Friday, March 04, 2016

Pssst, Dumbos/Teabaggers: Click Here To Get Rock-Bottom Prices On White Robes, Ropes, & Torches

We are living in the worst of times; the dog whistle has been thrown away and the bigots and worse are sending up a full-throated howl for the torch and the rope. Eags (Timothy Egan) is bringing out the worst in the miserable ranks of Dumbos/Teabaggers. Open your favorite search tool and plug in "Donald Trump KKK" (wihtout quotes) and watch the stuff that spews forth on your screen. The Dumbos/Teabaggers who have imbibed Der Trumpster's Kool-Aid will goosestep away and continue to vote for Der Trumpster. If this is a (fair & balanced) tour of the Dark Side, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
The Beast Is Us
By Eags (Timothy Egan)

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You heard the word “scary” used a lot this week, that and much more. Not from the usual scolds. Or Democrats. The loudest alarms came from desperate, panicked Republicans, warning of the man who is destroying the Party of Lincoln before our eyes.

“The man is evil,” said Stuart Stevens, a chief strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012. Romney himself called Donald Trump a fraud on Thursday.

But as much as these “too little, too late” wake-up calls are appreciated, it’s time to place the blame for the elevation of a tyrant as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee where it belongs — with the people. Yes, you. Donald Trump’s supporters know exactly what he stands for: hatred of immigrants, racial superiority, a sneering disregard of the basic civility that binds a society. Educated and poorly educated alike, men and women — they know what they’re getting from him.

This idea that people are following Trump only for the celebrity joy ride, that if they just understood the kind of radical, anti-American ideas he advocates they would drop him, is garbage. If the pope couldn’t dent Trump, Romney surely will not.

For Trump’s voters were not surprised at his hesitancy to disavow the hearty approval of a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. They certainly weren’t shocked when neo-Nazis hailed Trump a savior months ago, so a little added backing from hooded haters was not going to throw them.

They aren’t upset that he’s attacked one of the foundations of an open society — free speech — with his recent call to “open up” the libel laws. Nor does it bother them in the least that he wants to apply a religious test for entry into a country whose founders were against any such thing. A majority of his Super Tuesday backers, in fact, support just that.

And recent kudos from a pro-slavery radio host will certainly not dampen his legions. That support came from James Edwards. “For blacks in America,” he has said, “slavery is the best thing that ever happened to them.”

Yes, Trump cannot choose his allies. But it’s certainly no coincidence that the race haters, immigrant bashers and religious hucksters who’ve been at the fringe for some time are all in for Donald Trump.

With media complicity, Trump has unleashed the beast that has long resided not far from the American hearth, from those who started a Civil War to preserve the right to enslave a fellow human to the Know-Nothing mobs who burned Irish-Catholic churches out of fear of immigrants.

When high school kids waved a picture of Trump while shouting “Build a wall” at students from a heavily Hispanic school during a basketball game in Indiana last week, they were exhaling Trump’s sulfurous vapors. They know exactly what he stands for.

Granted, a huge portion of the population is woefully ignorant; nearly a third of Americans didn’t know who Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was in a Gallup poll last year. But ignorance is not the problem with Trump’s people. They’re sick and tired of tolerance. In Super Tuesday exit polls, Trump dominated among those who want someone to “tell it like it is.” And that translates to an explicit “play to our worst fears,” as Meg Whitman, the prominent Republican business leader, said.

“He’s saying how the people really feel,” one Trump supporter from Massachusetts, Janet Aguilar, told The Times. “We’re all afraid to say it.”

They’re saying it now. So more than a third of Trump supporters in South Carolina wish the South had won the Civil War, and 70 percent think the Confederate flag should be flying over the state capital. And 32 percent believe internment of Japanese-American citizens was a good thing — something that the sainted Ronald Reagan apologized for.

Judge him by his followers, who’ve thrown away the dog whistle. “Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” said David Duke, the former Klansman. And judge him by those who enabled his rise, out of cowardice or opportunism, two words that will follow Chris Christie to his grave.

“To support Trump is to support a bigot,” wrote Stevens, the former Romney strategist. “It’s really that simple.”

Now that the nomination is nearly his, Trump will start to tone it down and take it back. Just kidding, he’s going to imply. “I hate to say it, but I’m becoming mainstream,” he said.

But it’s not mainstream to toss aside longstanding American policy against war crimes, advocating torture “even if it doesn’t work.” It’s not mainstream to approvingly pass on quotes from the Fascist Benito Mussolini. It’s not mainstream to be “everything we teach our kids not to do in kindergarten,” as Governor Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, said.

The German magazine Der Spiegel called Trump “the world’s most dangerous man.” The Germans know a thing or two about the topic.

I would like to think our better angels always prevail. But there are also dark episodes, when the beast is loose, and what stares back at us from the mirror is something ugly and frightful. Now is one of those times. Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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