Before Man & Movement, That Which Paved the Way

Trump did not spring from the ground; he did not fall from the stars. Neither horticulture nor astrophysics played any role in his rise. Before Trump and Trumpism, there were towns and cities into which he and his movement found receptive audiences. Patients already ill are often susceptible of worse maladies. So it has been in towns and cities before Trump and Trumpism.

A disregard – even outright dismissal – of high standards paved the way for low standards.

It’s true that some of us opposed Trump, and that (as in the case of Whitewater) majorities in our respective cities have voted, fortunately and almost blessedly, against him.

And yet, and yet…have we no responsibility for tolerating the lies, excuses, exaggerations, fallacies, dodgy data, and conflicts of interest that so insidiously prepared the ground for Trump & Trumpism?

These lies, excuses, exaggerations, fallacies, and conflicts of interest were the stock-in-trade of no one party or faction. Across groups, however aligned from left to right, there was – and remains – boosterism and Babbittry. (Boosterism: the accentuation of the positive while ignoring the disadvantaged; Babbittry: a small-town cult of boosterism.)

In a world of the aspirational, the ethical sounds old-fashioned.

So be it: it’s no less true for sounding old.

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