“As the first primary ballots are being cast in New Hampshire, the country is forced again to face the fact that one man has fundamentally changed us. Simply stated, it’s as sobering and unsettling as that.”
Dan Rather – One Man – 1/23/24 – The Steady newsletter is supported by the Steady community. Please consider subscribing if you aren’t already a member.
Here it is January 2024, and we find ourselves reminded anew that we are in a difficult, dangerous, and deepening political reality. As the first primary ballots are being cast in New Hampshire, the country is forced again to face the fact that one man has fundamentally changed us. Simply stated, it’s as sobering and unsettling as that.
He has changed what was until recently considered unacceptable behavior for our leaders. He has normalized bigotry, misogyny, racism, ageism, ableism, sexism.
He has changed our relationships with facts. Now there are phony “alternative facts.” And, lest we forget, wave after wave of outright lies. Scientific truths are scoffed at if they don’t fit his extremist narrative. Rational discourse is a thing of the past, because how can you argue with someone who, in effect, refuses to accept that two plus two makes four.
He has changed the lives of every woman in America whose bodily autonomy has been severely curtailed by a Supreme Court he stacked with anti-choice jurists.
He has changed how we show our discontent, unleashing long-held furies and granting permission to behave badly. Because he does. Can you imagine any other president heavily encouraging, if not outright creating, the January 6 insurrection — and then praising those who stormed the Capitol?
He has changed how we socialize in public places. If politics comes up in conversation, we’re more often inclined to speak softly, if at all, and glance around to make sure we aren’t overheard. Not because we are ashamed of our views, but because we are concerned for our safety.
He has changed the lives of millions who lost loved ones to COVID-19 (400,000 American deaths by the time he left office) because he a) didn’t act to stem the rise of the virus and b) actively made things worse.
He has changed how we interact with family members. We now have to remember which uncle or cousin is a MAGA supporter and make sure to stay away from any topics other than weather and sports at Thanksgiving dinner or a 4th of July barbecue.
He has changed our ability to fight climate change by rolling back policies and bowing out of international agreements at a moment when we don’t have time to backtrack. He has changed how safe we feel driving in our cars. We hold the steering wheel just a little tighter when a giant pickup truck pulls up alongside us adorned with inflammatory bumper stickers.
He has changed how we start relationships. We now have to find out where a new acquaintance falls on the political spectrum to make sure we align enough to even bother moving forward with a friendship.He has changed how we educate our children, giving revisionists carte blanche to sanitize history and remove even dictionaries from school libraries.
He has changed where we feel comfortable living. He has divided us to such an extent that some feel compelled to move to other states because of the extreme politics he has fomented and the state laws passed in the wake of such severity.
Why are we allowing this one man to remake us — as individuals and as a country? As we ponder that question, we remember that Republicans in New Hampshire are widely expected to vote today for this man to return to the White House.
Even if he is upset by Nikki Haley in New Hampshire, he will remain a heavy favorite for the nomination because he and those who support him are enthusiastic, organized, and focused.
For those who oppose Donald Trump? It will take all of their collective efforts to make sure he doesn’t return to the Oval Office.
Dan Rather and Team Steady