Critics have been quick to accuse Trump of abusing his power and of threatening the very institutions of our democracy with the move. And thanks to the president’s increasingly unhinged comments on the matter, it seems unlikely that these concerns are going anywhere soon.
In a Fox News segment Thursday night, however, host Tucker Carlson and conservative historian James Rosen encouraged viewers to step back and chill. Because if you really think about it, these trying times could be so much worse. Does anybody even remember the Civil War anymore?
Watch the clip, via Media Matters:
“During Watergate, the term ‘crisis’ was thrown around as well and there were people at that time who were old enough to remember when there were legless Civil War veterans still in the streets of Washington,” said Rosen.
Did Watergate leave more than 620,000 people dead? Well, the Civil War did, so quit your whining.
Rosen then went on to check off some other horrible events throughout American history that actually make Trump look not so bad in comparison.
“Every generation from probably about 150 years has probably imagined that it is facing or braving truly unprecedented challenges that are truly scarier than ever before,” he said.
He then listed out other crises, saying that this was true during the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War I and World War II.
“And then the atomic bomb,” he added. “That was a very stark dividing line in human history when we could start obliterating cities from the sky like that. And then since then probably even the Cuban missile crisis, for example, when we came this close to a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. Those were very anxious times.”
Rosen added that there were actually some valid reasons for people to be scared right now. But the problem was robots, he said, not the president of the United States.
“Today’s times are certainly unprecedented because Donald Trump is a singular unprecedented president, but if there’s a reason to feel anxious about our times, it probably has very little to do with Donald Trump or his actions or the Jim Comey firing or what have you,” said Rosen. “It has to do with automation and the pace of change in this country.”
Carlson thought he nailed it.
“That’s right, I agree with that,” he said. “And that’s the core cause of the anxiety, maybe that changed the outcome of the election.”
So next time you’re worrying about Trump’s policies, just remember ― we’re not on the brink of existential disaster. Yet.