Destructive and Insane

What He Could Do – NY Review

It is clear, a month into Trump’s ascension, that we are all his prisoners, held fast in the projected drama of his mind. As the battle over that new political order is enacted on the national stage, we have all become the dragooned antagonists in the play. This is what it is to live in the realm of the Big Man: his drama perforce is ours. Relentless political struggle, permanent revolution, shattering of norms, scandal and controversy, the capital hip-deep in broken crockery: this is what his supporters signed on for and this is what he is determined to give them; perhaps he knows how to give them little else.

Four weeks of the Trump ascendancy have been an ongoing seminar on where norms end and laws begin, on how much of what we had relied on when it came to the president’s conduct rested largely on a heretofore unquestioned foundation of centuries-old custom. That the president would express respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the judiciary, that he would acknowledge the country’s need for an independent press, that he would generally tell the truth and hold in respect the public record: in little more than the time it took to recite the oath of office much of this has been swept away. Donald Trump is a proud shatterer of these norms, and the louder the crash and splatter the better: for to his supporters such norms are nostrums, antiquated excuses for the elite’s own self-protection, and the wails of outrage and protest mean their hero is doing what they sent him to Washington to do.

One might call the resulting tactics “shock and opportunity”: Trump uses chaos to shock his opponents into varying crouches of outrage and contempt and then lunges forward amid the tumult wherever he sees an opportunity presenting itself. No wonder he thinks of himself as the supreme “counter-puncher.” His virtuosity is in his opportunism.


In other words – he has raised the art of destructiveness to a new level.

This is made possible by the American public’s ignorance and stupidity, at the conscious level – and its reckless destructiveness (or insanity) at the unconscious level.

To put it bluntly – Americans hate America – and their election of Trump proves this.

Why they hate America, I do not know. But I do know for a fact – that they do.

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