Trump had his mob screaming send her back! at his rally in North Carolina last night. This is now, I think, out of control, and even Donald may soon be surprised at what he’s unleashed.
Perhaps, now, the myth of white working class economic anxiety and social dislocation can finally be discarded, and the press can start talking about Trumpism in terms that reflect its true nature. Swear to God, these fuckers will be putting on brown shirts before long. They’ll be coming up with a Trump Salute.
Another line of bull that must now be expunged from the public discourse is the constant refrain that “this isn’t us”, “we’re better than this”, and “this is un-American”. No, folks, sorry, but that is you, and you manifestly are not better than that. Trumpism isn’t un-American, either, and never has been. The same thing was as American as apple pie when your beloved Founders condoned slavery, and just as characteristic as could be when it was Catholics, Jews, Chinese, Irish, and Germans that you despised and sought to exclude, rather than Muslims and brown people. Trumpism is as bog-standard for you lot as Jim Crow and Japanese internment, and “go back to where you came from” has been shouted at those identified as Other for most of the nation’s existence, even when those being told to go home were born in America, and descended from those who were hardly interlopers, having been dragged there in chains to be bought and sold as property.
Un-American my ass. This is American:
This is no unthinkable aberration. This is nothing new. This is America sliding back into a darkness it knows so well, reverting to one of its forms, cutting loose under the licence granted by its pig of a President, and if any of these idiots knew any history, which of course they do not, they’d understand that they aren’t breaking with tradition, but upholding it.
Go back to where you came from. This idea that a true American is somebody who can pass genetic muster is as old as the hills, and repeatedly rises to the surface like some sort of relapsing and remitting virus that can’t be purged. It’s amazing when this seems to catch people by surprise – it’s not like it’s any great secret. The joint was created by slave owners, for the love of God. You don’t even have to dig into dusty old tomes or boring university level texts to find out all about it – you can scarcely glance at anything that touches upon any aspect of US culture or history and avoid it. Maybe you look up the story of baseball – hey, there used to be a Negro League. Maybe you read about the Viet Nam war – funny, black kids formed a disproportionate percentage of the draftees. Maybe you avoid reading, and instead watch a movie, say Gone With the Wind, or Gangs of New York, or Glory, or To Kill a Mockingbird.
Or perhaps you look into America’s conduct during the Second World War. I remember when I was a kid, stumbling across a picture in a book about WWII, which seemed like an artifact of a distant, inconceivable past, but was taken only a couple of decades before I was born. It made me sad when I was little, and still breaks my heart:
This is a little grocery store in Oakland, California, owned, before it was seized and sold out from under him, by an American-born citizen unlucky to then be of Japanese descent, a graduate of the University of California, actually, who was rounded up along with others like him in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour. His name was Masuda. His Dad had emigrated to the States at the end of the 19th century, when America and Japan were on good terms, and he had about as much to do with his father’s homeland as did Jimmy Stewart. Sensing the rage building after the attack on the US fleet in Hawaii, and perhaps believing that the ideals espoused in documents like the Declaration of Independence actually meant something, he put that sign in his window to show his countrymen that there was nothing to worry about, he was as Yankee Doodle Dandy as the next guy, and as loyal to his homeland as anybody else. I am an American. What else needed to be said? What greater protection could there be?
He ended up in a concentration camp named, euphemistically, the Gila River War Relocation Center, in Arizona. “Relocation Center”. Jesus wept. Yeah, they were relocated all right. This in a country with a Constitution that granted equal protection under the law, or so it said. This in a country that had a Supreme Court to make sure that the rule of law, and the inalienable rights enshrined in the nation’s founding documents, would always be upheld. Sure, but not for those dirty yellow Japs.
That’s America. It isn’t all that they are, of course, but to tell oneself that the rabble screaming “send her back” at a Trump rally is behaving in a way inconsistent with America’s true character, marking a radical departure from the norm, is to live in a fool’s paradise. What we’re seeing right now is, in fact, just like them, or a lot of them, anyway. They get this way whenever they’re under stress, and today the stress is rooted in the appalled realization of the white majority that it won’t be the majority for much longer, and who knows what that might bring?
Trump didn’t create this inarticulate, witless, existential rage. He found a highly pressurized can of the shit sitting there on the national shelf and popped the lid, is all, and out it spewed, all over the landscape, just like it has so many times before. It’s not about the economy. It’s not about factory jobs, or coal, or free trade undermining the domestic labour force. It goes much deeper than that, and you’d best be afraid of where it leads, and what it will mean if Trump wins in 2020. Listen to a reporter who disguised himself as a MAGA-maniac and infiltrated a Trump rally a couple of years ago, before he became President. This is the force that Donald has set loose, and God help us:
I went in to find humanity and common ground with people who openly support the violent domination of lesser human beings. I witnessed the violent domination of (to them) lesser human beings in real time and the exhilaration the crowd felt that it could finally openly happen. I felt how everyone around me grew emboldened in a primordial way to carry forth their violent agenda both at the polls and not. And after the rally, I felt defeated and afraid.
Trump can still be stopped, but only if all those complacent dummies who couldn’t bother to vote last time, all those disappointed Bernie supporters and Hillary haters who stayed home or cast a ballot for Jill Stein, smarten up this time around. Trump’s army will be out in strength. He can win. I don’t give a damn if you don’t like the eventual Democratic nominee. Your favourite didn’t make the cut? Too bad. Boo-hoo. Now vote, damn you, or a minority of 60 million Trump worshippers, out of an electorate of close to 250 million, may foist the demon upon us, just as it did last time.
Yes, this too is America. But it doesn’t have to be.