That sound you hear is Establishment America — most especially the mainstream media — adjusting its bustle as it returns to good old normal.
One week after we — yes, you and I — elected as our president one Donald Trump, a pathetically borish boy-man who believes only white people should be in charge, openly loathes people of color, disparages and assaults women and uses hate like it was styling gel, what was initially described as a national nightmare is quickly taking on the gravity of…well, a meal at a strange restaurant that left America with a bit of indigestion.
With nary a whimper, albeit a fair amount of Maalox chugging and a few spoiled brat kids acting out in street protests for the nightly news, the establishment is adjusting its capacious bustle for a four, or perhaps eight, year interregnum with the fickle resignation of parents who have given the keys to the national car to a wayward son with plutocratic tendencies who of course will total it and take out some Mexican day laborers in the process. Never mind that this almost certainly will mean war, terrorist attacks on the homeland, mass deportations of adults and children, a newly recidivist Supreme Court, decimating the environmental agenda, women’s wombs as preexisting medical conditions and shredding of the social safety net.
Meanwhile, the “leaders” of the Democratic Party are making a strong case that the center-left is clueless when it comes to understanding what voters want, let alone reaching out to them, as they fight over control of the post-Hillary Clinton sandbox and Bernie Sanders screams “Me! Me! Me!” Oh, and that James Comey is a very bad man.
This is not resilience, it’s excuse making (“We’ve been through far worse”), group myopia and normalizing the most obscene of our societal phobias — racism — and the justly reviled news media leads the pack on all counts.
After 15 minutes of mea culpas and we’ll do better next times, it’s back to business as usual for the boys and girls on the bus as they cover the transition of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago from open and unashamed racist to a kinder and gentler leader who in the words of more than one mainstream media shill has made “an astonishing journey” to the White House. Then there is the revisionist bilge peddled by the likes of CBS News‘s Leslie Stahl, who said of Trump after interviewing him for “60 Minutes” that he “was much more subdued, much more serious.”
And why was the Huffington Post the only news outlet of consequence to state the obvious with the headline
WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Over a story on the selection of Steve Bannon as senior counselor and chief strategist? Or why the selection of the lighter-than-air Reince Priebus as chief of staff is being greeted with relief. Because the president-elect could have chosen Gary Busey?
Most extraordinary in the mad scramble for normalcy was a letter to readers from The New York Times publisher and executive editor chockablock with vows to recommit to the cause of “the independent, original journalism for which we are known” that was so freighted with liberal guilt that I felt myself being embarrassed for Sulzberger and Baquet after I had finished puking.
The fearless Times is now four for four on the big stories of the millennium: Negligent in reporting government malfeasance before and after the 9/11 attacks, tardy in recognizing the inherent wrongness of the Iraq War, too late to acknowledge and challenge the Bush Torture Regime, let alone use the word torture (ew!), and just as irresponsible in failing to take Trump seriously when it might have mattered. The Times took Dubya’s lies at face value, so why should we suppose it will be any different with Cheeto Jesus since Job One will not be to ferret out the truth, but begin anew the mutual backscratching dance essential to establishing those all-important news sources in the new administration.
Having gotten the election utterly and absolutely wrong, I should have retired from the prediction business, but here I am making three more:
- Trumpkins will end up much worse off under his policies. Even people who love assault weapons sometimes need food stamps and health insurance.
- Washington society will view Trump and his family as 5th Avenue trailer trash. Which they are. What D.C. did to the Clintons in 1993 was child’s play.
- Six-times bankrupt Trump has way too many skeletons for at least a few not to catch up to him. He will be impeached, provoking a constitutional crisis.
And as noted in my post-election riff on America being the new Rome, I also believe that things will have to get much worse before they get better. And that compromise will be even worse than capitulation because it is the express lane to conflating the catastrophic with the good old normal.
No word yet on when the national pussy grabbing tour begins.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on November 15, 2016, on Kiko’s House, a website featuring commentary by journalist and author, Shaun Mullen. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Mullen.