Over the last four years I have seen a different side of people I thought I knew. When I see people from my church standing in line at a Trump rally as I watch local television news coverage or watch old friends defend the president on social media, I am reminded that Trump has not changed people, he has simply shined a light on their dark sides. This dark side has been there all along, but the Trump president lifted the veil of civility that kept the darkness hidden.
This is why New York Times writer Jamelle Bouie’s recent piece makes sense to me.
Here is a taste of “Don’t Fool Yourself. Trump Is Not an Aberration“:
Trump has helped bring ugly forces out into the open, giving aid and comfort to assorted racists and white nationalists. Yet it’s also true that these groups and individuals have always been with us and that our focus on Trump betrays a lack of attention to the ways in which they’ve grown and changed over time, waiting for a moment like this one.
Read the catalog of horribles for Donald Trump and his White House and what you find is an administration that has embraced the worst aspects of our political culture and merged them into a potent brew of destruction, lawlessness and authoritarianism. But to recognize this is to see as well how it doesn’t make sense to say that Trump is an aberration from the mainstream of American life. Instead, he is the exclamation point on our consistent failure to live up to our own self-image.
Perhaps more than most, Americans hold many illusions about the kind of nation in which live in. We tell ourselves that we are the freest country in the world, that we have the best system of government, that we welcome all comers, that we are efficient and dynamic where the rest of the world is stagnant and dysfunctional. Some of those things have been true at some points in time, but none of them is true at this point in time.
What Trump has done is made it difficult to maintain the illusion. Whenever he finally leaves the scene, we can either take the opportunity to look with clear eyes and assess this country as it is and as it has been or again seek the comfort of myth.
Read the entire piece here.