It all comes down to money, doesn’t it?
Money coupled with power. Power over people via “ideas” that have more in common with emotional revulsion than logic. This is what we are now.
Steve Bannon was at the left hand of the seat of power; he was the co-pilot of the administration, arguably the primary architect of the Trump victory. You’d have to be utterly blind, delusional, Stockholm Syndrome-addled or just uncaring not to see this. The nearly transparent lie that there was no collusion on the part of Bannon’s appeals to race resentment and the violence that often erupted at Trump rallies doesn’t need calling out, it is there, in plain sight, for all to see.
Nor does the connections to the Alt-Right, real Nazis, and other assorted white supremacists, they too, are plain. Through the denials (what common criminal ever said, “Yeah, I did it, that was me” when being cornered by the cops?) the obstrufications and every logical event to the contrary, Bannon, Breitbart and its network of ideologues and hangers-on continue to play a role in the conversation or at least continue to keep the discussion about them, bolstering the profiles of both the wave riders and the hard idealogues.
There is no such thing as bad press.
So why are we still playing this game?
Why are we still under the delusion that we are living under anything but a proto-fascist state, a state that combines the worst elements of our cold war and second world war enemies. We now represent the things we have purportedly fought against for most of the 20th century. It’s no longer about left and right ideologies because both would be crushed under the weight of the oligarchy. When there isn’t freedom for anyone, ideology is moot.
It is a cold hard fact that for all of the history of the United States we have been awash in white supremacy. Its taken many forms as the idea of whiteness have been adopted by various Europeans and those of European descent. It isn’t unique to this nation, but the brand of white superiority and supremacy is. We are unique in the fact that we’ve inhabited a Janus-like guise, out of one face we say we are pluralistic and generous, the huddled masses are welcome to come and add their uniqueness to our own and to our collective culture, on the other we are xenophobic, racist and fearful of difference although demonstrably, once we know each other personally those elements diminish.
We also claim to value our collective contributions to our society. We claim to not see race or sex and that the value we place on our fair values is absolute. Even on our political left, there is this illusion, the corridors of power in our entertainment are littered with the desiccated bodies of the women who know better. Liberal Hollywood is awash in its form of hypocrisy. Weinstein, Cosby, and Baldwin, either get a pass or use their considerable power as men to create false personas that defy their goodness while hiding their toxic badness.
At the risk of sounding SWJish, White Male Superiority in general. Yes, even Cosby.
Masculinity is at least a convening force in all this. I’ve spoken before about how this mirror universe came to pass, how the power structure that was had been challenged by an educated, non-white man, and then an educated (albeit universally unlikeable) white woman and the resulting pushback gave us a starring role in the Truman shitshow we live in now. How the years of ingrained, assumed norms of power and who was inherently qualified to wield it, unraveled while Rural White Male America slept soundly in their beds, secure in the fact that their hegemony wouldn’t be undone by a one-term Nigger president.
See how that happened?
We didn’t elect a white knight, we chose the anti-Nigger, the crass boldness embodiment of everything we would have lynched Obama for, and some things lesser, that we tried to. Trump’s money, his conspicuous consumptive nature on full display in House Horrific gold inlay pimp my penthouse bling, his pussy grabbing dullard braggadocio, his obviously ignorant grasp of policy and its implications, all of it punishable by death for any nonwhite who isn’t signed to Bad Boy or in the NBA. Trump is gangsta personified.
Must be the money…
So I was on a semi-self-imposed news blackout until very recently due in no small part to my own personal upheavals, but also just because….Trump.
So now I’ve begun paying more attention, watching and reading more news and following more closely, the national goings on. Thankfully I’m in a much better headspace for all of this because if I’d decided to forgo reason and dive head first as my personal life was unraveling, I’m honestly not sure I’d still be writing today.
Watching our president move with the sound off is frustrating enough, but with the sound on, it’s utterly terrifying.
How could we have been so stupid? How in the hell could we have elected this orange-thin-skinned pussy grabber, the leader of the free world? How do we not see this as the horrible national embarrassment it truly is? That a uniquely unqualified buffoon who clearly has no aptitude for the truth because he hasn’t a clue as to what that word even means, could possibly win a plurality of electoral college votes, with not a single dissenting maverick to stand in the way of this thoroughly embarrassing national disgrace?
Where are our Paines, our Parks our Kings and Peltiers? Why don’t we see how obviously our dissenting voices are absent from the debate, and how obviously we’ve become twisted up in what it means to dissent in the first place? How did the Alt-right, an animal crafted as a propaganda arm of Nazis and internet trolls who finally feel like they have a place at a table that is owned by the Jewish Cabal, actually become a legitimate voice in national politics?
I’m not of the mindset that this country is over, that with this one election we have sealed our fate. I do believe this is the last death spasm of an old skin being shaken off, but what of what’s underneath?
When will we, as a country, as a people, realize that we’ve entirely fucked up.
When we have people like Alex Jones and Mike Chernovich actually participating in the public dialog as legitimate players, how do we not see how truly fucked we are?
At the same time though, it easy to become un-fucked, just pay attention.
So supposedly there is this tape floating around the New York Times that confirms what anyone with half a brain already knows, “the Donald” is full of shit.
Earlier this week he started rumbling about suing the media when they print mean things about him (damn that pesky 1st amendment, you know that one that wouldn’t exist without the one following it) and now in a conveniently not at all retaliatory fashion the NYT’s Gail Collins strongly hinted that the tape was a game changer for Trump, although given the fervor of his legion of zombies, I highly doubt that.
Right now, nothing short of Trump revealing himself as Barak Obama’s Kenyan uncle could derail this campaign. Part of the appeal of any sort of fascistic movement is its complete divorce from reality, its utter anti-intellectualism and cultural understanding outside its own angry demographic.
Does anyone really think this guy who famously wrote about his style of “winning” which consisted of saying whatever people wanted to hear to get them in the door and then, once they are trapped inside, completely changing the rules? Has anyone actually read “The Art of the Deal?” Seen the Apprentice?
Trump’s juggernaut is about one thing anger, no rage. Rage at the fact that what was guaranteed by status was not fulfilled, and that average Joe White is losing ground, ground overlooking average Joe Minority but slowly eroding. Ground lost because Average Joe White allowed his natural advantage to distance himself from the plight of Average Joe and Jane everyone else. The ground lost because instead of looking at opportunity in equal measure with effort, he championed effort without equal opportunity all the while ignoring his own privilege. And yeah, I said it, privilege. So instead of recognizing the fact that the opportunities that they had all along, that others never had, should be expanded to include everyone, their skin takes precedence over their situation.
The ethnic lines that once divided them (Irish, German, Swiss, English, Dutch etc…) are now uniting them and ironically, they are turning on themselves as much as they are anyone else. I’ve already written about the sad fact that middle aged white men are dying off in large numbers due to a combination of lifestyle diseases and suicide.
WTF??? ANY group that has that high a death rate should be assisted, treated and taken care of, but again irony intercedes. Because of the very myths of independence they still cling to, myths that time and time again are disproved, they are not seeking help, and therefore, literally dying off.
This cancerous anger, resentment and fear is killing off people and that is something to bemoan regardless of whether you agree with them politically or not. People are people and they deserve the same life, liberty and happiness that everyone does.
They just may have to give up a little status to get it.
Something many, sadly, just cannot do.
It’s always a surreal experience watching Donald Trump say almost anything. Not that much of what comes out makes any sense beyond braggadocio and bluster, but watching him talk, watching him move creates a particular sense of unease in me. Any political candidate has to pare down their message to digestible talking points, whether this is the fault of the media or of an ADD riddled public I won’t go into now, but at least there are some bellwether guiding principles beneath the clips. Trump defies this tradition in the absolute vapidity of his rhetoric.
Simply put Trump is terrifying to watch, his legion of angry followers even more so. Even at the level of Sanders, whom I support, there is a certain amount of pandering in his soaring rhetoric and unrealistic promises. This is unfortunately necessary as we have to some extent always valued condensed ideas over screeds. We are fascinated over manifestos but barely take the time to read them, we know the names but haven’t read the works.
We are so easily misled, often by people who have been misled themselves or worse who know that they are intentionally bending Scripture, Marx, Hitler, Smith, to suit their own purposes. The problem is that we have become too intellectually lazy to even think about fact-checking anyone, too dim-witted to go where we are uncomfortable, to stupid to really care about anoyone but ourselves and our own unchecked assumptions.
Unfortunately, this is what we deserve. Trump, Clinton, Cruz, Rubio, playing the children around a schoolyard picnic table hurling insults at each other and the American people while Kasich and Sanders try to rise above the fray. Neither is perfect, but they are the adults in a room of increasingly agitated and angry children. Kasich is still too far right for my tastes and Sanders is to old and studious to stand against the poop flinging zoo that is congress, but either is far better than the assortment of alternatives above.
Trump continues to exemplify pretty much everything wrong with America currently. Trump proves the founders original eligible voter criteria right as his minions may be white, but far too few are truly educated. Jefferson was fluent in several languages, intellectually curious and doubtfully would have been as dismayed by having to press “1” for English as many of the people who revere him are. The same can be said for Adams, Franklin and Madison. What a shame, what a terrible travesty that the people so often quoted and revered by scholars and statesmen alike are so cruelly excised from the pantheon of those we try to emulate.
We are more than willing to blindly quote the 1st, 2nd or 5th amendments to the constitution for our political purposes, but reject the responsibility to live up to the exemplary lives of the people who wrote them. We rattle off defenses against people attacking us based on the constitution but even those of us who know what the text says can barely place ourselves in the minds of those who conjured the words. We champion “rights” with no thought to “responsibilities.”
We have become exactly what the founders feared. We have become the uneducated rabble that their restrictive voting protocols tried to stave off. Yes there was inherent in them racism, classism and sexism, but at their root was the very real and now fulfilled fear that we would be led by a consortium of self-interested ignorant idiots. When we expanded voting rights to all we neglected to expand education of all, and that, in the guise of a Donald Trump (or if not him, the inevitable NEXT him) will be our downfall.
Great empires always seem to collapse inward. Ours is no different, and in all likelihood, next to go.
As I said before, too fucking little, too fucking late.
So you can tolerate all the bullshit I mentioned previously, all the implicit threats of violence, the dog whistling candidates (many of which are running against Trump, STILL) and the numerous collisions between some of your own columnists and the organized racist far-right. Charles Murray, for example.
So, again, after benefiting for so long from the recruitment of working class whites into voting against their own interests by appealing to their inherently racist fears, now you want to suddenly sound the alarm against the human manifestation of that politic?
Again, fuck you, Trump is a direct result of all of you not standing up for your “brand.” If America goes down in flames because of him, it really isn’t because of him at all, it’s because of you.
Trump, Charlatan, fascist or both?
I just read an article over at Vox that does a pretty good job at answering the question “is Trump a Fascist?” Asking historical “experts,” mostly academics whether The Donald fits the bill they pretty much all say no, with some qualifications, of course but by the definitions supplied by these experts Trump falls short. Of course, no one should tell him this, no one wants a demagogue told he isn’t something enough.
Also at Vox, alternately hilariously, alarmingly bizzaro-worldish and freaky, Marie LePen, the leader of Front National (or National Front) the French right-wing populist party that is historically anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and generally racist disavows the proposed anti-Muslim ban Trump boisterously and famously proposed last week. Saying it “goes too far.”
Before anyone cheers LePen though it has much more to do with the fact that she’s a savvy politician who actually knows what a constitution is, rather than a multicultural softie.
If nothing else it exposes Trump for what he is, a dangerous example of charlatanism, a power hungry mogul who will say anything and stir up any amount of shit to get what he wants, even at the cost of violence against the most vulnerable. It gives one further pause in considering Trump as a serious candidate when the closest mainstream equivalent to the Nazi party stakes out a position to his left.
Baguettes for thought indeed.