I’ve been thinking about an article today by Zoe Williams. Her point is that any assumption that Donald Trump doesn’t mean what he said before the US election is wishful thinking. His win represents the normalisation of the previously unthinkable, and the sweeping aside of the values and principles that the democratic western world claims to hold dear.
Perhaps Trump’s words were “just” rhetoric, but it’s not the kind of rhetoric that can be dealt with in a rational way. He doesn’t have arguments – he shouts out words, and they obviously connected with enough voters to get him elected. But it’s not just the incoherence of his utterances: it’s also the unabashed hatefulness of his attitudes. So, from what he has said, it is clear that Trump cannot be debated with and cannot be shamed: the next “leader of the free world” really does think that climate change is a hoax and that it’s OK to abuse women.
Williams’s articulates her argument logically and persuasively, and for fully half an hour afterwards I wondered if I should reconsider my default “il faut cultiver notre jardin” insouciance to world events.