The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Article of Faith

Richard Fernandez comments of the frustration of the four constituencies as they experience continuing failure in taking down Donald Trump. No matter the crass, unprecedented, unpresidential, racist, misogynist, bigoted, white supremacist "outrage" of the day, Trump's poll numbers remain steady and in some cases are rising in groups (e.g., African Americans, Latinos, lower middle-class whites, suburban woman) that the Democrats cannot afford to lose. How can this be?

Fernandez writes:
One of the most puzzling things about the Trump presidency is the inability of the liberal establishment to make public opinion headway against him despite his attack on everything they hold sacred. Though several explanations can be advanced, perhaps the most plausible is that the establishment's revealed behavior shattered the trust once reposed in them.

"Love," John le Carre once observed, "is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love." And because the public loved the establishment, even worshiped it, the sense of betrayal caused by revealed behavior was profound. Every time a celebrity, media figure or editorial writer was shown to be secretly mocking the public, smugly secure in the cocoon of his own kind, it cut more deeply than if he had never been admired at all.
Trust is fragile. Secrets and lies jeopardize trust and can damage us and our relationships — sometimes irreparably. ... Honesty is more than simply not lying. Deception includes making ambiguous or vague statements, telling half-truths, manipulating information through emphasis, exaggeration, or minimization, and withholding feelings or information that is important to someone who has a right to know.
Fewer disillusions hit harder than discovering that an article of faith was a lie.
Of the four constituencies, the media is hardest hit by the erosion of trust, and others aren't far behind. Not more than 2 or 3 decades ago, people trusted the media, perceiving them as objective and unbiased. It was an "article of faith" that what you heard on network television newscasts or later on 1980s-era CNN was an accurate depiction of national or international events. With the election of Barack Obama and the upset election of Donald Trump, the media has done much to betray the trust of the general public. Inaccuracy, bias, and yes, "fake news," have become their calling cards, and the public now rejects them. They whine and blame Trump, but he isn't their real problem.

Another constituency, the Democrats, think that phony accusations that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat HRC will buy them votes. They're too caught up in Trump Derangement Syndrome to recognize that exactly the opposite is occurring, that their evidence-free quest to destroy Trump's presidency makes them look dishonest and venal. Establishment GOP #NeverTrumpers think that quietly taking the body blows of vicious partisan attacks is the gentlemanly approach (think: George W. Bush) and that Trump's counter-punching style is unpresidential. Possibly so, but the general public sees things the other way around. You get attacked, you fight back in kind—that's Trump. And the deep state, (think: Brennan, Comey, Strock, Page, Clapper, Ohr, McCabe (all senior people who worked in the previous administration) and a cast of dozens who formed a partisan cabal to destroy Trump), have proven to be partisan liars and untrustworthy. People notice, even if they don't know the details.

All four constituencies keep telling us that catastrophe awaits in a Trump presidency. With wild-eyed hysteria, they talk about Nazis and dictatorships, threats to Democracy, and other bad, bad things. Back in the real word, the economy is humming, people have jobs and more money in their pockets, our position throughout the word is stronger, not weaker, than at any time in the past 30 years, and polling indicates that Americans think the country is headed in the right direction. Hmmmm.


A commenter on Fernandez' post writes:
GWB [George W. Bush] maintained a quiet dignity while his opponents torched him, and look where it got him (and the country). Trump may be a vulgar real estate developer from Queens, but he's a fighter, and that's good enough for this blue-state redneck.
It appears that it's good enough for a lot of people—maybe a lot more than the four constituencies are willing to admit.