I really don’t want to have to write about Trump, but right now I feel I have to. There’s a pattern forming which nobody is talking about yet, and we need to be vigilant.
First the good news; it is now no longer a fair criticism to claim that the American people are apathetic about politics. They are absolutely awake to the feckless fascist lurking in the White House and willing to kick up a hell of a fuss about it.
Here ends the good news.
The last week has been, it’s fair to say, monumental. Trump entered office and managed to immediately infuriate most of the media and the CIA with a pair of insane, rambling speeches. Even his inauguration speech sounded like one of his rallies, a screeching, self-congratulatory gout of grievance and verbal masturbation that those who don’t support him find repulsive. The day after he became the most powerful man in the world there were marches against his bigotry and misogyny which obviously dwarfed the crowd watching him take the oath of office. Trump, however, is such an insecure man-child that he could not allow this objective fact to settle in his mind, and sent his spokesman out to claim, on the basis of no evidence, that his supporters outnumbered the Women’s Marches and President Obama’s inauguration.
A lot of people have tried to read more into this. They say that it was a deliberate distraction while the Republicans pushed through legislation to strip away several million American’s access to healthcare.
Come off it.
Trump is not a master of manipulation. He’s a bully, a racist, a misogynist, a climate change denier, a fascist, and a hundred other disgusting things but he is, first, a showman. He only knows how to interact with the world in that capacity. He continues holding rallies because he’s good at it and he craves a cheering crowd, he signs grand, sweeping executive orders because it keeps the attention of the world on him, he lies all the time because in his mind he is the main character in a television show. In his mind he is not lying, the show is wrong and must be rewritten.
By all accounts he voraciously consumes media (though not books). He watches a quite unsettling amount of television and, I am sure from observing his account, is constantly glued to Twitter. As he tried to settle into his office (and reintroduced the ‘global gag rule,’ which every Republican President has reintroduced and every Democrat has repealed) he would have seen the suggestions that he had used his insanity to try to distract the world. I think he took this on board and, as reports leaked out about the chaos caused by his incompetence in government and a backlash grew at the fresh lie his press secretary had told claiming that he had won the popular vote (which, incidentally, he absolutely did not) he announced he was actually going to build a wall along the border between the US and Mexico.
And why wouldn’t he think that was a good idea? It shows that he’s planning to keep his campaign promises. It shows that his government is on track and decisive. It always played well at the rallies.
It did not play well in the press. It did not play well in the international press. His promise to somehow make Mexico pay for it played extremely badly with the former President of Mexico (who posted these exact words in a Tweet: ‘We’re not going to pay for that fucking wall #fuckingwall) and it was, at its core, mental. A bloody stupid policy from a bloody stupid man.
Steve Bannon, his neo-Nazi media advisor, probably thought it would play rather well with rather a lot of Americans. He has spent decades living in a bubble of his very own, one comprised of bitter men who think they’re the master race. He was probably surprised it didn’t go down well, and he blamed the mainstream media for its poor reception. This is why they doubled down on their attack on the media, it’s not some Putin-esque power play, it’s panic. We need to worry about Bannon though, Trump is a media obsessed man, his media advisor will be favoured in his court.
I’ll have to skip over rather a lot because so much dumb crap happened. Trump has no idea how to govern, he’s only interested in looking like he knows how to govern. And then he signed an executive order to ban immigration from Muslim majority countries.
America has never been a sectarian state before. It is now.
Now there are protests at airports, there are people in the Republican party (very, very tentatively) suggesting it’s a bad idea, foreign governments are angry, a Daily Mail columnist agreed with Jeremy Corbyn that Trump should not be allowed in the country while this racist ban is in place.
Now, ignoring all the other crap, ignoring that the ban specifically targets Muslim majority countries where Trump does not have business interests and ignores Muslim majority countries where he does have business interests, ignoring that a five year old child was detained by police for hours on end at an American airport, ignoring that a court has ordered the executive order be suspended and Trump has carried on enforcing it anyway, ignoring the fury and the protests and the international condemnation (though not from my government, but that’s an infuriated rant for another day) this has been a disaster for Trump.
I know, I know, he treats the press like an enemy and he doesn’t seem to have even the briefest connection to the truth, but this will get to him. There’s no way it can’t, an avalanche of infuriated condemnation is being launched at the USA from every corner of the earth and it will get to him. Even if it doesn’t it will get to the Republicans, though whether they can find their spines or grow some values and actually do anything about it is another matter. No matter what else happens he has almost certainly alienated everyone outside of his inner circle, and nobody can govern like that.
It’s the future I fear, though. He has in the last few hours begun to make a great deal of noise about Daesh. It sounds to me like the first, terrible rumble towards war. And his will be a terrible war. He will order airstrikes that butcher civilians, then deny it ever happened. He will level cities. Slaughter families with cruise missiles. He will ignore human shields and kill ‘em all.
And then what? What will he do when his army is bogged down in another middle eastern quagmire and someone with brown skin and a foreign accent opens fire and shouts allahu akhbar? His knee will jerk, and he will crack down on Muslims even more. ‘Gitmo times a thousand’ was one of his campaign promises, so there, on American soil, we will see the first internment camp. Then he will try to follow through with his promise to deport millions of undocumented migrants. The conditions will be terrible. They will have to work for food. Internment camps will become concentration camps, the step from concentration camp to death camp is barely visible.
This probably will not happen. The world won’t allow it, the American public won’t wear it, he probably won’t last that long. But I was sure he wouldn’t try to build a wall. I was sure he wouldn’t be so stupid as to ban Muslims from traveling to America. I was certain he would never win.
Be afraid, America. I was going to tell you that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, but you’ve heard that and evil may triumph despite your efforts. Instead of Burke I give you Bakunin:
‘Destroy or be destroyed, there is no middle way. Let us then be the destroyers.’