During last night’s chat with John Brennan, Bill Maher said something about the Trump miasma having put America and Americans in the midst of one of the three biggest critical crossroad moments in our nation’s history, the first two being the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
It’s now clear that a highly significant minority (i.e., the entire country outside the cities) is ready to abandon the basic tenets of democracy and for that matter sanity in order to submit to a crime-family autocrat who at least, they’re telling themselves, is trying to preserve a semblance of white-male dominance as they remember it from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Beast that he is, Trump’s supporters are rationalizing that at least he’s standing foursquare for heartland white culture (or claiming as much) and trying to prevent the multiculturals and LGBTQs from gaining too much ground.
“The thing about all the shocking Trump revelations is that they are already baked into Trump’s image. His supporters, and there are tens of millions of them, never had illusions. I’ve not met one who did not have a pretty clear picture of Trump. They’ve known all along that he’s a needy narcissist, a womanizer, a lowlife, a liar, a braggart and a generally miserable human being. That’s why the Access Hollywood tape or the I-could-shoot-somebody-on-Fifth-Avenue boast did not kill his candidacy.
“There’s a deeper question, which comes back to the extraordinary Western landscape and the high American idea enshrined in it. Americans elected Trump. Nobody else did. They came down to his level. White Christian males losing their place in the social order decided they’d do anything to save themselves, and to heck with morality. They made a bargain with the devil in full knowledge. So the real question is: What does it mean to be an American today? Who are we, goddamit? What have we become?
“Trump was a symptom, not a cause. The problem is way deeper than him.
“For William Steding, a diplomatic historian living in Colorado, American individualism has morphed into narcissism, perfectibility into entitlement, and exceptionalism into hubris. Out of that, and more, came the insidious malignancy of Trump. It will not be extirpated overnight.”
“Extirpate” means “to root out and destroy completely.”