The New Normal?

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I am not a political blog. Perhaps my political posts are just a temporary uproar and then, sooner or later, I will get used to the situation like so many others like me. Or maybe I won’t get used to it but will pretend that everything is alright.

That’s what we human beings do. We adjust relatively quickly to new circumstances, even if they seem to make our life unbearable at first.

Life in the U.S. will go on. Fewer and fewer people will attend protests; slowly a sense of powerlessness will take over. The media will turn it down a notch because then they will cause less trouble. Even politicians, who showed resistance at first, will notice that their life will be easier if they just submit.

Companies will learn quickly that they will be awarded contracts if they surrender. Some people will become rich and rise in society when they play by the rules because if they don’t, somebody else will take their place. That’s how fascism works- not by diktat and violence, but through a slow demoralizing process.

Democracy dies a quiet and painful death. Looking back, we can often determine the moment when it started- usually with an election. How could Turkey have elected Erdogan? How could Russia elect Putin and Hungary Orbán and how could America have chosen Donald Trump with a clear conscience? One election can change it all.

When political dialogue leads to a situation in which the discussion itself is replaced by demagoguery, and when that demagogue is brought to power through a democratic process, then it’s possible that democracy itself will be replaced by dictatorship.

Yesterday absolute power was displayed, when they silenced Elizabeth Warren -a well respected humanitarian for black civil rights- on the Senate floor because she read words from a letter written by Coretta Scott King, a civil rights leader’s widow. Was she silenced because she is a woman? Was she silenced because she read the letter from a black woman? Or was she silenced because of the truth?

Everything is happening so fast. The world we knew is fading away.

In the first weeks since Trump’s offensive inauguration speech, he has demonstrated that he will do what he said he would. He will order the construction of a wall on the border to Mexico -regardless of the cost- and he is will continue to rattle and offend America’s allies and international institutions, as often as he pleases to do so.

Trump has ordered scientists not to conduct or publish research on topics of which he does not approve. He believes climate change doesn’t exist. It leaves many of us in agony.

Lying seems to become the new norm. Trump stood by as one of his closest confidants invented the term “alternative facts.” Slowly but steady they create a parallel reality.

Trump doesn’t hide the conflict of interest. He brings his children with him to high-level meetings, and he hired his son-in-law as a White House adviser. He has spared countries he does business with from his travel ban, and he has not separated himself of his company holdings. He has no intentions to release his tax returns -despite pledging to do so- and now he claims that voters won’t care. He is even trying to undo banking regulations that protected us for another recession, just so that friends of his can get easier access to money. He openly admitted it.

Trump has an ongoing war with the media. His closest advisor, Steve Bannon, called the media “the opposition party” and told them they should “keep their mouths shut.” I can’t help but remember the Nazi regime when they called the press “Lügenpresse” (Lying press).

Most likely this all will continue. His supporters will cheer for him when Trump and his colleagues will approve the same job plan that they rejected three times when President Obama talked about it.  All of a sudden they will be willing to spend money on infrastructure, something that they also voted against when Obama tried to boost the economy.

I wonder if the United States will slowly fade away. Will people here just endure the new normal until it might be irreversible? Will we, like the people in Russia and China, just hold our head low and take it?

I cannot bear the thought that this might be the new normal. I want us to rise above it all.

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33 thoughts on “The New Normal?

  1. I am not done yet, so I “feel” the same pain you write about, I am not going to give up on our country. My thinking is we thought we had arrived when we elected our fitst African American President, but I knew “racism” was alive and well in America, I am African American. I will fight with everything within me, like I did in the sixties. We must continue to fight in anyway we can. I support ACLU. SPLC, and I teach African American history 365 days a year whenever I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not done yet either. I will go on the streets and protest the same way I did when I was young. There is so much at stake. One of my best friends is gay and African American (he calls it the double whammy) he is terrified. I am almost more scared of Pence than I am of Trump when it comes to women’s right. One of my friends is Muslim, lives here since 30 years, she hardly leaves the house anymore.
      I am a first generation love immigrant myself. I don’t know where to start and where to stop.

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  2. I am reading a book by someone living in Montserrat from the time just before the volcano woke up and for the next twenty years. From an idyllic beginning, through months of increasing eruptions and ash-falls, shocking atmosphere and endless removal of mud and grit and I am astonished, a year on, at the conditions that they accept now accept as normal. So I fear you may be right. People like Putin and Erdogan were initially a positive influence on their countries, their election was understandable. I think they have been corrupted by power. Trump’s election cannot be excused on these grounds.

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  3. You paint a bleak picture. We are entering an age worse than that of hypocrsy – we are entering an age of nihilism. Some people, such as the Republican Congress, have been behaving this way for awhile. I always believed in karma. but my faith in justice has been severely shaken.

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  4. Excellent post. What really fascinates me about this whole thing is the fact that people like Trump are intentionally undermining a system that has given us all so much over the centuries. What’s so wise about shooting yourself in the foot?

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  5. Civil public discourse has fallen by the wayside long before Trump came to power. However, the inroads we are allowing within America to actively support “alternative facts” is appalling.

    I keep telling myself that this is like what happened during the Civil War, when brother turned against brother, or during the Vietnam War, when young adults turned against their parents and the establishment.

    Somehow, and for the better, we survived.

    Trump scares the pants off me, and I have to cling to my hope that we will make it through this without becoming a fascist state. However, with the events surrounding 9/11 plus the enactment of spying regulations and covert investigation departments that convinced many people that “sacrificing their rights” was for the greater good and part of being a “good American”, we started down a slippery slope that I don’t know we can climb again.

    When I hear Trump refer to America as the “Homeland”, it has Orwellian overtones that send shivers down my spine. We are so lost as a nation, and I am so demoralized that I cling to my knowledge of history in the hope that we will make it through.

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    • First of all, nice to meet you!
      I was been born and raised in Europe (Italy/Austria) and the rise of fascism is something that I learned in school when we talked about WWII.

      I came to the U.S. over 30 years ago. I became a love immigrant , when I married my husband.

      I fear that history is repeating itself and I cannot believe this is happening in my life time. I had to smile when you talked about the “Orwellian overtone.” I just ordered the audio version of 1984 and I am listening to it again – 30 years after I read it for the first time. It leaves me fearful.

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  6. The same thing happened with South Africa and Jacob Zuma, unfortunately the people in power hold the power, the whole world can resist, but they hold the power. Eventually people continue with their lives, and those in power continue uninhibited and unconstrained. Jacob Zuma has been a classic example, there is just no getting rid of him. Perhaps at the next election, but that is only 2019. In the meantime, he is breaking every law in the land, selling out the country, and sitting pretty.

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  7. Well done, Bridget and you are certainly not alone in your thoughts. I’m shocked and I’m not shocked that the Republicans have proceeded in lockstep with Trump. I really thought that they might resist some of this insanity. Yesterday they got rid of a government database that helped identify puppy mills and animal abusers. Because, hey, animal abusers have to make a living, right? They eased regulations so that coal companies can dump sludge in streams. I wonder how the coal miners will like it when their kids get sick and they can’t drink their water. I think he is going to steadily lose support as the reign of Trump continues. Let’s hope in 2 years, congress will go Democratic and we can halt the descent into hell.

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      • Warren is a power house. When they shut her down last night…that was stunning (in a bad way). Sadly, it does remind me of the rise of fascism. I believe our country will survive it, but it’s going to be a fight. There are over 20 lawsuits in play already. We’ll see what our courts do.

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  8. Nope. We will be great again, to slightly play off The Trumpster Fire’s patently false campaign slogan. It’ll just take a bit to rebound from the clusterfuck he’s going to leave behind. It’s amazing to me watching all the shepherds’sheep lining up behind him, as if he’s some sorta messiah, naively thinking they’re the ones who will benefit from this asshat’s assault on The Constitution. They fail to realize that the only people who’ll benefit are the shepherd and his cronies. Look no further than his Cabinet picks. Big donations = cushy jobs, and ones none of these people are remotely qualified to handle. It’s all so obvious. But the wool is over the sheeps’ eyes, I suppose.

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  9. I too have been having similar feelings. Looks like we are on the same page. My blog also did not start off as a political blog. Actually I’m not really into politics but in this case politics have become personal as Trump’s decisions have affected my Muslim friends and co-workers plus might have a negative affect on my museum workplace. Many people don’t know or understand that Museums fund archaeological digs, have trade and other arrangements with museums and historians in those banned countries, plus we have many staff who are from those countries. Trump’s decisions will make it harder to bring artifacts from various lands and therefore less exhibits. Less opportunities for visitors to learn about other cultures.

    The world has become very scary and disturbing. I mean I know that on some level the world must go on. I still must go to work and obviously I just can’t stop living my life but part of me is deeply saddened and frightened at the direction our country is going.

    Makes one ask, “Is this going to be the New Normal?”

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      • Thanks. Always glad to read your posts. Great thought pieces. I’m doing my best not to give into total depression. I’ve got some vacation time coming at the end of Feb. and the second week in March plus I want to spend more fun time with my brother Stephen. Yes we must stay aware but not wallow and sink into the mire of all this bad news. Hopefully things will improve or he will do something that will get him impeached.

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  10. I think we should keep our minds on the midterm elections, coming up in only 2 years. Here in CA people are still energized. Things may get a little quieter over time but we have to save our energy. It is a long fight. Rather than viewing the inevitable resting, calming down, and getting back to some semblance of a normal life as a capitulation, I will choose to view it as a fallow time: seeds planted need time to grow.

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