O Tempora! O Mores! The Zeitgeist and the Liberation of Our Inner Assholes

O tempora, o mores!Senatus haec intellegit, Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. vivit? immo vero etiam in Senatum venit, fit publici consili particeps, notat et designat oculis ad caedem unum quemque nostrum!

O times! O morals! The Senate understands these things, the Consul sees them; yet this man still lives. He lives? Indeed, he even comes into the Senate, he takes part in public debate, he notes and marks out with his eyes each one of us for slaughter!

Emma Green, Nothing Will Persuade White Evangelicals to Support Impeachment: New polling suggests that Trump’s base is totally unified behind the president, no matter what investigations might reveal:

A significant portion of Trump’s Republican supporters are open about their belief in his infallibility: 42 percent of Republicans said there is virtually nothing the president could do to lose their approval. Among Republicans who cited Fox News as their primary news source, this number was even higher, at 55 percent. And Trump’s most steadfast supporters are also most likely to condone his behavior: Nearly two-thirds of white evangelicals said Trump has not hurt the dignity of the presidency. By contrast, majorities of all other religious groups said Trump has damaged the image of the office.

These numbers reinforce the idea that some of Trump’s supporters have come to see American politics as an all-out war. Whatever reservations they may have had about Trump when he first ran for office have apparently been soothed, either by his full-throated defense of his supporters’ priorities or because these voters resent what they see as unrelenting attacks against him and his administration.  …

Hard-core Trump supporters are not representative of America, and they’re not the only voters who have hardened their political position in the past few years. Only 29 percent of registered voters told PRRI that they would vote for Trump in the 2020 election, no matter who becomes the Democratic nominee. By comparison, 40 percent of registered voters said they would support the Democratic candidate no matter who it is, while 29 percent said their ballot remains up for the taking.

Regardless of how impeachment plays out in the coming months, the proceedings are not likely to bring any semblance of political unity or compel committed Trump supporters to change their mind. Even if the president goes down, some Americans have apparently decided that they’re willing to go down with him.

Plus ça Change, Plus c’est la Même Chose

Let’s give some historical context. Back when I was growing up in the fifties and sixties—back when I was knee high to a grasshopper—Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, but, still, we knew all about FAKE NEWS!

We slapped our knees to the witticism that Life is the magazine for people who can’t read. And not only that: Time is the magazine for people who can’t think.

And what, pray tell, was the nature of the FAKE NEWS being conveyed by Life and Time magazines?

The utterly false story they were trying to peddle was the claim that black people and white people are morally equivalent and ought to receive equal treatment under the law.

What a joke!

What a hoot!

paper curtain

As I said, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Plus ça Change, Plus ce n’est pas la Même Chose

I now wish to make an observation that many will find seriously offensive and unsettling. (Thank the Lord Buddha that I’m hiding behind a pseudonym.)

The racism—and the sneer of contempt for education, learning, science, and moral progress—have been with us a long, long time. Whathas changed is that, as we have become accustomed to using the internet, many of us have learned to unleash our inner asshole.

The inner asshole was always there, mind you, and not everyone has unleashed it, but lots of us have done so. Some examples:

N.Y. Times, The Internet is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse

Forbes, The Internet, Hate Speech and Politics

Washington Post, Feminists were right: Ignoring online misogyny has deadly consequences

Let Me Be Clear

In no way, shape, or form do I claim that internet abuse is confined to the right side of the political spectrum. Our inner assholes come in many varieties. I am sure that moderates and progressives have themselves unleashed their inner assholes quite frequently as well.

I do not claim, for example, that Trump supporters are likely to be pornographers nor that pornographers are likely to be Trump supporters.

My claim is that there has been a general movement in the direction of unleashing and then reveling in that which we would have previously hidden deep within.

And my claim is that that general movement has had a specific effect on the most politically backward among us.

And Just How Big is that Hard Core Trump Base?

Well, read the quote above from Emma Green’s post. Better still, click on the link above and read the whole thing.

29 percent will vote for Trump (if he’s on the ballot), no matter what, no matter what.

29 percent.

Have you heard that number before? Yes, you have. And I fearlessly predict that you will hear it again. Over and over.

Those are the people who have fallen in love with The Donald just because he loves to sneer at the things they love to sneer at.

Being well beyond reason, they will not be moved by reason.

Reasoning with them is a fool’s errand. But here is what is not a fool’s errand: doing everything we can to help The Donald keep on driving a deep and unmovable wedge between the 29 percent and everyone else.