because … love and jealousy and revenge
There is a real enemy of the people and that is anyone who cannot follow the rudimentary ethics of reciprocity as well as a trust implicit in the social contract.
This notion covers those who would deny their own existence and rationalize inhuman actions in everyday life (see Milo) or who would deny the existence of others and rationalize the possibility of global conflict without considering its consequences (Lord Dampnut).
This narrative of a popular enemy runs through Lord Dampnut’s reason for ruling, because he knows nothing of governing. And he never laughs.
Donald Trump’s claim that The New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC News are “the enemy of the American people” has a familiar ring to John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon.
“It’s pretty outrageous talk for a president, but this is a pretty outrageous president,” Dean told Deadline. “He kind of makes Nixon look like a choir boy.”
“What Nixon use to do behind closed doors, Trump does openly,” said Dean, who revealed the existence of Nixon’s “Enemies List” during his testimony before the Senate Watergate hearings…
“The press is the last check and balance,” Dean said, noting that demonizing journalists as “the enemy of the American people” can have consequences. “He has a lot of supporters who don’t think before they act, and they have a lot of guns.”
What cultural schema run Lord Dampnut’s sad life, other than the Henry VIII overeating and sans uxoricide. There is sufficient literature studying his use of reality TV narratives. We have seen his flawed “deal-making” in action, guided by Bannon’s crypto-fascism. And we now have about 1400 more days of this crap.
Enemy of the people is a phrase “typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations,” the New York Times wrote. “It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.”
The term fell out of fashion among the political class, though it popped up in literature and art. Most famously, Henrik Ibsen wrote an 1882 play called “An Enemy of the People.” It features a doctor who’s almost run out of town because of an article he’s written bashing the government. The idea came to Ibsen after his own brush with infamy — his play “Ghosts” challenged the hypocrisy of Victorian morality, and was deemed indecent.
Adolf Hitler was allegedly an Ibsen fan. (Some historians say they believe that he read the plays as prophecy of the Third Reich.) He reportedly read “An Enemy of the People” closely, even weaving some key lines into speeches.
His administration deployed this rhetoric to describe Hitler’s main enemy: the Jews. “Each Jew is a sworn enemy of the German people,” Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wrote in 1941. “… If someone wears the Jewish star, he is an enemy of the people. Anyone who deals with him is the same as a Jew and must be treated accordingly. He earns the contempt of the entire people, for he is a craven coward who leaves them in the lurch to stand by the enemy.”
love and jealousy and revenge,
One doubts that Lord Dampnut has read Ibsen, or that he would misidentify him as that guy Barnaby Jones / Jed Clampett.
“Who knew how it was going to end?” he says. “Constant elimination, a big field that got narrowed over the course of the campaign. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder and crazier, somehow it seems to. Like, those were teases I couldn’t have written if I tried.”Before Trump was inaugurated, it was sometimes said, based upon his old starring role on “The Apprentice,” that he would be a “reality-TV President.” In actuality, he’s turned out to be a “TV-reality President”—an Oval Office occupant trapped in the world of cable news, where every minute brings “breaking news,” every issue is momentous, every hiccup is a crisis, and every criticism of the President is, in his own mind, a calumny.
Rather than settling on a few policy themes and methodically going about the tricky business of advancing them through a political system in which the President’s power is often limited, he has engaged in the TV pundit’s game of instant response and instant outrage.
To try to shape the next day’s coverage, he also engages in instant policymaking. The result is chaos—chaos that every day diminishes the aura of his Presidency and further enrages him.
love and jealousy and revenge,
He uses tools we use every day to tell and shape a story. [Like] conflict and drama — that’s still the engine that powers all reality television. I guess I would note that, candidly, reality television does not typically address giant, macro-issues particularly well, right? It’s not a genre of big ideas. And that’s OK.
What it does do really well is interpersonal relationships — is taking big themes like love and jealousy and revenge, and boiling them down to conversations between two people.
I think Trump clearly knows that those small interactions that speak to larger themes are what connects with us as humans. And I think it’s probably something that we should know too as we consume his tweets, as we watch White House press conferences or prayer breakfasts. That this is a guy who understands how to make us feel a certain way.
Unfortunately governing is not the simple feelings about love and jealousy and revenge, and Lord Dampnut cannot appreciate that notion, because it would require respect and honor and courage.
Ultimately it will be about the theory of representation and this obscure action:
One of the flaws in the design of the federal government is that, while the founders envisioned competing branches of government, unified party control of government can turn those branches into partners who do not check each other’s abuses.
A second flaw is that Congress has a diffuse and often-confusing decision-making process that can make public accountability extremely difficult. Both problems come together in a new story that ought to be huge news but will instead be relegated to legislative arcana.
Here is the story. The House of Representatives has refused to investigate either one of the two massive ongoing legal and ethical violations involving the Trump administration: President Trump’s opaque ties (financial and otherwise) to Russia, and his ongoing self-enrichment in office and violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
If the House won’t investigate, what happens next? Well, the next-best course of action would be some form of public debate on the matter. This is not nearly as good as a real investigation, since the absence of subpoena power means Republicans can simply deny Trump has done anything wrong while blocking any efforts to acquire the evidence that would prove the case. But at least it’s something. That’s why House Democrats introduced a “resolution of inquiry” that would force House action on these issues.