Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Bridge to Somewhere Dark

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
Sometimes history needs the perspective of time and distance to connect its events. Only then, when the subjectivity granted to us by the distance of passed time comes into play, can seemingly disparate events be bridged by cause and effect.
     For instance, the day after Governor Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for the presidency, Donald Trump came down an escalator at Trump Tower to do likewise. This was June 16th, 2015.
     Less than a day and a half later on June 17, 2015, Dylann Storm Roof shot up the AME church in Charleston, SC, murdering nine African American parishioners.
     At the time, it was looked upon as two remarkable but unrelated events but taking the context of Trump's first 50 weeks as a candidate, perhaps it would be too hasty to dismiss their connection.
     This disconnect from reality may perhaps by a gentler soul be excused considering we live in a nation that has to actually ask Google the above questions.
     Granted, this was before Trump's racism and his mobilization of the racist elements that had merely remained dormant since the Civil Rights era had gained traction. By June 16th, many thought Trump throwing his hat in the ring was to be another failed PR stunt, street performance art, political kabuki designed to up ratings for The Celebrity Apprentice. Who knew this guy would become the stereotypical Ugly American threatening to usher in a new era of Jim Crow and a politics of fear that would dwarf anything we ever saw during the Bush years?
     Yet in saying that he would make the now-dead American Dream great again, Trump was using dog whistle language for the only time during his candidacy and the day he announced his run his crowd consisted of nothing but stupid, shouting white people (some of them paid shills).
     Actually, I should amend that last statement by saying that Donald Trump does use dog whistle language when making racist statements and proposing racist policies. And his brand of racism, long ignored by the completely useless corporate mainstream media, is nonetheless on record and long-noted by those with an axe (or axe handle) to grind against those darker than themselves.
     In several not so deft strokes, Trump showed White America that not only was it permissible to hate the president but that you can do it simply because he's black. And if one can hate on a black Chief Executive, then why not hate on those who aren't the president?
     In short order, long before he'd decided to become the full time mayor of Clown Town, Donald Trump, in the only way in which his dog whistle is deployed, called the President of the United States a fraud, a cheater, a Muslim sympathizer, a liar and too many other things to enumerate. To Sarah Palin's "real America", it's a bitter enough pill to swallow that the president is black. Telling white America their president is all the above is enough to drive many into an apoplectic rage.
     Such as the one that fueled Dylann Storm Roof's massacre at the AME church.

The Man with Nine Lives
     It would perhaps be simple-minded to compare Donald Trump to Harrison MacWhite (what a wonderful name for this purpose!), the titular character in 1963's The Ugly American. Marlon Brando played an ambassador sent to Southeast Asia to address a nation's strife and warfare yet could only see things in purely black and white terms. Trump is certainly guilty of doing this, or at least appearing to see the world in just one dimension. Yet the problem is he's encouraging others to similarly see the world in a superficial way, to think in terms of caricature and stereotype.
     It's impossible to know, and perhaps a stretch to assume, that Dylann Storm Roof had Trump on his mind when he shot up that church and took nine lives. Yet Trump's cynically simplistic view of race relations in America was in full evidence in Roof's statements during the shooting:
     "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go." Then, per Trump and everyone in the "party of personal responsibility", Roof then ran away and tried to escape exaction for the carnage he'd wrought. And if that isn't the simple-minded, eliminationist rhetoric and personal cowardice overused by Trump, then nothing is.
     While there's no proof as yet that Roof belonged at any racist, nationalist organization such as the KKK, it's obvious that in pictures and a manifesto he'd uploaded on the internet he certainly sympathized with their causes. They also happen to be the same organizations that not only has allied itself with Trump but causes and organizations Trump conspicuously refuses to disavow lest he alienate the bulk of his base.
     That Trump represents a profile in cowardice is an understatement. He exhorts others to commit acts of violence on dissenters and even offers to pay their legal bills then scuttles away on the offchance such acts are associated with him. Yet, throughout all this and being at the eye of this Category Six hurricane of social destruction, Trump remains the Teflon Don. In short, he is the man with Nine Lives, exactly the number Dylann Storm Roof had taken nearly a year ago.
     The politics of hate and racial division is not a new thing. Such platforms had existed back in the 19th century. In 1948, we saw Strom Thurmond unashamedly run on a purely segregationist platform. George Wallace ran for the presidency four times based on racial division and could've actually become the Democratic nominee against Richard Nixon in 1972 if he hadn't been shot.
     Yet, no one had ever perfected the art of racial and religious division such as Donald Trump and the aforementioned utterly useless MSM can only stand by and watch with cowed, rapt fascination of this "terrible beauty", to quote Yeats, bloom while others are paying the price for our collective racial recidivism.


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