6 thoughts on “Is Trump coming to Amherst?”

  1. Thanks for your sharp analysis, Bob. Grievance politics, on the right and left, gets so ugly (and in disturbingly similar ways) because it is primarily driven by what the philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche called “ressentiment.” What starts as indignant, moralistic condemnation too often devolves into free-floating vengeful resentment against any and all perceived perpetrators (Stanford Enc. of Phil.). Whether it be MAGA types on the national stage or some self-proclaimed “social justice” advocates here in our small town, when ressentiment becomes the motivating factor, nothing good ever happens.

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  2. I think this post is also throwing gas on the fire and is simply more airing of grievances. Please go and talk to the people who you feel are attacking to hear their point of view- maybe you could change things instead of complaining.

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  3. I wasn’t MIA for the years that Mr. Weiss is talking about, but it does seem as though nuanced views of things have been banished from our politics. By the end, I’m quite sure that we didn’t have the kind of discourse and civility that both I and Mr. Weiss wanted for Town Meeting. I thought it had evolved beyond repair, and I pointed to the kind of cliques within the membership that Email and the internet inevitably seems to spawn. Mr. Weiss, on the other hand, argued hard that we were throwing the baby out with the bathwater in getting rid of it, even as he and I lost the argument about the elementary school plan (and Mr. Weiss worked hard on that issue). Now I do believe that Mr. Rakoff’s column points implicitly to something that we sacrificed with the end of Town Meeting, although the cause and effect remains a bit murky: a genuine public square in which townspeople could be together, look at each other, find new leaders for higher office, and maybe, just maybe, look up from our phones long enough to mediate differences. That public space doesn’t exist any more, and now we coincidentally seem to be in a downward spiral into perpetual grievance, without any place to speak to each other, figure out what we disagree about, and attempt to narrow the areas of difference. And….I’m convinced that we have political, and allegedly journalistic actors in town who thrive on conflict, who wouldn’t know what to do without it, who do not want to engage the full spectrum of opinion in town, who do not want to describe fairly and accurately each other’s competing visions for the town. Did I want to see the end of Town Meeting? Yes, I did, but I always took Mr. Weiss’s warnings about its end seriously. Now, we seem to be stuck: unable to pivot into any issues not susceptible to the usual tribal divide. I would suggest one, about which no one seems to be particularly comfortable these days: is our Town Manager truly accountable to the people of the Town? I have severe doubts that we have any effective oversight over the day-to-day workings of town government. Perhaps we could…..some day…..get together on that.

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  4. Thanks to Mr. Rakoff for his amusing missive of his grievances toward the challengers. Clearly, he was MIA all the years that grievances against Town Meeting were the politics of the day, for years, I might add.

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  5. Bob, thank you for shedding light on grievance politics and illustrating it with the trend in Amherst politics. I have only been here for less than 10 years but I noticed this immediately re: town politics, albeit via the town meeting model.
    Couple this with the “no one tells US what to do in Amherst, including elected officials” history, and you have the low civic participation you mentioned.

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