The mountebank and the decrepit: A nation chokes on its own detritus (Part 2)…

Brian Browne

 

LAST week, we explored Trump’s appeal and diminishing electoral position. To the extent that he has it, his support is real and strong; but it is as narrow, in electoral terms, as it is narrow-minded. Trump attracts those who would rather keep America a racially unfair nation where whites enjoy the right of first refusal for all that is beneficial. They want America to regress as if it is possible to go back in time and relive yesterday’s evil. While this is impossible, Trump and his largely unenlightened cohort have done a rather proficient job at giving that old evil a breath and vitality that the naive and innocent did not think possible in this day and time. Because of his appeal to the whip and chain of yesteryear, Trump holds sway with 40 percent of the overall electorate.

This means he commands scores of millions of supporters, given America’s population of roughly 350 million. Thus, his ability to pack and fill stadiums and convention centers on his campaign stops is not surprising. He has an emotional appeal unequaled by most politicians. His appeals to hate incite his supporters toward a sort of mass consciousness where rational thought is, in part, suspended and factual knowledge is disregarded if not censored. His supporters know little, learn nothing but believe an awful lot. In general, belief should be founded on knowledge. Trump supporters cast aside this general rule. To them, fact and knowledge are minor irritants to be shunned so that they may believe whatever their bile tells then to believe.

To be fair, all human beings are guilty of this journey into bias to some degree. The wise and prudent minimize and limit the discrepancy to the slightest extent possible. However, Trump’s troops glorify in the abandonment of veracity. All they know is that they believe; thus they believe they possess a knowledge that transcends mere facts. Thinking themselves possessors of the great truths, their way is but a feast of ignorance served on a platter of multiple hatreds. They love Trump because he hates the same things they do and he is guided by the same brusque impulses and prejudices that define their existence.

During his most recent public appearances, Trump’s recurrent theme was that he is saving the white-populated suburbs and all that concept conveys from lawless urban dwellers and their low-cost housing. If anyone knows a tad about American history, they know Trump was essentially saying that he was the only thing protecting white America from the black onslaught. He is the racist Horatius at the bridge defending his culture and country in solitary courage from the black and unwashed. This dreadful theme has been a feature of racist propaganda since the advent of slavery in America centuries ago. It has led to the lynching of many black men and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Trump might as well just blurt out that he is, “Saving the white race from the “ni##ers” to get his message completely in the open and dispense with the innuendo.

In a certain sense, Trump is trying to re-prosecute the American Civil War in a modern social setting. This is not a novel idea. Since 1980, Republicans have done this with a degree of electoral success but with more subtlety than Trump displays. Trump is almost as stark as those segregationist politicians who stood against civil rights in the 1950-60s. Those politicians maintained themselves in office but they could not halt the most basic reforms.

The country has changed demographically since then. There are more black, brown and other people who vote. In the main they both loathe and fear what Trump represents. Unlike his segregationist predecessors, Trump will not be able to maintain office simply by raising hate. Commanding but 40 percent of the electorate, Trump holds a loser’s hand unless unusual circumstances come to his aid. His only possible legitimate salvation is a low voter turnout. Then he could perhaps squeeze out a win as in 2016. However, all indications point to a high-volume election with most new and additional voters lined against him. Thus, Trump has resorted to the desperate tack of calling the election an imminent fraud. He has instigated Republican-controlled state governments to undertake all manner of tricks and deceptions to divert or diminish the vote of black and brown minorities. However, these efforts will prove of no avail. His friends will not be able to cheat enough black and brown people to skew the vote in his favor. He will lose.

This means the many of you who have seen in Trump some messenger or agent of God will have some serious soul searching or psychological therapy after the election. Either you will have to admit that Trump was not an agent of God or perhaps you may need to sell the god you follow that you may find the genuine One. I say this not to boast but with great concern for those who truly believe in God but somehow see an agency of the divine in this vulgar, hate-filled man. Yes, we are all flawed and God uses us for his designated purposes despite that which we are not. However, Trump is his purely own man and his own agent which makes him an ally of the profane and evil, not of the divine. He is not in God’s employ. He is a spindle of hate; primary among his hatreds is your black skin. To love Trump and elevate him to the status of godly prophet is to hate yourself and drive yourself low. Worse, it is to confuse the divine message of love with one of wretched prejudice. This cannot be part of God’s plan for those who are His people.

Biden: The wasteland of empty victory

Now, all that I have thus far written may lead you to conclude that I support Joe Biden. You would be mistaken. The election may now boil down to a binary choice between Biden and Trump. However, our perception of the process does not have to suffer the same disgraceful limitation. We must see the process for what it is.

American electoral politics has little to do with fulfilling the aspirations of the people. Its function is to tame and channel those aspirations in ways that profit and comfort the elite and the powerful. People run out to vote by the millions but the actual process is controlled by Money Power. Joe Biden is as subservient to this venal process as any politician alive notwithstanding his modest beginnings. I dislike Trump yet have no love for Biden the politician. That Trump is immoral does not turn Biden into a compelling moral imperative. At best, Biden is amoral in the way most politicians are. He is a tool of an economic-financial machine that cares not for people but would rather crush the majority of them under a mountain of personal debt and ceaseless tedium at the workplace and at home. His primary job is to assure that those who fund his campaign continue to profit abundantly, come what may to the average citizen.

Thus, Biden can confide to a group of wealthy donors that nothing will fundamentally change once he is in office. Also, his Chief Economic Adviser has already revealed that Biden has no major plans to revive the economy or create jobs for the hard-pressed so that the millions who now risk losing their homes can stave eviction by paying their rent or mortgages. The vast majority of Americans favor government-funded universal health care. Yet, Biden vowed he would veto the enlightened proposal if such a measure came to his desk. The cupboard is bare and Biden plans on leaving it that way. People will be left to their own devices. If you have no device, then rest assured that you will have plenty of distress.

Trump is filled with hate. Biden is his foe but not his opposite for Biden is not filled with compassion. Biden is different than Trump in that Biden is filled with nothing. He is a depleted, empty vessel. He is desolate, a wasteland.

Biden will win the election in a possible landslide not because who he is or what he represents but because of who he is not.  He will win because he is not Trump just as Trump won in 2016 because he was not Hillary Clinton. She was once America’s most polarizing political figure. That mantle now rests on Trump’s fulsomely coiffed head. Again, he bested Clinton; but, in doing so, he inadvertently signed his own eviction notice from the White House. As a political figure, he has become the person he once defeated. Thus, he shall enjoy the distinction of having defeated her in one election only to defeat himself in the next election using much the same device. Irony now dances its luscious dance using Trump’s own feet.

With less than three weeks to go, Biden holds a roughly 10 percentage point lead over Trump in the polls. With COVID-19 numbers climbing even in Republican strongholds and the economy in the mud, Trump has very little good news to offer the populace that will push the small number of remaining undecided voters into his corner. Almost impossible is Trump’s quest to move voters from Biden’s column to his. Most Biden voters are not so much for Biden as they are against Trump. Trump will not be able to turn their disdain for him into affection in the few days remaining. His lone hope is that all the tricks and maneuvers that Republicans are pulling across the nation to discourage or disallow the votes of black and brown people will result in several million frustrated votes. To win, he needs to commit voter suppression on a massive, unprecedented scale.

Thus, in Texas, the Republican governor has ordered but one official drop-off point per county for mail-in votes. Most counties in Texas are large, each encompassing several hundred square miles. To have only one drop-off point for such a large area is to discourage voting. In California, Republican operatives are trying to deceive voters by setting up fake drop boxes for mail-in ballots. Placing your vote in such a box is akin to tossing it in the waste basket. If Trump and team were not afraid of losing, they clearly would not resort to such deceptions.

Joe Biden will be elected president because he represents some amorphous, ill-defined return to normalcy and purported decency. Yes, Trump is a bit of an earful and an incessant source of misadventure. However, what existed before Trump can hardly be seen as decent and should never be the normalcy to which a nation aspires. Even before Trump, the economy was acutely imbalanced. It was a growing hardship on most Americans while a lavish playground for the excessively wealthy. America was an empire dropping bombs daily on weaker nations and peoples who pose little threat to it. Unarmed black men were being shot in the back by police then as is the case now.

Biden’s election will test the collective political wisdom of black America. Judging by black America’s conduct during this campaign, we will likely fail the test. Over the summer, black people and others protested with protests decades overdue. Black Lives Matter! Enough is enough! No more injustice! This is what was said and what was meant. Somehow, all of the anguished energy and social grievances of the people and their protests were swiftly and masterfully misdirected. They were channeled away from social reform that would end police and other brutality, to be diverted toward serving as ballast for the Biden campaign. By late August, Black Lives Matter became too radical a slogan to mention. Black establishment politicians started to tell the masses to slow the protests and the demands.

Most important, they said, was the election of Biden and a return to Democratic control of Congress. With this, all would again be fine. Trust us, they winked. With this, a subtle but massive fraud had been cast upon the people. There was no way all could be fine again as it was never fine in the first place. In 2008, the Democrats controlled everything. They did nothing for the people with it. The lone thing they did was pass Obamacare which was but a Republican idea born in the conservative 1980s under the gaze of President Reagan. To rehash an old Republican anthem is neither grand strategy nor noble reform. It is a dupe, regression dressed as progress. This time around, the Democrats are poised to do even less unless relentlessly pushed into it by people determined not to take excuses. All the Democrats want is to return to office. They will then explain that they want reform but if they move too fast, they risk energizing the extreme right wing around a new demagogue. Scared and virtually leaderless, most black people will buy this rubbish and keep mute.

Already the signs of the coming silence are upon us. Recently, in Wolfe City, Texas, a young black man was murdered by a white policeman. The young man was a city official with a spotless criminal record. While at a gas station, he witnessed a domestic argument that was getting out of hand. He went to pacify the couple. Soon after, the police officer came. Without trying to find out what was happening, the officer drew his taser on the man. Then seconds later, he pulled out his sidearm to shoot the man dead at close range and for no apparent reason.  Jonathan Price was killed for doing nothing except trying to bring peace. The white officer, though on the force less than six months, already had a well-established record for harassing black people.

Unlike the well-publicized incidents with George Floyd or Jacob Blake, you probably have heard nothing of Mr. Price. Yet, his case is even more blatant in some respects than the others that sparked the earlier protests. Perhaps people are weary and have been made numb by the prior killings. To some extent, this is plausible yet lamentable. The human capacity for anger seems stronger and to outlast that for compassion. But the truth of this instance is worse. Democratic politicians and their media allies stoked black anger this summer as a way to energize people against Trump. Now with that task done, black anger and protests are no longer needed and have fallen from political vogue. To further protest the death of another black man is to play into Trump’s hands. Defeating Trump is the only thing has become the mantra and message sent by black establishment leaders to the black masses. Largely, the people have complied.

This is sad. The young brother should not have been killed; his murder deserves more attention than to be diminished as an untimely political nuisance. That black politicians can quell legitimate grievances so easily is a terrible formula, for it implies inertia. More commendable would have been if the people had pushed the professional politicians into action.

Now, black people will be faced with a great question once Biden ascends to the White House. Will they listen to the black establishment and watch blankly as Biden does as he promises to do – nothing. Or will they protest as they should because Biden’s indifferent nothingness will not be all that distinguishable from Trump’s visible animus. The wasteland grows.

 

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Before you Run (1)

“Whatever political level you have laced up to run for: presidential, governorship, senatorial, house, local government, or ward, before you run, hear now what you are coming in to run or govern.”

 

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