Monday, August 14, 2017

The true measure of the man

While Donald Trump’s mindless rhetoric and threats in regard to North Korea and Venezuela reminds one of Greg Stillson from the Stephen King novel The Dead Zone and the horrific future that would-be president promised unless he was stopped, on the domestic front we have to come to grips with the fact that Trump and crew’s white nationalism is white supremacy, and we shouldn’t mistake it for anything else. Unless one is a white supremacist or just doesn’t give a damn about what is happening in this country, it is clear that something very bad has been occurring since the rise of the so-called “Tea Party,” outraged by the election of a black president in 2008, and the subsequent election of a unabashed white nationalist in 2016 feeding off white racial animus. If hypocritical CNN and the like had been honest about exposing the racist element behind far-right groups like the Tea Party since the beginning instead of giving them a “mainstream” platform, we might not be where we are now in this poisonous atmosphere of hate and paranoia. 

So Trump has finally bowed under pressure from his new chief of staff and from numerous Republican senators and issued a “forceful” denunciation of the white hate groups involved in the violence in Charlottesville, VA. But let us remember that he only did this under pressure; his initial reaction was the true measure of the man. John Oliver on HBO pointed out that it is the easiest thing in the world to denounce Nazis, but shockingly Trump could not bring himself to do even that at his press conference on Saturday. He did not want to antagonize the base of support that he knows very well is largely responsible for him being elected because they knew that he himself is a white nationalist and self-identifies with the white “victimhood.” Why else would they parade about shouting "Hail Trump"?

I felt little but disgust with Trump’s hypocrisy today, calling for “love” and “equality” when his own Justice Department is in the midst of using its civil rights division to attack policies that “victimize” privileged whites. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared on NBC’s Today show to defend Trump’s initial reactions, the utter visage of race hate was clearly to be seen when the black host pointed out the hypocrisy of Sessions’ defense of Trump after the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer praised Trump’s statement as a sign of support; the plantation master Sessions clearly hates to be “scolded” for his racial hypocrisy by black commentators.

One should feel not only disgust at the spectacle of neo-Nazis, the KKK and assorted Caucasian domestic terrorists on parade in Charlottesville—during which a white supremacist drove a vehicle into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters, killing one and injuring 19—but of our so-called president’s response to it. The Race Baiter-in-Chief, who consistently uses racist “dog whistle” tweets and commentary to “reassure” his base on his faithfulness to the “cause” of white nationalism and “victimhood” is, as his chief “strategist” Steve Bannon has said, the alt-right’s “blunt instrument” to carry out their racist agenda on behalf of whites who believe “their” country is being “stolen” from them by blacks, Hispanics and Jews.

Trump, no doubt under the spell of white nationalists like Bannon, Sessions, Steven Miller and the unabashedly fascist Sebastian Gorka, is loath to offend his racist base, which he managed to do anyways with his weak-kneed “many sides” were to blame statement; KKK leader David Duke—who as a student at LSU was often seen parading about in a Nazi storm trooper outfit passing out the party’s propaganda—was apparently incensed that Trump would even hint that maybe those purveyors of race hate parading about with torches, guns and combat shields could possibly be faulted. Trump needed to look in the mirror, said Duke, see that pallid face and realize who put him in office in the first place. 

But who ever accused Trump of having any shame? Not to worry; The Daily Stormer declared that “When asked to condemn, he (Trump) just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” The mother of the man who police say clearly deliberately tried to run over and kill as many anti-fascist protesters as he could falsely claimed that her son was not a white supremacist, but merely a Trump “supporter”; The question is: “What’s the difference?”  And then Homeland Security adviser Tom Bosser refused to call the man what he was, a domestic terrorist, instead referring to him as merely a “murderer.” And finally the Justice Department bowed to criticism, issuing a statement that it will “investigate” the violence in Charlottesville; that’s right, you’ll have Jim Crow himself (Sessions) overseeing the goings-on at the plantation. The “fix” is in. 

Many Democrats and some Republicans with varying degrees of credibility decried the violence and Trump’s initial refusal to call things as they were. But why would he? Every time he claims that he “loves” everyone, and claims he believes that he represents “all” American regardless of race, creed or color,  we have to remember that he was elected on precisely the opposite view, and continues to hold those views. After all, he incited violent reaction by his supporters against lone protesters at his various campaign rallies, and demeaned and dehumanized whole groups of non-white people on a regular basis because he knew that is what his most strenuous supporters wanted hear and be acted upon, and past evidence suggests that Trump believes it too, even if it is lies; when Bill O’Reilly challenged him about his campaign claim that blacks are responsible for 81 percent of whites murdered, Trump merely noted that it was the information he was given, suggesting that if something sounded bad against a minority group it must be true, like “all Mexicans are criminals and rapists.” 

Meanwhile, emboldened losers from the white trash front are coming forward to add their own special aroma to the already foul atmosphere. For example, a few days ago police arrested a neo-Nazi cell consisting of three men and two women in the town of New Port Richey in Florida, apparently attempting to fund their activities through identity theft and bank fraud; according to the local newspaper,

Deputies served the warrant at a home in the 9200 block of Kiowa Drive around 7 a.m. Aug. 8. Once inside the home, deputies say they came across “hundreds of pages worth of (miscellaneous) bank account and additional personal identification information.” They also found credit cards, military and state IDs, insurance cards and other items. About 12 grams of meth, several gun holsters, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, three firearms and a rifle were also seized, according to an email from the sheriff’s office.

In addition, deputies found “hundreds of pages of American Nazi Family propaganda (rules, hierarchy, oaths, etc.)" in the home, the email added. The American Nazi Family is associated with the Aryan Brotherhood, the sheriff’s office said.

White racist domestic terrorists are out there and emboldened by the current administration, so we are to expect Trump and his racist advisers and attorney general to do something meaningful about it? Who is kidding who?

Postscript: It only took Trump a day to rediscover his true self, if he had ever lost in the first place. Not only did Trump in a shocking stream-of-conscious press conference (not to be mistaken for "conscience") fully backtrack on his teleprompter-guided script from the previous day, he claimed that some of those people who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the neo-Nazis were "good" people, and that many of the protesters against the hate they represented were "violent" people. He went on to make assertions that made it clear that he is no historian; statues of Confederate generals--most of which were built in response to either a resurgence of the Klan during the 1920s, or as a reaction against the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s--represent one thing, and one thing only: the defense of the "states' right" of maintaining the institution of slavery, and this is not the "culture" anyone should be "celebrating."

Afterwards, Trump seemed extremely pleased with himself; at least people like Duke, white nationalist Richard Spencer and (not leaving the ladies out) former Arizona governor and the very visage of death itself, Jan Brewer, as well as far-right commentator Ann Coulter, who insists that racism doesn't exist in this country--al expressed deep satisfaction with Trump's reverting to his natural state. What is certain is that Trump has no moral or ethical credibility left; he is firmly on the side of race hate, and it is far too late for anyone to make a credible defense that he is not. Any hope that this so-called man will evolve from his primitive state is of course gone, because he chooses to exist in a state that is not conducive to moral or ethical growth. He should no longer be regarded as "president," but a man playing the role in his own television reality show, and the "joke" is on the American people.

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