That smarmy phrase, first mouthed by presidential consort Michelle Obama at July's Democratic convention, has become the go-to platitude of party operatives and media sycophants as they race toward the electoral finish line.
To deflect the public's attention from the daily embarrassments contained in the WikiLeaks email dumps from Clintonland, Democrats are engaged in a frenzied campaign of virtue-signalling so sanctimonious that it would make even Chaucer's hypocritical Pardoner blush with embarrassment.
Virtue-signalling is the practice of denigrating a disliked character or institution - say, Donald Trump - for the express purpose of elevating the status of the speaker.
British journalist James Bartholomew, who claims to have invented the term, and expresses 'umble amazement at how globally viral it's going, says that virtue signalers can be either subtle or not ("We go high!)
By saying that they hate the Daily Mail or Ukip, they are really telling you that they are admirably non-racist, left-wing or open-minded. One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous. It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all.As I wrote awhile back about Hillary's infamous "basket of deplorables" speech, her implicit message to her high-rolling donors is that denigrating the stinking, bigoted Trumpenproletariat is tantamount to elevating the Moral Majority of the Moneyed Minority to their own pristine heights of goodness and glory. All you have to do is swear your undying hatred of Donald Trump and all his supporters, and you are hereby absolved of such mundane foibles as underpaying The Help, or lobbying for continued slashes to the social safety nets for the poor, or investing in the high tech munitions and mass surveillance stock of Raytheon or General Dynamics.
For paying their pittance to Hillary Clinton, the wealthy are plentifully indulged with another in a whole series of gracious Chaucerian pardons:
Because who could ever be as much of a tax cheat or racist or misogynist or narcissist as Donald Trump? So go ahead and canonize yourselves, banksters and war-mongers and corporate media pundits and and philanthro-capitalists and trust fund kiddies! Regardless of where you come from or who you love, you're all better, together, within the big gilded tent of the neoliberal Clinton Restoration.Some pence and nobles that are bonafide. It is an honor for each one who's here To have a competent pardoner near To absolve you in the country as you ride, In view of all the things that may betide.
As Blaise Pascal so pensively observed about the liberal-industrial class (fully three centuries before James Bartholomew came along to virtue-signal his own contempt of the virtue-signalers): "Pity for the unfortunate does not clash with our appetites. On the contrary, we are glad to offer our friendship, and to acquire a reputation for kindness without giving anything."
Thus does Hillary Clinton make herself look humane by glibly contrasting herself with Donald Trump. Her chilling promises of Permawar, her boastful embrace of unfettered capitalism, her finger-flicking dismissal of Bernie Sanders progressives would never be a winning strategy without the Trumpian foil.
And Barack Obama, virtue signaler bar none, has seen his own approval ratings skyrocket as he travels around the country, cracking jokes about Trump and praising Hillary's looming "pragmatism" as well as her various other cold-blooded urges - including, but not limited to, the execution of Osama bin Laden.
Obama got so into bragging about his superior manners and "tone" while blasting Trump's Islamophobia and foul mouth the other night, TV host Jimmy Kimmel forgot to ask him about his own grotesque eight-year record of death and destruction. As reported by Rolling Stone this week, here are some of Obama's smartest accomplishments:
—2,499 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq so far under President Obama, according to the independent Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.When Trump goes low with #PussyGate, Obama goes as high as a Predator drone. He's buzzed on his own virtue.
—Of those, 1,906 have been killed in and around Afghanistan, and 593 in Iraq.
—Under Obama, the United States has been at war for 2,687 days. That's longer than under George W. Bush — or any other U.S. president, for that matter.
—Obama has conducted airstrikes on seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. (That's three more countries than George W. Bush bombed.)
—U.S. combat forces are deployed on the ground in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. That's one more war than Obama inherited, and which his successor will likely have to contend with.
Like Chaucer's Pardoner, Obama plays at being self-deprecating and imperfect while paying seriously honest homage to the "normal" values and customs of the ruling order. This is not only to hide his real misdeeds, but to render them harmless before his rapt congregation of penitents.
If you will just renounce The Donald and all his works, and fork over your cash and your votes to the right party, then piecemeal selective salvation can be yours for the indulging. Feel the virtue, liberals, right along with feeling the fear. Whether you're filthy rich or whether you're still fiercely insisting that you're not a middle class refugee, there's a place for you. Join Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in feeling the elite feminist disgust at Donald Trump. Thrill to vicarious victimhood even as you revel in the prestige of despising him with all the goodness that you can muster.
And above all, feel the guilt if you've discerned the inconvenient truth in some of his critiques of the oligarchic establishment, to which we are all so indebted. He might have a point about free trade and stupid endless wars, but remember, ladies and gentlemen: the man is an inveterate potty mouth, a swindler, and a womanizer.
Now, good men, God forgive you your trespass And guard you from the sin of avarice. My holy pardon saves you from all this; If you will offer nobles, sterlings, rings, Some brooches, spoons or other silver things, Just bow your head beneath this holy bull. Come up, you wives, and offer of your wool; Your name I'll here enroll, then you may know Into the bliss of heaven you will go.