Inner Emptiness Descends on the Trump Haters

Incredibly, in an open letter to students at the City University of New York, Barbara Bowen, head of the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents the public sector faculty, wrote her dark and dreadful thoughts for all to read.  She has conjured an apocalyptic vision because of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of our country. At one point in her letter, she astoundingly states, “Many of us feel shattered and threatened by the result of the election last week. Violence of all kinds suddenly seems much closer -- violence against the climate and against other nation-states, but also against women, people of color, the poor, Muslims, immigrants, Jews, children, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, transgender and transsexual people and others.” 

Let’s unpack the assumptions underlying this horrific vision.

“Climate” for her is a living organism. It is an entity that she expects will experience “violence” because Trump has not been raising an alarm over the climate change predicted by some models.  Wars are posited as an inevitable consequence of Trump’s America First chauvinism, and the palpably fearful tone suggests imminence of those wars.  Brutal repression of a variety of groups is on the horizon.  Women will be attacked and harmed by this p**** grabbing adulterer with the sexy mannequin wives.     

BLM -- rioting and looting in response to the “racism” that is part of white America’s DNA (according to Pres. Obama) -- will be stopped. Rioters and looters will be hit over the head, punched, and beaten if they do not go quietly into the paddy wagon.  This is her fantasy from which she extrapolates Trump’s hatred for blacks and the poor.

Muslims she may believe will be taken one-by-one into interrogation rooms with a single naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling. There they will be beaten, nay, tortured.  Waterboarding and worse will be applied to loyal Muslim citizens until they confess disloyalty to these United States where they have lived and prospered and been law abiding for decades.  Finally, to stop the torture, and escape possible death, they will have to turn in the names of other Muslims who have been disloyal, who have been plotting mass murders.  False confessions will be pressured out of their frightened souls. She is envisioning the Palmer raids of a century ago looking for communists, but also for disloyal Muslims who can be deported from our fair shores under one pretext or another.

For Ms. Bowen, one imagines, violence against Jews under Trump may be in the form of a pogrom or worse This is true for her in spite of his insistence on his pro-Israel philosophy.  She imagines Steve Bannon as a kind of American Joseph Goebbels because one headline on referred to Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew,” which term was actually given to Bannon by David Horowitz.  And Horowitz, himself a Jew, recently wrote in an article that he has known Bannon for years and that Bannon did not have an anti-Semitic bone in his body.  In parallel fashion, renowned liberal Alan Dershowitz also wrote that Bannon was not anti-Semitic.

To read Bowen’s letter is to glimpse into a dark and troubled perspective, one I fear is shared by many on the left.  A pernicious dread, perhaps described best by Soren Kirkegaard in his great study Fear and Trembling, is eating at the center of her soul – and is typified by the similar reactions of the host of Hollywood celebs who are justifying the “demonstrations” (spontaneous of course) going on in many cities, and on campuses. This pernicious dread suggests souls troubled in a way that is beyond salve or comfort.  Kirkegaard writes, “If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?”  Would it be an exaggeration to suggest that Ms. Bowen’s comment expresses this “inner emptiness?”

Bowen leaps from the despair of anticipated violence, to a supposed constructive program to defend against Trump’s militant hate program.  She tells those of us on the faculty,

“If you, as a faculty or professional staff member, experience harassment or intimidation in your CUNY workplace, call the PSC right away and ask for a contract enforcement counselor. If you witness such events, do not remain silent.”

Further she is gathering petitions and letters against hatred and bigotry.  These petitions will give all who think like her a chance to express their inner emptiness, dread, and dark passions. The world must know how utterly frustrated and futile she and others like her feel at this horrible juncture of history.

Lastly, she tells the faculty of CUNY,

“We can reaffirm our commitment to building the power the PSC will need in the next four years. It is almost certain that a case on the rights of public-sector unions will come before a newly constituted Supreme Court.” 

It seems likely to this writer that she, as President of the PSC, anticipates a Supreme Court packed with Trump appointees that will, sooner rather than later, attack public sector bargaining rights.  She may see the dark specter of Scott Walker’s victories in his fight against public sector unions coming soon to New York City.  And what might the end result of that be?  She would be out of her nice job, her perks, and thousands of highly educated people will no longer care one whit about what she has to say.

Even now, she may sense the tide turning against her.  The darkness is descending.  Like many obsessed leftwing Democrats, she is experiencing the inner emptiness.  A gloomy tomorrow can be terrifying.

Jack Wisdom is the pen name of a member of the CUNY faculty