So, I’ll be discussing and tying together multiple disparate threads in this one, as pertains to America’s ongoing issue with racial hatred as we reach the tipping point. Or maybe not; maybe we’ll just take the standard approach to America’s racial issues, sweep it under the rug, and let the next generation deal with it (it’s the American way).
First of all, let’s discuss murder, in an indirect fashion. Let’s say I wanted to kill my neighbors (note to my neighbors: I harbor no ill will to you, it’s just easier to keep track of all the hypothetical people in this scenario and any needed pronouns if it’s you on the hypothetical chopping block and not Person A or Group 1), and I hired you, reader, to do the job. Obviously, that’s murder for hire; we both get hit with murder charges, we go to jail. What if I wanted to be a little more subtle about it? What if I just plastered the neighborhood with posters reading “Get rid of the Jones,” organized rallies where I openly called for their death, and spouted rhetoric designed to encourage violence against them? Well, that’s incitement, and I believe it’s illegal.
Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs, has noted that, even though most of the people on that show do jobs that the rest of us would find unacceptably dangerous, filthy, or otherwise horrible, most of them enjoy job security and pay that most of us would aspire to (he pointed out once that Bob Combs — a hog farmer who feeds his pigs with table scraps from Las Vegas as a cost-cutting measure, once turned down an offer of $60 million for his farm). His conclusion was that the key to success, was to look where everyone else was heading, and go in the opposite direction.
A final thought; I don’t really like Martha Stewart. That’s not a big surprise, if you’ve ever seen any place I’ve lived. I think she’s made a fortune making women feel inferior in a domestic setting, and she — magically — had a solution to it (with her name on it, just coincidentally). Now, that would be aggravating and predatory, but here’s what baffled me. When she was indicted on insider trading charges, I would agree that they were picking on her (instead of any number of Wall Street firms employing similar trading tactics) and applying a double standard. What baffled me was, she was being vociferously defended by women she wouldn’t think twice about sacrificing for an acquittal or her career (again, her career was made off creating a previously non-existent problem and then solving it). Stewart is a multimillionaire, has access to the very best lawyers available, and didn’t need — or really want, support from strangers who weren’t really in a position to do more than offer thoughts and prayers. Similarly, our head politicians don’t need protection from criticism or people voicing disapproval — they are all multimillionaires, they have body guards, they have an air force. They don’t really want or need you to step in and lecture me about how I’m being unAmerican for demanding that my government and elected representatives do the job that we actually elected them to do, and this post-shooting, “My president, right or wrong” horseshit is a side-show to keep us all distracted from what they’re doing. The president, BTW, is absolutely wrong, but we’ll get there shortly. I get that tribalism is a fundamental part of the human psyche, but it is now a direct threat to our species when one group knowingly supports someone in an illegal or unethical action, just because he claims to be a member of the tribe.
To start tying things together, throughout his campaign D. Trump used what is referred to as “dog whistle politics.” See, politicians have learned that there are some serious political repercussions to going in front of the camera and saying, “We should lynch all the niggers,” or, “The Catholics are a direct threat to us and must be banished from America,” or, “The Germans are destroying Pennsylvania, and we need to stop them from coming here.” Yes, those have been popular, racially-based sentiments at various points in American history. However, as the demographics of the country changed and those groups started to vote and get involved in the political process, and, as America discovered in 1945, Nazis and racial rhetoric is a direct threat to democracy, overt racism has been somewhat reduced. You can’t say, “I hate black people, and I especially hate the fact that most of their ancestors actually arrived here before my ancestors, and I think they should die,” what you can say is, “Crime in Southern urban areas is out of control,” and then act shocked when the resulting police crack-down coincidentally nets an overwhelming amount of racial minorities, and the resulting convictions disqualify them from voting. Dog whistle politics is the subtle art of using coded language to signal action from a target demographic that knows what to listen for and how to interpret it. It’s not exactly incitement, but it functions that way. In my analogy, if I know the cops are keeping tabs on my anti-Jones rallies, I’d start describing them as litterers, that they don’t keep their yard clean, and that they’re bringing down property values. And then I might casually mention that the gun show next week is offering discounts on all high-caliber handguns. It’s not a direct death threat to them that I can be held legally accountable, but I am painting them as a threat, and then subtly suggesting that violence might be the answer. It is the ultimate political move of targeting political rivals or groups that threaten your position, while getting plausible deniability. And Trump’s 2016 campaign was full of that. That hypothetical situation of me subtly suggesting people go buy a gun and then shoot the Jones? Yeah, Trump actually really did that at a rally in 2016, subtly suggesting “the second amendment people” could “do something about” H. Clinton. Not a direct call to violence, but you would have to be a complete moron, or unfamiliar with human subtext, to miss the obvious suggestion.
In the wake of El Paso — again, the guy took a photo of his guns spelling out “Trump” in a photo on Facebook; I do not know how it could get any clearer — people have started coming out of the woodwork to defend the Republican leadership in their tacit endorsement of Trump — who, BTW, is now being endorsed by the odious David Duke, who claims — and this is a direct quote:
We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.
I do not know if I could make it any clearer; this is the timeline: Trump’s campaign: “We’re being invaded by Latinos, and someone needs to stop them.” Racist thug in Dallas: “Don’t worry, I’ve got this,” and then promptly guns down 20 people in a city that happens to be 80% Hispanic. Encouraged by the fact that the government didn’t immediately lock him up and seize his family’s financial assets (yes, that’s fascist; these people are fascist, I may not endorse revenge as a policy, but I absolutely believe in the adage, “ Live by he sword, die by the sword”)(that’s paraphrasing a line attributed to Jesus in Matthew 26: 52), former KKK Dark Lord (or whatever fucking ranks the KKK uses — I think it should go from “First Year Slytherin” to “Voldemort,” but that’s just me) David Duke immediately makes a veiled threat to all minorities in a way that you would have to be completely brain-dead to miss.
So, do I think that everyone who voted for Trump in 2016 is a bigoted fascist? No; but I think every Nazi in America bought a MAGA sticker and hat. And the longer the GOP is silent about the appropriation of their party by the SS, the longer Mitch McConnell refuses to pass any of the very basic and minor gun control issues that most of America wants, the more complicit they become. What the last week has taught me is that we have a racism problem in this country. That’s not news; but I used to think it meant that most Americans had a low-level distrust or dislike for various ethnic minorities. What I now think is; if you put 10 Americans in a room, eight of them will have no real ill-will for anyone; one of them has an attic in their house they’re hiding refugees in, and one one of them has a swastika armband in their closet. Right now, sadly, it looks like that guy with the Hitler Youth outfit is dragging the other eight people along (who are, apparently, indifferent to genocide, as long as that genocide is framed as a law-and-order issue). To bring Mike Rowe into it; it looks like the GOP — and a solid chunk of America — is running toward Treblinka. If we’re going to succeed, as a society, we have to run away from that.
If you are one of those eight people who’s just sort of going along with it; you need to understand, the Nazi is operating off of your quiet, tacit consent. If you don’t want to be remembered as a collaborator or appeaser, you need to let the Nazi know his behavior will not be tolerated, and you will vote accordingly.
Do I think you’re a Nazi if you voted for Trump in 2016? No, he’s a con-man who made a living lying to people; he fooled the GOP once.
Will I know you’re a Nazi if you vote for Trump in 2020? Yeah; you’d have to be willfully ignorant or obtuse to miss the obvious connections and tacit endorsements.