Thursday, December 01, 2016

Is the Media Putting Lipstick on the Pig, Donald Trump?

As noted previously, much of the main stream media, after normalizing Donald trump's toxic, bigotry filled campaign and constantly conveying false equivalency between trump and Hillary Clinton's "scandals", is now acting as if Trump's election and transition are normal and not an affront to decency.  I book marked a piece in The Daily Beast a while back that deserves note.  The bottom line message?  That the media and pundits alike need to stop putting lipstick on the foul demagogue known as Donald Trump.  Here are article excerpts:
What is happening in America right now is not normal.
It is not normal that a presidential candidate with no prior government or military experience, who unambiguously and repeatedly vowed to violate the Constitution should he be elected president, will soon become commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces.
It is not normal that an individual helming a vast family business empire with holdings domestic and international will soon be in a position to use the instruments of the world’s most powerful government to enrich himself and his kin.
It is not normal that the preferred candidate of conspiracy theoristslike radio host Alex Jones will soon have access to the nation’s top secrets. 
And yet here we are being told to act like all of this is normal. That the voters who willed this unmitigated disaster into being have legitimate grievances and that their collective decision must be respected. While the democratic expression of the American people should of course be respected, that does not make it respectable. To use an analogy to which our insult-strewing president-elect can relate: I refuse to put lipstick on this pig.
We’re hearing a lot these days about how this election result represents a “backlash” to left-wing political correctness gone berserk. There’s no question that many self-described liberals patronize ex-urban and rural Americans. But the call for empathy goes both ways. If it were African-Americans overwhelmingly voting for a black demagogue who bragged about “grabbin’ pussy” (imagine that!), called upon his followers to assassinate his opponent, and asked the Russians to hack her email, would we be treating this hypothetical phenomenon with even one-tenth the amount of sympathy and understanding we’re being asked to confer upon Trump voters?
To comprehend what the electorate has just done, consider that 63 percent of Americans believe Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president, yet 20 percent of those people voted for him anyway. Figures such as this leave one asking: What sort of man would Trump have to be for his supporters—and those rationalizing their decision as deriving from anything other than ignorance, racism, and misogyny—to conclude that he is not fit to serve as president of the United States?
Would he have to be a sexual predator? A sociopath? A mountebank? What if he were the willing instrument of a subversion operation mounted by a hostile foreign power?  Because all of those things are true of the man who will be swearing the oath of office on Jan. 20.
 “Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress,” 
Rahn is right about the media’s piss-poor predictive capacities. But the normative assessment about what last week’s election result forebodes is another story entirely. Rahn and many others seem to think it justified that people who feel condescended to by liberal elites would respond to this condescension by putting a demagogic clown in the White House (whereas I’m inclined to believe such spiteful behavior confirms the condescension).
Here’s the thing: Hillary Clinton was without question a “deeply flawed candidate,” as Rahn writes. The economy is not working as well as it should be for a large number of Americans. Our society is becoming increasingly stratified in all sorts of discomfiting ways. All of these things are true. And yet none of them justifies a vote for Donald Trump.
The temptation to do so, to normalize the very disturbing things that Trump’s election portends about our democracy and the fate of the world as we know it, is entirely understandable. It’s comforting to tell ourselves that, Trump’s eccentricities aside, everything will turn out OK in the end; that American democracy is resilient and has endured far worse events.
The paradigmatic example of this reasoning’s erroneousness is Nazi Germany, where a movement that nearly destroyed Western civilization came to power democratically in one of the world’s most advanced societies. More recently, a large majority of Venezuelans voted into power Hugo Chavez, and now they’re rioting over toilet paper. Most people used to believe the Earth was flat. I have no doubt that within 40 years—if Trump doesn’t launch the Third World War he warned Clinton would plunge us into—we’ll look back on those who voted for him as the equivalent of flat-earthers.
[E]ven in the best-case scenario, where he abjures the behavior and ideas that have characterized him for 70 years and governs as some sort of latter-day Rockefeller Republican, Trump would still have irreparably poisoned our democratic culture by moving it into a post-modern realm where words and actions have no meaning. Under his reign, America risks become the sort of place where, to cite the title of Peter Pomerantsev’s brilliant book about contemporary Russia, “nothing is true and everything is possible.”

Well said.  Trump and those who voted for him are a toxic evil.  We all need to be honest about this reality and stop being apologists for the indefensible.

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