I love the novelty sunglasses, and I was going to give the NYT credit for highlighting a beautiful woman who supports Trump, but after I did the screen-capture and uploading, my impression that I was looking at a Jean Seberg type of woman...
... gave way to a realization that this is a young man and then that the NYT wasn't saying even some hip, pretty women love Trump but — Listen for the first strains of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me."
In that light, AMERICAN CARNAGE isn't political hokum, it's a dire warning.
So let's find the phrase in context. The article linked through that front-page headline has a different, milder headline, "Donald Trump Is Sworn In as President, Capping His Swift Ascent." But the cherry-picked phrase appears in the first paragraph:
Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new era that he vowed would shatter the established order and reverse a national decline that he called “this American carnage.”Shatter the established order! Does that seem at odds with ending carnage? No, not if you think he is lying about the existence of carnage and gulling Americans into believing we need dramatic change. The "established order" was presided over by a man, Barack Obama, who got elected under the banner of "change," and "change" was a worship word then. The existing order of the time needed to be overthrown, and it was delightful that Obama had descended from the heavens to perform the miracle.
But Trump has ascended — up from hell? — and the change he's threatening is shattering.
In the NYT's annotated transcript of the speech, we see the carnage line — "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now"— is accompanied by an attempt at factual correction:
Violent crime increased about 4 percent in 2015, but that is a small blip in a decades-long decline in crime. The United States remains far safer than it has been in generations.But did the speech equate "American carnage" with "violent crime"? Let's look at the text. The line appears about halfway in, after Trump has accused Washington insiders of channeling the rewards of government to themselves and denying the "just and reasonable demands of righteous people."
The demands are 3: "great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves." That's all The People want and it's what they deserve — good schools, neighborhoods, and jobs.
With that premise, Trump unleashes exactly one sentence before the end-to-carnage announcement:
Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.So you see the "carnage" is not merely violent crime. It refers to everything that is robbing people of good lives: poverty, the loss of manufacturing businesses, bad schools, gangs, and drugs, in addition to crime. Trump embraces the people — we are "just and righteous" and "beautiful," but deprived of what government fails to give us as it funnels benefits to its own insiders.
That scam is over. That's what the carnage ends now means.
AND: Sometimes I feel that I'm making things happen. Here's the NYT front page right now, linking to the same article: