The torturous course and calamitous consequence of the 2016 United States presidential election is bound to sustain a critical course of reflections for quite some time to come - and quite rightly so.
The disproportionately dangerous power of the occupant of the White House and the fact that the peace and sanity of the world at large is very much contingent on a reasonable and sane person to occupy that office requires continued reflections on what is happening in this country and its perilously volatile political culture.
In two consecutive conversations with Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan, two prominent critical thinkers with a global audience have reflected closely on their respective views on the course and consequence of this presidential election.
In a conversation with British Channel 4 aired just before the US election Slavoj Zizek had said he would vote for Trump, for "it will be a kind of big awakening. New political processes will be set in motion," a point he reiterated later after the election in his interview with Mehdi Hasan.
On the opposite side, the distinguished American linguist and critical thinker Noam Chomsky restated his pre-election position in a conversation with Hassan and famously said leftists who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton to block Trump "made a bad mistake".
Chomsky then targeted Zizek and compared him with those intellectuals who had welcomed Hitler. Whereas in his pre-election position Chomsky had wisely encouraged voting for Clinton in "swing states", in his post-election Al Jazeera interview he evidently dispensed with any such stipulation and categorically denounced those who had not voted for Clinton as immoral.
Arcane views collide
To be sure, both Zizek and Chomsky were and remain highly critical of Clinton. However, the former thinks voting for Trump would expedite the necessary changes he as a leftist yearns for, while Chomsky believes such acts, or even not voting for Clinton, let alone voting for Trump, would be morally reprehensible and politically flawed, for one should always opt for "lesser of two evils".
Both these positions are politically flawed and misguided, morally obtuse and insular, both entirely oblivious of what actually has happened in this presidential election.
The fact is that the American political culture today has reached an historic crossroads where the crude cosmetic liberalism of the deeply corrupt Democratic Party must either be swept away to clear the way for far more radical changes offered by Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein or else the proto-fascism of Trump will destroy any semblance of democracy left in this country.
While it is neither surprising nor strange why Zizek is entirely oblivious to such facts, it is both curious and disappointing that Chomsky does not see this, even after the calamitous results of this election are clear for all to see.
In the encounter between Zizek and Chomsky, as a result, we have two opposing but equally stale and arcane views: one is to vote for Trump while the other is to vote for Clinton.
One is meant irresponsibly to stir things up, hoping they might get better, and the other equally irresponsibly meant to sustain the status quo for fear of fascism - both out to lunch as to the factual evidence that people have either made a judicious decision to vote for Clinton in "swing states" and refrain from voting for that corrupt warmonger in solidly "blue states", or else voted for Trump not because they are necessarily illiterate racists but to throw a monkey wrench at a deeply corrupt and heartless system that the flawed logic of "lesser evil" has historically sustained.
The choice of not voting for Clinton, which I among millions of other Sanders' supporters made, was not out of any political piety to refrain from getting my hands dirty but to help put the factual evidence of a changing political culture electorally on the map. My not voting for Clinton in New York did not cost her anything - she won New York and all its electoral college counts.
From the comfort of an armchair in front of Mehdi Hasan it is of course easy to moralise about the lesser or greater evil. But not if you are at the receiving end of the US or Israeli military rage.