Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trump's hate speech style

The leading White Power Republican candidate for President, Donald Trump, has understandably attracted attention to his demagogic style. Some of the attention better informed than others, of course.

One well-informed observer is Randy Blazak, who writes in “Donald Trump is the new face of white supremacy,” says hate crime expert. Watching the Fields 08/24/2015:

Trump has been visiting states with troubled racial histories to sell his rallying cry that “illegal immigrants are killers and rapists.” First Arizona and then, on Friday, Alabama. He started his rally with some classic hate speech, telling the assembled 30,000 supporters and curious (I would have gone to see the Trump clown show) about the alleged rape and torture of a 66-year-old victim in California who was supposedly attacked by an “illegal immigrant.” The crowd went wild. “We have to do it. We have to do something,” he then said. The crowd roared, and some chanted, “White power!”

Anyone knowledgeable about the horrific statistics on rape know that women are overwhelmingly victimized by somebody they know, including family members and dates. Only about 18% of rapes are committed by a stranger (and a tiny fraction of those by undocumented immigrants). So if Trump actually cared about women, it would make more sense to devote his rape obsession to step-fathers instead of Mexican immigrants. Of course, this is a man who has been challenged on the issue of marital rape of one of his ex-wives. Rape is an emotional issue. It was used to lynch innocent blacks in the South and Trump is using it the same way to go after people who are often the hardest workers in the country.

Secondly, in my research I have attended numerous Klan rallies, skinhead gatherings, and meetings of the Aryan Nations, and the rhetoric is almost exactly the same as Trump’s. I was at a Klan Rally in Covington, Georgia in 1991 in which a Klan leader told the small crowd the story of a white woman who had been raped and beaten by an “illegal Mexican.” As with Trump’s story, whether it was true or not didn’t matter. It served to whip the racists into a frenzy. And like Trump’s crowd they were out to “do something” about it. I’ve heard Trump’s rhetoric many times before. “Let’s go back in time to when America was great.” Usually the speaker had a swastika tattoo. [my emphasis]
Jorge Ramos, a longtime newsman on Univision, was unknown to most Anglos in the US until Trump had him kicked out of one of his press conferences for asking a non-white-power-friendly question.

Glenn Greenwald gives a good account of how pitiful the common reaction to that event, Jorge Ramos Commits Journalism, Gets Immediately Attacked by Journalists The Intercept 08/26/2015.

Ramos himself writes (Trumplandia Univision 08/24/2015):

Vamos a imaginarnos el país que quisiera Donald Trump. Trumplandia tendría un gran muro de 1,954 millas en la frontera con México. En una gigantesca operación de limpieza migratoria deportaría a más de 11 millones de indocumentados. Sus hijos nacidos en Estados Unidos no tendrían pasaporte ni país y, eventualmente, también serían deportados. Así, y solo así, Estados Unidos volvería a ser una gran nación.

Esa es la utopía que Donad Trump le está vendiendo a los norteamericanos.

[Let's imagine the country that Donald Trump wants. Trumplandia would have a big wall 1,954 miles long on the border with Mexico. In a tremendous immigration cleansing operation, it would deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. Their children born in the United States would have neither a passport nor a country, and, eventually, would also be deported. That way, and only that way, would the United States go back to being a great nation.

This is the Utopia that Donald Trump is selling to Americans.]
Trump's White Power anti-immigrant program as he's describing it really is that radical. And that cruel.

The Commonweal editors give a Christian left explanation of Trump's popular appeal (Bought & Paid For 08/25/2015):

Why would those who feel cheated by the political system and who struggle economically rally to the cause of billionaires who claim to have the interests of the average citizen at heart? What is it about the allure and arrogance of wealth that exerts such a pull?

The worship of “success” now seems to transcend all class boundaries in our new gilded age. Economic prerogatives trump nearly every other social or cultural consideration. What were once prized as traditional values that placed family and community before “progress” and profit have become hard to even understand, let alone defend, for many Americans. Commercial imperatives have cheapened both our common life and our politics, and increasingly threaten our capacity for self-government.

Donald Trump preaches an unadulterated version of this materialistic and utilitarian gospel. He never tires of proclaiming how rich (“Very!”) and how successful (“Huge!”) he is. Politicians, or anyone who questions him, are just “stupid” failures. Money, he has made clear, is the measure of all things. Those who know how to make it also know the secret of how to run a government, shout down the media, and stare down belligerent adversaries here and abroad. Most important, unlike politicians, the rich man is not beholden to anyone or any interest group. In fact, politicians and interest groups are beholden to him. They all take his money.

These are not only vulgar claims, but dangerous nonsense. “The whole case for Christianity,” G. K. Chesterton wrote, “is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of life is a corrupt man, spiritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt.” Yes, the rich we will always have with us. But the idea that the rich cannot be bribed because they are rich is not only a fairy tale; it is a heresy. “The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already,” Chesterton insisted. “That is why he is a rich man.”
This explanation applies well to the affluent-leaning Tea Party white supremacists who likely constitute the core of Trump's support. However often our lazy star pundits describes the Trump core as "white working class."

But Chesterton is a somewhat dubious source in that context. The Distributist ideology with which he associated itself attracted some non-left and questionably Christian admirers. (See my post, Southern Agrarians post-1930 04/16/2011)

Blazak uses a good term, "'I’m not racist' racists." This is a reference to the near-universal ritual denial among white racists that he describes this way:

Trump represents a frightening trend of convenient racism rooted a belief that America was great before ethnic and racial minorities, women, and sexual minorities wanted equal rights. (What Trump calls “political correctness.”) These people will say that “racism is wrong, but ...” or “I’m not a racist, but ...” and then something deeply racist follows. They’ll say that “all lives matter,” in the face of the movement to acknowledge the devaluing of black lives. They’ll say they are not homophobes, just for “religious freedom” (an argument the KKK still makes). They’ll say they’re not Islamaphobes, just against terrorism (ignoring the carnage done by domestic, often Christian, terrorists). And they’ll say that they are not bigots, just opposed to illegal immigration (of brown people). It’s a kinder, gentler form of bigotry, but it’s still bigotry. And Donald Trump is the new Father Coughlin and he wants to be free of the political correctness that would stand in the way of his bigotry. (At least he’s abandoned the GOP’s “go after the gays” mantra from the last election.)

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