First Presidential debate

There’s a generally well-intentioned fervour to admonish Donald Trump among certain and substantial groups on both sides of the Atlantic, and on both sides of the political spectrum. That fervour will be re-energised in the aftermath of last night’s debate.

Beyond his campaigning ground, Trump’s emerged as an international pariah through which those largely middle class constituencies can publicly reaffirm their moral compass, simply by distancing themselves from his most newsworthy outbursts. Sometimes, this strikes me as ethically prudent—in relation to Trump’s commitment to the birther movement, as a poignant example—but other times it drifts into intellectual laziness, a blindness to established injustice and, as a consequence, a moral hazard.

This isn’t to suggest that Donald Trump is a misunderstood civil rights activist. Rather, it’s to point out that neither is the metropolitan elite. What’s being eclipsed by Trump’s trail of controversy is the proven inequity served upon American society by the established political class: for which, in the forthcoming election, Hilary Clinton is the perfectly manicured marionette.

For any of us to sleep soundly with our moral sensibilities takes a greater investment of intellect, a deeper engagement with social injustice, and a broader understanding of the body politic than merely distancing ourselves from a populist demagogue.


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