Thursday, January 23, 2020

Quote of the Day: "We Knew This Already"

Even as the outcome seems a foregone conclusion and I haven't been talking about it much, I've been following the Trump impeachment proceedings.

Daliah Lithwick, at Slate, captures the zeitgeist of what it means to live in a nation with two major political parties, only one of which is remotely interested in democracy, truth, fairness, and justice, and a mainstream media ecosystem that repeatedly offers "false balance" when so many of Trump's misdeeds have been done openly, in plain sight:
"Seeking, over and over, evidence of that which has already been proved sets the bar higher than it need be. And it also blunts us to how horrifying those very first disturbing facts—from the original lies on the campaign trail to the corruption of the inauguration—really were. Or as Paul Waldman puts it, the primary mantra of the Trump Era has become 'we knew this already.' As I’ve suggested in the past, this is not about persuasion, or even about TV ratings, but about a messaging war, in which one side is overcommitted to truth-seeking while the other is overcommitted to shit-seeking.'"
The Republicans repeatedly shit-stir false allegation after false allegation, thus giving the 40% of or so of the American voting populace a pretext to continue supporting an authoritarian bigot because "Democrats are just as corrupt, if not moreso."

I think often about the vast political, opinion, and reality chasm between the population that remains committed to Trump, no matter what, and those who do not.

As we live through another Democratic Primary season, I continue to wonder if part of why those on the moderate-to-left side of the political spectrum are so hard on each other is because it so often feels completely hopeless to engage those on the political right.

Adding to this tension is that the very real urgency of defeating Trump and the Republicans is coupled with the reality that legitimate divides exist among the anti-Trump crowd, divides that need to be hashed out, rather than swept under the rug in that oh-so-American-way for some people's comfort and perceived "unity."

Resolving this tension has always been one of the main tasks in our post-2016 election environment, an environment in which, instead, mainstream voices almost immediately told everyone opposed to Trump - especially the marginalized, the silenced, and the abused - to shut the fuck up, stop talking about identity politics/political correctness, and unite, and maybe just maybe some of those Trump supporters will join our side and we can win in 2020.

That narrative rested on the premise of "if they only knew Trump was bad, they wouldn't support him," which in the era of Fox News and Mitch McConnell has turned out to be faulty. We knew Trump was bad already. Everybody did. For a lot of people, that's precisely the point. And, telling the marginalized to remain silent about their pain, for the sake of perceived unity, mostly just adds cruelty on top of cruelty.

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