Friday, October 02, 2020

The Immoralist

NYT conservative columnist, David Brooks, writes that Trump and "his felons" are dragging America into moral chaos.

The crucial thing about Donald Trump is that he is not a nationalist who uses immoral means. He is first and foremost an immoralist, whose very being was defined by dishonesty, cruelty, betrayal and cheating long before he put on political garb
In this presidential campaign, Trump’s nationalist platform — trade, immigration — has faded into the background while his immoral nature has taken center stage. Compared to 2016, it’s more pure Trump and less Pat Buchanan. 

The key events of the campaign have been moral events: Trump reportedly calling military veterans and the war dead suckers and losers; Trump downplaying a deadly pandemic to the American people; Trump failing to pay fair taxes; Trump sidling up to white supremacists, resorting to racist and QAnon dog whistles. 
The debate was an important moment. You and I can give sermons about how cruel, dishonest behavior shreds the norms of a decent society. But moral degradation is an invisible process. It happens subtly over time.

  During Tuesday night’s debate, by contrast, people got to see, in real time, how Trump’s vicious behavior destroyed an American institution, the presidential debate. They got to see how his savagery made ordinary human conversation impossible. Debate watchers were confronted with a core truth: What Trump did to that debate Tuesday night is what he’ll do to America in a second term.

On Tuesday we got see that immorality isn’t just a vague thing people talk about in Sunday school. It is a Howitzer that blows through walls and leaves rubble. It is an attempt to serve yourself by breaking things and making other people suffer.

Biden should continue to talk about his economic recovery and pandemic control plans and all that stuff, but this election has devolved to certain key questions: Does America still have a moral core, a basic framework that makes this a decent place to live? Will we let Trump and his felons drag us to moral chaos?

...Some Republicans see Trump’s immorality as a sideshow they will tolerate to secure other goods. But his immorality is voracious, a widening gyre that threatens the basic stability of civic life. If he undermines this election, and his Republican enablers let him, he’ll approach what comes next with appalling ferocity.

My intuition tells me, as does the polling data, that more people are paying attention, have recognized what’s before them and will make the right decision. Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Seward made the essential point: “There was always just enough virtue in this republic to save it; sometimes none to spare.”


Trailblazer said...

NYT conservative columnist, David Brooks, writes that Trump and "his felons" are dragging America into moral chaos.

No shit Sherlock.
Where has the NYT been for the last fifty years?
Claiming , it's a new phenomenon , is delinquency of journalism on a major scale.
Let's be honest, the US has had it head up it's arse for most of my 74 years on this wonderful planet.
Go to American exceptionalism and you need search no further!


The Disaffected Lib said...

Actually, TB, the chaos of today may be the ultimate expression of American exceptionalism. All they need is to start calling each out into the street at high noon to shoot it out. The wealthiest (supposedly) nation on Earth "losing its shit" - because it can.

Gordie said...

I think that your comment about shooting it out at high noon is close to the truth. I fear that some of these extreme right-wing Trump supporters (e.g. the proud boys) are itching for trouble, and it won't surprise me to see people get shot while voting, or in riots that are bound to happen if Trump loses the election.

The Disaffected Lib said...

The FBI is warning of violence from these radical right groups in the run-up to and aftermath of the election.

Vice News, where the co-founder of the Proud Boys, McInnes, came from also reports that the Proud Boys are making threats that they'll rise up if Biden wins the election. Most, I'm sure, won't but these groups do attract some lunatics.