Anthony McIntyre sees something resembling a mafia don in control of the White House.
Donald Trump exudes the demeanour of a gangsta more than that of a US president. Assuming the posture of a mafia don, his conversation with state governors yesterday captured the measure of the man. You gotta dominate or else you are jerks is discourse we might expect from the Goodfellas movie. It oozed thuggery and not the sombre gravitas the seal of office conveys on and expects from the incumbent of the most powerful political hot seat in the globe.
There is nothing wrong with a national leader stripping away the pomp of office when it is the pinnacle of an officialdom characterised by aloof snobbery coupled with a haughty disdain for ordinary people, and infused by an ivory tower vision that sees only subjects not citizens. José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano, the 40th president of Uruguay did just that in a country which had both jailed and tortured him back in the day when he was a Tupamaros leader. When the mindset takes hold that office is a dynasty fronted by a divinity while the rest of us are mere mortals, then it is surely time to strip it of its pretensions. Think of the high tide going out on royals and bishops, when they are left low in their not so splendid nakedness, we get the picture: and it is not gold framed.
Of course, nothing like this is happening under Don Trump. He is not trying to make the White House accessible to the citizenry in an extension and deepening of democracy. That much was evident yesterday when he had the Pig Power Movement beat and tear gas people off the streets so that he could in true televangelist style stage a photo op at a church in Washington DC.
America is like a country in the throes of civil war. There were forty US cities under curfew last night. The Insurrection Act of 1807 is being thrust in the face of society and the US military is poised to go onto the streets, with the Don calling for punitive action against the "losers, looters and domestic terrorists." Day after day, despite the organised violence of the Pig Power movement, US citizens take to the street in opposition to the institutionalised police racism that publicly lynched George Floyd. As I look across at the television, people are on the streets, standing up for human rights in the face of mounting police violence.
Readers of Kevin Morley's book The Misogynous President would have considered it futuristic when it was published last year, with its narrative of hundreds of thousands of citizens on the streets in a bid to overthrow a venal self serving president. Now it looks very much like contemporary commentary.
Trump, in a bid to secure a second term as the White House capo di tutti capi, is giving racism his blessing. It is an apt term given that he is making a pitch for the religious right. 81% of evangelicals are reported to have voted him into office. In the tension that the Don is currently stirring up, Hate Theology is considered an important organising principle. The old Frank Dane quip holds good: "Get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything." There can be no greater fools easier to manipulate and mobilise than a hate filled body capable of believing that the earth is 6000 years old while the human species magically appeared one day along with talking snakes and donkeys.
Trump claims the Bible is his favourite book. When asked in 2015 to cite his preferred verse he got agitated and claimed:
I wouldn't want to get into it. Because to me, that's very personal ... The Bible means a lot to me, but I don't want to get into specifics.
Aye, right. He no more reads the Bible than I do. Had he read the Fake News prototype and been untypically honest he might just have, with the approval of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, chosen one of those verses where the Lord urges his hate filled devotees to rape a few women - a verse like this:
Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’ Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan answered David: “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die.”
Good Old God. Good Old Don. God Bless America.
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