The above, and all like it, are being normalized as you read this. There’s an almost feverish desperation in the attempts at normalizing Trump, his appalling choices for the cabinet, his complete lack of policies, his complete lack of knowledge and experience, and his openly bigoted, violent fans. The core of white supremacy is being steadfastly ignored, as is the fact that America has gone fascist. As Giliell pointed out:
Yes, and it’s going to get normalised. I studied my country’s history well. Nobody would have stood for the Reichspogromnacht in 1933 and people just thought that it wasn’t too bad. By 1938 they cheered on as the Synagogues burned.
We’re right there, right now. I’m already seeing people deflecting in an attempt to ignore what’s happening right in front of them; people are continuing to talk about how liberals and minorities must build bridges; people are busily trying to convince themselves and everyone else that everything will be fine, nothing unusual at all, no. There’s even an attempt by people trying to say just how good a Trump presidency will be for women. A little reminder here:
We’ll start with Alternet. This is going to be a long post, so grab your drink of choice.
Throughout the election, critics often savaged the media for “normalizing Trump,” broadly defined as the act of treating his rank sexism, xenophobia and fascist dog-whistles as just another policy difference against equally valid opponents. This trend, borne largely by a combination of cognitive dissonance and access, is being accelerated now that Trump has won the election, and its continuation, if left unchecked, could undermine opposition for years to come.
Oprah Winfrey, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, said Trump’s recent visit to the White House gave her “hope” and suggested he has been “humbled” by the experience.
Oprah has hope. Oh well, that makes everything okeyfuckingdokey, doesn’t it? A chat show host with more money than Trump, who lives an incredibly insulated life, so far removed from the average person, she may as well be on another planet. What do you suppose they chatted about, how their servants can best clean their gold-plated faucets? Unfortunately, all manner of Americans will swallow this shit pill whole, easing their minds it will all be okay because Oprah. She’s black, y’know, so really, it’s okay. It is not okay, and if you find yourself ignoring reality and putting all your ability to think aside in favour of what a chat host has said, you are one big part of the problem, and will be adding substantially to the dark days ahead.
The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins told his readers to “calm down” and that Trump wasn’t the “worst thing.” His college, Nouriel Roubini, insisted the Oval Office will “tame” Trump. People magazine ran a glowing profile of Trump and his wife Melania (though a former People writer accused Trump of sexual assault). The New York Times’ Nick Kristof dubiously added that we should “Grit our teeth and give Trump a chance.” The mainstays—Washington Post, New York Times and CNN—while frequently critical, are coving Trump’s transition as they would any other. President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have all issued statements recognizing Trump’s legitimacy and pleading we give him a chance.
Overall there’s a creeping sense that we’re stuck with Trump and we should make it “work” in some type of do-goody liberal appeal to patriotism.
That do-goody liberal appeal has already been in action for some time now. This notion that white liberals really need to make nice with all the Trumpoids, and build bridges. That we need to understand them. Most of you have already read my response to that one. Bigotry is not complex. “Fuck all you liberal niggers Die” is not complicated and nuanced. White supremacy is not complex, and it’s not nuanced either, in spite of what some people would have you believe. Misogyny is not complex or nuanced either. All those things are plain and simple, and they are what we are being bombarded with right now. The spike in hate crimes is now larger and more intense than it was after 9/11. Think about that for a minute, really think about it.
The overall message of normalizing Trump is that you can steamroll women, LGBT people, the disabled, Muslims, and people of color, yet everything will be okay so long as you win. Indeed, when asked if he thought his rhetoric had gone too far, Trump responded, “No, I won.” This is the logic of a fascist, and liberals are acquiescing to him by pivoting to “Trump as our kooky uncle” normalization mode.
“No, I won.” That’s almost tailor made to appeal to Americans, for whom many there is nothing more important than winning. The message this gives to bigots and white supremacists is a deeper one. They not only feel emboldened, they feel in power and protected. They can do whatever they like, because they have the presidential seal of approval. This goes for sexual assault as well. There have already been cases where a grade school age boy has grabbed a grade school age girl by the crotch, stating it’s okay because the president said so. Children in kindergarten are being attacked, by classmates and adults. Basically, it’s open season on anyone who is not a white conservative Christian.
Had Trump lost, he would likely have been cast out of proper company, left to build his own Breitbart-like brand operating on the margins of acceptable opinion. Influential and profitable to be sure, but not mainstream. Political principles, to say nothing of morality, should not shift based on the outcome of an election. If Trump was a vulgar racist and sexual predator before November 8, he still is after, regardless of his new position.
This is something else you need to think about, hard. Really think about this. This points to just how much civil rights were rejected, how much simmering resentment has been bubbling and increasing as that resentment has been passed on down through the decades. That’s not news to minority people, but white Americans aren’t very good at listening to minority people. In an earlier post, I mentioned growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, and watching the gradual rise of white, Christian conservatism. Every decade, that white wall became worse, more poisonous, more determined to get back full colonial control of everyone and everything. We’ve suffered through bad elections before, and we should have learned some lessons. We didn’t though. “All Mexicans are rapists.” “Grab ’em by the pussy.” There’s no nuance there. In spite of the constant stream of such poison, there was a terrible complacency on the left side. As is the case with most elections in this country, a whole lot of white liberals figured on other people to do the heavy lifting, leaving them free to either vote their spite, indulge their fantasy of a third party win, or coast along on their indifference. So fascism waltzed its way in the door. This election could not possibly have been more binary, but you had a lot of people pretending it wasn’t.
My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth, and second, to realize that whatever apparent differences there may be among us, in wealth, knowledge, skill, ancestry or strength–though, of course, all this does not apply to people who are racially different from us–we are all brothers, bound together in the great and wonderful bond of National Unity, for which we should all be very glad.
The above is spoken by Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip in Sinclair Lewis’s 1936 novel It Can’t Happen Here. Once elected, President Windrip appealed directly to his core constituency of unprosperous and resentful white men to help him repress dissent and bring fascism to America.* Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We are already seeing claims by open white bigots that the real hate crime is against them.
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait insisted the people shouldn’t denounce Trump the day after the election because it was “a little soon.” Too soon? Given the stakes, one is compelled to ask, why wait?
Israel has already signaled it will expand settlements with the blessing of the president-elect. The cabinet looks like it will be stuffed with unqualified Trump cronies. Virulently anti-poor people Paul Ryan has effectively been put in charge of budget priorities and is floating Medicare cuts. A climate change denier is selecting the head of the EPA. Why wait to use every available avenue to undermine Trump on the altar of civility?
The left can only combat Trump by leveraging both its political and activist wings, not indulging in Sorkinesque gestures of “working together.”
Absolutely right, which is why I do not want to hear or read anymore about how much liberals must reach out to the fascists. No. No, I will not make nice with people who think my people should be dead. I will not make nice with people who want to fully dehumanize all those who are not white conservative Christians, stripping them of the human rights we should all have in this so-called land of the free. I will not make nice with people who think “law and order” means stomping on people of colour with impunity. I will not make nice with people who don’t really have much of a problem with lynching or stoning people to death. And yes, a number of people comprising the new cabinet believe in that good ol’ testament way of doing, stoning. I won’t make nice with anyone who thinks of women as bodies up for grabs. I won’t make nice with people who think killing faggots is a great idea. One more time I will say these people do not want niceness, they don’t want to be understood. They want to stand on top of a pile of bodies, crowning themselves king, they want obeisance and submission. It’s going to be a long, hellish time, and Americans aren’t good at long term attention or commitment. Those are going to be required however, if we are going to make it through this without just giving tacit permission for the rise of Nazierica, because that’s what we are looking at. For all those committed to Trump, this country has already ceased to be America. Have you been paying attention to all the vandalism? It’s always Trump Land, Trump World or Trump Nation, like this is an amusement park or reality show. We’re in a fight, for our lives, and yes, for our country, what little of it remains at this point.
Think Progress has also been covering the normalization:
Major newspapers normalize Trump’s selection of white nationalist as chief strategist.
Associated Press casts Trump as potentially ‘history-making’ champion of women.
Harvard degree means you can’t be a white nationalist, Trump’s new chief-of-staff says.
Gleichschaltung: The forced standardization of political and social institutions under an authoritarian regime. Learn from history, do not be a part of this. Resist.
“Civility” and “difference of opinion” would be me arguing with someone over whether to set the corporate tax rate to 12% or 12.5%. If I punched you in the face, would that be “difference of opinion”?
Man, fuck the milquetoast liberals. My Marxist streak’s burning red hot these days.
Yes to all of that. Many individuals and institutions are already bowing down. This IS how it happens. Fascism cannot really take hold unless the people have been yearning for it. And the normalization will only continue. Imagine what it will be like two years into his presidency. The rhetoric will be fully accepted and the debate will be on the actual actions (torture, internment camps, etc). And you better believe millions of Americans will be saying “well, let me explain what I mean by torture first”. We will be seeing mainstream liberal news networks have a panel debating whether darker skinned people deserve all the rights or just a few.
I had been saying this for months leading up to the election: America is ripe for the taking.
It just happened to be even easier than I imagined.
This morning I went to Starbucks very early in the morning before work. The only customers there at the time was a Latino man at the counter and a black man and black woman studying at a table. For the first time in my life, as a person of color, I felt a slight sense of safety and relief wash over me. And I hated that. This is what this country is. The second thing that occurred to me was that I’m a cis dude. I thought of what women of color and women who wear hijab must be going through on a daily basis. And I imagined what millions of undocumented immigrants working in the U.S. to support their families must be going through. And ultimately I thought of my family and my relatives who wear hijab in this country. What are the chances that in the span of the next four years, they’ll face absolutely no harassment when merely out and about on their business? Having to even seriously consider these things IS cause for outrage enough. And then on the other hand you have so-called progressives asking us to “give him a chance” and stop over-reacting and “have conversations” with people who don’t give a shit if I am killed tomorrow (in fact, they want it to be so).
I have no regard for these liberal assholes’ feelings anymore. There might as well be a complete schism for all I care. They used to love calling the SJW liberals weak. But it’s plain as day who the weak liberals are. As soon as fascism comes to the door, they cower and start being apologists for it.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
How exactly is that supposed to work? What chance can those powerless even give? They have no favours to bestow. The only power they have is their voice. What happened to that infamous freedom of speech?
Also, the ones who are actually being divisive are the liberal bootlickers who want to build bridges (burn them all): They are dividing the resistance, the opposition. None of them is going to the Trumpkins and tells them that now they should stop being horrible to black people.
See, the point where they really showed their weakness was when they actually let fascism come to the door at all.
I think this is where I’m (personally) seeing a kind of parallel to hyperskepticism, where you (generic) have to be just ‘both sides’ enough to be seen as ‘fair’, and even when fascism is looming its ugly face across your doorstep, you’re still inclined to question whether it really will be That Bad.
But fascism being what it is, it should never even have made it to the door at all -- shouldn’t have been given a chance at all, because it should be plain as plain that it’s fascism, not just a random bad idea. Or random bad trend. Or, you know, not really racism because we have laws against that kind of thing. And now that it’s there, it should be plainer than ever that nope, fascism don’t belong there, sweep it away. But noooo, give it a chance, be nicer, be kind to those who fucking want to kill you. (Reeks of christian other-cheek bullshit, is that coincidence or is that rooted a lot more deeply in the psyche than people think?)
Some allies most of us white folk are.
Hope you and yours are safe as possibly you can be. I don’t know if there’s any good way to help, but I’m thinking supportive thoughts in your general direction.
I fully support you in this. It’s beyond the pale, asking people to be nice. And it sickens me that it’s actual liberals, who should really, really know better -- but then, I saw how progressive people casually dismissed BLM, too, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that those who have the least to lose are being the most obsequious.
As for the OP, yes, the fascism will be normalized, because that’s how it works. And it will spread, which is also how it works. And that scares me.
Yes. It won’t be long before we see the age of Sam Harris Logic moving swiftly across the land. There are already enough dimwits who think his ideas are sound. It’s going to get so much worse.
Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous says
Billy Bragg’s version of The Internationale seems damned pertinent:
All this makes me wonder what would happen in the unlikely case that the people of the electoral college grew a conscience and chose Hillary as the president. What sorry excuse for their attitude would these people give, if any?
Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous says
They would vilify the college as undemocratic and declare the electors to be enemies of the people. As Charlie Stross points out, this move toward fascism is global. I’d expect the same tactics of vilification to be used by the right, wherever legal process is used to counter fascism.
The normalisation began when he announced his candidacy.
I am so sick of the people rushing to say that he won’t be that bad, that there are checks and balances to stop him, he doesn’t really mean it.
When he announced his candidacy, everybody knew that he’d quit after a few months. When he didn’t, everybody knew that he’d lose big time to an establishment Republican like Jeb Bush or John Kasich or maybe even Ted Cruz. When he won the primary, everybody knew that he’d never beat Hillary. And now that he’s won the Electoral College, everybody knows that he won’t be that bad. The only thing I can take away from all this is that people don’t know jack.
Oh, right there with you, so am I. Another thing that is freaking me out is that most of these people are utterly ignorant about Trump, the things he’s said, the things he has done, the things he is doing, the things he plans to do, along with the depth of his views and how devastating they are.
One such idiot at Pharyngula said Trump was wrong about climate change, and I lost it. Trump plans to pull uStates out of the Paris Accord, wants more pipelines, is partnered with oil (he’s invested in DAPL, ffs), bring back coal, and so much more. I’ve done a post about it, putting lots of info in one place, but no, it’s okay, he’s just wrong about climate change.
johnson catman says
I will not show any respect for The Orange One. All the irony meters that had survived this election season were totally destroyed when the calls to work with The Orange One went out. The republicans have spent eight fucking years doing everything they can to disparage and thwart whatever President Obama has tried to do. They did not try to work with him. They attempted to block every move he has made. I hope the protests continue daily. The Orange One can whine all he wants, but his actions do not earn any respect, and they absolutely do not warrant any deference. Fuck The Orange One, and fuck the republicans.
What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says
Thank you for this, Caine.
Another thing that pisses me off is hearing “I’m rooting for Trump to succeed because if Trump succeeds, America succeeds.” Bullshit. If Trump succeeds, women suffer, Muslims suffer, Latin@s suffer, POC suffer, LGBTQ people suffer, poor people suffer, the environment suffers, the world suffers….
I am rooting for him and for the Republican party to fail and fail hard. Just as long as he doesn’t take the rest of us down with us.
There may have been checks and balances against him if Congress and the Senate wouldn’t be so Republican, buuut even then… it’s not just the policies that worry, but the prevalent, emerging, visible attitude of members of the general public towards marginalized groups. That, no Democratic Congress or Senate could change, not with Trump at the helm.
If Trump succeeds, USAmerica fails.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
And the problem is, they’re not Hungary or Poland or even the fucking UK. Hungary’s racist and sexist politics hurt primarily Hungarians. That’s bad enough, but they cannot fuck up the world. Just the USA going for the Full Monty on CO2 will fuck up large parts of the world, despite everyone else doing their best.
Had a (usually reasonably intelligent) friend on FB wonder aloud (well, openly in his status) why everyone’s talking about Trump so much, since he’s some other country’s president and nobody ever worries so much about our own presidential elections.
A couple people in the comments pointed out the ‘global effects’ aspect, but that was about it -- in other words, it’s stupid to worry about some other country’s president, we should worry about making our own little country great.
Look at how fucking CNN is normalizing it.
What the fuck? “Unorthodox?”
You’re failing to mention THE chief characteristic of his campaign.
This is all so by script. Everybody is doing exactly what people do in order for fascism to be gain more and more ground.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
That person isn’t by chance living in the same small Baltic country you inhabit? The country that is being eyed by Putin like a tiger eyes a prize goat and the Putin who can call in a big favour with Trump?
It really smells of 1933.
This person is usually fairly astute about political matters, but apparently the navel is far more interesting than the fact that your stomach has a cancer and will be affecting the state of your navel soon enough.
Wow, whitewashing at its best. Fuck.
For me Trump is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. If the Senate, HoR, SCOTUS, governors, and state legislatures were all of any opposing party, any opposing party at all, there would be far less of a problem. Unfortunately all are, or soon will be, dominated by the GOP. They literally have the people in place now to run the board. Their domination is so complete that they could fairly easily amend the constitution. The sky is the limit.
Nothing is too radical. They could:
Limit the franchise to white, male, Christians.
Reform the government as a monarchy, with Trump as ruler for life.
I don’t think people know how far beyond the pale we are. We are into stuff we see, and laugh about, in banana republics and poor African nations. It’s underwear outside of the pants territory. Except this is real.
No, they don’t.
People act like the checks and balances are some sort of physical limitation instead of something that depends on other people to actually enforce.
What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says
To do that they’d need 2/3 of both houses of congress to pass the amendment plus 3/4th of the states, or 3/5th of the states calling for a constitutional convention. So it’s not easy.
But there’s a hell of a lot of damage they can do without amending the Constitution.
That, and as Lorn pointed out, there aren’t many checks and balances now. The repubs have taken control, not only in D.C., but in most states, too. I read today about an Indiana legislator who can’t wait to illegalize abortion in his state, they are already going ahead with shit.
And then there’s this:
Does anyone really think a repub senate will stop him? Source.
Crimson Clupeidae says
The only bridge I’m building is one to throw the fuckers from….