Thursday, May 30, 2024

Guilty X 34 = two solitudes in America

In Canada in the 1940s, we were experiencing what we described as Two Solitudes  between our French-speaking and English-speaking peoples:
...two peoples within one nation, each with its own legend and ideas of what a nation should be. ...the chasm between French and English communities growing deeper. ...a perceived lack of communication between English- and French-speaking Canadians.
We worked through several confusing, divisive, sometimes painful decades filled with questions about whether our Confederation could ever work for the whole country -- the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, the FLQ crisis, the Quebec referenda, the founding of parties like the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois, stupid arguments against bilingualism, idiotic complaints about French on cornflake boxes and other excuses for periodic spasms of western alienation, etc. etc -- it is part of Canadian history and culture.
Today, I think we are seeing the same dynamic happening between progressives and right-wingers in the United States, with Trump as their personification. The MAGA true believers and their media enablers seem to have created their own world and they are determined to live in it, regardless of how delusional they are.
Today's Trump verdict is a case in point.
A majority of Americans who followed the court case were not surprised to see Trump convicted. 

But the MAGA Americans were shocked and their media were unhinged over the Trump verdict.
In his nightly Reliable Sources newsletter, Oliver Darcy writes about The Verdict Vendetta:
...prominent right-wing media figures immediately flooded the public discourse Thursday with extreme and disturbing rhetoric after Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts.
On Fox News and other right-wing outlets, pro-Trump media personalities erupted in anger, blaming everyone from Judge Juan Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to President Joe Biden and the entire U.S. justice system for the "disgraceful" conviction.
While not surprising, the furious bluster reverberating across right-wing media still carried its intended effect, burning away public trust in America's core institutions and leaving a lasting impact on the legitimacy of the rule of law in the U.S.
The toxic commentary is also enflaming desires of retribution held by Trump supporters, with popular right-wing media figures openly declaring their hope that the GOP candidate to nakedly seek revenge against his critics, should he emerge victorious in November and return to the Oval Office.
Indeed, it is not only that MAGA Media personalities are assailing the unanimous guilty verdict returned by a jury of 12 New Yorkers, calling it unfair and rigged. Some of the right's most popular talking heads are openly calling for the weaponization of government to seek retribution against Trump's political opponents.
The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh, who commands a following of millions of subscribers on YouTube and social media, said after the verdict that Trump "should make and publish a list of ten high ranking Democrat criminals who he will have arrested when he takes office." The Federalist chief executive Sean Davis said he wants "to see lists of which Democrat officials are going to be put in prison." And Fox News' Jesse Watters declared, "We're going to vanquish the evil forces that are destroying this republic."
Suffice to say, that unhinged, reckless, and dangerous rhetoric is not normal.... as the legal walls actually begin to close in on Trump, the commentary in right-wing media is getting angrier, more menacing, and taking a markedly darker tone.
In the hours after the verdict was handed down Thursday, talk of the U.S. having transformed into a third-world dictatorship was the norm in pro-Trump media, with the term "banana republic" regularly tossed around. In fact, there was little room for disagreement with the radical and warped viewpoint.
"Import the Third World, become the Third World. That’s what we just saw," right-wing extremist Tucker Carlson declared on X. "This won’t stop Trump. He’ll win the election if he’s not killed first. But it does mark the end of the fairest justice system in the world. Anyone who defends this verdict is a danger to you and your family."
As has become the new normal, Fox News also promoted a parade of dishonest right-wing talking points to its sizable audience. Laura Ingraham declared that "the Democrats are showing [the country] what real power is ... the type of power we usually see dictators exercise in China and Cuba and North Korea." Sean Hannity complained that "the foundation of our constitutional republic" is "literally dying before your eyes."
That rhetoric is, obviously, detached from reality. The U.S. is not a third world country. Trump got his day in court and was treated by the judge, by all accounts, quite fairly. Biden did not direct so-called deep state forces to engage in "lawfare" against Trump.
But the endless streams of poison flooding into the public discourse comes with consequences. It not only offers a preview of just how ugly the 2024 race will soon become, it sets the stage for Trump, if he manages to make his way back into the White House, to abuse power and deform the federal institutions to serve his purposes.
Perversely, it has primed a swath of Americans into believing that such behavior would not only be warranted, but necessary.

In an other country, a political candidate convicted of 34 felonies would be forced to withdraw immediately from politics to "spend more time with his family" and we would never hear from him again. 
 Not so with Trump, of course -- at least not yet. 
The man who testified against Trump at his first impeachment in January 2020 says this:
And the man who could have also testified at that impeachment trial -- the man whose testimony might have swung enough Senate Republicans to vote guilty so Pence would have been president during the pandemic but who wimped out and saved his juicy Trump stories for his book instead -- now says this: Until last week, the Republicans party actually had a credible replacement for Trump on the presidential ticket. 
But Nikki Haley shot herself in the foot - she has a habit of doing that. Having spent months defining and promoting a principled stand against Trump's fitness for office, she threw it all away last week when she endorsed him. So the Republican Party may well be stuck with Trump until November. 
Along with the rest of us. And on a side note, I loved this:


Cap said...

The rule of law did not "hold" in the US. A fair and impartial justice system would not give Trump extraordinary advantages unavailable to other criminal defendants: DOJ rules against indicting a sitting president (even one who committed felonies to attain office); senators who refuse to convict despite overwhelming evidence of guilt; Merrick Garland and Alvin Bragg dragging their feet on indictments; Judge Eileen Cannon sabotaging the strongest case; corrupt Supreme Court justices running out the clock and refusing to recuse; and judges who wouldn't jail Trump for flagrantly violating their orders. Cowards and oath-breakers, all of them.

On July 11, we'll find out if Judge Merchan has the jury's courage. Michael Cohen went to jail on the same set of facts, and he too was a first-time offender. Giving the ringleader anything less than a stint at Ryker's Island will be yet another failure to hold Trump to the same standards as others and further evidence that the US justice system is broken.

Cathie from Canada said...

Yes, I wonder if America realizes how fragile their system is, when an orange buffoon is able to do this much damage.