Scandal Mongering as Anti-Politics
Today brings news that the president shared classified secrets with Russia that had been given to the US by an ally that did not give permission to share such secrets. My social media is lit up with people who hope that this scandal is the scandal that finally brings down the president. This story requires us to believe and support the CIA, not unlike the last scandal, the firing of Comey, that required us to believe and support the FBI. These scandals do not appear to do much to change the order of things, but to allow them to be more stable.
I proposed on Inauguration Day that we ignore Trump the person and fight the political battles. Today, after more than 100 days, I find many many people seem to want to fight Trump on the scandals, and not the political battles. I get it. It seems easier to shut him down by showing him to be ill-fit for the office. But I think there is something characteristically liberal about that approach–liberal in the sense of concerned with procedure and the equal application of the law instead of justice and freedom for those who are oppressed. This approach sidesteps the political work of having to show how every policy and new cancellation of rules hurts poor people, black people, immigrants, LGBT folks, women and the sick and disabled. I worry that this approach makes it seem like the real scandal is the sharing of secrets instead of the moving of wealth to fewer and fewer people. It makes it seem like the real scandal is a president who has no attention span instead of making the lives of more and more people precarious. Read more