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John Oliver Refuses to Normalize Our National Embarrassment, and We Love Him for It

The 2016 presidential election hasn’t been over for a week, and we’ve already seen a turn towards, “Hey, let’s give Donald Trump a chance.” There’s just one problem with that: We have. We waited for a “pivot” that never came during the campaign, and after the election ended, we waited for signs of how he would govern, only to be met with numerous failings of that “chance” we were asked to give.

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In a 60 Minutes interview, he already said he’d appoint “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court and speculated on how individual states would handle women’s reproductive rights. In that very same interview, he said that the matter of marriage equality was “settled,” which sounds great and will no doubt be used by his supporters to show us all how wrong we are, but good luck finding pro-life justices who wouldn’t also overturn marriage equality in a heartbeat.

There’s also talk of him declining to take his presidential salary, which will be heralded as the move of a generous public servant. There are two problems with that. First, we’ve elected—based on the idea that he’ll be a man of the people—someone who sees the presidential salary as chump change, and we’re going to act like that’s a good thing. Second, this has all happened before:

He’s also moving forward with the absurd move of putting his business assets in a “blind trust” with his own children while also having those same children on his presidential transition team, as though this interpretation of blind trust wasn’t ridiculous enough on its own. Then, there’s filling his White House team with science-deniers (he’s also planning to walk away from the Paris climate deal, by the way) and the same kind of Washington insiders he claimed to be against for his entire presidential campaign.

And then, on Sunday, we found out that he wouldn’t be the only Internet troll in the White House: Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon will be his chief strategist. You know, the champion of the “alt-right,” a hate movement that masquerades as a political ideology. He also took to Twitter to denigrate protests against him and then praised them the very next day (with a bit of “negging”), as well as trashed the New York Times with flat out lies. He’s also already talking about making good on his mass deportation plans, which can’t possibly happen without human rights abuses.

Oh, and asked about the rash of hate crimes and harassment in the wake of his victory, he said, “Stop it.” That’s about it from him on that front.

He’s also pushing for his actual fraud trial to be postponed until after inauguration, because it would be inconvenient for him. Yeah, he’s already using his presidency as a legal tactic. But also, he really does have no idea what he’s doing.

Don’t let this become normal. A lot of the media coverage since the election ended has been handled the way any other presidential win is covered, but it’s not normal this time. This is all wrong. We’ve got someone who, best case scenario, has lied about everything, and we have no idea what he’ll actually do. No matter what you think of any other politician’s honesty, he was uniquely disingenuous on the campaign trail, lying faster than anyone could fact check him to the point that the conversation had already moved on by the time the truth came out.

If you doubt that, remember that all the things I’ve breathlessly listed here happened in less than a week, and I haven’t even gone into the more intricate ramifications, as well as items I’ve no doubt forgotten. [Edit: Such as: Russian officials have taken credit for Wikileaks and skewing the election results, and they say they’ve been in contact with Trump’s campaign the whole time.] We’ve given this man infinite chances. He has failed on all of them. If we let this become normal, we’ve failed as a nation.

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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