Normalizing Trump

“Normal” means different things to different people. In the wake of this week’s election results, there has been a lot of talk about the ways in which dangerous things come to be viewed as just another part of everyday life. Often, this process happens in the places where you least expect political events to transpire. It’s on the late-night talk show, when the comedian giggles as he tousles Donald Trump’s hair, signalling that this madman can take a joke; it’s in the life-style magazine that works to humanize him and those around him, suggesting that people with furniture dipped in gold are just like us; it’s in the conversations where one person dampens another’s alarmism by wondering, Have you ever actually seen a Klansman?

There’s been a lot of soul-searching this week, particularly within the media, about how beholden we’ve all become to our preferred silos of self-identification. Implicit in this is a desire to understand and reckon with the overwhelmingly white voting base that delivered the Electoral College to Trump. Rather than disavowing those with whom we disagree, this line of reasoning goes, we must understand them, and see the humanity in their anxieties about the economy or immigration or Black Lives Matter or isis. But in the rush to be radically empathetic, and reckon with another’s disaffection, a different kind of normalization occurs: We validate an identity politics that is often rooted in denying other people’s right to the same.

via What Normalization Means – The New Yorker


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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