The Trumpocene - What We've Lost, Where We Go, and How We Get There
Heidi Siegmund Cuda documents what citizens in the US have lost during the 'Trumpocene' and how pro-democracy forces in the West must develop a shared narrative of the future to survive.
I have post-traumatic news syndrome — a self-diagnosed condition caused by too many years producing TV news, and my home has been TV-free for 17 years.
It’s healthy for my psyche. I read news and books and scan Twitter for breakers, but it’s inevitable that I am made aware of what is happening on corporate cable news.
A screenshot was sent to me of what Trump’s 2024 cabinet would look like — some news producer in the bowels of TV-land was tasked with assembling a graphic of likely picks. I am told that the news anchor decried how terrible it would be, but by then, millions of viewers were groomed to believe in the potential of the abnormal — that Trump could come back as president in 2024 despite inciting a violent insurrection, despite his criminality exposed on the world stage, for sexual assault, indictments for espionage and voter interference in the form of hush money payments.
The image of Trump’s potential cabinet is more chilling than any horror film, and for those of us who have been reporting daily since 2016 on the Trumpocene — a word I first heard from The Undertow author Jeff Sharlet — we’ve been here before.
I recall blogging about the ‘breathless manly reporting’ about Trump’s potential cabinet in 2017, which I likened to a Nosferatu convention, and I wasn’t wrong — recall Wilbur Ross, anyone?
Corporate media normalized the abnormal seven years ago, and it’s happening again.
My friends in Europe tell me to be proud of America, because at least we are pursuing justice at the highest levels. “This wouldn’t happen in Italy,” said Monique Camarra, the co-host of the Kremlin File podcast and the author of EuroFile, a daily briefing on the Ukraine war. “America is admired right now for its pursuit of justice. It gives people in other countries hope.”
But the slow-walking and evasion of justice has allowed us to lose so much. In my American Monster series, where I document US criminals who accelerated global authoritarianism, I realized that high-level criminals evading justice has done the greatest long-term damage to our national security.
It’s also been gnawing at me that we ‘memory hole’ so much — like battered spouses who are just trying to get through the day, covering the bruises and pretending the assaults away.
But it’s not okay, and we can’t look away.
We must confront what we have lost, in order to spark the urgency about how unsafe we are in 2023 and how each day is an opportunity to put some work in for democracy.
I asked him if it seems like more people are becoming aware of Trump’s ties to Russia, and he said it’s hard to say because Twitter is no longer helpful to gauge public sentiment. He is dislocated from his audience.
That is a significant loss.
I have written many warnings on these pages about what we could lose and have documented the reversals — from warnings about the overturning of Roe v. Wade to the nationwide assaults on gay rights to Twitter becoming weaponized into a Russian propaganda outlet.
In order to see the enormity of what is happening in real time, I am going to lay it out so you have the clear-eyed opportunity to stare it straight in the face and determine if this is acceptable to you. Where America goes, so goes the world.
What We’ve Lost
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