Former United States President Donald J. Trump has been indicted for the third time after losing to President Joe Biden in November 2020.

Arriving in Washington D.C. yesterday for his arraignment, crowds of reporters and millions of his fellow citizens watched Trump’s plane descend upon the nation’s capital. Watching the proceedings on multiple networks, reporters kept sounding the same alarm, “Donald Trump has normalized crazy!”

Trump’s true legacy will be the normalization of radicalized beliefs, immoral behavior, unethical practices, inspiring insurrection, and the ability to convince many voters his lies were true. And yet, those are not the scariest parts of this American nightmare.

The terrifying reality might come in 2024. If Trump is acquitted, or a hung jury prevails in these trials, then mark my words: Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States–again.

Trump’s normalization of “crazy” set into motion a new American narrative that might forever shape the country’s course.

The politics of compromise was shown the door by the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Speaker Gingrich replaced political compromise with the policy of obliteration. It was no longer enough to win; politicians had to abolish and shame their opponents.

Trump’s policies had nothing to do with the country’s success and everything to do with him. He believes he is the embodiment of the American dream. Whatever he believes becomes his truth and America’s reality, no matter how crazy and untruthful it might be.

Even though the quote could never be directly attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi’s sentiment seems to be accurate: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Trump has followed this playbook precisely. His “Big Lie” almost worked – and still can. The one significant barrier to his success remains the idea of a liberal democracy, loyal to the U.S. Constitution over one man or party. When citizens unite under the rule of law and commit themselves to following the U.S. Constitution, the “Big Lie” quiets to a whisper.

While Trump’s legacy will be the normalization of crazy for the near future – and we may have to deal with it for decades to come – I hope rational and sensible citizens will never let Trump’s “craziness” become normalized.

We have all heard the phrase, “Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned,” but the saying is most likely a myth. However, myths have a way of being born from truth.

On July 18, 64 CE, a fire broke out in the slums of a district south of the legendary Palatine Hill. While there is no evidence connecting Nero to the fire or proof that he played his fiddle, the Emperor did use the moment to his political advantage.

Scholars contend Nero let the city go up in flames because he wanted to rebuild it in his likeness and under his influence. In addition, a growing sect of the population was gaining more influence. Consequently, Nero cast blame on the Christians.

After the fire, Nero marginalized, oppressed, tortured, and killed thousands of Christians to keep them under his control. Nero used his “Big Lie” to persuade minds and exert power.

Crazy should never become the norm for civilized societies. As people of good faith, we must be reminded that what we are watching with the former president is not only not normal – but that these are truly the actions of a mad king.

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