This is from today’s NY Times Op Ed page.
I felt that it was worthy of sharing as it made me think.
By Charles Blow
It is truly a confounding time to be alive, to be an American.
We are watching as a president of the United States openly lies, fabricates and exaggerates while two-fifths of the population cheers him for it.
He spurns our allies and embraces our adversaries and people shrug.
He, his congressional allies and his propaganda arm are waging open warfare on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an effort to tarnish it before its inquiry into connections between the Trump campaign, family and associates and Russia can be made public.
He is a racist who disparages black and brown people, whether they be immigrants, Muslims, people from Haiti and Africa, Barack Obama, the mayor of San Juan or Maxine Waters. People equivocate about it and excuse it.
He is attacking the press in the most aggressive of terms so that what they reveal about him will be viewed with skepticism.
He is attempting to weaken our institutions, our protocols and conventions, our faith in the truth, our sense of honor and our respect for the rule of law.
And somehow, many Americans, even those disgusted by what they see, have resigned themselves to this new reality.
In fact, Trump’s poll numbers had been inching up before he created a humanitarian disaster at the border by separating children from their parents.
I guess this is how empires begin to fall. It isn’t necessarily one dramatic moment, but the incessant monotony of assaults on normalcy that slowly shift the ground beneath you, reorienting what is proper and preferable, what is outrageous and what is acceptable.
Every day in the Trump era one could start a sentence with “never before …” and end it in astonishment and exclamation. But that has a cumulative effect of erosion. The constancy of the individual outrages reduces the psychic significance of the collective.
Trump is exhausting our mental capacity for indignation. This does not help Trump in the eyes of most Americans, to be sure. The Resistance remains strong and will likely have an impressive showing in the November elections.
But, along the margins, where both support for Trump and objections to him are soft, his tactics may have greater impact.
Not to mention the fact that those tactics keep his base riled and ready. Trump is like a drug dealer who has addicted his followers to fear and rage and keeps supplying it in constant doses. His supporters have become rage-junkies for whom he can do no wrong.
Let’s be clear about the demographics of this base: While the overwhelming majority of blacks and Hispanics have an unfavorable view of Trump, just as many white people have a favorable view of him as have an unfavorable view of him, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted last month.
Part of that is undoubtedly due to the increasingly racialized nature of our partisanship, but it is also because Trump has positioned himself as a white power president.
One of the things that his supporters like is the very thing that others detest: His unapologetic, unabashed crusade to fight off all efforts at racial and ethnic inclusion. They may not articulate it as such, but that is the nature of Trump’s policies: Promising to build a wall, disparaging Mexicans, separating immigrant families, the Muslim ban, decreasing even legal migration, denigrating protesting football players.
Trump has vented an American racial anxiety, giving it power and a perch, giving it permission to be vocal and even violent.
Indeed, these are all parts of what fuels opposition to Trump.
The Suffolk University/USA Today poll asked people who disapprove of Trump to put in their own words why they don’t support him. These were some of their top responses:
･ Liar/Dishonest/Corrupt: 12 percent.
･ Doing a poor job: 9 percent.
･ The way he treats people/Bully/Ass/Jerk/Disrespectful: 8 percent.
･ Disagree with his views/stand on issues: 8 percent.
･ Lack of morals/Not a good person/Poor character: 7 percent
･ Racist/Hate: 6 percent.
But no amount of moralizing from Trump’s opposition will affect the fervor of his supporters. Quite the opposite: Nothing quickens the pulse and induces the delight of conservatives more than the consternation of liberals. They would let the whole country collapse for the pleasure of spite.
And this is where we are now: at a standoff. The Trump apparatus is entrenched, and each day burrows ever deeper into the core of what made America greater, better, different: its slow but steady arc toward more inclusion, equality, openness. Only two things seem capable of offering relief: The elections this year and in 2020, or something damning from the Russian meddling investigation.
Last week, an exasperated Representative Trey Gowdy lashed out at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, saying, “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up, because this country is being torn apart.”
But that’s like blaming the doctor for your illness. The investigators aren’t tearing the country apart. They are trying to protect and save it.
Trump and his defense machine — including members of Congress — are tearing it apart.
Trump-addicted acolytes are tearing it apart.