I’d rather not hear anyone from the right side of the political aisle make accusatory noises about “playing the race card.” The Oval Office oaf is playing the whole deck, including during his performance in Las Vegas. The GOP motto of the moment appears to be “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.” There’s a …. caravan coming. This isn’t a dog whistle to the white nationalists among us, it’s a bull horn announcement for all to hear.
The image: Thousands of brown skinned people approaching our southern border; brown people who are likely rapists, drug dealers, gang members, and now “middle eastern” potential terrorists. “Patriots” grab your Second Amendment Solutions, protect your women and children; face down this onslaught of brown peril! He who is President hasn’t yet used the term “brown peril,” but it can’t be too long before he does. He has already let us know he’s a “nationalist.” All he has to do now is add “white” to make the statement completely true.
Demonize these migrants often enough and perhaps people will forget he put children in cages, separated from their parents at the southern border, and some 136 of them have yet to be reunited with parents his administration admits it cannot locate. Demonize them stridently enough and perhaps people will come to the conclusion that whatever might happen to them in detention camps is warranted? Demonize them vitriolically enough and his “base” will applaud indefinite detention of families and children in an increasingly cruel and uncivilized application of immigration policy?
Demonize them, and by extension demonize those immigrants who came before, and those who have long since become U.S. citizens, and castigate the Democrats as the party of “others.” “Others” who are not like “real Americans” and therefore must be unintelligent, obsequious, corrupt and capable of being corrupted, illegal and thus easily tempted to do illegal acts (like voting); “Others” who must be eliminated from our body politic before despoiling the white purity of our republic.
This kind of rhetoric from the White House isn’t discriminatory, it’s eliminationist. Democrats are an “angry mob.” While the anger of the Proud Boys spills out from the Republican Club in NYC and protesters are beaten; while the anger of the White Nationalists surges in Charlottesville bearing tiki torches and driving a vehicle into a crowd, killing one person and injuring several others; while these incidents are publicized for all to see, Trump and his minions project their own anger, their own frustration, their own bigotry onto the others. It isn’t too far from the mentality of the mobs which gathered to watch, and to applaud, the lynching of African American men, or who took part in the lynching of Michael Donald in 1981.
If Trump can’t find any examples of terrorists in the crowd of migrant refugees, he can use two of his favorite tricks. Trick One: Reverse the burden of proof. When asked about whether there were gang members and middle eastern terrorists in the crowds, Trump replied that the news organizations should be the ones to investigate the matter. He is telling us that he believes this mythology (or finds it useful) and that it is up to everyone else to fact check him. He conveniently places the burden of proof on the media to debunk his lies, while he keeps lying.
Trick Two: Never admit a mistake. If an independent investigation demonstrates no connection between immigrants and Democrats, then it must be that the news media didn’t look hard enough, didn’t look in the right places, didn’t debunk all the possible permutations of his preferred conspiracy theory of the day. There’s a variation on this theme: Move the goal posts. It’s not enough to release a birth certificate, it has to be the long form. It’s not enough to release the long form, the long form has to be verified by original sources. And so it goes. If this doesn’t work there’s always the dismissive “it’s not important anymore” comment. We’ve seen this before. He simple doesn’t want to talk about those instances when he has been emphatically, demonstrably, totally, dead wrong. So, he doesn’t. He moves on to his next lie.
Flood the zone: More lies, more often, and more work for the fact checkers. This past week has been instructive if we’re looking for big lies, little lies, and a preponderance of lies. We’re going to have a 10% tax cut for the middle class! Not while Congress isn’t in session. Well, maybe when Congress meets after the mid-terms…. maybe never because his first round of tax cuts has blown up the deficit.
He’d rather say anything than admit his Senate Majority Leaders has let the cat out of the burlap bag when McConnell openly stated programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would have to be cut to pay for Trump’s tax bonus to the top 1%.
Mexico is never paying for his wall. But, we have to have a wall. We have to have a wall. There’s a caravan, so there has to be a wall. That there is precious little public land in Texas on which to put this wall and buying up private land (and using the dreaded eminent domain) will be prohibitively expensive, doesn’t matter. It’s the symbolism of the wall, the idea of a physical barrier between the hordes of women and children and the border which is important to the imagery.
Perhaps we should listen to the “survivors” of the “Bowling Green Massacre?” There are “riots in California.” Interesting. I haven’t seen any sign of this on my television set, and I live in an area in which California news is quite common. There are more lies about how many jobs are related to arms deals with Saudi Arabia — and more about the size of the deals themselves. [VanFair]
His White House will not respond to inquiries about those “terrorists” in the caravan of migrants, nor does he answer too many questions about specifics of the Saudi arms deals; he will, however, change his tune concerning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to fit the Saudi attempt at explication of the moment. [BBC]
There are two weeks until the U.S. mid-term elections. Two weeks. This is the checkpoint. This is the place where the road forks and the lies, the demonization, and the obfuscation continue or it can take the other route and the guard rails gradually move back into place. No one else can do this for us. We have to do it for ourselves. Vote.