June 26, 2018

Indulge me one more small riff on "civility" and why it's critical that we do not surrender this to the media scolds who desperately need a reason to smack down the left side of our political universe in the name of "civility."

I clipped this collection of Sarah Huckabee Sanders being vile to reporters to remind everyone about her lie that she "tries to be respectful to everyone." These few seconds prove she clearly does not, and she doesn't for a reason.

In TrumpWorld, incivility is the ticket they use to win, or to bully their way into a win.

Adam Gopnick writes about this eloquently for The New Yorker:

The Trump Administration is—in ways that are specific to incipient tyrannies—all about an assault on civility. To the degree that Trump has any ideology at all, it’s a hatred of civility—a belief that the normal decencies painfully evolved over centuries are signs of weakness which occlude the natural order of domination and submission. It’s why Trump admires dictators. Theirs are his values; that’s his feast. And, to end the normal discourse of democracy, the Trump Administration must make lies respectable—lying not tactically but all the time about everything, in a way that does not just degrade but destroys exactly the common table of democratic debate.

This is why Sarah Huckabee Sanders' lies on a daily basis to the media and the broader universe of Americans is part and parcel of the authoritarian regime established by Donald Trump. And it is why we cannot be bullied by media into meekly accepting those lies.

No. They must be called out. They must carry a social cost. To lay down and accept them is to acquiesce to authoritarian, totalitarian, tyrannical rule.

That’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s chosen role in life—to further those lies, treat lies as truth, and make lies acceptable. This is not just a question of protesting a particular policy; in the end there are no policies, only the infantile impulses of a man veering from one urge to another. The great threat to American democracy isn’t “policy” but the pretense of normalcy. That’s the danger, for with the lies come the appeasement of tyranny, the admiration of tyranny, and, as now seems increasingly likely, the secret alliance with tyranny. That’s what makes the Trump Administration intolerable, and, inasmuch as it is intolerable, public shaming and shunning of those who take part in it seems just. Never before in American politics has there been so plausible a reason for exclusion from the common meal as the act of working for Donald Trump.

There can be no respect and no civility to rationalize Huckabee Sanders' lies. This administration must be held to account, in real time, every day, and until they are banished from our government.

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