Friday, December 21, 2018

The Uniter

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
"In the end, we’ll probably find out 'wall' was Trump’s 'safe word' with Stormy Daniels. It’s just something he blurts out whenever he’s in trouble." -Anne Coulter
"We’ve seen the president pushed around a lot by the swamp. This is a core campaign promise that crosses all demographics of his base." -GOP strategist Michael Caputo

Finally, after two years of this sleaze-laden, ersatz presidency, after more broken promises than a wife-beater who's still yet to turn over that new leaf, Donald John Trump, future Trivial Pursuit answer, kept a campaign vow- He's united the nation. He's done that this past week by getting Democrats and Republicans alike to hate him. In absentia in Mar-a-Lago, he's figuratively collecting enough mud from both sides of the Great Ideological Divide to build his damned wall.
     And how did Trump do this? Well, to do that, we have to go back to the day he announced his candidacy before a largely-mercenary crowd in attendance at Trump Tower. "I will build a wall," Trump vowed and those who weren't there much less those paid to be there were listening intently. From that moment on, Trump never looked back. After narrowly losing to Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucus, Trump rattled off a string of Republican primary wins unseen since Reagan. And he thought people loved him.
     He was wrong, They loved the very idea of the wall. He was merely the avowed actuator of their racist will. And now, those racist right wing nut jobs who'd catapulted the man destined to be known as the most stupendously unqualified oaf for the Office of the Presidency into the White House are calling in the note. Actually, they'd threatened to call in the note way back when "President" Trump was still Republican nominee Trump. Back in August 2016, Glenn Beck fielded a call from someone named Nate from Virginia. Live on the air, Beck's caller chillingly said,
     “As long as he does the basic things, the foundational things, which is build a wall, he's not going to have people like me coming after him."
     “So if he doesn't build a wall like China, then he's in trouble?" Beck asked.
     “Oh, he's in so much trouble. You don't even understand the backlash of us, the ones who are so frustrated and angry and tired of all the political stuff. We're going to come after him personally. You know what I mean? We're going to get him." Beck later said it was the spookiest phone call he'd ever gotten.
     And now, as with so many contractors he's stiffed over the decades, Trump's mouth is writing checks he can't cash.
     In keeping with their party's symbol, Republicans are reminding Trump of just how long their selective memories go when it comes to the wall. Ann Coulter recently wrote a screed in Breitbart, parts of which being worthy of Maureen O'Dowd. It got Coulter unfollowed by Ill Douche on his beloved Twitter because, you know, it's not as if he has anything better to do while on vacation than to get even for petty grievances.

One Cave, Two Caves
Let's get one fact straight then we can argue about anything else- This isn't about a wall or the wall or Democrats vs Republicans or funding vs a shutdown. This isn't a debate about policy or monetary allocations or even about border security. It's about xenophobia, the fancy $10 word for racism. This is what got Trump elected. Racism. Racists. The mainstream media won't come out and say it lest they incur the impotent wrath of a few hundred right wingers who may set their televisions on fire for something they heard and didn't like on Fox.
     And, typical of their herd mentality and complete lack of imagination. the one word we're hearing from the far right lunatic fringe from Coulter to Malkin to Ben Shapiro is "cave." As in. "Trump caved on the wall." Which is an oddly satisfying and ironic word to use in this case when one thinks of Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
     Plato's Allegory isn't one about control, which Trump completely lacks these days, but is about enlightenment. The people chained in the cave represent the limited knowledge with which we're born and our tendency to just accept what is in front of us as the only truth. Escaping the cave isn't about freedom but learning and seeing what is beyond our own noses.
     Trump has already cultivated a well-deserved reputation as an incurious oaf who makes George W. Bush look like a Renaissance scientist by conspicuous relief. Rather than read policy manuals and reports, Trump lazily goes on his "gut" and, as much weight as he's gained since sleazing into the White House, he can't seem to see beyond that.
     But now he doesn't know who or what to trust. First, he beat his chest before Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office, falling for the Democrats' trap by threatening to shut down the government and then preemptively taking credit for it, even going as far as to say he'd be "proud" to shut down the government. Then, when it looked as if the House wouldn't budge on the wall money, Trump signaled there wouldn't be a shutdown, after all, because they'd just reallocate money from somewhere else (they never said from where or what.). Cave number one.
     Cave number two came today after he watched Fox & Frauds and heard them raking him over the coals for the wall funding. Then there was the Coulter article, then every right wing dittohead in the country followed suit, so now Trump is saying it looks as if there will be a government shutdown, after all. He'd already preemptively begun blaming Democrats for the shutdown after taking credit for it in advance just past week. But it's not working. Everyone is blaming Trump for both the looming shutdown and the lack of border wall funding.

The Price Tag of Racism
And now, for the first time in American history, we have a clearly-defined price tag for our nation's racism and it's $25,000,000,000. Trump infamously said way back in Trump Tower, the place that launched a thousand shits, on June 15, 2015 that Mexico would pay for it. Then after Mexico, rightly, refused, we the people, through Congress, would pay for it. By this time tonight, he'll be back on the phone with Mexico's president begging and pleading for him to pay for it then will eagerly watch The Ingraham Angle to see if he got her approval.
     The first step to normalizing racism is by putting a wall before the very word and its warning signs. The wall allows the racists who'd elevated Trump to the most exalted office in the free world to show their racism by couching it in terms of the wall and "border security" (Or "boarder security" if you're Trump.). Right wingers have been able to use euphemisms to mask their racism for decades, such as "forced busing" and "states' rights" (infamously deconstructed by Lee Atwater).
     Now they don't need to use racial slurs, any more (although it seems some of them still prefer to since Trump announced his candidacy) because it's all about "national security" and "border security." And who doesn't want border security, right? It's like dressing up one of those "mongrel" vampires from The Strain, putting a cute little dress on it, calling it a girl then challenging any critics of it by sneering, "Oh, you got something against little girls, now?"
     And as Bush found out when he tried to pass a compromising immigration bill over a decade ago, when you try to please both sides in this highly-polarized nation. you end up by pleasing no one.
     This is the worst week in many nightmarish weeks for Trump's administration. His Secretary of Defense just quit yesterday. John Kelly left as Chief of Staff, Wall Street's in freefall, people are losing their jobs in droves, the government's about to shut down and the Trump Foundation was also just shut down under federal court order.
     Oh, and there's the baleful shadow of Robert Mueller and his army of investigators.
     Trump fell into the same trap Obama did when the latter made health care his signature issue defining his entire presidency. But the obvious difference is, while it may have involved countless sleazy compromises with bad actors that watered down the legislation, at least Obama was able to get the ACA to pass. 
     But Trump should take heart: Instead of giving him just one wall this Christmas, maybe Santa will give him four.


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