Monday, January 30, 2017

The all-purpose alibi

Trump's madness with the entry ban has been pretty widely panned, with John McCain saying it's misguided (my newly elected Representative, John Faso (R), did as well - ignore the typo in that article that has him listed as "D - NY", in an article about Republican reactions to the order).

A lawyer who describes himself as having been in favor of pretty much every previous anti-terrorism measure describes this one as "malevolence tempered by incompetence."

Similar reaction has greeted Trump's restructuring of the National Security Council. It's hardly reached the volume of the response to the entry ban, but it's a couple days newer, and there's only so much people can push back on at once. And even so, it's gotten some heavy, coherent pushback, including from such an experienced voice in national-security affairs as Michael Hayden, a former director of the NSA and the CIA, and a man who has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

But to a convinced Trump supporter, how can it possibly make a difference?

They already know that "Washington" is "broken." Trump is acting decisively, getting things done, not like those worthless politicians who never get anything done.

If John McCain is unhappy with Trump's entry ban, that just shows how weak he is.

Does Michael Hayden think it's bad to have Bannon at the center of the National Security Council while people with experience in military and intelligence affairs are moved to the periphery? Well, Hayden's opposition just shows what a good move it is to empower Bannon - after all, Washington is broken, and broken Washington is why we have all this American carnage. Hayden is part of broken Washington, so of course he's trying to defend the old, don't-work, broken ways of Washington. Trump knows better than to listen to the stuck-in-the-mud advice of failed functionaries like Hayden.

This works for anything.

The crazier Trump's policies, the more they will be decried by people from "the establishment," people who've actually worked on national and international policy and who therefore have particular expertise to evaluate just how unprecedented, insane, and counterproductive his actions are.

But once you've accepted that Washington is broken, any opposition from an "establishment" figure is so easily dismissed as just another person who's part of the problem.

It's a hermetic world. I can't think of what one could say to break through.

And I have the liberal's inherent tendency to ask, "How might I be guilty of the same thing?", but I just can't come up with an analogous situation. (If you have a candidate situation, please leave it in the comment section.)

What comes first is the emotional truth that Trump is strong, decisive, correct, fighting for America in tough, sensible ways that others refused to do because they were too cowardly or even treasonous.

What comes after is the complete twisting of logic and selective use of facts (or their blatant misrepresentation) in order to support the emotional truth.

It's fertile ground for much worse to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment