The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.
From 1984, George Orwell
I’m so old that when I first read 1984, the real 1984 was still seven years in the future. Back in the day, they used to have you read it in school, I guess hoping to raise consciousness and fend off the very thing that’s now happening. Oh well. It was worth a shot.
I might have last cracked its spine in 1977, but 1984 isn’t the sort of book you forget, so I was thinking about Orwell as I watched clips from the latest Trump rally on the news. Nothing clever or original about that – a few seconds of watching them all yell and stomp their feet, venting their witless rage, and you can’t think of anything else, really. You also can’t help but wonder if you’re dreaming. It seemed so preposterous, back when I was in English class, to imagine that such a monstrous polity would ever again emerge in the Western world, it just couldn’t, not after WW II and every lesson that was learned from it. Of course back then, WW II had ended only about 30 years earlier, so the first Star Wars movie is farther in the past now than VE Day was then, and the one thing to remember about people is that after a while, they forget. Given time, and sometimes not even a very long time, they forget everything, however painful the lesson, even if it happened to them personally and they wouldn’t have had to read it in a book, or do something similarly improbable like watch a documentary.
So here we are, watching The Donald orchestrate his daily Two Minutes Hate, and I know who to blame.
White people. There, I said it. It’s all the stinking, stupid white people.
Lord, Lord, I am so sick of white people. White men especially, of course, but there’s an awful lot of white women trailing after their men folk and screaming along with them these days, and I’m dog-tired, bone-tired, of them too. I’m particularly, indeed transcendently, tired of rural and suburban white people, which of course brands me as an urban coastal elitist, latte-swilling, left-liberal caviar socialist, but fuck it, I’m sick of them and their reliably racist, xenophobic, absolutely uninformed points of view. I over-generalize, you say? I succumb to the same sort of bigotry I decry? Oh yeah? Well who do you think put this bag of guts in charge of Ontario –
Toronto voters? Who do you think put Trump in? Look at this electoral map of Georgia:
The blue bits voted Clinton. Note where they are. Cities. Little blue islands of diversity in a vast sea of red. Who went Trump? All the damned rural whites, men and women alike. That any woman could have cast a vote for a vulgar sex-offending misogynist like Trump is one of those realities that suck the life right out of you, it’s just so awful, but that’s what white women did. No, really – they did. 52% of them. White women without college degrees went 61% for Trump. Can you believe it? I couldn’t. See, I knew Trump was going to lose, because you can’t possibly win if women won’t vote for you, which of course none of them would, not of any race. Everything was thus sure to work out fine, and we could put the whole interlude behind us.
I forgot. White people.
You might expect me to be conflicted about this, since I’m as lily-white as they come, and a male to boot – all I need for the trifecta is 40 acres and a big green tractor – but these days I loath white people. The mere sight of Doug Ford, or Paul Ryan, or the f’ing Koch brothers, makes me want to lose my breakfast. I swear to God, they’re evil. Whenever any sort of progress is thwarted, it’ll be a white bastard in the way. Whenever any sort of injustice is perpetrated, it’ll be some white prick doing the dirty work. White people, at the top of every hierarchy, screwing us all over, crashing the economy, getting us into wars, harming the needy and the weak, making sure that everything everywhere exists solely to serve them, while they spend their spare time golfing, or yachting, or reading Atlas Shrugged for the 51st frigging time for all I know. Sometimes they’re clever and crafty about it, sometimes not so much, depending on the players. White politicians like Mitch McConnell come on all smooth and dedicated to public service, but if you want to find a bunch of guys in hoods looking to burn a cross or two, or wearing armbands and ranting about blood and soil, you can readily find them too; just go looking for white people. Or maybe you’ve seen a slavering horde of Hispanics marching down the street waving tiki torches and screaming The Jews will not replace us?
Just look at a Trump rally – wait, no don’t, if you literally watch one you’ll go insane from terror and abject hopelessness – sorry, just look at this still picture of the crowd at a Trump rally:
Notice anything, I dunno, kind of homogeneous about that sea of silly faces?
What really makes me howl is there’s almost always this one lonely guy down front with a sign:
Somebody seems to make sure that he’s always standing right behind his orange idol. This guy’s now famous. They call him “Michael the Black Man”. I shit you not:
I’m almost afraid to find out what his story is, but you know, why not a movement called “Blacks for Trump”, if women could vote for him? To be astonished at Michael there, while accepting it as a bland fact that there are hordes of female Trump supporters, is to swallow a camel and then strain at a gnat, to quote a guy that wasn’t Anglo-Saxon and didn’t speak English, though most of the folks in that picture think so.
Watching Trump whip these idiotic Caucasians into a frenzy is absolutely terrifying. It’s right out of Orwell, or actual recent history, I guess – you’ve maybe seen something like a Trump rally before, if you’ve ever seen anything about the get-togethers they used to hold back in the 1930s at a picturesque little town called Nuremberg. To steal a great quote from Molly Ivans, Trump’s speeches are a hopeless word salad, but they sounded a lot better in the original German.
I can just hear Bannon – oh yes, Steve is on the Trumplandia comeback trail – standing in the wings hooting and cackling. Another Triumph of the Will, mein Trump!
All of them cheering wildly, and all of them, save poor misguided Michael, as white as the driven snow. Trump, in his crafty, idiot-savant way, has realized that his sort of white folk are so afraid of demographic change, and losing all the perqs of whiteness, that all you have to do is make them feel good, even proud, about being dumb-assed racist xenophobes, and they’ll believe anything. Anything. Donald’ll tell them that he polls better than Lincoln did, and not one sorry pale-assed sack of shit out there will ask himself whether the Gallup organization was really up and running in the 1860s. He’ll tell them trade wars are good and easy to win, and they’ll hoot and holler their approval, they just know it to be so, even if that very afternoon they defaulted on the latest payment on their frickin’ F-150 because retaliatory Chinese tariffs were preventing them from selling their goddam soybeans. He tells them to love Putin, so they love Putin – after all, he’s a white guy who hates Muslims too. He’ll tell them his Wall is already half-built, and Mexico’s paying for it, and they’ll eat it up even if they live in a border state and know damned well that there’s no new wall anywhere. He’ll tell them the latest quarter saw an historic expansion of economic growth, as only he, The Trump, could engineer, and not one of those ivory-skinned, Ted Nugent-listening, Fox News-watching, professional wrestler-worshipping, fried cheese-eating goofballs will go home and do a quick Google search to discover that last quarter’s growth rate was surpassed four times during the Obama administration.
If they boot up a laptop at all, it will be to log back into Reddit, or 8Chan, or some such shit, to catch up on the latest developments with QAnon. Have you heard about that? If not, oh boy, are you in for a kick in the pants! Here, go off and get a briefing:
Not surprisingly, the QAnon crew is now showing up at Trump’s rallies, waving big signs around. This two minutes hate is brought to you by the letter “Q”! Trump just beams at them.
White people. They’re morons. All of these insane conspiracy theories, from “birtherism”, to the 9/11 “truther” movement, to the belief in “crisis actors” and the “false flag” operation at Sandy Hook, they’re all swirling around in fever swamps populated entirely by stupid white people. Who else is watching Alex Jones froth at the mouth over on InfoWars? Who else believed Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims stood on the Jersey shore and cheered as the Twin Towers fell? Was it a black guy who showed up with an assault rifle at a pizza parlour in downtown Washington, looking to free the children from Hillary Clinton’s pedophile ring? Shit, man, of course it was this A-hole:
Was it some hard-working immigrant from Guatemala who parked his armoured car and blocked traffic on the bridge next to the Hoover Dam, demanding to see a fictional secret Inspector General’s report that QAnon told him all about? You would never have expected so, would you? You’d have assumed that if you ever saw his picture, the Hoover Dummy would be somebody just like this knucklehead, right?
Who commits the atrocities that compose the overwhelming bulk of America’s domestic terrorism? Is it Muslim extremists from Syria, recently allowed to migrate to the heartland en masse with nobody checking who they were? Or is it guys like this?
I’m tired of talking about economic anxiety, and middle class grievance, and all those poor white folk being abandoned by The System and left behind. Bullshit. It’s all about race and hatred of the Other. It’s all about the clueless clods thinking it was some illegal Mexican or foreign factory slave who took their jobs, when it’s far more likely they were simply replaced by the robots that now toil away on the production lines where they and their friends in the UAW used to bolt bumpers onto pickup trucks – robots installed by white captains of industry. It’s all about the hordes who think a mother and child fleeing death squads in Central America threaten them more than the likes of Timothy McVeigh and his merry men.
Now they’re angry and disoriented, and looking for somebody who isn’t like them to scapegoat. When they’re not flailing and screaming at a Trump event, they’re off in the woods playing Navy Seal in one of their dangerous armed “militias”, or plotting to take over some corner of a National Park because they think the Federal Government isn’t entitled to own land, and it’s a brutal injustice if they’re asked to pay modest grazing fees for their livestock. It’s as plain as day, yet Hillary took so much shit for her “basket of deplorables” crack, like there’s a better label to slap on the basket that holds this crew:
If Donald told these yahoos to chant sieg heil, sure as shit they’d all belt it out with the fervour normally reserved for stock car races and monster truck rallies – that’s just the truth, and you know it. It’s only a matter of time before Trump incites them to violence, and a mob of them kills some hapless reporter covering one of their rage-fests for CNN.
I’m just so tired of white people. Exhausted. Somebody, please, make them go away.