisans of each hate and fear the partisans of the other, likewise at a gut level. There’s never been anything like it.
Peter Laarman: Secretary Clinton often sounds moralistic when speaking of the nation’s problems, but she never comes across as a deeply ethical reformer in the mold of Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, or even 1964’s Lyndon Johnson.
Peter Laarman: We could accomplish so much if even a fraction of what we now spend on policing and incarceration were spent instead on meeting human needs.
Peter Laarman: The idea of amalgamation between whites and African Americans barely got beyond the conceptual stage, despite the reality that many if not most white slaveholders (from Thomas Jefferson on down) preyed sexually on the women in their service. Exploitation, yes; amalgamation, never.
Peter Laarman: Forget about Donald Trump as Elmer Gantry (or as Elmer Fudd): if things went according to HRC’s playbook the repulsive Seven-Headed Dragon from Queens would be routed and slain by the Forces of Democratic Righteousness upon the plains of an electoral Armageddon.
Peter Laarman: It’s not pretty to see these old “liberal” institutions, all of which were built with what Lincoln called the “wealth piled up by 250 years of the bondsman’s unrequited toil,” sucking up to the new oppressors for additional gilding.
Peter Laarman: What is deeply dispiriting, however, is the number of people in political leadership and in the commentariat who mouth the exact same memes: 99% of police officers are great public servants, blah blah blah.