Chis Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Princeton professor who has authored several best-selling books, takes aim at what many will consider to be an unexpected target in his latest critique of President Donald Trump. Hedges doesn’t blame conservative Republicans or the alt-right movement for Trump’s ascension. Instead, he blames a group that is supposed to the arch nemesis of Trump and his supporters — “liberal elites.” And he doesn’t mince words about it.
“The liberal elites—from Hollywood and the Democratic Party to The New York Times and CNN—a group that bears significant responsibility for the death of our democracy, now hold themselves up as the saviors of the republic,” Hedges writes in an editorial published by Truthdig on Sunday.
“They have embarked, despite their own corruption and their complicity in neoliberalism and the crimes of empire, on a self-righteous moral crusade to topple Donald Trump.”
He then quips, “It is quite a show.”
Hedges — who is known for being outspoken in his criticism of monied interests, Wall Street, war, and the prison-industrial complex, among other things — has been a longtime advocate and activist for progressive and even some leftist causes.
He was arrested, alongside Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, outside the White House for protesting the ongoing war in Afghanistan in 2010. In 2011, he was arrested again during the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. And in 2016 he was arrested for a third time, at least, during the Democracy Spring protests in Washington, D.C.
After citing liberal criticisms of Trump regarding his executive order that ban travel to the U.S. for people from seven predominately Muslim nations and the ongoing allegations of Trump’s alleged ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, Hedges goes on a lengthy, no-punches-pulled tirade against what he sees as the problems of Obama and Clinton-style Democrats and their supporters.
“Where was this moral outrage when our privacy was taken from us by the security and surveillance state, the criminals on Wall Street were bailed out, we were stripped of our civil liberties and 2.3 million men and women were packed into our prisons, most of them poor people of color? Why did they not thunder with indignation as money replaced the vote and elected officials and corporate lobbyists instituted our system of legalized bribery? Where were the impassioned critiques of the absurd idea of allowing a nation to be governed by the dictates of corporations, banks and hedge fund managers? Why did they cater to the foibles and utterings of fellow elites, all the while blacklisting critics of the corporate state and ignoring the misery of the poor and the working class? Where was their moral righteousness when the United States committed war crimes in the Middle East and our militarized police carried out murderous rampages? What the liberal elites do now is not moral. It is self-exaltation disguised as piety. It is part of the carnival act.”
Hedges operates within an often uncomfortable political gray zone where he finds himself to the left of most Democrats but not quite to the far left that would place him among the ranks of anarcho-communists or hardcore socialists. While he has advocated socialism, he has also criticized anti-fascists and anarcho-communists who participate in Black Bloc tactics, calling them a “cancer” among the Occupy Wall Street movement.
If one had to guess, it might be most accurate to say he falls somewhere close to Bernie Sanders and Cornell West on the political spectrum.
Regardless of exactly what his politics are, and despite — or perhaps because of — his unapologetic style of commentary, Hedges is an influential voice among many to the left of the political center. His conclusion that the “failed neoliberal policies” of the Democratic Party is what ultimately led to the Hillary Clinton’s defeat, is bound to upset some people in the circles he travels in.
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