David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times and all around horrible human being, has penned yet another op-ed bemoaning the state of America politics and culture he helped ruin while blaming everyone else for the damage.
He starts off with a little history lesson how European countries fell prey to fascism in the ’30s:
A certain number of people are dispossessed. They lose identity, self-respect and hope.
They begin to base their sense of self-worth on their tribe, not their behavior. They become mired in their resentments, spiraling deeper into the addiction of their own victimology. They fall for politicians who lie about the source of their problems and about how they can surmount them. Facts lose their meaning. Entertainment replaces reality.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Brooks is describing both Europe and the modern American conservative movement. The very same conservative movement he helped to build.
He goes on to describe Hitler and/or Trump:
Once facts are unmoored, everything else is unmoored, too. People who value humility and kindness in private life abandon those traits when they select leaders in the common sphere. Hardened by a corrosive cynicism, they fall for morally deranged little showmen.
All of this hand-wringing is because Brooks is worried about America’s future, what with all of this racially-motivated violence and whatnot. Now, you MIGHT be tempted to think that Brooks is finally going to take some responsibility for what is clearly a phenomena of conservative politics but you’re forgetting that Brooks is a conservative himself. They don’t DO taking responsibility:
America’s leadership crisis looked dire. The F.B.I. director’s statements reminded us that Hillary Clinton is willing to blatantly lie to preserve her career. Donald Trump, of course, lies continually and without compunction. It’s very easy to see this country on a nightmare trajectory.
GODDAMMIT! I want to strangle this weaselly rat bastard!
The racial tension in this country can be traced DIRECTLY to the GOP’s use of the Southern Strategy to pull together a coalition based explicitly on white resentment of black people. The drug war that the right has been so gung-ho about for decades has devastated the black community. The right has militarized the police so much they see the world as a war zone and every black person as a potential killer. Donald Trump has set back race relations in America by 50 years, mainstreaming white supremacy like we haven’t seen in two generations.
Our political gridlock is also a DIRECT result of the unprecedented effort of the GOP to obstruct every last bill possible, including their own. Their entire game plan for the last 8 years has been to bring the government to a screeching halt so they can blame Obama and the Democrats for it. If Obama wants it, they oppose it. Period. If it’s good for the economy, it cannot be allowed to pass. If it helps the poor, kill it. If it’s a routine and uncontroversial function of government, turn it into a constitutional crisis.
Through all of this, Brooks has normalized it all except Trump (that was a bridge too far for him). Even as the Republican Party gave in to Tea Party extremism, Brooks gave them ideological cover, using his “centrist” platform at the New York Times to spread the blame around as much as possible. After all, if everyone is guilty, then no one is. Sure, Republicans have veered wildly to the far right in their rhetoric and policies, electing lunatics that would spit on Ronald Reagan as too liberal, but, you know, Hillary’s emails so both sides are just as bad.
I would very much like to grab the back of Brooks’ head, rub his face into Donald Trump’s creepy orange tan and yell, “Look at what you did! Bad Brooks! Naughty! Look at this mess you made!” Maybe then, Brooks could finally start to take even the tiniest bit of responsibility for his role in enabling the rise of Donald Trump and bringing fascism to our doorstep.
Featured image by George De Sota/Newsmakers