What “normalization” means: a concrete example.

Here’s what “normalization” means:

Trump praises this bizarre offer from Putin in which U.S. gets to question the 12 Russians the U.S. DoJ accuses of engaging in election subterfuge, in exchange for Russia questioning William Browder and former ambassador Michael McFaul. News outlets go nuts about the proposal, bringing on talking heads to discuss what a crazy idea this is. The anchors and talking heads use inflammatory language about “handing over” Browder or McFaul, or letting Russia “interrogate” the subjects, etc.

But none of these commentators or news anchors (so far as I’ve seen) mentions the obvious: that Browder and McFaul are private citizens, so there is no legal principle under which the U.S. executive branch could compel them to show up for the questioning anyway.

Do you see what’s happening here? Trump talks about this swap as though it’s a thing he could do. He knows it’ll never happen. But as people talk about what a terrible idea the swap is, they unwittingly accepting the premise that citizens are property for all-powerful rulers to use as pawns in the first place! They push back on Trump’s specific proposal, but they first grant his assumptions & worldview in order to do it.

That’s normalization.

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