How We Live Now: Trump Has Been Normalized

While everyone was distracted by the faux outrage over the White House Correspondents' Circle Jerk, President Donald Trump was in Michigan, giving one of the most ragingly unhinged speeches of his entire unhinged rage oeuvre. It was so bugnuts, barking crazy that, so far, it hasn't showed up on the White House website, and every other incoherent yawp that his mouth shits out has made it onto there.

The "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "a long, dark ride into the gaping mouth of madness with a jabbering, methed-out orangutan driving") was a series of lines that, said by any president prior to 2017, would have triggered paroxysms of garment-rending among politicians and the media over how demented and/or criminal said president is.

Just a sample:
About Senator Jon Tester going to the press with his concerns about Ronny Jackson: "I know things about Tester that I could say, too. And if I said 'em, he'd never be elected again." The President of the United States says he has information on a political rival that could destroy him. That seems...troubling.

Regarding James Comey and a character from Saturday Night Live in the 1980s: "Do you remember Jon Lovitz? Do you remember the liar? Well, Comey's worse. Comey's a liar and a leaker, you know. But, you know, I did you a great favor when I fired this guy." Put aside Trump's constant slander of Comey. Pop culture stopped for this man 30 years ago.

Regarding seasonal workers: "We need people to be able to come into our country. Do your jobs, help you on the farms. and then they go out. They get a leave. Guest workers. We're gonna take care of that. Guest workers. Don't we agree? We have to have them." So we can exploit immigrants for their labor and then discard them.

Regarding undocumented immigrants at the border: "If a person puts their foot over the line, we have to take them into our country." You should probably ask the Mexicans who are immediately returned to their country and not taken into the United States. Trump's got a fundamental misunderstanding of immigration laws that he uses to whip up the crowds into a xenophobic orgy of whoops and shouts of "Build the wall!"

There is so much more, including the truly bizarre tangent on the cost of building embassies in Jerusalem and London where these ostensibly working class white people are cheering for Trump getting the price of construction down.

Even a couple of months ago, this would have been more alarming. And, yeah, we can muster shock now and then, but, c'mon, when Trump can say, as he did, that the Paralympics are "a little tough to watch too much," and it just barely registers beyond the Twittersphere, then we have become inured to Trump. Seriously, ask yourself when the last time something with Trump genuinely surprised you. Maybe it was a brief "The fuck? Really?" but that was likely quickly followed by a rueful "Of course, he did." We are now completely used to his insanity, his incompetence, his ignorance, and his contempt for anyone not white or rich.

This normalization of his behavior and his words has also led us to the point where the genuine corruption of this administration just starts to seem like business as usual. For instance, the fact that the Republican Party and the federal government pour millions of thousands of dollars into holding events at Trump properties.

Or this: Trump is holding up the $16 billion modernization of the Veterans' Administration's software because a Mar-a-lago member and doctor for the head of Marvel Entertainment doesn't like it. A current VA official said he thinks it will eventually go ahead, but "We just had to make the Mar-a-Lago guys comfortable with the deal." (Of course, there is another layer of corruption here: the whole deal was a no-bid contract for a company that Jared Kushner advocated for.)

That's a relatively minor story, but in another administration, especially if it had been a Democratic president, it would have blown things up. Jesus, between the Stormy Daniels case, the money laundering allegations, the fuckery with Michael Cohen, and so very much more, it's like we're all at the sweet spot when the Adderall speeds you up so much that it just slows everything down and feels a little more, well, normal.

Trump gets to normalize his ridiculous buffoonery because no one is holding him to account. Right now, all our eggs are in the Mueller basket (well, maybe a couple are in the Southern District of New York basket). But Robert Mueller's investigation depends on a Congress that is willing to act and on a public that is willing to support action. And I honestly think that Mueller could have ironclad evidence, recordings even, that prove that Trump absolutely conspired with Russia on the election, and almost all of Trump's idiot horde would say it was fake news. You could show them a video of Trump clapping while hookers pissed on a bed and Vladimir Putin massaged his prostate and told him, "We've hacked the machines and you're going to win," and they'd still say, "MAGA, libtard snowflake."

By making his behavior normal, that which deviates from it is now abnormal. This is how we live now, with a constant stream of outrage that has grown into white noise.

At that Michigan rally, in every pause, audience members were yelling, "Thank you" and "I love you" to Trump. What are they thanking him for? He hasn't done anything but make their lives worse. They are thanking him for being mean to immigrants and making it safe for them to be openly racist.

And that might be the most frightening normalization of them all.