The New Abnormal: A Category for Uncharted Territory

By | 2016/11/22

The Guardian in reporting Donald Trump’s election said the USA was heading into the political unknown. As Trump maneuvers the transitional ship-of-state, though, the exploration will turn the unknown into the known. Most of the time, transitions are dull as dishwater, producing little in the way of novelty. This one, though, is doing things never seen before. I think that calls for some recognition and memorialization. Of course, for those who wanted to send Trump to Washington to “shake things up”, a certain sort of novelty is expected and required. That isn’t the sort of novelty I’m concerned about. I’m looking at the novelties that have nothing to do with improving life for most of the 47% of the voters who cast a vote for Trump. (That number is a bit of a coincidence, though, isn’t it?) The novelties of concern are those that preferentially benefit small numbers of people, that contravene established procedures of how our society works, and that target selected groups for harm.

While a number of items have appeared since the election that ought to get notice in this category, I’ll start with a more recent one.

The New York Times reported on an “off-the-record” meeting of Trump with representatives of the media, and apparently scolded them for their coverage of him. This is not normal. This is abnormal. There are already indications that Trump is aiming to restrict access such that media he considers “friendly” has more access than others. The restriction or suppression of a free press is not something countenanced in our society, but it appears to be a possible aim of the new administration.

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