The level of Trump toxicity in my system makes it impossible for me to consume the RNC’s festival of fear and cynicism.
By Joan Walsh
I missed night one of the Republican National Convention. Deliberately. We’re all practicing some forms of self-care during the pandemic—that was mine. When I woke up, early, I saw “cocaine,” “Adderall” and “Cecily Strong” trending on Twitter, at least here in New York. In a way, that was all I needed to know.
I have no evidence that either glassy-eyed Donald Trump Jr. or his lovely companion, screaming fascist Kimberly Guilfoyle, were doing either drug. As my colleague Jeet Heer said after night one, it doesn’t matter—he blamed Trump’s strange countenance on “existential dread”; it was scary and disgraceful enough, without drugs being involved. The “Cecily Strong” suggestion—that the Saturday Night Live star play Guilfoyle—was completely on point.
It’s hard to believe the convention got worse after that, but it did. I tried to watch Tuesday night, but its cynical manipulation was even worse than Tuesday’s apocalyptic screeching. We had to watch the president of anti-Obama birtherism, the defender of Confederate statues, pardon a black man convicted of armed robbery who turned his life around. (To be fair, the man pardoned seemed genuinely moved, and grateful, but it was a political stunt nonetheless.) We had to watch a president who has made immigration tougher at every turn, who’s railed against “shithole countries,” naturalize five new citizens. I had to turn off the television and go to bed early, again.
For years, media and political elites refused to acknowledge the growing racism and radicalism of the Republican party. Their “both-sidesism” led to Trump’s GOP takeover.
By Joan Walsh for THE NATION
I’ve always resisted the notion that new decades are news events, bestowed on us in pre-measured pallets of history to be analyzed later as self-contained units of meaning. But as we ring in 2020, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve been through an epoch we should pause to acknowledge. Being ornery, I’ll date it to 2009, and the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency. However we count them off, we have to admit: These last 10 (or 11) years saw the rise of a sometimes violent right-wing American extremism, fueled by racism, and an even bigger story — the utter failure of political elites and mainstream media to figure out how to handle it.
I finally became convinced I had to write about this decade—or as I like to call it, “this f&$%ing decade”—when I read the Rolling Stone interview with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that burned down the Internet just before Christmas. The decent person in me, who is withering to nothing given the lack of nutritive decency around us, wants to give Todd credit, however belated, for realizing the obvious: that the Trump administration, but more important, Republicans generally, have used his show to spread lies and then double down on them when caught, for a long time.
From Trump toady Kellyanne Conway’s mind-fracturing “alternative facts” defense in the first week of the administration, to alleged anti-Russia hawk Senator Ted Cruz inviting himself on Todd’s show to spout pro-Russia Continue reading →