Christianity. Islam. The Protestant Reformation. Abolitionism. Daniel O’Connell, Women’s suffrage, the labor movement, Gandhi. The Civil Rights Movement. The movement against the war in Vietnam. Punk rock.
“Within a few days of taking the oath of office, I’ve taken steps to begin the construction of the Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipelines. Anywhere from 30-40,000 jobs. And very importantly, as I was about to sign it, I said who makes the pipe? Who makes the pipe? Something this audience understands very well, right? Simple question. The lawyers put this very complex document in front. I said, who makes the pipe? They said, sir, it can be made anywhere. I said not anymore. I put a little clause in the bottom. The pipe has to be made in the United States of America if we’re going to have pine line.”
“In fact, when the Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Abe, was great. Great guy. When he came over, he said, thank you. I said for what. You saved us many, many millions of dollars on the F-35 fighter jet. Because when I negotiated, I took our allies into the same negotiation. So the first thing he did was thanked me for saving them money and that’s good. Okay. That’s good. I know the media will never thank me so at least Japan is thanking me, right?”
There is absolutely no evidence this ever happened.
“But we believe in two simple rules. Buy American and hire American. We believe it.”
“Here’s the bottom line. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden.”
Nothing happened the night before in Sweden.
“The nation state remains the best model for human happiness and the American nation remains the greatest symbol of liberty, of freedom and justice on the face of god’s earth. And now we have spirit like we’ve never had before. It’s now that we have our sacred duty and we have no choice and we want this choice to defend our country, to protect its values and to serve its great, great citizens. Erasing national borders does not make people safer. It undermines democracy and trade prosperity. We’re giving it away.”
Steve Bannon’s lips didn’t even move. I think he was drinking a glass of water.
How many more of these whackadoo performance pieces does he have to present before somebody throws sand in the gears? If four Republican senators—say, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and Susan Collins—would agree to caucus with the Democrats under Chuck Schumer, the whole thing would grind to a halt until we could catch our breath and see if we really want to live in the madhouse of this president*’s mind for the next four years. Bold speeches in Munich and chest-thumping on Twitter won’t cut it. It’s put up or shut up time.
And, please, for the love of god, ye editors and news directors throughout the land, enough with the expeditions into the heartland to talk to people who helped bring this down upon themselves and on us. These folks have nothing new to say. They voted their id and their spleen and they’re still on a high from that. Some guy in a café in Dubuque wants to say that he voted for this president* because he “tells it like it is,” or because he thinks the steel mills are coming back? Can you watch that rally in Florida and believe that these opinions have any real merit?
How many more of these whackadoo performance pieces does he have to present before somebody throws sand in the gears?
“You gotta keep his con even after you take him,” Henry Gondorff warned. “He can’t know that you took him.” Until they realize how badly they’ve been taken, what’s the point in all these stories? You’re listening to people in love with their own delusions. It’s not even magical realism because there’s no magic and nothing’s real.
The press-bashing bothers me less than it bothers a lot of people, and certainly less than it should bother the likes of David Frum and other career conservatives. Press-bashing has been in the conservative playbook for as long as the power sweep has been in Green Bay’s. In 1964, Goldwater delegates tried to climb up into the broadcast positions and throttle anchormen. Nixon and Agnew, of course, were sui generis, but history tells us that President* Trump is little more than a crude evolutionary fluke in this long progress.
It’s the other thing—the “fake news” conjuring words—that is really perilous. That is a tactic that breaks down the idea of an educated, informed citizenry that was assumed by the Founders to be the basis of American self-government. Because of that, there are consequences to believing nonsense in this country that are far more serious than they are anywhere else. Couple the delusions in the Heartland with a president* that is more than willing to populate those delusions with monsters from his own id and you no longer have a functioning democratic republic. You have an incompetent, incoherent East Germany, with golden commodes and a $200,000 annual membership fee.
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