Trump has, in a moment of uncharacteristic logic, reasoning, and compassion, granted clemency to Alice Johnson. After Kim Kardashian West met with the President to argue for the release of the 63-year-old grandmother who was serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense, Trump was persuaded.
“He felt it, he was compassionate,” Kardashian West told CNN’s Van Jones. “He said, ‘You know, this is a really long time that she’s been in here. This just isn’t fair. He knew that this was the right thing to do.”
There is no denying that this was the right decision. And we should absolutely embrace that swell of elation that comes with hearing that justice was done — that Alice Johnson is able to get some of her life back. But we need to separate this instance out from the larger problem. Yes, a good decision has been made. Yes, Trump made it. But the system is still wrong, it is still inherently racist — and Trump’s attitude toward the prison system (and many other things) is still brutally unjust.
This article. We mustn't allow ourselves to normalise these horrible things. This focuses on the US, but it's true of the UK too. https://t.co/vCLQlbkKur
— A. L. Lester (@CogentHippo) June 8, 2018
The bottom line? We can’t start normalizing Trump, as Gary Younge argued in the Guardian today. And, as he points out, it’s already happening. “Once his candidacy proved viable there was a broad consensus that it should not be normalized,” Younge writes. “This was not simply a politician with whom some had policy disagreements; here was a man who practiced a style of politics that could not be indulged. He advocated violence at his own rallies, branded journalists scum, brazenly invented facts, employed unvarnished racism, xenophobia and misogyny on the stump and refused to accept the result if he lost. To treat him like any other candidate would be not only to legitimize such political behavior but reward it.” But the normalization has begun.
It was revealed last night, in leaked audio files, that Boris Johnson wondered how Trump would handle Brexit and argued that, though it might be unorthodox, that a lot of good might of come of it. We have accepted that his press secretary is basically a talking soup can of lies. We have started to lose our fight. On the one hand, it’s easy to see why — you can only maintain total outrage for so long, you get scandal fatigue, and you start to fade. But we can’t let the occasional humane decision blind us to all the inhumanity. We can celebrate Johnson’s release and still remember the racist, punishing system that put her in jail in the first place. And the President who supports those systems. We can’t soften toward him, because there’s still so much we need to fight for.