When George W. Bush was president, Rick Perlstein writes that he used to fantasize about posing this thought experiment to the mainstream media: If you were reporters in Germany when the Nazi party was rising, he would ask, at what point would you break from the pretense of "'objectivity'—gotta hear both sides!—to inform your audience that what was going on was not normal?" During the Bush administration, the point felt a little overstated, but "no longer," writes Perlstein in a post at In These Times. He views Donald Trump's victory as nothing less than a trauma, and he writes that our nation is historically bad at dealing with traumas. Instead of confronting them, we resort to kumbaya-style choruses of "let's come together." And the media is worst of all, writes Perlstein, whose piece is headlined "The Rush to Normalize Trump."
Perlstein cites a prior visit to the Oklahoma City bombing museum to make his point. Displays stress heroism in the immediate aftermath but fail to mention the years of anti-government vitriol that preceded the attack and turned Americans into terrorists. He thinks something similar is happening in the wake of Trump's victory, with the theme now all about glossing over the ugliness of his campaign messages and reaching consensus. Things are bound to get worse, he warns. When Trump fails to fulfill promises or ushers in "geostrategic chaos," Perlstein predicts he will deftly deflect blame onto his rotating list of enemies. "Enduring and resisting this onslaught will be traumatic," writes Perlstein. "We will need unflinching assessments of exactly what it is we are going through." But he's not optimistic we'll get it. Click for the full column.