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A Prelude to Trump’s Reign of Terror

August 8, 2019

Now that Congress is safely out of Washington, DC on its annual August recess, it seems the time has arrived for President to relish even more time in the spotlight by regaling the nation and the world at large with his wit and wisdom regarding how to lead this country through such perilous times. He had no sooner finished (if he can ever be said to be done insulting anyone and everyone who dares question the wisdom of any of his actions or policy proposals) displaying his ignorance and racist tendencies by signaling his contempt for four freshman Congressional representatives who happen to be women of color opposed to most of his stated political agenda, when he turned his ire on a respected Democratic House Committee chair and his entire Congressional District.

I guess it’s only natural for the President to take offense at members of Congress who are in the process of investigating possible wrongdoing on his part that could potentially result in his impeachment and removal from office, but the fact that he goes out of his way to speak utter nonsense in order to stir up racial hatred among some of his most ardent supporters is going a bit overboard. The fact that his most recent tirades were punctuated by two more mass shooting incidents (one of which was a blatant racial/anti-immigrant attack on Latin Americans in El Paso, Texas) was not a coincidence.

Trump’s political rallies have intentionally sought to inflame racial tensions and anti-immigrant sentiments ever since he first declared his candidacy for the GOP Presidential election back in 2015 – even earlier if you count the anti-Obama birtherism nonsense he espoused at least as far back as 2012. He has spoken openly in terms of using personal physical violence against people protesting against his policies or proposals. That some of his followers follow through on his thinly veiled references comes as no surprise to him or most anyone else.

When the situation becomes out of control and folks look to President Trump to provide a steadying and calming influence, he never fails to disappoint. His steadfast refusal to denounce racism, white nationalism or white supremacy or to confront the violent behavior of those who espouse them unless a public uproar too big to ignore more or less forces him to respond belies his constant claims to “not have a racist bone in my body” and to be the least racist President in the history of the United States of America. Just as his half-hearted response to the racist violence in Charlottesville resulted in a large outcry at the ridiculous claims of “good people on both sides” of that ideological conflict, his response to the most recent mass shootings fails to show the leadership the American people expect of their Commander-in-Chief in such trying times.

One surefire way to tell that Donald Trump is totally insincere when he speaks publicly on any topic is for him to read it from a teleprompter in a monotone in the closest human imitation of an automaton possible – just he delivered the speech he gave following the horrific events of last weekend. It was about as believable as a pitch called a strike by an umpire despite the fact that the batter didn’t swing and it hit him smack dab right in the head. He may have fired up part of his base by his recent antics, but he has also certainly fired up most of the Democrats running to try to defeat him in 2020.

After the Parkland massacre last year, Trump vowed to push for legislation to reduce the potential for future such incidents to occur. As has happened so many times in the past, under Administrations of both parties, this did not happen. This time, he made a point of visiting both Dayton and El Paso in the aftermath of their horrific events. The visit to El Paso was widely panned by both Beto O’Rourke and the current House Representative of its Congressional District. The survivors who were still in the Hospital when he came did not wish to see him. He has spent much of his term in office denigrating the Hispanics who comprise about 85% of the city’s residents. Whom among us would welcome such a person under similar circumstances?

Since these events took place, Trump’s attacks on immigrants have also reached new lows with the arrest of hundred of workers in Mississippi by ICE. Congress remains unwilling and/or unable to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, allowing Trump to continue his scapegoating of refugees and escalating the terror he is fomenting among immigrant communities. While he rails against “illegal” migrants, American citizens are also getting swept up in the fervor, merely as a result of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. He doesn’t care about justice for any of these people, just about stoking the enthusiastic support of those from whom he claims they are stealing jobs. He seeks to punish those who are being exploited for cheap labor while ignoring the complicity of their employers entirely.

I sense that Trump may be setting us up for a situation where he can declare another emergency (in essence, one intentionally instigated by himself) which he can use as an excuse to crack down on the civil liberties of anyone protesting his inhumane policies and cruel treatment of innocent men, women and children who are guilty of trying to escape from equally bad or worse treatment abroad. That would indeed lead us even further down the path to authoritarian rule than we have ever travelled before.

President Trump is right to fear impeachment and removal from office. The fact that he has lasted this long is a testament to his devotion to obstructing justice – as evidenced by his steadfast refusal to comply with Congressional requests for testimony and documents relevant to their Constitutional oversight duties. My hope is that these legal battles over his taxes, profiteering at public expense from his private business ventures, etc. will allow enough of the truth to become public to ensure that he will at least not win another term in office, but it won’t be an easy task. His near total usurpation of the Republican Party and ability to do long-term damage to the judiciary with the help of henchmen like #MoscowMitch McConnell and all the other enablers in the Senate and various state governments certainly give him advantages in attaining authoritarian ambitions unforeseen by the nation’s Founding Fathers. We need to restore our democracy and stop the rapid silencing of our voices he has been perpetrating ever since his inauguration.


Further Suggested Readings:

Who Pulled the Trigger?

Trump Blames Video Games and “Mentally Ill Monsters” for El Paso and Dayton Massacres

After El Paso, we can no longer ignore Trump’s role in inspiring mass shootings

Obama’s latest tweets consoled a grieving nation in a way that Trump never could

Paul Krugman blasts Trump as ‘a systematic enabler of terrorism’ in scathing NYT column

This paragraph from before Trump’s election now looks ominously prescient about his ability to inspire violence

Toni Morrison’s Lessons

Tomgram: Robert Lipsyte, A Comic Stands Up to Racism | TomDispatch

"Don’t Look Away": Videos and Images of Weeping Children and Loved Ones Spread as ICE Arrests 680 in Mississippi

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