Thomas Frank, a US author writing in the Guardian, penned an article curiously titled“Millions of Ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why”. I read this very carefully, a couple of three times. He wasn’t really saying anything remarkable or even insightful. The essential gist of a disaffected, angry and nativist citizenryhad already been repeatedly scrolled by analysts and bloggers alike. Yet, inserted into this very header, he actually employed language “to keep thought at bay”. “To Keep Thought At Bay”. That was Harold Pinter’s phrase in his Nobel Lecture titled, Art Truth & Politics. He was pointing to America’s unique powers of persuasion…“a scintillating stratagem ”he put it. “As a salesman it is out on its own” he went onto say.
For a nation increasingly pining for the reductive and dummied-down, bumper-sticker style phrasing is all the rage. In one fell swoop, Thomas Frank as good as beatified and legitimated Trump, by employing the words “Ordinary Americans”. They of the unassailable, beyond reproach, pure in purpose, saying in effect that the great White unwashed were rendered blameless, exoneratedand secure from scorn and ridicule.
How did it come to this?…this rather infantile justification almost, on behalf of large portions of anation who’ve grown in resentment and anger about our changing economic future and predicament. Yes, a fraught future, accurately described as being brought on by a callous, conniving and selfish neo-liberal orthodoxy that cynically remains the centerpiece of both major political parties.
Yet, the one thing he does not mention, is that on every single issue, regarding the lack of justice and fairness in our predatory and convoluted economic systems of hyper consumerism, including the disastrous so called “Free” trade agreements, Bernie Sanders has been front and center, resolutely speaking to and fighting against for decades. So….why, why wouldn’t ordinary disaffected Americans gravitate to a more just and honorable person like Bernie and his almost prophetic and unassailable message in much larger numbers?
Instead…a good many of them choose to stand on the side of a dangerous carnival barker espousing the most noxious and simpleton views. And the author would have us believe, that this tacky bling-bling buffoon of a mediocre hack and salesman, truly represents their real aspirations and that they stubbornly prefer to not know or even worse, tell the difference? That the abject fear of losing their socio-economic standing and ground, “trumps” the need to be civil and accommodatingto your fellow countrymen and women in 2016? Bollocks! Balderdash! Baloney! Bullpucky!
It’s an insidious and dangerous argument that somehow “ordinary Americans”, projecting their aspirational drive through a downright bigot and narcissistic vessel, extolling the virtues of crass violence and impropriety, are merely doing so, purely and only for economic reasons. That somehow, their steadfast and ardent allegiance to what Trump promotes and represents, isn’t any less principled or just.Really? Naaaw….You don’t say!
This cunning piece of sophistry by Frank, could very well have been written by someone in the 1920 & 30’s in Central Europe to justify a whole nation of people, who eventually went goose-stepping off a cliff and zealously at that. He packages it, just about matter-of-factly enough to sound somewhat reasonable, yet with sufficient cover, to not come off looking down right corrupted and monstrous.
That we have arrived at an inflection point in this country where a frighteningly significant and large proportion of the dominant culture, are indignantly expressing their primordial fears and rather unsophisticated instincts about our economic future, and as such, are willing to overlook the crude and violent pathologies of nativism and race, is simply no longer a matter for debate anymore.
As Tim Wise, the human rights activist and author said “White people: this is the moment of truth. Will we choose multiracial democracy or white nationalism? Know this: if you support Donald Trump or would even consider voting for him for President, you have chosen the latter. You are my enemy. I will not seek to co-exist with you. I will not make nice. I will not pretend we believe in the same things but merely have different opinions about how to get there. You are the enemy, plain and simple. And you must be stopped. You must lose and not just by a little. By a lot. A crushing defeat that leaves no doubt in your mind that the country you prefer is gone and is never coming back”.
The horrifying narrative being peddled, is that these working-class folks, albeit bitterly betrayed by the corporate and elite classes for decades, are just good and decent “motherhood and apple pie” types, devoid of any racist inclinations or nativist undertones and prejudices. They are blatantly and manifestly acting out their id complexes and desires, without so much as a morsel of moral restraint whatsoever, while deliberately turning this country regressively backwards, mockingly insulting our collective intelligence at the same time.
As the late great Gil Scott Heron once recited in his now Infamous song B-Movie- “this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.”
It’s all part of that nauseating clarion callto….”Make America Great Again”, or to paraphrase Heron “Those inglorious days when HEROES WERE ZEROS”.
I miss him so very much. Were he still with us, he’d have an embarrassment of riches in song material to write a couple of juicy zingers about this DRUMFP Asshole.