“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
A distinction must be made between the contemporary and colloquial use of normal and the suggestion of approval.
In today’s Guardian author Francine Prose uses normal in the following manner:
“Right after the November 2016 election, one often heard the promise, by Donald’s Trump’s opponents, never to allow his presidency to become normalized, to seem acceptable or routine.
Trump’s bullying style, his ignorance of the US constitution, the rhetoric of his campaign – anti-immigrant, racist, misogynistic, mocking a free press and free speech – should (and would) continue to seem unprecedented, extreme, dangerous and outrageous. In many ways, Trump has helped the opposition keep that promise….”
Logical, but then Prose adds this:
“Anyone old enough to remember any previous presidency would know that it is not normal for an American president to tweet a meme of himself body-slamming someone with CNN’s logo superimposed over their head. Nor is it normal for an American president to reveal classified information to Russian diplomats.”
Well, yes and no.
I don’t recall anyone else doing those things but I do recall Nixon and Kissinger illegally negotiating with the North Vietnamese before Nixon was elected and using the F.B.I and the C.I.A. to infiltrate, spy on, intimidate, blackmail, and arrest anyone who got in their way…and I recall oily car salesman and part time Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew blasting the negative nabobs of negativity…in the press.
And she adds this:
“Claiming that a female MSNBC commentator was “bleeding badly from a facelift” isn’t normal either. ”
Except that it was normalized when the press and their fellow travellers accepted and assisted in the assault on Hillary Clinton when her husband was running for president and after he was elected.
“But rather than try to cure the illness, we choose to live, so to speak, in denial: trolling and shouting down people whose ideas differ from our own; tracking each stage of the Trump family’s fall from grace; allowing Republican leaders to dismantle the protections that safeguarded our health and welfare.
We have become like a giant family, rife with warring factions, forced to spend time in one room, watching the latest episode of a reality TV show, horrified or heartened by the clownish antics. While in another part of the house, a band of thieves – who look suspiciously like Republican party leaders – are conspiring to rob us, not just of money but of the necessities (healthcare, education, clean air and water) that allow us to survive.”
Vs back in January when she said this:
“I believe that what we need is a nonviolent national general strike of the kind that has been more common in Europe than here. Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt, a day when we make it clear: how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.”
Read the full piece here:
and on the issue of normal, read the full piece here:
She means of course that Trump’s actions are not moral and may be illegal. However, they are not abnormal. This does not mean that we condone his actions it means that a proper accounting of history requires honesty and that requires not forgetting or pretending to not remember that the government has been consistently immoral and has engaged in consistent acts of illegality that…constitute…a standard course of action and are therefore…normal.
In the intellectual Origins of The Third Reich George L. Mosse made the case that the Nazis did not spring up from nowhere or arrive from some alternate dimension but were generated by identifiable facts in human behavior, the socio-historical context of Europe in general and specifically in Germany. He was determined to show that the efforts to avoid responsibility for the war, and the Nazis was inescapable. They were, he said, the other face in the mirror. And often enough, the only face in the mirror.
For example he looked at Martin Luther’s plan to stigmatize Jews by having them wear yellow Stars of David and proposing that they be locked up and let out to work so that manual labor and incarceration would wipe away the sin of deicide.
To sum up Mosse’s brilliant work one could say that Arbeit macht frei is not just an example of German humor but is also meant to signify the religious belief at the heart of German fascism and that their fascism did not come from nowhere.
In a similar manner it is a moral requirement to refuse to forget.
If Trump is not normal, exactly what do we say about the vapor trail of epic acts of national grandeur like…The Trail of Tears…or The Alien and Sedition Act…or the Genocide against the indigenous people of the continent including environmental genocide (“…and what i want to know is how do you like your blue-eyed boy Mister Death…“) the use of germ warfare (first prize one smallpox infected blanket…second prize – two blankets and a case of whiskey)…and…
let’s not forget slavery…and plantations…and lynching…strange fruit and all…and the Palmer Raids and the Red Scare and the Blacklist…and MK Ultra…and Tuskegee…and the Radiation experiments…and Pinochet and Operation Condor…and My Lai…and that second rate break in…and LBJ bugging everyone’s phones and campaign planes…and Henry fucking Kissinger…and everyone’s favorite cross dressing fascist goon J. Edgar Hoover…and cointelpro…and writing letters to MLK suggesting he kill himself…and…all the times some asshole got up and justified what they had done and what they were planning to do…murder…executions…genocide…coups…torture…mass surveillance…suspending habeas corpus…ruling it legal to categorize some people as property…
“I am not a crook…”
“Yeah, we tortured some folks…”
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue…”
“The only good Indian is a dead Indian…”
“How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this Government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy, a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man…”
“In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument…They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit…”
Exactly what then shall we say about…normal?
Really? Are you fucking kidding me by even asking…
It was a coup. It was ineptitude. It was the confluence of events and people with competing agendas took advantage of all of those things and the result is this: There was a coup and a gang of incompetent, neo-fascist thugs have taken over a significant part of the government. Aided and abetted by cynics and fellow travelers and fanatic true believers they are by oil toil and trouble setting in motion the possibility of letting us know the play is done when the stage is littered with corpses.
And it did not come from nowhere. It was there at the beginning and it has been here all along.
If his lawyer says pardons are not being considered and are not on the table then that means pardons are being considered and are on the table and the chairs and the desks and in Trump’s hair.
And the feckless Handmaid’s Tale bullies in the House and the Senate are taking a moment to consider their options…
The establishment of a pseudo-republic and the enshrinement of an increasingly authoritarian corrupt violent theoretically inspired police state that declares rolling states of emergency in response to the responses to its unconstitutional edicts and manipulations of the law.
Make no mistake.
The Crisis of our history is again upon us.
They will not go quietly. Steve Bannon gets hard when he thinks about Italian leather and crowds of black shirts. Steve Bannon thinks about blood and soil. Steve Bannon wants to fuck Joan of Arc. Steve Bannon wants to be her horse. (and we don’t believe for three seconds that he is out of the loop):
Jared and Ivanka have lizard eyes and the iron and barbed wire rat-tunnel souls of New York real estate barons and new money aristocrats who will not wait patiently for the last train out of Petrograd. They do not have mirrors in their homes because they don’t want anyone to know the truth. They will not go quietly to prison. They will, like proper Borgia, kill Jr. (leaks, damn leaks and false leaks…is this a dagger I see before me…) or die trying. They will go down with the ship.
Paul Ryan is a Borg – if the Borg Queen was the Virgin Mary…and a dominatrix…
Mitch McConnell – is afraid he can’t open the pod bay doors…
And the democrats…
are an empty suit…worn once by Willy Loman and then thrown away…
The outer circle will crack (Manafort, Flynn, the ones without the money to litigate endlessly) and the inner circle knows it and will retreat to the fuhrer bunker to wage Gotterdammerung and impeachment and will threaten to destroy all of it – the genuine remnants and the sham residual echoes of the republic.
Enraged infant. Pathologically insecure. Clinically Paranoid. Racist. Misogynistic. Incompetent. Emotionally atrophied. A professional demagogue and amateur fascist…who did not arrive from an alternate dimension. He’s been here all along. There are millions just like him. And neither he nor his supporters will go quietly. He will issue pardons. He will dare the House and the Senate and the Stasi and the Pentagon and the Supreme Court…to stop him. He will dare the loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires…and he will dare the tech barons and the Europeans…and he will dare the plebs to resist and place their bodies on the gears of the machine. And he will dare the National Guard to refuse his orders.
What is normal?
This is all normal.
But it cannot be accepted as moral.
The moment is fast approaching when people of conscience will have to choose.
There are many who do not know they are fascists, Ernest Hemingway once said…but will discover it when the time comes…
Update: 7/21/17. For additional commentary on the threats posed by the Trump junta:
Update: 7/24/17. Per our comment that Jr. would be thrown to the sharks: