The NYTimes brings us a story of the chaotic process of the fist few weeks of the trump administration. There are many little tidbits in it, most utterly predictable. trump is obsessed with his image, his ratings, as it were. He had the (mistaken) impression that everything was going just fine, that he was a resounding success, until someone changed the channel away from Fox, I guess. He watches TV all the time. He’s inordinately proud of the changes he’s made to the Oval, especially after he found out that taxpayers pay for them. He’s worn out about 6:30, so he goes to the residence to greet and watch TV and call friends to boost his mood.
Meanwhile, the small group of people running the country are working, assuming they can turn the lights on. Either way, they’re keeping everybody else in the dark, eschewing the normal sort of interagency review for speed. trump will sign what they put in front of them. Shadow President Bannon managed to get himself appointed to the NSC without trump even understanding what he was signing. When Bannon’s rumpled mug appeared on Time this week, it reminded trump that he’s angry about Bannon, so maybe Bannon reached too far.
In he meantime, Bannon sure seemed to be running things, and he likes the chaos. While everybody wonders what’s pgking on, he executes his plan.
Another leader who loved to creat chaos and take advantage of was Hitler. Trump hasn’t called for a Final Solution yet, and so far, there is still resistance to normalizing trump. But how long will it hold? As Ron Rosenbaum argues in the LA review of Books, our norms and isstituions won’t save us, only our people standing up can save us.
And I remembered the Munich Post, defending Weimar Germany. I reflected on how fragile democratic institutions could be in the face of organized hatred. Hitler had been tricky about his plans until he got the position and the power to enact them. Trump had been tricky, neither accepting nor rejecting the endorsement of KKK leader David Duke. David Duke! The KKK! In this century! He claimed he didn’t know who he was. He couldn’t be disqualified because of someone he didn’t know. That’s where we all went wrong, thinking he was stupid and outrageous, not canny and savvy and able to play the media like Paganini. The election demonstrated the weakness of a weak democracy, where basic liberties could be abolished by demagoguery and voter suppression.
Our institutions aren’t designed to keep out trump, welcomed in through the front door. It’s our duty , if we’re to save our way of live, to make Trumpism does not become normal.