Werner Herzog’s Bear thinks that the punditocracy is overlooking the central appeal of Donald Trump, even as they clutch their pearls and fall on their fainting couches, in the grip of the vapors at his ungentlemanly behavior.
Mr. Bear believes that uniting Trump’s appeals to bigotry, racism, and xenophobia is an overweening theme of aggressive nationalism*. I urge you to read his full piece; here’s a bit:
The lack of an understanding of the centrality of nationalism in American history and politics is causing many pundits to just miss the boat. They scratch their heads and say “Trump is getting support from across class and regional and religious lines, how is he doing this?” He’s doing it because nationalism is a force that has the ability to transcend other identities and bring people together who might not normally see themselves on the same team. It is a force that can whip up the masses in a frothy frenzy to be channeled by demagogues.
About the same time that Mr. Bear was forming his post, Giles Fraser of The Guardian offered his theory as to how Americans who loudly and vociferously proclaim their fealty to Jesus Christ can espouse policies that directly counter his words as reported in the four Gospels:
It has long been presumed that America is more Christian than Europe. But it’s a myth. Of course, way more people go to church in America. And you can’t become president without holding up your floppy Bible and attending prayer breakfasts. But what the Donald Trump phenomenon reveals is what several intelligent Christian observers have been saying for some time: that a great many Americans don’t really believe in God. They just believe in America – which they often take to be the same thing. God was hacked by the American dream some time ago. “The evangelical church in America has, to a large extent, been co-opted by an American, religious version of the kingdom of the world. We have come to trust the power of the sword more than the power of the cross,” writes Gregory Boyd in The Myth of a Christian Nation.
In short, he suggests that American
fundamentalists evangelicals whatever they call themselves today you know who I mean have replaced the Prince of Peace with a God of War–that they have built their own Golden Christ, wrapped in an American flag, carrying an M16, and piloting a Predator drone.
Frankly, I think that both writers are onto something. In particular, it is much easier for persons to change their god than it is for them to change themselves. Christianists (or, as Michael in Norfolk calls them, “Christofascists”) have taken that step.
*Left implicit is the “white’ in nationalism.