Saturday, October 24, 2020

Normalizing fascist pathology

The star of the debate. What does that tell you?

"It was civil, calm, sedate, substantive (at times) and, almost, even normal." -- NYT

I was relieved when I first heard that there would be no second debate. Why would I, or anyone, want to expose themself to another exercise in demagoguery?

But then, when a desperate Trump, down by double-digits in the polls, agreed to take part, squelch button, partitions, and all, my heart sunk. I knew I would have to sit through another evening being bombarded with racist bombast, saber-rattling (by both sides), false promises, threats, and outright lies as corona deaths mount by the thousands.

No, watching these two go at it is not good for the soul. It only breeds more cynicism. But in between peeks at the Eagles/Giants game, that's exactly what I did. Don't ask me why? I knew the transcript would be readily available the next morning, but I did it anyway. 

The big news following the debate wasn't about the regime's tearing hundreds of immigrant babies away from their parents. It wasn't about Trump fiddling while the world burns (literally) or pandemic deaths topping 300,000. It was that DT wasn't as rude and disruptive as he was the first time around and that moderator Kristen Welker from NBC saved us all from Mr. Bluster. 

Welker became the star of the show and tired and bleeding nation breathed a sigh of relief. NBC took up 10 minutes of national news time this morning canonizing Kristen for a job well done. That in itself shows what an exercise in banality the whole event was.

The best response to that nonsense came from the New Republic's Alex Shephard

But the truth is that while Trump didn’t foam at the mouth, his performance was still pathological...Trump’s abnormalcy was an affront to [pundits'] sense of decorum and their sense of themselves as supreme knowers of American politics. There are rules, after all! And the rules say you must pivot! As Jay Rosen noted about the press when he explained how they create “Trump normalization.”

I actually thought I saw a little foam coming out the corner of his mouth.  

 Salon's Amanda Marcotte wrote:

What "civil" debate? The one I watched revealed Donald Trump as a cold-blooded psychopath. A calmer tone only exposed Trump's lack of basic empathy about the pandemic, family separation, or anything else. 

My brother Fred posted this 

My line has always been, let Trump be Trump. The more he rants, rages, the more the polls seem to tick upward for the Democrats. The problem with my theory is that fascist militia groups and white supremacists take his rhetoric as a call to action. 

It wasn't surprising then to read the next day, that a North Carolina man, with a plan to assassinate Joe Biden, was arrested with a van full of guns and explosives. 

My favorite Biden malaprop of the night was his referring to the white supremacist Proud Boys thugs as the "Poor Boys."

It's hard to pick out one most offensive bit of racist Trump debate jabber. Maybe this one:
It's a very-- it makes me sad because I am the least racist person. I can't even see the audience because it's so dark, but I don't care who's in the audience. I’m the least racist person in this room [repeated 3 times]. 

Or this regarding immigrants:

We have to send ICE out and Border Patrol out to find them. We would say, ‘Come back in two years, three years -- we're going to give you a court case. You did Perry Mason, we're going to give you a court case. When you say they come back, they don't come back, Joe. They never come back. Only the really --  I hate to say this -- but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back. 

 This second debate was, at best, a nothing burger. It hardly moved the needle as far as the polls were concerned. In that sense, it could be seen as a win for Biden since DT, with only 10 days left until Election Day, needed a big win to stem the Democratic tide. 

As for substance, there wasn't much. But by now, all you political junkies out there can rattle off the rest of DT's most offensive and racist lines. So I won't bother. 

But if you need a list of the past four years of his possibly indictable crimes, cruelties, collusions, corruptions, here's a good one from McSweeny's. It's handy to have them all in one place.

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