With apologies to Joel Salatin for my title, I sample Michael Gerson’s powerful response to the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Henry Olsen, who proposes “fusion” between conservatism and Trumpism:
Is this a normal political moment?
If Trump were merely proposing a border wall and the more aggressive employment of tariffs, we would be engaged in a debate, not facing a schism. Both President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush played the tariff chess game. As a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney endorsed the massive “self-deportation” of undocumented workers without the rise of a #NeverRomney movement.
But it is blind, even obtuse, to place Trumpism in the same category. Trump’s policy proposals — the details of which Trump himself seems unconcerned and uninformed about — are symbolic expressions of a certain approach to politics. The stated purpose of Trump’s border wall is to keep out a contagion of Mexican rapists and murderers. His argument is not taken from Heritage Foundation policy papers. He makes it by quoting the racist poem “The Snake,” which compares migrants to dangerous vermin … Trump’s policy ideas are incidental to his message of dehumanization.
So how do we split the political difference on this one? Shall we talk about Mexican migrants as rapists on every other day? Shall we provide rhetorical cover for alt-right bigots only on special occasions, such as after a racist rally and murder?
The point applies in other areas ….
(Michael Gerson, This madness will pass. Conservatives can’t give up) The ellipses are there because Gerson ennumerates other ways in which Donald Trump is toxic, not someone whose persona we can ignore while climbing in bed with him on shared “policies.”
James Fitzjames Stephen, an occupant of my current blog endnote, is right on point.
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Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
(Philip K. Dick)
The waters are out and no human force can turn them back, but I do not see why as we go with the stream we need sing Hallelujah to the river god.
(Sir James Fitzjames Stephen)