A Drama Surrounding a Phenomenon

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Leave it to David Brooks of the New York Times to coin the perfect weasel phrase suitable for PBS viewers:  “…the fact that there is all this violence and all this drama surrounding the whole Trump phenomenon could be nervous-making and it could drive some people.”

Uh, which people? Drive them….to what?  What is the drama referenced here? Does it involve a woman being surrounded by a jeering mob and pelted with water bottles and eggs as she walks alone and undefended into a Trump event?

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Does it involve cold-cocking someone on the way to the parking lot?

The media loves the passive voice, never more so when it discusses the Trump campaign. It is awfully coy, even now, months into it, as to just who is doing what to whom, and how.

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Let us try a simple thought experiment. Pretend the man in the picture is wearing an I’m With Hillary t-shirt.  Pretend the people in the crowd are conservative white males, hounding and obstructing his ingress to a Clinton rally.  Would this not be the lead story on cable news for weeks on end? Would this not be the touchstone for endless think pieces on the rise of literal, as opposed to hypothetical, fascism in the United States?

Take a good look at the expression on the man’s face. Would you trade places with him for a moment? Is his constitutional right to peaceably assemble to hear the candidate of his choosing being protected or abridged in this case?  By refusing to make this distinction is the press not, in effect, siding with the mob?

The media has been writing journalistic permission slips to rioters going back to Ferguson.  When convenience stores are looted, this is the fault of the police for over-reacting.  When thugs descend on a Trump event to assault and badger the attendees, if not shut the event down entirely, Trump’s rhetoric is blamed.

Piece by piece, the guardrails to the electoral process are being disassembled and removed.

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What’s with the Mexican flags?  What’s with the gang signs?  The death threats?

One can outsource the assassination gambit to an unnamed “cartel” to avoid the reach of the Secret Service, but to verbalize something, to put it in writing, is the first step toward action.  What begins in wish fulfillment ends as all Pygmalion-like creation myths do. Carve a woman from marble and your own feverish longing,  and you will fall in love with her.

The firecracker is coming.

Let’s hope it’s only that.

6 thoughts on “A Drama Surrounding a Phenomenon”

  1. I understand why so many people support Trump. It’s the same impulse that pulls people toward Sanders. They’re two sides of the same coin. The country is broken, the status quo is unreformable, and people want a bold action-oriented leader who will mix things up. Tinkering with the edges of the same old same old isn’t good enough – which is what Clinton represents.

    Historically we’ve been here before. The 1760’s. The 1850’s. The 1930’s. Each time the country hits this type of economic, cultural, and political wall we eventually work things out and reinvent ourselves as a nation. We will do so again. And it will all get better.

    But you know what happened in the 1770’s, 1860’s and 1940’s right? War. Big ones. That’s the traditional method of resetting the political, economic, and cultural system. Four years of bloodshed and exhaustion does the trick every time.

    1. Well, this is a cheerful sentiment, Johnny. I’m trying to imagine a bloodshed-based American reset premised on Trump-Clinton or Trump-Bernie dividing lines. It ain’t pretty. What has surprised me most to this point is the amount of restraint on the part of Trump people not to respond with violence, to violent provocation. The laws of human nature say this won’t last. Alas.

      1. The war will not be between American factions. The war will be directed at a foreign threat. The outside enemy will unite the country around a common cause. It really does’t matter which foreigners we fight. That’s how I think things will play out. Unity and reform via war.

  2. David Brook’s a hack. Do people even watch PBS anymore? The guy is a hack.

    But I think you’re being melodramatic. Trump’s the Republican nominee for president; the electoral process hasn’t gone off the rails.

    I’ve always felt the press has been pretty lukewarm about Clinton; she’s so establishment, which isn’t much fun to cover. Speaking of endless stories, what about her e-mail and Libyan transgressions? That super select committee bides its time.

    And weren’t we promised “end times” when Obama was elected? I forget.

    1. Yes, Ben, he’s the nominee. However, the violence in San Jose was not intended to prevent that. It was an attempt to intimidate voters in November. They were saying, in effect, “no one who associates with this man will be safe.”

  3. gotcha.

    It’s pretty needless violence, if you ask me. But perhaps that’s the best kind? It has been decades since California was a Republican state (Reagan?) and with current demongraphic err demographic trends …

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