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Trump takes another bite out of Dahlia Lithwick’s brain: “The demoralizing reality of life….Every day is the same, but still awful”

August 23, 2019

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Photo: Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

President Donald J. Trump slowly eats away the brain of Slate legal analyst Dahlia Lithwick::

Lithwick, Slate, 2016:

Our choices now are to make a huge national fuss or to quietly and maturely accede to a Trump nominee, who will assuredly be on board for rolling back Roe v. Wade, protecting religious objectors from general laws, and expanding gun rights. We can hold out hope that Trump’s general lunacy and opportunism will lead him to seat someone wholly unpredictable, a kind of sweeps-week stunt nominee like Michelle Obama or Justice Omarosa or his son Barron. But for all that I have railed against destructive partisanship directed at fragile courts, I am persuaded now that the only way to answer nihilism is with nihilism of our own.

Lithwick, Slate, 2017:

Nobody should be surprised that there are now reports of threats against the federal judges who heard the appeal at the 9th circuit. Those threats have prompted federal and local law enforcement to increase security protection for those judges. The White House dispatched Leonard Leo, one of Trump’s principal advisers on his Supreme Court nomination, to assure CNN that it was a “huge stretch” to connect President Trump’s ongoing attacks on judges with any physical threats to judges. “President Trump is not threatening a judge, and he’s not encouraging any form of lawlessness,” Leo said. “What he is doing is criticizing a judge for what he believes to be a failure to follow the law properly.”

Maybe, but the judicial independence salami is getting sliced awfully thin these days. No matter how often or how loudly you say that attacks on individual jurists don’t threaten the judiciary or judicial independence, anybody with eyes can see that is what’s happening.

Lithwick, Slate, 2018:

This past week, journalists in America were struggling to comprehend two major stories: The first was that Donald Trump announced (via tweet) on Wednesday that any news that paints him in a negative light is, by definition, “fake news.” He went on to threaten the press credentials of any journalist who doesn’t portray him in a flattering light. This is, of course, the natural culmination of two years of attacks on the media, threats to reporters, promises to change the First Amendment press protections, and an unprecedented claim that the media itself is an “enemy of the people….

In other words, if you work in media, you would be well within your rights to have had a tequila shot with your breakfast every day this week. It’s all just terribly sick and sad and the constant stream makes it hard not to be sick and sad all the time. We’ve long since stopped describing news consumption as drinking from a firehose. It went from firehose to tidal wave a year ago….

The people who organize and vote and march and run for office, the people who track down and report news, the folks who file lawsuits and who hear those lawsuits—they all do it in a world that makes no internal coherent sense anymore. But they see the other marks on other people’s foreheads, and they forge ahead. And I salute you, fellow broccoli people, and want to affirm that your marks are not as faint as they may seem. As long as we hang on to the marks and the memory and the promise, perhaps we can eat the wheat and not lose ourselves to it. The story holds fast so long as there are two people left to recognize each other. We eat the madness, as we may have to for a while longer, but we are not yet mad, and not yet alone.

Lithwick, Slate, 2019:

The actual psychic toll on our mental health is crippling. The lost sleep, the grinding anxiety, the escalating fears don’t just represent squandered time. They start to chip away at your health and at your soul. The healthy response would be to tune it out altogether, but since actual people are actually suffering the brutal consequences, we cannot. And so here we are back in the narcissist’s loop, fueling his need to be at the center because, well, there he is at the center.

I have been writing about Trump burnout for a while now, but I confess that this summer has been harder, both because the cruelty we once dreaded and feared is manifestly occurring all around us every day and because vast numbers of our friends and neighbors are either exulting in it or sidelining themselves as a result of what Vox, waaaay back in 2017 once dubbed “Trump fatigue syndrome,” a kind of fugue state involving numbness, burnout, and a corresponding loss of reality. This is then doubly concerning, because in addition to being jealous of these people’s newfound freedom, as Nesrine Malik writes, for the Guardian, the real jeopardy of authoritarianism starts with fatigue. Moral seriousness seems to require being aware enough of the chaos everywhere that you accept being punched in the mouth with it every day.

The email I have received most often this summer goes something like this: “I am doing too much. I am not doing enough.” The same can be said for all of us. Self-care in the form of manicures and time with the kids isn’t making a dent in it. And if one stops to think about the cumulative effect of gerrymandering, election interference, vote suppression, and a president signaling that he will not concede even if he loses in 2020, pinning all hopes in the next election feels one notch more sanguine than we can afford to be.

Mmm, I can’t wait to read Dahlia Lithwick next year.

Update: Thanks, Instapundit!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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5 Comments
  1. JorgXMcKie permalink

    Lithwick has long seen herself as some sort of High Priestess Keeper of the Flame of the Supreme Court. That she sees more deeply into what it should and should not do and/or pay attention to. Given how Trump ignores her and a lot of others it’s no wonder she’s out of sorts. Or more out of her mind than usual maybe.

  2. Teresa permalink

    Dalia Lithwick?! She sounds like a character from an Agatha Christie novel-a nosy parker left wing librarian. Where was she when many Conservatives felt the same way through 8 years watching O’Zero dismantle the country we love?

  3. Pam permalink

    She’s absolutely insane…I’ve never heard of her before so that’s a personal plus. Maybe she should add a massage in with her manicures to enable her to live in the world….

  4. David permalink

    To heck with next year, 2023 entries ought to be lit!!

  5. Matt permalink

    That was a hilarious mashup. Thank you! The mental picture as these quotes build is priceless.

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