Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Night Chicago Died a Little More

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." - Donald Trump, Iowa, January 23, 2016
"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." - George Orwell, 1948, 1984

Sometimes, I wonder how Senator Bernie Sanders can stand the parallels, similarities and ironies that unite him with Donald Trump. It must be like someone perpetually horrified at the deformed vestigial twin attached to him with no chance of removing the loathsome appendage. Indeed, it seems as if life has a palsied sense of humor that takes sadistic delight in tweaking us with the circular route of history. Remember that because I'll get back to my point by the end of this article. Pursuing that now would be like putting the cart before the jackass.
     For now, let's start with the melee that began last night in Chicago when a Trump flak announced that the leading Republican candidate had postponed the rally out of "security concerns." Let's set aside the glaring irony that the man who's been glorifying, offering to literally subsidize and just as literally calling for violence against protesters exercising their First Amendment rights would be too scared to show up for one of his own rallies. Perhaps Marco Rubio was onto something when he impugned the size of Trump's penis.
     The riot, and please let's call it a riot by a mob and stop waiting for the corporate MSM to call it as such, spilled out into the streets of the Windy City which got windier with the screams of Trump supporters clashing with the protesters who immediately claimed victory over scuttling their man's rally. The supporters needed their rage fix, their Two Minutes Hate, and they were already suffering from withdrawal. Not to fear: There were still plenty of right wing nut jobs, starting with Trump on MSNBC later last night, who was quick to blame the protests on the GOP's version of Emmanuel Goldstein: George Soros.
     Those of us over the age of 50 or with a keen sense of American history no doubt immediately conjured images of the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 that saw a young Dan Rather get roughed up on the convention floor (In an eerie reprise, Sopan Deb, a CBS photojournalist, also got roughed up, arrested and charged with resisting arrest, his camera actually capturing a Chicago cop literally putting a boot on his neck.). The only difference is that, for better or worse, 1968 Chicago had an engaged Mayor in Richard Daley.
     Where was Rahm Emanuel last night?

Putting the Straight Talk Express on Autopilot
     Last night showed us that, for the first time in US history, a major presidential campaign had been put on autopilot. Even without Trump there to stoke the already smoldering fuel of hatred, anger and frustration, the people who were there to see him did not need him to show their true colors and allegiances. Black protesters were told to "Go back to Africa" and Nazi salutes were rife. Unsurprisingly, as the New York Times revealed in today's "The Geography of Trumpism", the staunchest and most consistent demographic of Trump supporters were white people without high school diplomas.
     And it's this ignorance, fear, frustration, hatred and collective shame over their lot in life that Trump cynically uses to his advantage more adroitly and successfully than anyone since a certain paper hanger in 1932 Germany. When Hitler was running for Chancellor of Germany that year, he'd also tapped into a wellspring of ignorance, fear, frustration, hatred and collective shame over losing World War I and for the economic depression that followed the Weimar Republic into the 1930's.
     Basically, all Trump is doing is revitalizing the Southern Strategy but he's doing it more successfully than anyone since Reagan's 1980 Philadelphia, MS campaign kickoff speech and its dog-whistling about "state's rights." Not only that, he's helping to metastasize it across the lower 48 and perhaps even beyond that. The Tea Party finally has a face, a name, that seems to represent what passes for values and it's the snarling umber face of Donald Trump.

     But for all his flaws as a statesman, Reagan at least never openly called for violence and protesters, though far less numerous, weren't roughed up by the police, private security, the Secret Service, supporters and certainly not by his own campaign manager. At least under Reagan, violence and bloodshed was for the innocent civilians of far-flung right wing banana republics. Trump is essentially Ronald Reagan without the charm, grace or avuncular ease that distinguished the 40th president.

The Socialist vs the Antisocialist
     And here's where I get into the similarities with Trump that dog poor Bernie Sanders: In 1963, Sanders was busted by the Chicago PD simply for protesting against the University of Chicago's racially exclusionary policy. In other words, he was arrested fighting for the school's integration. Last night, violence erupted at that very same university and was largely started by people who would have counter-protested integration 53 years ago and would've cheered Sanders' arrest (and maybe the older ones, like the old biddy above proudly giving someone the Nazi salute, had).
     Yet unfortunately, the Trump/Sanders similarities don't stop there: Aside from being especially popular among the generic white voter demographic, Sanders is, like Trump, deiberately tapping into an anger and frustration facing the 99% of Americans. Sanders is reminding us who's taking our jobs, our homes, our pensions and futures and our tax dollars by the truckload. However, unlike Trump, Sanders isn't telling his supporters it's Muslims or Mexicans or Reagan's fictional "welfare queens." At least he has the common courtesy to remind us who the real villains are.
     And Sanders isn't calling for thuggish violence as a primary and sole answer to legitimate protest, which was another hallmark of Hitler and his Bund. While I wouldn't advise anyone to try it, both Hillary and Bernie have had mics literally snatched right out of their hands by their own protesters. The difference, obviously, is that EMTs aren't immediately called to the scene.
     Between the worthless corporate MSM's reluctance if not outright refusal to call last night's riot a riot and its instigators a legitimate mob and continuing to give this psychopath loads of free air time simply to keep their ratings up and their shareholders' bottom lines fat, America will soon reach a crisis. Trump's campaign proved last night he doesn't even need to be there to inspire violence against fellow Americans. But the Chicago Police, and the absent Rahm Emanuel, should've been clued in to the shit storm that was coming their way after Trump's bloody St. Louis rally. Actually, they and every city in which Trump inflicts himself should be warned in advance, given the campaign's brutal and repressive history.
     And, as with Trump's craven refusal to accept any responsibility for last night's riots, likewise neither Trump, nor the MSM that created and recreated him nor anyone else will accept responsibility when someone at a Trump rally finally gets hauled off in a body bag.

(Correction: Commenter John Revolta was quick enough to spot the fact that last night's riot took place at the University of Illinois, not the University of Chicago. I'll make sure I revoke Mikey's posting privileges for a while. JP)


At March 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM, Anonymous John Revolta said...

Quibble: U of I is not University of Chicago.

At March 12, 2016 at 10:42 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

Great writing. Joy and pleasure to read.


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