The Trump Brexit Moment


Here is my original Brexit Facebook post:

Make no mistake about it. There is a link between yesterday's devastating Supreme Court non-decision - the one that will tear apart immigrant families and destroy their livelihood, Britain's vote to leave the European Union, and the rise of Donald Trump. 

Nationalist voices are on the rise. They are winning BIG victories. The reactionaries have momentum and this is not good for the world.

It was a moment of angst. The thought still holds true, but I also see possibility. Emancipatory politics must never give in to despair. I see opportunity underneath it all, I see a drive to upend an unjust system.

I’m not expressing support for neoliberal, bureaucratized, undemocratic trade blocs. I am expressing concern about insular nationalisms that are stoked by anti-immigrant xenophobia. I also posted a Chris Hayes tweet - “I don’t want a future in which politics is primarily a battle between cosmopolitan finance capitalism and ethno-nationalist backlash.”

We are being served another false dichotomy. Our job is to imagine, midwife and nurture the new. Liberation is still the goal. Even in face of extinction, we are here to optimize life at the intersection of love and freedom.

I’ll write more about what is possible when we dive beneath the reactionary impulse with our own visionary politics. There is something that is common, and it will be wise to find it.

In the meantime, I see us having to work at least four fronts at the same time:

1. Work with what we have - I’m voting for Hillary. I realize that I just lost half of my audience. But it is what I’m going to do. No, not because she brings freedom, but because the bad that she does comes a little bit more slow. We need time. I’m not in the camp that says that the quicker it all falls apart the sooner we’ll all wake up. I find that’s a very privileged stance. I also know that the change that we seek will never come from a president.

2. Disruption - Continue to stand with and support the movements that dare to disrupt, from the front-lines that can bring an end to pipelines to those who are undocumented and unafraid to the  beautiful folks that remind us of the dignity in Black lives, and very specifically the women, queer and trans folks who are providing the leadership that we need.

3. Tell a New Story - Here I am not talking about a new messaging campaign. I’m talking about a big bold story, a story that dares to tackle the fundamental question that has animated each and every expression of human culture throughout the ages - “What does it mean to be human and alive? How did we get here and why are we here?” We find great wisdom in our traditions, but our conditions are unlike anything humanity has ever faced. We must give rise to our prophetic voice.

4. Turn to one another - Practice the new. The answers will not come from above. The answers will not be legislated or mass produced. Ours is a project of remembering. The crisis is a crisis of meaning and connection, we need to tell a new story and we need to turn to one another.

The “European enlightenment project of the isolated self” has come to its logical conclusion. It first yielded freedom, today it yields alienation. We are here to give birth to a new “we.” I’m not talking about the statist collectives of earlier experiments. I am talking about new ways of being-with. It is in this mutuality, in this shared vulnerability that we will find the power, the wisdom and the courage for an evolutionary leap.

I will write more about each of these. Let’s stay in conversation.