Charmless Scold/Never-Trumper Tom Nichols Blames Liberal Protestors. Just In General.
Temporarily embarrassed Republican Tom Nichols likes to lecture liberals as if we're the ones who put Donald Trump in office. We didn't vote for the president but every move we make, even every breath we take, somehow enables him. Yesterday on Twitter, Nichols, who also enjoys mocking homeless families, dropped an "I told you so" bomb about impeachment. See, Republicans are rallying behind their mob boss president, and liberals are somehow to blame because people took to the streets in horror after the Electoral College gag-gifted us Trump.
Republican defenders of Trump make shit up at the speed of lies. As Gutman said in The Maltese Falcon, "There's never any telling what [they'll] say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing." There was never any "right" way to oppose Trump that would somehow magically lead to bipartisan consensus, as if we were living inside a "West Wing" rerun.
Democratic voters might've protested Trump and called for his impeachment before his sparsely attended inauguration, but it's not like Nancy Pelosi orchestrated them. That's "deep state" conspiracy theory nonsense you'd expect from Tucker Carlson or a common Lindsey Graham. Pelosi, to the frustration of many, resisted impeachment until Trump all but drove a school bus into a bank and filled it with bags of money.
These protests that Nichols found so unseemly were a generalized but rational response to a "race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot" assuming the highest office in the land. Trump is arguably the least disappointing president in modern history: He promised a horrible, nightmare presidency and delivered just that. Conservatives like to invoke the Aesop fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," but protestors weren't making up wolf sightings because they were bored and had no Internet. They were raising alarms about the actual wolf entering the White House.
Nichols insisted that we sit around and politely wait until the wolf inevitably ate someone. That's fine for him to say because he's not a part of the wolf's diet. The wolf might get to him eventually but by that point, he'll have filled up at the buffet of the marginalized. If a wolf is gnawing on your bones, a true ally tries to pull it away from you. They don't just calmly monitor the situation and write smug op-eds for the Washington Post.
Trump Election Protested by Thousands Across the US www.youtube.com
Nichols is also rewriting history. The protests and ongoing public resistance to Trump energized the Democratic electorate, informed our allies abroad that we weren't collectively mad, and fueled the eventual Blue Wave that swept Republicans out of power in the House. There are no impeachment hearings or anything approaching accountability for Trump without Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a Democratic majority. Politicians in either party have never done anything risky if people didn't make it clear that it was riskier to play it safe.
Nichols wants to believe that his single vote against Republicans in 2018 matters more than all the barefoot hippies he loathes because he's secretly 113. But the people who marched against Trump didn't just go home and get high while listening to Pink Floyd. They also donated their hard-earned money, canvassed for candidates, and showed up in force at the polls. Some of them even ran for office themselves.
Nichols is the condescending scold who'd turn up as an antagonist in a Jane Austen novel. He is obsessed with his own moral and intellectual correctness. Like most Never Trumpers, he can't fully accept that his "former" party is wholly corrupt. If the nation is "divided" on impeachment despite Trump's low approval ratings and obvious guilt, it's the fault of liberals for handing Republicans a rhetorical sword to use against us. Nichols isn't so naive as to believe Republicans would've ever abandoned Trump, as that would mean giving Democrats a victory. The party's base would never tolerate that. If we'd just shut our mouths during Trump's reign of terror, the only ones who'd have benefitted are those who enjoy the world most when we're silent.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).