Many continue to miss the real story about Trump’s response to the Charlottesville. They do not understand how deep it is. The white nationalists are just a tool for the ultimate goal. Trump is dangerous because he believes he can remake America into his infantile interpretation of America where only European culture matters.
It is essential that Americans understand that Trump weaving an intricate path that combines truth, lies, distortions, and economic realities could work.
There are some who believe that Trump is the result of the economic angst of the white working class. Others believe that he just allows those with strong racist inclinations to come out of the light. Others believe it was a f$ck-you to the entire political establishment. That debate, however, should be over. Why, because you are all right. It is all of the above.
The problem is that while at this point the sum of all those still does not make up the majority of the country, it likely still makes up an electoral majority. My contrarian thinking tells me that we are at a tipping point. And Trump said something in his press conference that while those educated in history can discount; it is not so for the vast majority of Americans. I think the following statement he made is deeper than many are willing to accept.
“George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner?” Trump said. “Will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson. What do you think about Thomas Jefferson? Do you like him? Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. So you know what? It’s fine. You are changing history. You are changing culture.”
The message was not said solely for white nationalists or white supremacists to hear. It was meant to plant a seed in white people overall. He is telling them that they are coming for the Confederate heroes now and that the founders of our nation who had severe immoral flaws as well would be next. He wants to hit the core of what many believe is the essence of being a white American.
But Trump’s intent was also to plant a seed in the psyche of those oppressed by the founders and subsequent leaders of the country, blacks, Native Americans, Chinese, etc. He is inciting the belief in the recesses of the minds of these groups to equate these Confederate traitors with the founders. After all, while they condemned the Confederates, were the Union, not just a less vile reflection? His hope is that these groups would progressively get more aggressive in destroying symbols of Americana and thus incite a reaction from white America as they are made to have a whiff of historical discomfort.
There were interesting responses to this narrative when posited in the blogosphere for a few to examine. One stuck.
I think we give “Puppet Heir Drumpf” too much credit for actually thinking, which I am quite sure he does very little of since he has surrounded himself with white nationalists & white supremacists who are putting the thoughts in his head. I agree with your thoughts about putting the seed in certain people’s minds about past Presidents being no better than the Confederates who have been memorialized in statues and other means plus they have also done considerable damage to blacks, Native Americans, Chinese, etc so why don’t we tear down and destroy those too? I never thought of it that way but you are right past Presidents and governments have done a lot of damage to those people but deep down they were no where near as hateful or evil as any of the white nationalists or white supremacists. Of course, now we have “Heir Drumpf” the prime example of a hateful, evil, racist, bigotted & misogynistic, if you can even call him a person, as a Fake President, for the young people to look at in disgust!
No one is implying that the president is a great tactician or intellect. A mosquito, virus, and bacteria don’t have a complex well designed “intellect, ” but they are good at the one thing they do. Trump is good at the one thing he does. He does not have to know why it works but that if he tries long enough, he may stumble on the right strategy.
Steve Bannon pretty much corroborated the narrative with his recent interview with the American Prospect. He acknowledged that the white nationalists are but a tool. Robert Kuttner
asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump’s base. He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.” “These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.
Bannon was also clear on why, which echoes the thought of inciting white fears.
“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Democrats must not abandon identity politics. Until all “identities” are equally represented and have equal access to success, they have no choice. What Democrats must do is weave it into an economic strategy that removes the “either/or” narrative.
Sadly, race, a social construct with no biological, existential, or intellectual significance continues to be used to create disruptions to consolidate power by a minority. Unfortunately, in the process, it is re-injuring an unclosed wound.
For those in the know, for those who voted for Trump for other-than-racist reasons, it is time for you to speak up. It is time for you to address your brethren before we fall off the cliff. Remind folks that while we cannot do anything about the past, we are the ones in control of the future. Explain that animating ethnic angst is a power play. Most importantly, remember that social, criminal, economic, and racial justice is good not just for the oppressed but us all.