Rachael Maddow said tonight that she feels there is something different going on; that a corner has been turned. I feel the same way although I can’t explain why.
I have watched many Trump rallies, all the way through and taken notes, but tonight, I watched a murderous thug of a moron scream lies at other morons who were wildly cheering the lies he was screaming at them. The man, the moron, has been allowed to displace 160,000 human beings and provoke the murder of countless men and women who used to be our allies.
This must be the way it felt in Germany to stand and watch and listen to obscenity, unbelievable obscenity being swallowed whole by people who could be your neighbors. It must be what it was like watching lunacy gathering steam, plowing ahead, taking over.
It is like being in an earthquake. The thing you depend on, the ground, is moving underneath you and you are completely disoriented. In this case, the thing that I value and depend on most in the world, logic, reason, truth is moving underneath me. The culture is being taken over by lies and deception, sham truth, blatant illogic and the people who have assumed authority are saying “get used to it.”
Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here.” Well, it is happening here, but the Democratic leadership is saying: “It’s not happening here.” “We must be prayerful.” “It’s not happening here.” They keep repeating it over and over thinking that it will become the truth if they say it enough times.
They abide by the norms, act with politeness, come to work every day (when they are not on recess) raise money, admonish the Trump administration, chat up donors, help fellow Republicans get unqualified judges appointed to the courts because their fellow Republicans helped them. They talk about a return to normalcy when normalcy is what go us here. It is mass delusion.
The leadership of the Democratic Party, the corporate media, and the moneyed elite want to pretend this country has not been taken over by a Russian asset and his enablers who are involved in varying degrees with an international crime syndicate and allied with a radical religious quest for power.
People like Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell have been waiting for, planning for a Donald Trump for decades. They have their man and they are not going to give up. They have cast their lot with Trump and they will tear the country apart to maintain and expand their power.
Meanwhile, nice people, good people, like Joyce Vance will continue to tell everyone that our institutions will hold, that dedicated professionals in government will assure that justice vanquishes all.
The time to be nice is over. Those who don’t want to fight, who don’t understand that it is essential to fight, need to get out of the way.
Frank Bruni published an opinion piece in the New York Times last week entitled: “The Democrats have a Politeness Problem.”
In this article, Bruni argued that the Democratic candidates are too polite with each other, afraid to point out each other’s weaknesses when Donald Trump will certainly not do likewise.
The article is a frustrating but illustrative example of how the corporate press, unable to think of anything constructive to do, pursues a “damned if you do, dammed if you don’t” argument when discussing the Democratic Party.
Bruni criticizes the Democratic candidates for not calling each other out over accepting corporate donations (Warren) or a less than progressive career as a prosecutor (Harris) but then points out that Julian Castro’s comment in the debates about Biden’s memory (which I did not take as an “obvious insinuation…that Biden was in serious cognitive decline”) “…went too far.” Jesus.
Similarly, when Democratic candidates just talked about Medicare-for-All, the corporate media spent days accusing the Democrats of attacking themselves. Advocacy for Medicare-for-all was treated in the corporate press as if it were a direct attack on Obama and everything he stood for.
A similar schizoid worry/condemn theme runs through other coverage. Is the Democratic candidate too left wing? Are the Democrats going too far in the impeachment inquiry? Are they going too fast? Are they going to slow? Are they being overly broad or overly narrow in the scope of the impeachment inquiry?
All of this reminds me of what it’s like to be a woman. Is the dress too long, too short, too dowdy, too sexy, to provocative?
I’m sick of it. The corporate media is full of this sort of coverage. And, the Democrats are so afraid of provoking this condemnation, they can’t move. They are like proverbial deer in the headlights.
The Democrats as a Party do indeed have a politeness problem, but it does not involve their competition with each other or their advocacy of policy. The politeness problem involves calling out the Trump Administration and its Republican enablers.
On Friday, Rep. Steve Israel was asked by a reporter if the Democrat should get tougher on members of the administration who were openly flouting the law and defying subpoenas. Should, the reporter asked, Democrats move to strategies like garnishing wages which the Congress can do for people who defy subpoenas. Oh, not now, Israel responded. We don’t want to do that, not when they have just started cooperating.
Israel is probably playing a scenario in his mind where Frank Bruni comes out with an opinion piece accusing the Democrats of “going too far” or being savage, or too aggressive, or something.
Where is courage? Where is righteous indignation? Where is moral certainty? Where are the people who aren’t afraid of speaking the truth no matter what the goddamn New York Times might think?
Afternoon Notes: The Media
- I still can’t believe that we have allowed a moron to displace 100,000 people and provoke what Richard Engels calls “ethnic cleansing” and corporate news commentators continue to laugh and joke and normalize the political situation.
- I like Chris Hayes. I was delighted to see him come from the Nation Magazine to host a major MSNBC news program. I cheered for him on his first night when he was so uncomfortable and anxious, he could barely stay in his seat. But, I am now ashamed of him and for him. The nightly news is not a game show. It is not a celebrity event. This is true any time, but especially at the moment when democracy hangs in the balance in this country.
- This is not a game. There’s nothing funny about a president who provokes genocide and an “opposition party” that is too cowardly to respond.
- Chris Hayes running onto the set like a stand-up comic, to wild applause is undignified, inappropriate and offensive.