The Horrible New Normal
I was busy all day Saturday in a wonderful Dallas bubble. I gave a talk about the Benedict Option this morning at Providence Christian School, then went to lunch with some folks who are doing amazing work serving the poor, then hung out with new friends and old ones at the Old Monk pub, my old hangout, and then went to a nice long dinner with more Providence folks. It was a great day.
I came back to the hotel room late, and got caught up on the big events of the day: the women’s march, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s bizarre performance.
First the march. What an appalling spectacle. The women marched in part to protest President Trump’s vulgar and disrespectful attitude toward women. But in so doing … well, look:
The Secret Service has reportedly said it will open an investigation into Madonna after the singer told the Women’s March on Washington that she had thought about ‘blowing up the White House’.
Donning a black p***yhat, the music icon caused controversy by dropping the F-bomb four times, sparking a slew of apologies from broadcasters airing the protest live.
She went on to speak of her rage at the election result, telling the crowd she had thought a lot about ‘blowing up the White House’ but knew that it ‘wouldn’t change anything’.
Tempers ran high as marchers took to Washington D.C. to oppose Donald Trump’s new presidency – with Ashley Judd joining Madonna in spewing lewd rants against the new President.
The Hollywood actress and the pop star departed from the general spirit of inclusivity and calls for mutual respect with personal attacks not only on Trump but also his family, including daughter Ivanka.
They say well-behaved women rarely make history, and Judd clearly took that quote to heart as she recited a poem written by a 19-year-old from Tennessee.
‘I feel Hitler in these streets, a mustache traded for a toupee,’ she said.
‘I am a nasty woman,’ she continued – referencing Donald’s famous attack on Hillary Clinton. ‘I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust.
‘I’m not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, your wet dreams infused with your own genes’.
Judd continued to proudly repeat the phrase ‘I’m a nasty woman’ as the crowd of thousands continued to cheer.
‘And our p***ies ain’t for grabbing, they’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be,’ she concluded.
‘Our p*****s are for our pleasure, for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, generations of nasty women.
‘So what today means is that we are far from the end, today marks the beginning, the beginning of our story.’
‘The revolution starts here, the fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal, lets march together through this darkness and with each step know that we are not afraid.’
‘That we are not alone, that we will not back down, that there is power in our unity, and that no opposing force stands a chance in the face of true solidarity.’
‘And to our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, “f*** you”,’ she proclaimed.
Madonna also performed two of her classic hits, Express Yourself and Human Nature, changing one of the lyrics in the latter song to ‘Donald Trump suck a d***’.
Read the whole thing. Disgusting. As a reader e-mailed:
Trump is the vulgar one?
They are making him look like Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
But look, it cannot be denied that the march, and sister marches around the country, drew formidable numbers. This is not going away anytime soon. The divisions are deep, and real, and the passions are hot.
And then the Sean Spicer episode. The White House press secretary called a Saturday press conference, and then, in front of reporters, delivered a blistering statement complaining about an unfair tweet, and about reports that the Trump inauguration crowd was smaller than Obama’s first inauguration crowd. In the statement he lied, or at least abused the truth, then stormed off the stage without taking questions.
I watched the clip, and thought, “This is the United States of America?!” It beggars belief. A friend texted:
That press briefing is such a pathetic embarrassment. Honestly. Four more years of thin-skinned lackeys carrying the water of a thin-skinned, self-absorbed narcissist. They didn’t have to say anything. How small they look already. How much they have already diminished the prestige of the office with their petty headcounts.
It’s true. Are we really going to have to endure idiocy like this every time Trump gets wound up about some penny-ante tweet from a reporter? Is it going to be nothing but chaos and outrage? Jonathan V. Last writes:
Rule #1 for press relations is that you can obfuscate, you can misrepresent, you can shade the truth to a ridiculous degree, or play dumb and pretend not to know things you absolutely do know. But you can’t peddle affirmative, provable falsehoods. And it’s not because there’s some code of honor among press secretaries, but because once you’re a proven liar in public, you can’t adequately serve your principal. Every principal needs a spokesman who has the ability, in a crunch, to tell the press something important and know that they’ll be believed 100 percent, without reservation.
But like I said, this isn’t about Spicer.
What’s worrisome is that Spicer wouldn’t have blown his credibility with the national press on Day 2 of the administration unless it was vitally important to Trump.
And if media reports about crowd size are so important to Trump that he’d push Spicer out there to lie for him, then it means that all the tinpot-dictator, authoritarian, characterological tics that people worried about during the campaign are still very much active.
You know who obsessed about crowd size? Fidel Castro. You know who did not? George Washington, John Adams, Andrew Jackson, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, and every other man to ever serve as president of these United States of America.
People are idiots. Donald Trump will keeping winning because people are idiots. And no, I am not talking about Trump supporters. I am mostly talking about the press corps.
Let’s review Saturday shall we?
The press decided to give massive coverage to the Women’s March in Washington with members of the press gleefully reporting every insult against Trump, but patently ignoring that one of the key speakers opposed the collapse of the Berlin Wall because she thought the communists were better than us. Another speaker, Ashley Judd, suggested Trump supporters were Nazis.
Consider the reaction of the press had this been said of Barack Obama. Well, we do not have to ponder it. We know. The press was outraged. Remember how a congressional staffer got fired for tweeting something about the Obama kids? On Friday, multiple people with blue checkmarks on Twitter were attacking Baron Trump and the press said nothing. We also know how the press responded when anyone called Obama a muslim, Nazi, commie, etc.
All this reinforces in many people’s minds that there is a double standard. And that double standard went into full force on Saturday. Supposedly objective reporters spent the day as activists and you all know it.
True. More Erickson:
Now, here we are at the close of Saturday, and the press has been fixated on a President of the United States daring to fight them. They have never had a President push back against them before like this. So now they’re screaming “First Amendment” and offended that Trump is doing all this.
They are screaming and moaning over treatment from a man who won a national election after video revealed he thought he could grab women by, well, you know where. And somehow the press thinks that voters who voted for Trump after that will care about this.
Mind you, the press can claim Trump has a low approval rating, but they have a lower approval rating than him.
The simple fact is that everyone knows the media only focuses on crowd sizes when it works to the Democrats’ advantage; everyone knows the press plays up tea party aggressiveness while downplaying leftwing aggressiveness; and everybody except the press knows that Trump is moving fast on a host of issues and he has them brilliantly focused on themselves.
People are idiots. Trump clearly knows this. And he is exploiting it to his advantage. As long as the press keeps playing up grievances against themselves and focusing on issues that really do not matter, Trump and his Administration can keep flying fast under the radar.
Read the whole thing. I think Erickson is probably right. Still, a few conclusions from Saturday:
- President Trump was a chaos candidate and apparently intends to be a chaos president. Stability, it would seem, is out the window. The White House will lie without hesitation when it serves its perceived interest.
- Trump is weaponizing the news media’s biases. Even when the media tell the truth, millions of Trump supporters will not believe them. This is a dangerous situation in a democracy. Consciously or not, Trump is exploiting the American people’s new habit of believing that truth is whatever serves the narrative they wish to believe, including whatever serves the cause of their side gaining or holding power.
- The elite media will not understand that it does this too, and has been doing this for years, to conservatives.
- Conservatives will be so glad that a Republican president is finally fighting back that they won’t care that it’s insane for a US president to behave this way, and that it undermines the gravity of the office.
- The cultural left, convinced of the justice of its own wrathfulness, is not going to protest with dignity or behave with any kind of decency or restraint. It’s going to overreach, again and again and again. It and Trump are going to feed off of each other’s negative energy, and it’s going to drive more and more Americans apart, and not only apart, but towards real enmity. Each side will blame the other 100 percent for the trouble.
One reason that the Benedict Option is going to become more and more appealing in the Trump years is as a shelter and source of resilience during the days of rage to come. In Dallas this weekend, my conversations included one with a college professor and one with a couple of lawyers. The professor talked about the spitefulness against Christians in the academy (even here in Dallas), and how one had to lay low and watch one’s back. The Trump years, I believe, are going to ramp that up. The lawyers talked about how politicized, in terms of progressive cultural dogmas, the professional culture within law has become. I am certain that the Trump years are going to see activists within the law profession push harder on these points as a form of resistance. This is going to fall very hard on the heads of orthodox Christians in law, academia, and other fields prone to left-wing cultural dominance.
Mostly, though, we are going to need a place of shelter within which we can keep our peace amid the chaos. I think of the Monks of Norcia, sheltering in tents just outside the town, observing the rubble of their earthquake-ravaged basilica and monastery. They left for the hills after the first of the series of deadly earthquakes, and made a safe place for themselves to ride out what was coming. In American life, the earth is starting to shake, symbolically. Now is the time to prepare for difficult days ahead.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 22, 2017
“Alternative facts”? I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth.