© 2016 Joseph Heathcott

Moral Panic in a Plural Culture

November 6, 2016

 

I wrote this piece back in 2010 (published in Cross Currents in 2011).  We were living in London at the time, and I was trying to process all of the racism and xenophobia that seemed to be increasing in the U.S. after the 2008 election.  The article describes the 'moral panic' taking hold in America, which Trump has been adept at exploiting in his bid for power.  Today people use the term 'Trumpism' as a synonym for 'moral panic,' but it is crucial to realize that this panic long predates Trump and goes far deeper than his absurd candidacy.   Trump may be an amoral demagogue, but he has tapped into something grotesque and widespread in the culture--something that will still be with us on November 9th.

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