The great reckoning by @BloggersRUs

The great reckoning

by Tom Sullivan

There will be no Great Awakening among members of the Trump cult, no Road to Damascus experience in which the scales fall from their eyes and they repent their sins.

When the Great Awakening took the American colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, it was because the traveling revivalist Rev. George Whitfield, with his actor's training, brought "a potent combination of drama, religious rhetoric, and imperial pride" to his sermons. Whitfield's passion left even skeptic Benjamin Franklin emptying his purse.

Critic Charles Chauncy, a minister of the First Church of Boston, wrote:

But so far as I could judge upon the nicest observation, the town, in general, was not much mended in those things wherein a reformation was greatly needed. I could not discern myself, nor many others whom I have talked with and challenged on this head, but that there was the same pride and vanity, the same luxury and intemperance, the same lying and tricking and cheating as before this gentleman came among us."
The #MAGA rallys and promises to "drain the swamp" are perhaps sad echoes of those performances, but the evangelicals who reacted against the Enlightenment back then bought into Trump's invective against the Other in 2016. However, with Trump's consistent defense of men in his circle who, like himself, face against accusations of abuse of women, and his just as consistent dismissal women making those accusations, David Remnick wonders whether the fall of one after another Trump aide will finally cut through to women who have experienced it themselves.

Even former White House adviser Steve Bannon sees handwriting on the wall. Reacting to the black dresses at the Golden Globes ceremonies and the sustained applause for Oprah Winfrey's “Their time is up!” speech, Bannon told journalist Joshua Green:

“It’s a Cromwell moment!” Bannon said. “It’s even more powerful than populism. It’s deeper. It’s primal. It’s elemental. The long black dresses and all that—this is the Puritans. It’s anti-patriarchy.”

Bannon, whose history is hardly one of feminism, was stunned by the fervor of what he was seeing, and, charmingly, he spoke of it not as justice but as a threat of wholesale emasculation. “If you rolled out a guillotine, they’d chop off every set of balls in the room,” he said.

And yet Bannon, who is partial to grand pronouncements, acknowledged the political stakes, not least for the President. “You watch. The time has come,” he said. “Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch. This is a definitional moment in the culture. It’ll never be the same going forward . . . The anti-patriarchy movement is going to undo ten thousand years of recorded history.”

Don't hold your breath. Bannon loves his headline-generating pronouncements. Women will make that call, not him.

"Trump’s cruel and clueless remarks," says Remnick, may soon bring a great reckoning. In November if not sooner. When even his closest aides seem finally shocked by his casual cruelty, consequences may lie ahead. We can only hope.

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