NY Times’ Kakutani: 2010s a ‘Dark and Divisive New Era’ Because of Dangerous Trump

December 29th, 2019 6:36 PM

Michiko Kakutani, former chief book critic for the New York Times, saw out the decade in paranoid fashion, laying out her left-wing overview of the 2010s in the Sunday Review, “The End of Normal -- Over the past decade, social media, the Great Recession and Donald Trump combined to bring out the ‘indigenous American berserk:'”

Apocalypse is not yet upon our world as the 2010s draw to an end, but there are portents of disorder. The hopes nourished during the opening years of the decade -- hopes that America was on a progressive path toward growing equality and freedom, hopes that technology held answers to some of our most pressing problems -- have given way, with what feels like head-swiveling speed, to a dark and divisive new era.....

If Kakutani couldn’t solely blame Donald Trump for the current political atmosphere, she reached back decades in order to blame other Republicans:

Many of these troubling developments didn’t happen overnight. Even today’s poisonous political partisanship has been brewing for decades -- dating back at least to Newt Gingrich’s insurgency -- but President Trump has blown any idea of “normal” to smithereens, brazenly trampling constitutional rules, America’s founding ideals and virtually every norm of common decency and civil discourse.

....Mr. Trump has also cruelly amplified existing divisions and resentments in America, fueling suspicion of immigrants and minorities and injecting white nationalist views into the mainstream, in efforts to gin up his base.

Anything right-of-center happening in the world was grouped under dangerous “nativism,” including Brexit:

This is familiar behavior among authoritarians and would-be dictators, who resent constitutional checks and balances, and who want to make themselves the sole arbiters of truth and reality. A reporter said that in 2016 when she asked Mr. Trump why he continually assailed the press, he replied: “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”...


With his calls to “Make America Great Again,” Mr. Trump appealed to a different sort of nostalgia -- for an era when white men were in charge and women, African Americans, Hispanics and immigrants knew their place.


No surprise, then, that the president’s hard-core supporters stubbornly repeat the lies and conspiracy theories that cycle through his Twitter feed, connecting him with Russian trolls, white nationalists and random crackpots, or that Mr. Trump’s assertions and fictional narratives are amplified further by Republican politicians and the right-wing media noise machine.

Given that Kakutani’s idea of truth-telling is insufferable, oft-discredited CNN, perhaps she’s not quite the arbiter of “truth” she thinks she is.