It is no longer sufficient to brand Donald Trump as abnormal, a designation that is surely applicable but that falls significantly short in registering the magnitude of the menace.
The standard nomenclature of normal politics must be abandoned. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an assault on the fundamentals of the country itself: on our legacy institutions and our sense of protocol, decency and honesty.
In any other circumstance, we might likely write this off as the trite protestations of a man trapped in a toddler’s temperament, full of meltdowns, magical thinking and make believe. But this man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant.
This threat Trump poses — to our morals, ethics, norms and collective sense of propriety — may be without equal from a domestic source.
Everything he is doing is an assault and matters on some level.
There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.
In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.
President Andrew Jackson’s atrocious American Indian removal program gave us the powerful Cherokee memorial letters. The standoff at Standing Rock gave us what the BBC called “the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years.”
Crackdowns on gay bars gave us the Stonewall uprising. America’s inept response to the AIDS epidemic gave us Act Up and Larry Kramer. California’s Proposition 8 breathed new life into the fight for marriage equality and led to a victory in the Supreme Court.
The racial terror that followed the Emancipation Proclamation gave us the anti-lynching movement, the N.A.A.C.P., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and James Weldon Johnson.
Jim Crow gave us the civil rights movement, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer and James Baldwin.
The latest rash of extrajudicial killing of black people gave us Black Lives Matter.
The financial crisis and the government’s completely inadequate response to it gave us Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent.
A renewed assault on women’s rights, particularly a woman’s right to choose, gave us, at least in part, the Women’s March, likely the largest march in American history.
Multiple populations are being assaulted at once, across race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity.
So, in this moment of regression, all the targets of Trump’s ire must push back with a united front, before it is too late.
EXACTLY! The corrupt system of the oligarchy started with George W Bush who appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court later declared in the FEC V Citizens United court ruling that money is free speech.
Those on the left represent a threat to capitalist hegemony, whereas those on the right do not – in the above picture and on the political spectrum. You see the same disparity regarding the number of (and responses from) cops between the Occupy movement/Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party bullshit; one set of movements is challenging a dominant paradigm that the system is built around (white supremacist capitalism), while the other is pushing for further entrenchment into said paradigm. The Tea Party challenges nothing (“don’t tread on [the capitalist bosses]”); Occupy and BLM hint at a resurgence of leftist movements, and the establishment (yes, the capitalists and the state) doesn’t like that.
What is qualitatively different about the situation today, and reason
for genuine concern among activists, is that Russia now seems less
interested in supporting authentic movements and more concerned with
Russia never tried, as far as we know, to splinter off a fake Occupy
frontgroup. Back then Russia wasn’t seeking to create American movements
directly led and controlled by Russian citizens.
Today, on the contrary, we know that Russians created fake Black
Lives Matter protests and fake Standing Rock social media accounts. This
shift from providing support to actively establishing groups under
their total control is the real danger activists must resist.
From co-opting Occupy to cloning Black Lives Matter, the next step
will be the creation of new, previously unheard of, contagious social
protests in America that are conceived, designed, launched and remotely
controlled entirely by foreign governments.
Many activists might join these protests because they believe in the
cause being espoused without realizing who owns the leadership. But if
the suspicion becomes widespread that tomorrow’s social movements are
actually Russian, Chinese or North Korean frontgroups then there will be
a profound delegitimization of protest that significantly bolsters the
anti-democratic forces in Western democracies that already want to clamp
down on activism.
Both outcomes represent truly terrifying future scenarios […]
We are caught between a rock and a hard place: protest is more important than ever, with the (so called) “triumph” of neo-liberalism. However, being co-opted by Russia means making our fragile and imperfect democracies ever more willing to crack down on activism, not matter how legitimate.
And remember: Russia plays both sides of the political spectrum: to them supporting neo-nazis is just as fruitful as supporting the extreme left. Russia wants chaos.