Saturday, July 4, 2020


(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
"No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
The justifiably forgotten third stanza of the "Star Spangled Banner.
In a monstrous bit of irony, Donald Trump's very choice of Mount Rushmore for his verbal and literal pyrotechnics strained for symbolism but there was one bit he may wish he'd missed: Because as Trump essentially painted a target on the backs of every American who's ever opposed him for something, he did so in the shadow of a monument on a hill we'd stolen and are continuing to steal from Native Americans in which half the figures were slave owners. Washington and Jefferson may have been benevolent slave owners (with Jefferson taking his benevolence to extremes) but they were slave-owners, nonetheless.
    As it is, with Trump dewing the immediate atmosphere with the flop sweat springing from his head like a cartoon character, one would reasonably expect the "president's" ignorance to be so extreme that he'd actually ask where his beloved Andrew Jackson was on the monument. As it is, it was also a fitting irony that Trump, who seems to have a fun house mirror view everything including patriotism, would deliver his hateful, racist jeremiad not on the most patriotic day on the calendar but the day before it.
    Let's start with the irony of our totalitarian dictator being completely unable to pronounce the word "totalitarianism" (Being the bad cryptofascist that he is, he never once mispronounce fascism). Our former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, pronounced it "(p)erhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president and on the July 4th weekend no less."
    But when he wasn't mangling words like "totalitarianism" like Norm Crosby on Quaaludes, he was apparently forgetting what fascism is and which side of the political dial it's on:
     It all started so well: Oglala Lakota Sioux were displaced as per a proud American tradition (who cares that a 1980 Supreme Court decision upheld the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty that gave the Black Hills back to the Lakota Sioux and that the National Guard were the ones who were trespassing?) while mouth-breathing rednecks were telling the Native Americans to "go home." Yes, they actually that to Sitting Bull's descendants who'd been living on that land for at least 30,000 years.
     Then Trump was introduced by Buffalo Barbie, SD Gov. Kristi Noem who had to check her notes before saying the greatest threat facing us was the removal of our monuments to failed racist traitors and not the coronavirus or the Dollar General Mussolini she was about to introduce. After her halting but shameless performance last night, I think we can exempt Kristi Noem from one of the more sensible Republicans who fear being dragged off the edge of the cliff on account of the racism they'd enabled for over five years now.
      But introduce him she did as the crowd waited two and a half hours while he baby-stepped his way to the podium, then he finally got around to saying this:
“American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the earth. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
     You don't need to have Lassie ears to hear that ham-fisted attempt at dog-whistling. In those two sentences, haltingly slurred as they were, Trump was conflating the George Floyd protesters with the villains that real American heroes (Like the ones with Russian bounties on their heads that Trump claimed to know nothing about) Nazis and fascists (such as the ones who were literally singing his praises at Charlottesville three years ago).
     Then, to ensure there was no mistake with what his intention was (Although, again, Trump doesn't really understand where the fascists are aligned on the political ideology chart, surprising since he aligns himself so comfortably with Nazis and fascists), he said this:
In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.  If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.  It’s not going to happen to us.
     We'll see come November third.


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