The Normalcy of Donald J. Trump

The Normalcy of Donald J. Trump

This is #NotNormal.

In the weeks and months after the 2016 Presidential Election, this hashtag became an instant hit on left-wing Twitter. Conceptually, the hashtag went hand in hand with the anti-Bush “Selected, Not Elected” slogan. But this time instead of trying to delegitimize the way a President entered into office, the left wanted to delegitimize the everything for which the President stood. Donald Trump was #NotNormal. According to left-wing Twitter, Trump was so onerous, so boorish, and so divisive that the mere fact of his presidency was simply unacceptable to American Democracy.

Two years later and the Left has not slowed down in its hysteria over Donald Trump. Anyone that expected things to calm down after the election must at this point be quite disappointed after the last three and a half years of breathless anti-Trump coverage by the media. And despite Democrats doing well in the Midterms (maybe not #BlueWave but still respectably) things have not calmed down since. As it remains undoubtedly true that the left will continue to vehemently hate Donald Trump, it’s worth interrogating the rather fascinating claim that a duly elected President is somehow #NotNormal.

It’s not that there aren’t legitimate criticisms of Trump. He uses inflammatory rhetoric, he has had a hard time retaining cabinet members and staffers, he’s fond of “finessing” the truth to make himself look better, and some of his business relationships remain troubling. Even from a right-wing perspective, he has failed to deliver on many of his signature policy issues at the forefront of the 2016 campaign. Still, the #NotNormal hashtag popular among left-wingers on Twitter (garnering over 2 million impressions in the last week according to betrays a myopic understanding of the American cultural reality of the last thirty years.

A constant source of consternation on the left is Trump’s use Twitter to bypass the traditional media to get his message out to his followers directly. Although the content of these tweets can be difficult to defend, he is by no means the progenitor of social media in presidential politics. Not that you could discern that from watching CNN. Ironically, the Left hates Trump for using a form of communication designed to circumvent the mainstream, a technique pioneered by their golden boy, Barack Obama. In the 2008 election, Obama was able to garner an unprecedented following across social media. Far from being seen as contemptible, this was cheered by the left as a sign of the approaching Democrat hegemony. The left, we were told, was more effective at using social media, which skewers younger. Under these circumstances, the Democrats could guarantee a structural advantage in any campaign for generations to come.

Fast forward to the Era of Trump, and the left is no longer as sanguine about a President’s use of populist forms of communication. The use of social media to appeal to one’s base is now proclaimed as a threat to the republic and its guardians in the corporate media.  Much of the ongoing censorship of right-wing voices on social media seems to be aimed at limiting the spread of the message put forward by Trump and those who followed in his wake. But according to the left, we’re expected to believe that in 2018 harnessing social media for purposes of political organization is a bad thing.

Another way we are to believe that Trump is #NotNormal is his general boorishness. Between constantly insulting CNN, calling Stormy Daniels “horseface“, denouncing NFL players as ‘sons of bitches,’, Trump has a habit of making personal beefs into public affairs. And while this trait is somewhat unique to Trump as a President, it’s hardly unique to our zeitgeist. The cultural left has done everything it can to coarsen the discourse of society. It has taken every opportunity to make the “personal” and “political” indistinguishable.  That celebrities like Alec Baldwin or Robert De Niro are publicly condemning Trump is particularly rich when they embody the same New York cultural sensibilities as the president himself. It’s probably not a good thing for the republic that we have a President who is so comfortable using his office to spread insults. But the existence of an ever coarser and political popular culture was going to make a phenomenon like Trump inevitable. And as much as one might lament this fact, it is hard to take seriously such a complaint coming from the very media that is responsible for the degradation of decorum.

Hand in hand with his boorishness are Trump’s sexual peccadilloes. Trump, now on his third marriage, has had numerous affairs, most infamously with porn star Stormy Daniels. Certainly, marital infidelity is a character flaw to anyone of a more traditional mindset. However, Democrats fake outrage (or worse, genuine outrage) over this adultery is insulting to anyone not totally on board with stale partisan talking points. Democrats loved Bill Clinton in the 90s. When the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, we were told “It’s just sex”,  “they’re two consenting adults”, and “who cares what the President does in his spare time?.” The cultural left has spent the entirety of the 20th century gleefully chipping away at norms and standards of behavior surrounding matrimony. Marriage was “just a piece of paper” until homosexuals claimed they wanted to get married of course. Sex was “just sex” until the hedonism of Trump entered public life. Mind you, this is the modern lifestyle that the left has claimed they wanted to normalize, yet this time they’re horrified. Trump breaks nearly every standard of what used to be acceptable behavior and the left sputters, “How dare you!” in the tone of a 1950s chaperone. Don’t they know it’s “Current Year”?

Now the obvious answer from the left, when any of these objections are brought up, is to re-focus on policy. It is Trump’s policies that are #NotNormal, extreme, and dangerous. Yet this is, on its face, absurd. Trump has not done anything that any of the other 2016 Republican candidates wouldn’t have done, and many of his more controversial platforms (the “Muslim ban”, child separation at the border, etc.) are continuations of Obama era policies. His performance as President has been, in most respects, unimpeachably normal, to the point that disillusioned Trump supporter Ann Coulter has said that if we’re going to have a generic Republican President, she’d rather have Pence. The left might not want to acknowledge just how normal Trump is, but the disappointed reactions amongst those on the far right tell a very different story. This is simply what politics looks like the divided America of the 21st century.

As stated, there are legitimate criticisms of Trump. But if the left is going to carry on as if Trump is historically #NotNormal, it makes one wonder what world, or time, progressives think they’re living in. One presumably lacking the progress of the last 30 years. How many people swear or express “offensive” ideas in their day to day language? How many men over the age of 45 are on their second or third marriage? How many people are faithful to their spouse nowadays? And more importantly, why are these behaviors so widespread? The left has been pushing these behaviors as positives for a generation. Journalists, activists, Hollywood producers, and our media facilitate as much as they observe the decline of traditional morality.  For decades they laughed at the decline. Yet oddly, when the ne plus ultra of the new cultural order becomes the most powerful person in the world, they’re not laughing anymore. If nothing else, our decadent age provides the entertainment of watching the left self-immolate in the flaming path of the devil they helped summon.

But if Trump’s excesses are indeed normal, for both the American political class and the people as a whole, is there hope for our republic? Trump came to power with the slogan “Make America Great Again“, reflecting a deep desire among the electorate for a revival. Trump does not seem to be the person that can provide this revival but maybe the sentiment that he has encouraged can continue independent of his political career. But if the crude evils of men like Trump are to be judged as unacceptable, it will require a genuine spiritual awakening amongst the American people at large. Something we might hope for one day, but is entirely #NotNormal.

One Reply to “The Normalcy of Donald J. Trump”

  1. When Carl Jung sought to describe masculine or feminine, he was hitting on something more than just a mere psychological imagination. He was, as Jordan Peterson would say, talking about something more real than reality itself.
    The masculine is order, the feminine is chaos. The offspring is Life. The life is now society. Before the coming of Feminism, life in some context was rather peaceful. Of course, there were issues, plenty of them, but generally people agreed to the societal order. The worst thing that the Christians could find that Mormons did, with respect to overturning of social order, was polygamy. And what would Christians find as offensive from any of the major traditional religions that exist today, in respect of things of profound social importance in maintaining social order, barring disputes about religious prominence and theological disagreements?
    Progressivism, for the religious however, was another game altogether. The field of jokes have always been inundated with jokes about marriage, there is a perennial quality to it, cutting across all limited eternity and all civilisations. The imagery of wife being fickle and the man obeying her command, irrespective of his stature or aggression he displays to his foes, rather points something meaningful in the realm of ideas, even if not exactly borne out in reality. The wife wants something. The Left is also fickle, especially the Liberal Left and it also wants something. It is not merely by an error in judgement that the Right and the Left have been identified as masculine or feminine, though there is more nuance needed in that distinction. Yet, the general idea has borne out in rather a strange turn of events in the last century.
    One moves on now, the camera of memory panning to a footage of Ann Coulter sitting with John Stossel, wherein amidst a libertarian audience, she tries to justify a form of Right Wing Authoritarianism. A young woman talks about her divorce case and asks why people cannot get an easy divorce. Ann Coulter tells how it is harder to get rid of a refrigerator than a marital spouse in some States. Someone shouts “They’re human beings!” succeeded a huge applause by the crowd.
    The message is clear. Marriage is not only akin to a contract, but worse than that. It is like slavery and subjecting humans to that is bad. When Ann Coulter talks about liberals seeking to destroy family, libertarians react with cheerful derision of her views. Of course, how could Conservatives force the sacredness of marriage on anyone else? The same dialectic that the free America has adopted has continued to the core of libertarianism. A part of America saw that gays got more free by ruling in the Obergefell vs. Hodges, no matter whether the libertarians and the liberals had to pretend that marriage was sacred. When Justice Kennedy wrote “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”, libertarians and liberals did not take to streets because of this imposition of these primitive and asinine ideals to their pet project. They did not mind it. They generally mind the ideals only when they harm what they rather instinctly wish for.
    That is also the case for the Left and it is no different than what is the nature of chaos. Chaos, in all sense of the term, is not idealistic, for there is no ideal it can be broken down into. Chaos, if defined, in very minimal sense, is freedom. Freedom is what represents the Trump era.
    While Conservatives failed to either ask for or enforce their values on the society, what they did not fail to do was admonishing their people themselves, for Liberals did not stop Conservatives from refusing to support their own well-wishers on assumptions of impropriety, and the Left did not care if groups it hated destroyed each other. Donald Trump did nothing more than just giving a big ‘L’ to all of them.
    Donald John Trump, the 45th President of United States of America, is a man unlike any other. He is man, for which the Liberals, the Leftists and the Libertarians, who all have defended every #NotNormal behavior in the history of mankind, have joined hands to rally against his #NotNormal behavior. There is a sudden but convenient arousal of morality among the feminist women in pussy hats, against the vulgarity of the President, and Liberals cannot shed enough tears complaining about his “locker room talks”. Libertarians hate he talks about incest the way he does, no one apparently told them Donald and Ivanka are both adults and humans. When Trump rants on Twitter calling his foes names, there is talk about self-restraint and modesty, the eternal conservative principles.
    But why all of this? Well, Trump represents the most acute form of masculinity, something that the effeminate Liberalism and the feminine Left has always despised. And he is using that same thing against them.
    Trump’s behavior is really not normal, not because he is different in all what he does, from the public, but because he is not to into hiding his true self to that extent from the public, even after gaining a public position. Trump is in this sense, opposite of George Washington, where the latter took all pains to appear to be dignified. Trump does not want to be dignified, he wants to be the winning fighter but for something. There is a great irony to all this, perhaps, best represented in the Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Night”, wherein the hero is the one in the dark robes, and one with the “less than acceptable” means. But what makes the Dark Knight different than the White Knight, is inability of him to be dominated by enemies because of his obsession with reputation, Trump has no reputation aside from the work that he has done. That is why he does not stammer from Megyn Kelly’s question and announces that he did disparage Rosie O’Donnell and sides by his employee Corey Lewandowski, a man not prominent by any means, during the times of extreme feministic sensibilities. Trump, has thus, taken the fight away from the traditional masculine fighting space, the battlefield, and brought it into the war of sensibilities that dominate the political space where anything else, even rational thought is expedient and unnecessary. And thus, even his intelligence, if low, as declared by his enemies and disgruntled friends, is not a hindrance, though there appears to be no indication it is, and all claims that is put luck as every reason behind his successes, which he has had many. Yet one must really ask, whether Washington and Jefferson would have done what Trump did, i.e., stand by his comments and friends amidst all, in response to females’ appeal to their protectionist instinct. Maybe, yes, maybe, no. What is clear though is the battle to be won here does not require the courage to fight wars; Trump supposedly dodged one, but it requires something else. It is much evident in the reactions Trey receives from the mainstream media, where he is shown fairly and unfairly, as media found fit to support their agenda, but Trump’s behavior towards Gowdy, though driven by selfish concerns perhaps, was pure in other respects, and Gowdy, even after being criticized in public by Trump left finally with good impression of the President, or so he said cheerfully.
    The fall of the discourse in society is, as much it tries to hide, not something outside of it. It is inside it, and Trump is the speaker who is announcing all what is in public’s mind. The vulgarity, the profanity, the trolling, the hurt and all the different categories in which the society divides people, added with a topping of equality. Democrats have always been able to accurately reflect America that has had the power, from the times, they were supporters of KKK, to the time they are supporter of BLM. And Trump is the new king of America referred to by his followers jokingly as the God-anointed. And in many ways he appears to be. With all his frugalities, Trump shows that the only thing required for a man to be what he should be, is his masculinity. And the Left falls in front of it, like dominoes fall by a swipe of hand.
    Yet the Trump’s monarchy gives a lesson to the Right. The time is gone to listen to the whims of its wife. The chaos needs to be dispelled. The concurrence needs to be rejected. The Right has had enough of its flirtations with the marriage. Now, it is time to be celibate.

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