Trump's Priorities

OK, trigger warning: I'm going to quickly discuss That Person here, so if you have decided that no good ever comes from this kind of thing, there's plenty of uplifting art-type stuff on the site to help you get your mind and your heart right!

So, we know that Trump's preferred way of engaging with complex issues is to reduce them to insanely simplistic levels of black and white, good and bad. James Comey isn't a dedicated public servant whose obligations led him into conflicts with the interests of the White House. No, he's a Nut Job. Climate change isn't a complex phenomenon worthy of the considered investigations of scientists. No, it's a Chinese hoax. The New York Times isn't one of a handful of most important news sources in the world, albeit one whose reporting and perspectives often run counter to Trump's wishes. No, it's a failing purveyor of fake news. And so one.

So it's curious that the only time that Trump has shown any willingness at all to engage in nuance or to consider multiple perspectives is when he speaks in defense of white nationalists and supremacists. These groups shouldn't be painted with a broad brush, says Mr. Broad Brush himself. There are good people there, too. And taking down Confederate monuments, he notes, is an affront to those who study history and understand that said history is ambiguous; with the monuments providing a way for us to develop an appreciation for the complexity of our cultural inheritances. The point isn't that there isn't a degree of truth in what he's suggesting; it's that the only time he has chosen to use actual critical thinking capacities is now, when it is in the cause of the white people who he feels are being unfairly stigmatized and victimized. Telling, no?

UPDATE: I was just running this theory past a co-worker and she said it's the same with Russia. When it comes to Russia Trump takes pains to help us see that no nation is perfect and that it is in our best interest to ignore their faults and seek common ground. Never mind that for every other country in the world, except, I guess, Israel and Saudi Arabia, no such nuanced "realist" thinking is anywhere to be seen. No, all other countries in the world are bad actors who "laugh at us" and have "taken advantage of us" for far too long. Now it's time for us to win and for them to lose, he says.

UPDATE, 9-15: Here's a prominent article at The Atlantic essentially making my argument in the context of the recent London subway bombing.


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