By Jason Taylor
One of the most confounding things that has occurred in the month since the election is watching so many journalists and pundits hit a virtual reset button and act as if Trump ran a normal campaign and is now modifying normal campaign promises to govern the whole populace.
In all his vanity, arrogance, bluster, ignorance and bellicosity Trump is America. He is the America of corporate greed, of illegal wars, of prisons for profit, of coal and oil, of guns and racism. He is the America of tacky spectacle, of vulgar excess, of illusion and self-delusion.
Without shame or embarrassment, we call ourselves the greatest country in the world while we have more of our fellow citizens in prison than any nation on earth. We have more poverty than any developed country. Our children rank below the OECD average in reading, math, and science. Our healthcare system is a mess, and perhaps most disturbing, our electoral system is a joke.
Trump says he will do something like releasing his tax returns, then does not.
He makes obvious false claims, then says he did not. He has swindled contractors, workers, and fellow investors. He has as been sued over 2000 times for these, makes a deal pays less, and says sue me if you want the rest. He has put several ventures into bankruptcy and says that is the American way of doing business.
What we have evidence of here, is someone who has no conscience, does not have a sense of right and wrong, does not consider moral and immoral behavior, he has no shame. This behavior is evidence of a true sociopath. He has gotten away with it as a private person, but now he is exposed to public scrutiny. Notice he does not smile or laugh, he commands when he speaks, does not ask, tells. His followers admire that, just like the Brown Shirts followed the Third Reich.
You are seeing how such totalitarians come to power, and how they exercise it. He attacks reporters and critics and incites his followers to do the same, and some of them are resorting to physical intimidation.
He does not care about the rules, he makes his own. Remember it was a minority party that took over the Reichstag. and their leader went around making victory speeches, just like Trump is doing.
Everything about Trump’s campaign was a scam. Rather than trying to broadly appeal to all voters, he focused entirely on one group, lesser-educated white males. They turned to Trump for the same reason people stand in long lines when Powerball jackpots are sky-high.
In pandering to this group, Trump erased every one of the standards and traditions of decency, civility, and truthfulness set by the forty-three men of good character who preceded him as US president. He cynically milked the credibility they had gained for our political process.
He told brazen lies at a rate far exceeding any presidential candidate in history. His incessant slanders were baseless and disgusting. He made literally hundreds of transparently preposterous promises. He has made virtually every group not composed of lesser-educated white males into scapegoats, a cynical strategy of division and hate-mongering.
He has forever debased the presidency and the US political process. From this point forward, Trump’s example will cause every politician to consider whether good character is a political liability. Respecting his victory would be like respecting the outcome of the Black Sox 1919 World Series.
The media was fascinated by his antics and gave an unbalanced candidate the full fair-and-balanced treatment. They were eager to capitalize on a slack-jawed electorate’s bottomless appetite for insane spectacle. Political discourse was warped and bent out of all recognition. No vulgar, outrageous, ignorant, mean or spiteful utterance was off the table. Words that had long been taboo on television and in serious print journalism had to be allowed. There was no way to cover the campaign, or the man, without them.
Now the bull is blundering his way into the delicate china shop of world politics. He’s appointing idiots, cronies, and destroyers to positions of power, some being hailed with stiff-arm salutes and promises of retribution against democratic institutions.
We thought the Civil War had ended, but we were wrong. We thought the horrors of World War II were dead and buried, but they were merely sleeping. We thought the arc of history was bending toward justice for minorities, for women and for gay people, but that was an illusion.
Insane is the new normal.