Krugman today seems to capture a part of what is happening in the American zeitgeist:
“Mr. Trump isn’t an honest man or a stand-up guy, but he is, arguably, less hypocritical about the darker motives underlying his worldview than conventional politicians are.
“Hence the affinity for Mr. O’Reilly [revealed in additional sexual harassment lawsuits]….
“One way to think about Fox News in general, and Mr. O’Reilly in particular, is that they provide a safe space for people who want an affirmation that their uglier impulses are, in fact, justified and perfectly O.K. And one way to think about the Trump White House is that it’s attempting to expand that safe space to include the nation as a whole” (emphasis added).
This nails one part of the story.
The other part is that there are sensible, nonracist, nonsexist, and otherwise positive people who simply voted for Trump as a protest against politics as usual. They wanted to send a clear message of disgust towards the status quo in Washington.
Will these folks be disappointed? I think so, and given Trump’s performance to date, many are likely horrified.
If you want to fix Washington, get rid of gerrymandering, which is the root of Congressional monopoly.
As for ugliness, it is in everone’s heart—true? Learning self-control, the premier virtue, involves moving away from seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, and rather seeing ourselves in orbit with others who also have rights and are struggling to overcome their own deficits.
Seeing ourselves as we truly are—warts and all—means seeing others as they truly are—less ugly than our selfish minds perceive them to be.
Such perspective is at the heart of being less judgmental and more open to acceptance and even love of neighbor. The perniciousness of Trump’s message is that vitriolic judgment and hatred are extolled, rather than seen as evils to be overcome.
[Image: Sam, world's ugliest dog: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spierzchala/66232046]