“This Christmas I mourn the long, slow death of our democracy that led to the political ascendancy of Donald Trump.”
So begins Chris Hedges’ latest essay, In the Time of Trump, All We Have Is Each Other.
Despite the dark prognosis he presents for American society in particular, and global society overall, Hedges does offer us a way of resistance and, along with it, a ray of hope.
“We must not become preoccupied with the short-term effects of resistance. Failure is inevitable for many of us. Tyrants have silenced voices of conscience in the past. They will do so again. We will endure by holding fast to our integrity, by building community and by spawning new institutions in the midst of the wreckage. We will sustain each other. Perhaps enough of us will endure to begin again.”
Hedges’ echoes Morris Berman’s suggestion in The Twilight of American Culture that our best bet is to assume the “monastic option.” By simply living our values, privately and within small communities we create, without expectation of influence or reward, we will be doing the important job of maintaining humanistic culture and integrity during the dark times ahead.
This is not to say we don’t petition, or call our representatives, or march in the streets. Rather it asks us to deeply understand the challenge before us and to recognize that the source of our strength will come from our personal commitments to what we really believe and from the people who are closest to us and matter to us most.