Friday Reads: We’re on a Long Muck-filled Road to NovemberPosted: August 28, 2020
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There are two tropical waves coming off of Africa heading straight to the Gulf again even while parts of Louisiana and Texas are still in a state of cataloguing the damage from the last two. Severe weather also popped up over Northeast section of the country with tornadoes and thunderstorms. We continue to see wildfires north of San Francisco.
You have to be in denial to not see the strengthening of storms and the more expansive areas ruined by wildfires. It’s like we’ve angered the old “gods” that harness the earth, water, and weather against us.
I have spent the last 4 days with the weather channel, working, and just trying to maintain some semblance of normal as if that were some how possible. I have not once gone to see any one of the hundreds–if not thousands–of violations of the Hatch Act that was the Trump Family Crime Syndicate Revival last night.
My one take away is the ugly green dress and ugly look Melania shot Ivanka headed to Daddy and the microphone. Abusive Daddy will probably be unhinged some time today over this.
Why would any one want four more years of what was on display and what has happened?
So, here’s Susan B. Glasser’s take writing at The New Yorker: “The Malign Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Convention. Using the White House as his prop, the President makes war on Joe Biden, and pretends the pandemic is all but defeated.”
For four years, Donald Trump has been asking us to believe the unbelievable, to accept the unthinkable, to replace harsh realities with simple fantasies. On Thursday night, using the White House as a gaudy backdrop, the President made his case to the American people for four more years. His speech capping the Republican National Convention was long, acerbic, untruthful, and surprisingly muted in comparison to the grandeur of the setting, which no chief executive before him has dared to appropriate in such a partisan way. “We will make America greater than ever before,” he promised.
Even for a salesman like Trump, it was never going to be an easy deal to close, what with a deadly pandemic, mass unemployment, nationwide protests over racial injustice, and even a killer hurricane smashing into the Gulf Coast hours before his speech. Some seventy per cent of Americans currently believe that the country is on the wrong track, according to recent polls. Who can blame them?
This should be devastating context for a President, any President, seeking reëlection, a true picture of American carnage to replace the false one that Trump conjured four years ago. Yet the strategy of Trump and his team is now clear: to talk about how bad things would be in Joe Biden’s America, a violent socialist ruin in which freedom itself will no longer exist and rampaging protesters, like those now committing “rioting, looting, arson, and violence” in “Democrat-run cities,” will be coming soon to a suburb near you. “The hard truth is, you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Vice-President Mike Pence said on Wednesday night. “No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” Trump said on Thursday night. To say this sounded a bit off in actual America, Trump’s America, does not do justice to the bizarre dissonance of this year’s Republican Convention.
Americans know Trump pretty well by now, and so it was more than a little discordant to hear him extolled throughout the Convention this week as a family man, promoter of women, friend to African-Americans, champion of religious liberty, and lover of immigrants, who interrupted his own Convention to preside over a White House naturalization ceremony for five lucky new citizens. A courageous patriot who works “from dawn to midnight,” as his daughter Ivanka told us, this Convention Trump personally charmed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, made peace in the Middle East, and single-handedly saved U.S. industries and unborn babies. And then there was his response to the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps the Administration’s shining hour, in which the President bravely disregarded the so-called experts to ban flights from China, thus saving millions of lives, while working closely with America’s governors, providing medical workers with all the resources they needed, reopening schools and businesses, and putting the greatest economy in history on the path to a fast recovery. The trolling was as epic as the setting was legally questionable: sitting and listening to Trump were more than a thousand supporters, packed together tightly in white chairs on the White House lawn, and almost none of them were wearing masks. While thus publicly and flagrantly flouting public-health standards, Trump touted his response to the pandemic as one that is focussed exclusively “on the science, the facts, and the data.”
Did they expect anyone to believe it?
Mike Barnicle at The Daily Beast was even more descriptive: “A Sick President Scrambles to Spread His Contagion of Fear”
Before last night’s neon obscenity—a Trump rally on the South Lawn of the American White House—the 2020 Republican National Convention was close to cartoonish in its attempt to scare the country into voting for Donald J. Trump. It began as dark comedy with a cast of family members, supplicants, incompetents, political ne’er do wells and loud worshippers of a guy who never really believed he’d win on that long-gone night in November 2016 but now thinks he belongs on Mount Rushmore.
As each day melted into the next, though, there were no laugh-lines. Only the specter of a dark hand with a gun and a knock on your door, the mob empowered by Democrat radicals come to take your life, your dreams. By the time that Donald emerged from the White House—think about it, the White House—to deliver his convention speech on Thursday night, you could feel the nuts and bolts holding together this nearly 245-year-old republic loosening with each assault on a form of government that has stood through civil war, depressions, injustice and the stain of racism.
The best read of the day for me so far has been this description of the crazies that do still think Donald Trump will save them and what they fear most. This is by Joseph Marguiles for The Washington Post: “Vigilantes claim to preserve law and order. Their true goal is to save Whiteness. They draw strength from guns, God and Donald Trump.”
The spasm of vigilante violence takes place at the intersection of several powerful currents in American life, and draws its strength from guns, God and Donald Trump, all joined in the service of an imperiled Whiteness.
The first of those currents is the belief that government, and especially law enforcement, has been so hobbled and emasculated by the radical left that it cannot protect the good people from the bad. The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition that includes Black Lives Matter, has come in for particular attack, which reveals the unspoken assumption of the narrative: The good people are White; the bad are either Black or Brown or besotted with their cause.
For those inclined to believe this narrative, evidence of the emasculation is everywhere. After the shootings in Kenosha, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who can always be counted on to give this narrative its voice, asked rhetorically, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” As he spoke, the chyron at the bottom of the Fox screen read, “Kenosha in chaos as leaders abandon another city.” The Facebook page for the Kenosha Guard had implored the police to give the militia free rein, since it was “evident that no matter how many Officers, deputies, and other law enforcement officers that are here, you will still be outnumbered.”
Yet the narrative loses its plot when it becomes clear that the uprisings themselves are not the issue. After all, we didn’t see this sort of vigilantism in response to the uprisings in the 1960s, which were far more destructive. Instead, the protests are important because they illuminate and reveal the perceived impotence of Whiteness — an impotence that was not so keenly felt a half-century ago.
Today’s uprisings are taking place during a moment of profound unease. The term most often used for this unease — White grievance — does not remotely do it justice; to say that one has a grievance conjures the banal image of a complaint card sliding into a box and being forgotten. What we saw in Kenosha, and what we have seen across the country in response to the protests against police violence, is an insensate terror at the advancing prospect of White irrelevance. It is no less than a fear of White erasure.
Whiteness itself is imagined as under siege — culturally, demographically and, most of all, politically. President Trump plays on this fear when he warns ominously that the Democrats want to destroy the serenity of American suburbs, and vows to wall them off from the race-mingling scourge of low-income housing. It is no matter that the fear is irrational; there is no threat to Whiteness in this country, and there never has been. Irrational fears are always the most terrifying, and it is this terror that fuels the vigilantism.
The second current is the celebration of gun culture. Here, the vigilantes have the law to thank. Since the Supreme Court decision in Heller v. District of Columbia in 2008, which upheld the right of private gun ownership under the Second Amendment, it has become dramatically easier for people to travel the streets of this country armed. According to the Giffords Law Center, which tracks gun laws nationwide, in most states, including Wisconsin, it is perfectly legal for a person to openly carry a loaded firearm in public, without a permit.
I’ve read a lot of this on facebook from besotted white men who really believe all this and the underlying theme is evident to every one but them. They don’t like him but gee, those policies!
Meanwhile, Vice Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party–Senator Kamala Harris–continues to punch and remind us of the real issues. Here’s her call for justice for Jacob Blake as reported in USA Today “Kamala Harris: Officer in Jacob Blake shooting should be charged”. See the interview at this link.
In her first one-on-one network interview since becoming the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris talks to TODAY’s Craig Melvin about the shooting of Jacob Blake, saying “I don’t see how anybody could reason that that could be justifiable” and calling for “a thorough investigation.” Saying that “the fish rots from the head,” she draws a distinction between the leadership styles of Donald Trump and her running mate, Joe Biden.
We have a long road before Hurricane Season and the political season end because both end the first week of November. CNN Politics has already called out 20 false or misleading statements in Trump’s Dark Speech from last night.
Trump is a serial liar and he serially lied during his speech accepting the Republican nomination.
CNN counted more than 20 false, exaggerated or misleading claims from Trump on Thursday night. That’s in addition to a number of falsehoods from other speakers.
Trump’s dishonesty touched on a range of topics, from the economy to his administration’s performance during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Trump’s most egregious false claims were directed at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
In his scripted remarks, Trump suggested Biden wants to take down the border wall, but Biden has specifically rejected that idea, saying only that he’ll stop further construction. Trump baselessly said that Biden’s plan would eliminate borders, which it wouldn’t.
Trump claimed he passed Veterans Choice, a law that Obama signed in 2014. Trump also touted a “record” 9 million jobs gained over the past three months, without mentioning the record 22 million job losses that preceded that.
Trump also boasted about the Covid testing system and his general response to the pandemic, even though experts near-universally say the US was fatally slow in its response, especially slow in setting up adequate testing.
You can read more or watch the video interview with CNN Fact Checker by Anderson Cooper at the link.
So, I’m going for a quiet weekend and hoping that everything around me cooperates! You take care! Let us know you’re okay!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?