Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Trump and the Republican Party and violent fanaticism

My Facebook peeps were quick to share this piece by David Cohen, Trump's Assassination Dog Whistle Was Even Scarier Than You Think Rolling Stone 08/09/2016.

Cohen writes that Trump "has incited violence against Hillary Clinton and/or her judges, even if he doesn't know exactly who will carry that violence out."

Yep. But this is what today's Republican Party is. This is exactly the kind of thing that Southern segregationist politicians did for decades. Including that legendary Mississippi "moderate," known (in the North anyway!) as “the Great Pacificator,” L.Q.C. Lamar, who Jack Kennedy for some reason included in his Profiles of Courage. But then Kennedy learned an awful lot more about how Southern segregationists worked after he wrote that book.

Republican politicians almost to a person echo the NRA line that we need to have so many guns available that mass shootings have become routine - because people have to be ready to defend themselves against "tyranny." And they all talk about Obama's tyrannical habits. With him being a Kenyan Muslim and all.

But in plain language, using guns to defend against tyranny means doing what the pro-Allied partisans in Europe did during the Second World War: ambushing soldiers, sabotaging infrastructure (i.e., bombing bridges and power plants), killing police, assassinating particularly obnoxious local officials. This kind of talk has been standard stuff in the Republican Party's White Identity politics for at least two decades. Most of them don't push the rhetoric quite as far as Trump in public. But Trump's comment is an outlier only in its crassness.

It's also worth remembering, as Dave Neiwert has been pointing out for years, was the antiabortion movement that largely spawned the "Patriot Militia" movement in the early 1990s. Since the mid-1970s, even the "mainstream" antiabortionists have been talking about how women having abortions, medical personnel performing them, and pro-choice politicians are complicit in "mass murder" of innocent babies. And it's common as dirt for the "mainstream" antiabortionists to talk about "millions of innocent babies" having been killed in the US since Roe v. Wade, "worst than the Holocaust." What purer motive could a violent fanatic have than saving the lives of millions of innocent babies?

I was reminded the other day reminded me of the Max Horkheimer quote from 1939*, "Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism." A good 2016 version would be: People who aren't prepared to talk about the Republican Party's fanaticism should also not bother complaining about Donald Trump.

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