Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
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24-09-2017, 09:41 PM
Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
Journalist, commentator and author Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) posted a lengthy Twitter thread tonight that I feel is important and eloquent enough to consolidate into a single post and share below with you. It coalesces my own mounting sense of dread. It is not a pleasant read, but -- sadly -- I believe it to be accurate.

*****

We need to never again discuss this man with respect to policy—it's become more than clear in 9 months that he holds no policy positions. So if you support Donald Trump because of any view you claim he holds, I don't ever want to hear from you again. The man holds no views. There is no position Donald Trump has ever taken that he has not, at some point in the past or present, taken the opposite position to.

We mustn't ever discuss this man as someone "challenging the system" or any similar bromide. His White House is the most corrupt ever. Not one story of honorable conduct has emerged from this White House. Instead, it's been lies, deception, corruption, graft, propaganda.

But the most important thing is this: this is the first U.S. president to systematically and willfully terrorize his own populace daily. His changeability is intended to keep us anxious and on guard. In fact, he's admitted publicly, many times, that this is a tactic of his.

His corruption is equally studied: his business model has always been "get away with what you can," and that's exactly how he's governed. He saw that he had a GOP Congress—and knew that his worst-case scenario was not getting re-elected to a job that he never really wanted. That's why he hasn't eliminated his conflicts of interest, delivered on his promises, "drained the swamp," acted as any kind of leader. His presidency is a criminal enterprise designed to enrich his family and give him the attention his father clearly denied him as a kid.

He has no beliefs, no ambitions, no morals, no principles, no guidelines, no plans, no expectations. He simply needs to sow chaos daily. What Trump knows better than most is that America is a chaos machine—you feed it and it spits out attention, headlines, sometimes money.

I want to be very clear here: Donald Trump is a toxic human with a toxic public presence and—worst of all—he wants to poison his people. His reign will go down not just in U.S. history but human history as a reign of uncommon cruelty in the democracies of this millennium. It's more than that -- he'll go down in our history as the worst president we'll ever have—he'll go down as one of our greatest villains. Benedict Arnold tried to betray America for a prior sovereign—Trump is trying to torture a nation that was good to him his whole life.

Have you noticed a change in your mood since January? I mean a change you can't seem to escape? Anxiety, anger, fear, confusion, doubt? If you've seen a dramatic change lately in your personality, home life, belief in the nation you love—please know that you're not alone. I'm not using hyperbole: you're under attack. A deliberate, unprovoked, systematic, and—yes—evil attack. And it's working. We're losing.

When humans are endangered, confused and hopeless, there are certain things we turn to—all of which Trump is deliberately stealing away. Our fight or flight instinct—which Trump activates—can be quelled if we're given respite, which is why Trump ensures we have no respite. That's why his tweets—which are intended to terrorize, and do — come in a daily barrage of needless conflict, warmongering, and cruelty. He must never stop tweeting, because his tweets now activate our culture in a way so inescapable that we're almost like his prisoners.

You think he's attacking North Korea in his tweets? No—he's trying to terrorize you. The NFL? You. Segments of America? No—all of us.

When humans are confused, we seek the stability of truth, trusted institutions, neighbors. He's destroying those anchors systematically. "Fake news" isn't about getting re-elected—it's about controlling your fight-or-flight instinct by giving you no safe harbor in "truth."

Every institution we like or trust, he's undermined. The media. Government. Unions. Hell—even the NFL. Veterans (when he feels like it).

He's enabled by the GOP—but he's no Republican. He wants to destroy any politics or politician whose world he's not at the center of.

He's a malignant narcissist, and his only ambition is to spread his toxicity nationwide in whichever ways feed his perverse pathology.

If you're a Trump voter, by all means laugh it up. You'll be caught in wars, recessions, and international collapse like the rest of us. He has 35% support because Americans love to be right/see fools suffer—and Trump voters think they're on the right side of the equation. Time will show that we were all the fools—and whatever temporary satisfaction the Right got from annoying the Left wasn't worth America.

We don't have hope future elections will be fair. We don't have hope our government is working in our interests. We don't have hope we can trust and love our neighbors and they'll trust and love us back. And we don't have hope things will start to make sense again.

But only a fool fails to see that the pain and suffering that comes from having a madman as a leader is soon coming for every one of us. Things are going to get very bad. And many fools will say, "Well—that's America." America is deeply flawed. But we weren't this.

One in every few generations in the West, a leader arises so vile that he can draw out the evil from his population and weaponize it. Trump is not Hitler. There was only one Hitler. But Trump is the sort of Hitler that America in 2017—at its very worst—can breed. Everything evil a man can do to a country like this, at a time like this, in a span of four or eight years, Donald Trump will try to do. He'll try to make the vulnerable live in fear. He'll position himself as un-reviewable by the media and government. He'll sow confusion. And when his crimes are uncovered—and he's been a villain and criminal his whole adult life—he'll try to stoke violence to save himself.

He's everything people say—a pathological liar; a corrupt politician; a serial sexual assailant; and, yes, a traitor—but he's also more. He's an actual evil presence that hangs over your life—and the life of a nation you love—every single day.

And he may be unstoppable. Is there any reason to trust future election results—now that we know Russia is hacking/interfering and Trump's doing zero to stop it? And is there any reason to think the damage Trump has done to our political system can be solved in just a single American generation? And as he plunges us deeper into our Longest War and tries to start World War III in Asia, can we be certain lasting doom isn't ahead?

My point: there is only one fight in America today that matters, because all other fights are ultimately a direct corollary to this one. If we want to save ourselves—and our country—Trump must be legally, peacefully and transparently removed from a position of power. ASAP.

PS/ It's OK to finally indulge the idea that everything is as bad as you think it is if hitting rock-bottom gives you the courage to FIGHT.
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25-09-2017, 04:49 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
(24-09-2017 09:41 PM)mordant Wrote:  Have you noticed a change in your mood since January? I mean a change you can't seem to escape? Anxiety, anger, fear, confusion, doubt? If you've seen a dramatic change lately in your personality, home life, belief in the nation you love—please know that you're not alone. I'm not using hyperbole: you're under attack. A deliberate, unprovoked, systematic, and—yes—evil attack. And it's working. We're losing.

Actually, I've been angry since the November election. And I fell out with one sister over her Republican politics. We no longer talk because I got tired of the lies and condescension.

However, while I think the article is interesting, it is also overstated. Trump is not by any means the whole government, and many good people are fighting him within the government. This is by no means a lost battle.

If Trump wants us to get so angy, why are we so angry? Aren't we behaving the way he wants? I personally see people biding their time until they can remove him by the system he wishes to undermine, and that's a good thing for the system.
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25-09-2017, 07:23 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
(25-09-2017 04:49 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  ... while I think the article is interesting, it is also overstated. Trump is not by any means the whole government, and many good people are fighting him within the government. This is by no means a lost battle.

If Trump wants us to get so angy, why are we so angry? Aren't we behaving the way he wants? I personally see people biding their time until they can remove him by the system he wishes to undermine, and that's a good thing for the system.
I hope you are right.

Ta-Nehisi Coates had an essay not long ago where he said,
Quote:"It does not take much to imagine another politician, wiser in the ways of Washington and better schooled in the methodology of governance -- and now liberated from the pretense of antiracist civility -- doing a much more effective job than Trump."
In other words, in the best case scenario, Trump has paved the way for greater depredations to come by normalizing the unthinkable, and we'll have to be vigilant about those.

I can still envision -- in theory -- scenarios where we aren't in for some version of the Hunger Games or something. Abramson implies as much by closing out his essay with an injunction to FIGHT to remove this asshat from office or, at the least, deny him another term.

But I also think he's right to say it's foolish to imagine that this is just a regrettable speed bump on the way back to responsible and rational governance. That it's likely that things will get Very Bad, at least for the vulnerable and quite probably for us all. This is all hands on deck serious shit. That even if we deflect this threat, it gives birth to still others. This is NOT business as usual and that is my main motivation in passing on the essay.
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25-09-2017, 07:36 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
(25-09-2017 07:23 AM)mordant Wrote:  But I also think he's right to say it's foolish to imagine that this is just a regrettable speed bump on the way back to responsible and rational governance. That it's likely that things will get Very Bad, at least for the vulnerable and quite probably for us all. This is all hands on deck serious shit. That even if we deflect this threat, it gives birth to still others. This is NOT business as usual and that is my main motivation in passing on the essay.

I see Trump as a correction to Republicans going to extremes. He's both a symptom and an antidote. In other words, he's a reductio ad absurdum. It's unfortunate Americans have to learn the hard way, but sometimes we do. After Trump, I hope to see Republicans more willing to be moderate and to compromise to get real work done. That is, if they survive the "treatment" at all.
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25-09-2017, 08:01 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
(25-09-2017 07:36 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I see Trump as a correction to Republicans going to extremes. He's both a symptom and an antidote. In other words, he's a reductio ad absurdum. It's unfortunate Americans have to learn the hard way, but sometimes we do. After Trump, I hope to see Republicans more willing to be moderate and to compromise to get real work done. That is, if they survive the "treatment" at all.
I certainly hope you're right but fail to see any sign that Republicans will learn anything about governing for the good of the nation above ideology from this. What they are learning is that they can govern openly for the benefit of the wealthy oligarchs and get away with it.

We'll find out in the midterms whether they're right or not.

Trump is not the only only one normalizing toxicity and dysfunction in government. The GOP has in very public and un-spinnable ways for the first time abandoned all pretense of caring about the vulnerable and disenfranchised, and displays open hostility toward them. They at least used to make a semi-credible pretense to care about human suffering, now they openly pleasure themselves while inflicting it. And their ability to repeatedly attempt historically unpopular legislation like the ACA repeal exposes that their invulnerability to re-election challenges is now quite powerful thanks to gerrymandering and other systemic failures.

The Democrats must take their share of blame for this. Their stubborn embrace of the elitist wing of the party, their inability to get on the same page -- and have that page resonate and be credible with people, makes it triply hard to push back against all this perfidy. I mean, seriously -- "A Better Deal" is the best slogan they can come up with? Dog help us all.
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25-09-2017, 08:10 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
He truly is a 70 year old toddler.

-He tantrums when he doesn't get his way
-He needs constant attention and positive reinforcement (good boy, good job! you had the biggest crowds, buddy!)
-He requires simple explanations (which includes visuals) and things to be spelled out for him
-He is selfish and thinks the world revolves around him.

Has anyone here ever raised a toddler? Seriously, he is JUST like one.

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25-09-2017, 09:21 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
I'm more angry at his followers, because I find them more and more spoiled child like as he is.

I guess one way to look at it is, Trump is exposing for the rest of us all the terrible people in America. Ones we always knew existed but they usually tried to at least behave in public. Now they are loud and proud assholes, which makes it pretty easy to spot.
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25-09-2017, 09:25 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
(25-09-2017 08:10 AM)ShadowProject Wrote:  He truly is a 70 year old toddler.

-He tantrums when he doesn't get his way
-He needs constant attention and positive reinforcement (good boy, good job! you had the biggest crowds, buddy!)
-He requires simple explanations (which includes visuals) and things to be spelled out for him
-He is selfish and thinks the world revolves around him.

Has anyone here ever raised a toddler? Seriously, he is JUST like one.

I've babysat toddlers and have to say it's not a fair comparison.

The toddlers were far more respectful. Though they did demand I burp my ABCs...

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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25-09-2017, 09:27 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
I tend to lump them into the brain dead follower category myself. They use the same types of arguments about fake news and how the country is falling apart morally and blah blah blah. Also for people that "won", why do they need to bring up Hillary Clinton into every debate on a topic? The level of obsession they have with her is creepy to the nth degree.

-If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
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25-09-2017, 09:37 AM
RE: Yes, it's as bad as you think (Seth Abramson essay on Trump)
(25-09-2017 09:27 AM)Targaryen Wrote:  Also for people that "won", why do they need to bring up Hillary Clinton into every debate on a topic?

Because they believe she would have been worse than Trump. I personally can't imagine anyone worse than Trump. Even an ordinary bureaucrat would have been better.
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