I’m returning to the origins of Brave New Deadline. It was a regular column I wrote for a weekly newspaper way back in the day. I had shifted gears somewhat, having focused on writing fiction for the last eight years, but the eternal struggle in my writing life – nonfiction vs fiction – never seems to settle. I still work in journalist, I still write fiction.
My other blog, josephmarkbrewer.wordpress.com, is where you’ll find posts from the writing world. Here at bravenewdeadline, I’m ending my sabbatical, and my silence, on current events. At least for the time being.
In discussing this election year with my friend Jack Donaghy, I held out trying to describe it. The paint-by-numbers answers, the “Tastes great! Less filling!” chorus whenever Trump’s and Clinton’s names are mentioned, the woeful lack of civility – I really didn’t know what to say, much less write.
But it’s clear to me that this election is a harbinger. It has nothing to do with the Obama legacy. It has to do with a nation and its political process and the voters who participate it creating a new way of voicing their politics.
It’s the politics of hate.
I trace it to the first Clinton Administration and the vituperations hurled at the first lady, Hillary Clinton. The Lee Atwater legion joined forces with bareknuckles Arkansas political brawlers and the GOP, then licking their wounds after the sound Bush defeat and smarting from another election where it found itself the minority in the House of Representatives, flat out put a bull’s eye on Mrs. Clinton and said ‘fire away.’ This was 1993. Within two years, the Contract with American gained the House for the Republicans and Roger Ailes created Fox News in order to control the emerging reality of the 24-hour news cycle. Hate television was born. The Clintons were the targets. It’s become the norm.
The Obamas took the place of the Clintons for the last eight years, but with Mrs. Clinton’s hard-won success in securing the Democratic nomination, hate has followed her every step of the way.
What’s insidious about hate is it is almost never ground in facts or truth. Just not liking the cut of one’s jib has become a justification for hate.
The festering “I hate Hillary” disease is the what fuels the engine of the Trump campaign. At the presidential debate on Sunday in St. Louis, it became clear that even the gross cad that Trump is cannot help himself. His hatred was evident in these words: I’ll put her in jail.
Trump supporter cheered. Hillary haters blew up Twitter.
Worse has been said about Mrs. Clinton by Trump and others, but really, what rhetoric is left to abuse? Trump supporters don’t even necessarily like the man, they just hate Clinton.
I hate you.
That is what 25 years of faux news hate has led to. And we’re stuck with it.