There is a dangerous narrative currently circulating that “nobody in the media could foresee Trump winning” which is simply not true. Large sections of the media saw the horrific path towards appointing a 20th century Caligula. We’ve had weeks of individuals embarking on successive (and ultimately unsuccessful) campaigns to unmask and strip down the emperor on his rise (John Oliver for example).
The danger of the narrative is that it quickly feeds the narrative of sanctifying the person of Trump by virtue of the Office he will come to hold. Such a move is the greatest heresy and would be a greater immorality of habit that the other flairs that have come to plague journalism. Trump is no less of a predator, liar, recalcitrant and bigot today than he was three days ago.
The Office of the President of the United States will be no less dignified and regal on the 21st of January as it is today. Those who will shy from speaking candidly about Trump by virtue of the Office he holds do a disservice to the First Amendment and the dignity of the Office of the President and will be the chief contributor to any decline in the dignity of that office.
The problem is not that all of Trump’s supporters are morons, but rather that Trump’s campaign, like Zuma’s and so many demagogues, has been built on anti-intellectualism – which is very different from intellectual criticism. Know-nothing movements entangled with strong maligned nativist Leviathan candidates have been a feature of politics. The sad reality is that there are many (as an ordinal count rather than percentage of the total population although even as a percentage it is certainly in the double digits) racists in the United States of America and they overwhelmingly voted for and supported Donald Trump. Moreover the racists of the United States moved from simply holding racist views (which is frankly their problem) towards committing acts of violence on the basis of their racism – with church burnings on the eve of the election as the truest testimony of the resurgence of a violent white supremacist movement.
Trump is most certainly a bad man, unfortunately, while it is true that great men in history are almost invariably bad men the corollary is not true. True naivety is to believe that the pendulum of oppression will gracefully swing back in four years. The United States has through the ballot sacrificed individual liberty, collective nationality and a commitment to Her constitution. The harm caused by the Republican parties failure to abide by its values in the last 15 years will take at least one generation to remedy.
The party of Lincoln has written its own obituary.
So here is to the Rational Standard carrying criticisms of America’s Caligula.