Monday, January 23, 2017

At What Point Are You Embarrassed?

The Omnivore knows someone who voted for Trump--but who is well smart enough to know that alternative-facts are lies, that the woman's march wasn't a "Woman's riot," and that (especially) what's good for Russia is almost certainly not what's good for America.

The Omnivore watched people on Twitter--self-proclaimed 'deplorables,' anti-media conservatives, and a few basic republicans grapple with the first days of the Trump administration and its flailing attempts to right a ship that it, itself, had mostly driven into the iceberg.

Nowhere was this more ominous and obvious than Trump's trip to the CIA. He went on a Saturday--when people there are stationed to be minding the shop. He brought his own cheering section--to provide the applause the CIA staff didn't give him. He spoke in front of the wall marked with stars for people who had given their lives protecting the country, co-opting it, in a way.

He rushed through his prepared remarks offering them support to get to an unscripted rant about media coverage, crowd sizes, and rain--much of it easily disprovable. He suggested we should "take Iraq's oil"--war crime.

As a single point, this might be seen as merely the first, unsteady steps of an administration finding its feet--but when you look at the trend-lines, Trump's obsession with crowd sizes going way back, the choice (of all people) of Bannon to write the speech which featured America First rhetoric--a symbolic shout out (intentional or not--but coming from Bannon, certainly not) to the white supremacists who support Trump, and Sean Spicer's pack-of-lies press conference it is clear that this is just another part of the package.

Right now the conservative narrative looks like this (The Omnivore uses "conservative" because it appears this is, with a few, rare, exceptions, what we get for conservatism now in America--98% of Republicans 'came home' to Trump).

  • The media is malicious and lies blatantly and provably. The Omnivore discussed with a Trump supporter the miss-tweet about the MLK Bust being removed. The guy who tweeted it issued multiple retractions when he discovered he was wrong. The Trump-Supporter believed that he knew the bust was there all along, plainly saw it, but had an evil plan to smear the administration and just panicked when he was caught.
  • There is some "debate" about what Trump / Spicer actually claimed--i.e. was Spicer discussing total-viewership? Or people on the lawn. Spicer-defenders hold that he was discussing total-viewership. Reading what he actually said (and what Trump said to the CIA), it's clear he meant crowd-size.
  • There is the argument that crowds don't mean anything and that Trump voters work. This despite the consistent argument in the primary that crowd sizes were all important and that nobody in America has jobs . . . 
And so on. The point here is that for the Trump-defender any excuse, regardless of how thin, will be used to normalize the administration's behavior. The question is what about the people who are smart enough to know better--but voted for Trump anyway.

It's a trick question.

The Omnivore is pretty sure that people who were smart enough to know better (as opposed to people who voted for Trump without paying attention) did so on the basis of identity rather than policy. Single-issue policy votes (Obamacare, abortion, immigration, Bernie Sanders, etc.) are the excuse. The emotional driver is identity.

So that person--who sees what the administration is doing and who is smart enough to know how bizarre and unhealthy it is--knows they own a piece of it. It's embarrassing--maybe even disturbing--but it's their identity.

You can't get rid of your identity that easily. It's easier to defend Trump.


  1. I liked Stephen Colbert's take on Friday night: "The President of the United States was in Home Alone 2. I always thought I'd be saying that on the first day of President Pesci's administration."

    "...and you may say to yourself, 'My God, what have I done?'" -- Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"

    -- Ω

    1. Indeed. Unfortunately, most of the Trump-Voters are never going to say that.