Make one contribution of a mere $25…and then they never leave you be. Every day – and through the night – even if you unsubscribe, the emails never stop. Leading you to question whether to bother backing a horse again.
Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America chronicles the possibility of Charles Lindbergh, American hero and Nazi sympathizer, defeating Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 election, leading America into isolationism and violent Antisemitism. Most striking of all about this alternate reality is its similarities with today’s Trump America: “…when they turned on the news, they were devastated by the speed with which everything dreadful was happening.” (329) In the book’s postscript, Roth reprints Lindbergh’s speech against involvement in World War II on September 11, 1941:
The subterfuge and propaganda that exists in our country is obvious on every side. These war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people, but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people…they have marshaled the power of the propaganda, their money, their patronage. The Jewish people’s greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.
Trump, identical to Lindbergh, refuses to address the hate and violence that stems from words like these.
And instead soldiers forth, blind and naked, leaving us to wonder where this reality, not as alternate as most would like, might lead.
Ava DuVernay’s Academy-nominated documentary 13th exposes the intrinsic flaw of America’s 13th Amendment. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
While abolishing slavery is well and good – how did it ever happen in the first place?! – the amendment allows for the practice to continue through the penal system, a system that systematically incarcerates black males in America, a population that, only 4% of the overall population, accounts for 40% of prisoners. DuVernay outlines America’s dismal history of discrimination and servitude, citing Jim Crow laws as well as the systematic targeting of black leaders such as Angela Davis and Black Panther Fred Hampton.Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton are all indicted for the role in the morass as well as So-Called President Trump. Most insidious of all is the monetization of the mass incarcerations – corporations such as WalMart and Time Warner directly profiting from these policies – as well as the understanding that another iteration of the racist laws awaits us all. DuVernay’s film needs to be seen. Okay, so what are you doing? Watch it now!
Hey, happy holidays if I don’t see you! I hope your fast goes well. Happy New Year’s, Valentine’s and Easter too. I hope that this new president doesn’t depress you or global warming and these terrorists, yeah, I hope they cut it out, and people, you know, get a fair wage for their work. Happy birthday too, and I hope your mom’s funeral isn’t too bad and that cancer of yours gets better. I mean, if I don’t see you.*
(*-Original concept, Edward Emerson)
Ranting isn’t enough. Neither is reason nor wit. We need more. We need vision. We need fury. We need the Anti-Trump. While the comedians do try – Bee, Colbert, Oliver, Noah – they always fail in looking for a laugh, such as Trevor Noah’s recent quip to alt-right spinster Tomi Lahren’s stating, “I don’t see color”: What do you do at a traffic light?
Elizabeth Warren is on the right track: Trump is not draining the swamp, nope. He’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door, and he’s turning them loose on our government and our economy.But her rhetoric is too measured, too precise. The Anti-Trump must stare into the hateful void to find the words to break the spell.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie seems to have the right stuff: The election of Donald Trump has flattened the poetry in America’s founding philosophy: the country born from an idea of freedom is to be governed by an unstable, stubbornly uninformed, authoritarian demagogue. Now is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism; it allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility. Now is not the time to tiptoe around historical references. Recalling Nazism is not extreme; it is the astute response of those who know that history gives both context and warning. (The New Yorker Magazine, Nov.30/16)
Yes, now is the time.
They talk. And talk. And talk. And they don’t say anything. They just talk. And talk some more. That’s it. They don’t say anything real. They are wrong. They are right. They are in between. They just go one talking. And talking.Can’t they be removed? Or at least replaced? Maybe Trump could fire them.
When everybody is swept away unthinkingly by what everybody else does and believes in, those who think are drawn out of hiding because of their refusal to join in is conspicuous and thereby becomes a kind of action.In such emergencies, it turns out that the purging component of thinking is political by implication. The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge; it is the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly. And this, at the rare moments when the stakes are on the table, may indeed prevent catastrophes, at least for the self. (From The Portable Hannah Arendt)
Do I really have to move out of your way? Why can’t I just stand in the door? Why can’t I just throw my garbage where I want? Why do I have to listen to anyone? What’s the point in bothering with anyone else’s expectations? None of that is of interest to me. I have other things to do. I am taking care of me. I’m the most important person in the world. Why don’t you already know that?
Trump isn’t Hitler. He just sounds like him…
Hitler: In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. Today I will once more be a prophet.
Trump: They laughed at me when I said to bomb the ISIS controlled oil fields. Now they are not laughing and doing what I said.Hitler: As Fuehrer of the German people and Chancellor of the Reich, I can thank God at this moment that he has so wonderfully blessed us in our hard struggle for what is our right.
Trump: We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again. We need — we need somebody — we need somebody that literally will take this country and make it great again. We can do that.Hitler: As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.
Trump: I have a great relationship with God. I have a great relationship with the Evangelicals. In fact, nationwide, I’m up by a lot, I’m leading everybody. But I like to be good.Hitler: The Jew does not possess an inner spiritual life. I do not need to explain here what a Jew generally looks like. You all know him. In the most solemn moments he flickers his eyes and one can see that even during the most beautiful opera he is calculating dividends.
Trump: (The Mexicans) are sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.Hitler: The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful, and unrelenting harshness.
Trump: And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives; don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families. Hitler: Let the nation know that its existence—which depends on its internal order and security—cannot be threatened with impunity by anyone!
Trump (To security staff, regarding protesters): Throw them out! Throw them out into the cold! No coats! Confiscate their coats!Trump supporters are getting the message; at a December rally in Las Vegas, a black protester was surrounded and threatened.
“Light the motherfucker on fire!”