As you probably already know, Trump held another of his vile Vanity Rallies last night as part of his perpetual campaign for 2020 re-election. He began the hate-fest by again attacking the four minority Congresswomen known as the squad and then singling out Rep Ilhan Omar for special ridicule before his cult of followers began chanting “send her back.”
Let’s recap how we got here.
Since the late 1960s our society began acknowledging that racism and bigotry were wrong and shameful. We began acknowledging that misogyny and sexual inequality were wrong and shameful. And we eventually began acknowledging that homophobia and Islamophobia were wrong and shameful. We began to agree that anyone who held those hateful views was a bad person, and this conclusion was widely reinforced by our entertainment industry. Any of the hateful harboring those malignant views felt besieged by moral outrage, and were culturally diminished. And rightly so.
Yet during that period there were a few dark places the hateful could visit to feel comforted. Media back alleys, if you will, like the radio programs of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. And increasingly, Fox entertainment.
The final blow came when an American of African heritage was elected president. The world of white stasis and hegemony and privilege felt suddenly unstable to the hateful. Our country was changing and becoming unrecognizable to them. But a politician eventually appeared who said something the hateful never heard from a politician before.
He said, “You’re good people.”
They no longer needed to feel ashamed to be racists, misogynists, homophobes or Islamophobes. They had permission to celebrate and even flaunt their innermost views from a man who refused to (or could not) feel shame. And he was a business genius! His name was Donald Trump.
His cult of the hateful could seek payback for the unfair treatment they suffered for so long. Notice how Trump uses the words “unfair” and “treated badly” constantly because it’s how his cult feel about themselves. Now they can commune with each other at his vanity rallies and scream the vile things they could only quietly mumble five years ago. They don’t give a damn about policies or principles or ethics or morality. They want payback for the shame they’ve felt, and they’re going to get it. This, I believe, is the core of Trump’s cult, and the primal force we are battling. It doesn’t recognize evidence or logic or reason. It doesn’t negotiate or compromise. It’s not intellectual, it’s emotional. Just look at his rallies. They’ve become orgies of rage, revenge and self congratulation.
Our job is not to convince his cult to defect. Many conservatives have already abandoned the GOP because of Trump, but his loyal core will gladly run off a cliff for him, and they are going to vote. Our job is to motivate as many Democrats and Independents as possible to show up and vote, no matter who our nominee is, no matter the odds, no matter the polls.
Trump will lie about his popularity, lie about his plans, and lie about how he’s doing. He’ll paint a rosy picture and it will look like Trump is going to bully his way to another four years, surrounded by cheering sycophants. But that, too, is an illusion. Trump doesn’t know much, but he knows how to create a facade, even when that shiny gold-plated front is hiding a festering pile of garbage. It’s all he’s done his whole life, create a false image and sell it. And the image of inevitability he will be selling in the coming year will aim to weaken our motivation and drive us toward pessimism and defeatism. We can’t let that happen.
We have to sign up new voters and compel people to the polls. Failing to win will be catastrophic. Just yesterday Republicans in the Senate blocked the 9/11 victim’s compensation bill passed by the House, a delay that has life-and-death consequences for the people sickened by Ground Zero. The House keeps doing good things, like holding William Barr and Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena, and voting to block the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, but the Senate, led by corrupt hypocrite Mitch McConnell, blocks most bills of importance, and the rest are vetoed by Trump.
We have a lot to do. Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”