Donald Trump personifies everything that conservatives say is wrong with America
Sorry, we have to deal with something the makes me a little nauseous.
You’ve probably heard that Conservatives have been circulating an article calling 2016 “The Flight 93” election. You get the basic idea of the argument from the title, but here’s the crux:
2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.
Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.
Beyond being the second worst exploitation of 9/11 – right behind Chris Christie’s team reported plans to hand out 9/11 artifacts to potential endorsers – it reveals a mindset so in love with Trump’s nativism that it’s willing to ignore the obvious flaws with the argument, and the candidate.
Most of the article is concerned with making the case that this election calls for extraordinary measures and faults conservatives for not recognizing the moral imperative of backing Trump’s extraordinary candidacy.
And what is the crisis the anonymous author “Publius Decius Mus” deems demanding of a solution as irrational as Trump?
Mostly Immigration or as he calls it the “ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty.”
This should give you the sense of the kid of white supremacism Trump appeals to — not just the kind that calls people “illegal” but also insists that immigrants themselves are “Third World.”
Of course, these representatives of intellectual Trumpism aren’t worth arguing with — but fisking their words does help you get a sense that the GOP nominee’s approach to politics may be new but it has “deep roots on the American right,” as Timothy Shenk fleshed out in The Guardian.
Publius sees the results of this crisis revealed in the “litany of ills plaguing the body politic” that conservatives generally fixate upon:
Illegitimacy. Crime. Massive, expensive, intrusive, out-of-control government. Politically correct McCarthyism. Ever-higher taxes and ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure. Inability to win wars against tribal, sub-Third-World foes. A disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege.
Hmm, to conservatives that may sum up America. To me, it sounds suspiciously like a list of problems with Donald Trump himself.
Let’s tale these one by one:
Trump has five kids from three women, at least one of them is looking forward “to get to know her dad.”
– Massive, expensive, intrusive, out-of-control government.
So the solution to this is a giant, largely useless wall and a deportation task force? Given their obvious disdain from non-European immigrants, the far right is fine with this kind of explosion of big government. But a “show me your papers” nation is the furthest thing from liberty.
– Politically correct McCarthyism.
“If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store,” Trump said last year. “You can leave happy holidays at the corner.”
Apparently attacking “PC culture” rhetorically is enough for Publius. Old Publy doesn’t take Trump’s constant whining, harassment and lawsuits targeted at the press and threats to limit press freedom seriously.
– Ever-higher taxes and ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure.
Here’s the right’s central myth that enables all its other fantasies — we’re overtaxed.
We aren’t. And our rich people and big corporations especially aren’t. My proof of this? The second and third items on this list. The services we have are underfunded by design, by a movement so determined to destroy government, it sabotages everything government does from regulating Wall Street to refusing to negotiate drug process.
– Inability to win wars against tribal, sub-Third-World foes.
Trump was for every intervention in the Middle East before he was against them. But this illuminates the general problem with the argument: They’re so in love with a candidate willing to traffic in “Whites are in peril” conspiracy theories that they take him at his word — even though, as I explain below, Trump is basically promising to re-invade Iraq. At the very least, he’s not excluding it.
– A disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege.
Their solution for our education woes is also “building a wall and enforcing immigration law” since ending “leftist design” isn’t feasible yet.
They don’t want smaller class sizes, better teacher pay, equalization of educational funding, the end of a system that criminalizes poor students who largely grow up with in single-parent homes or debt-free college. So nothing that would actually address the problems that afflict poor white students in similar ways that it affects non-white students. Just clear out the foreigners and let everything suss itself out.
That’s the main idea here — European chauvinism is the solution to everything.
With a white male unembarrassed to embrace white maleness all things are possible. Allowing a woman to win will mean the end of the borders and penetration from all sorts of phallic objects.
These conservatives don’t believe “natural conservatism” can survive whites becoming a minority in an America — and they don’t see it as a failure of conservative ideals but of non-whiteness, which is always eager to commit another “rape, shooting, bombing, or machete attack.”
The perception of others as violent predators is a constant refrain of bigotry and the Trump campaign. And that’s the true appeal of Trumpism.
“Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.”
And while Trump does have a long history of discrimination and trafficking in racist conspiracy theory, there’s no evidence he actually has any love for anything other than himself.
He’s married immigrants. He hires them over citizens. He outsources anything he can put his name on.
But this is the real scam of “strategic racism” — the genuine prejudices both active and latent in our society get toyed with in order to serve an agenda that generally seeks to preserve corporate power. Investing it with the glory of the race or the country gives it a meaning that those playing the con mock with its puppeteering.
Paleo-conservatives like Publius oppose the mentality of “Invade the World, Invite the World,” much like Isolationists of old. But their bad choice of an analogy betrays the problem with their argument.
This election isn’t Flight 93, when a group of brave and desperate Americans charged the cockpit.
Those brave patriots may have stopped the plane from hitting the Capitol but it didn’t stop the ensuing and possibly never ending War on Terror that the Bush Administration launched in response to 9/11, when it had license from the nation to do almost anything. They saved a lot of lives at the cost of their own but history marched around this singular act of heroism.
If we’re going to be crude enough to use a 9/11 analogy, call this “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US” Election.
It’s a bit more apt and it’s always a public service to remind ourselves of the memo that warned President Bush of a likely attack on the homeland just 36 days before four planes were hijacked.
We were warned, pretty accurately. And we’re being warned again.
Trump has told us that he wants to summon extraordinary powers for the government. We’ve seen how he has engaged a white nationalist populism that sees extreme measures as the only way to avoid the end of their country as they know it. We know that this is a man at war with all his perceived enemies who are, truly, just manifestations of his massive insecurities.
Technology means engagement with the world is inevitable. Terror means that it will always be fraught with risk.
Yes, we should prioritize American workers when it comes to trade, secure the border while we integrate the people already here and pull back as much as possible from wars around the world. But the the choice has been made for us: Isolation isn’t feasible.
And it wouldn’t be feasible under a President Trump. If we were hit the way we were during 9/11, do you think he’d be able to keep himself from lashing out. And we’ve learned that any new war would likely lead to a new vacuum for more war.
Trump’s insistence that we must state the enemy is “radical Muslim terror,” or whatever formulation they’re using this week, isn’t a step back from the “Invade the World” mentality, nor is his constant “Take the oil” refrain.
But these conservatives can ignore that because Trump always frames his plans in terms of domination by the guys who should be doing the dominating. The allure of that has proven blinding to millions of Americans, many of whom would be the biggest victims of Trump’s plans. And that’s if things go well.
In 2001, after President Bush received the memo that warned of Al Qaeda’s plan, he reportedly told his briefer, “You’ve covered your ass, now.”
Because that’s the thing about warnings. We’d rather be oblivious.
[Image by Gage Skidmore | Flickr]