“There is one policy that emerges from the chaos — the kind we would expect from an egotistical con man who has one principle: Me!”
— Noam Chomsky from a Truthout interview with C.J. Polychroniou.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (7/4/19)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Happy Fourth of July! Celebrate as you see fit and for your reasons for celebrating. Personally that includes giving no attention to an authoritarian hijacking of a national holiday to advantage the ego of a man with a serious personality disorder.
Fourth of July is our holiday. Trump’s twisted Fourth of July is the perfect metaphor for the assault on our democratic system of checks and balances.
As with everything, Trump makes it about him and end result is beyond offensive — it is grotesque. Want to see Trump’s tanks on the way to the Mall in advance of the day? Take a look, if nothing else, how do you feel watching this?
Esquire Politics Editor Jack Holmes points out that Trump has blasted through any authoritarian veil of deniability. Maybe you could ‘harrumph’ your way past Trump calling the media the “enemy of the people”. It’s harder to whistle past the images of families and children deliberately made to suffer in detention.
To Trump everything is about crass political opportunity – appeal to his base by making the ‘others’ suffer and lead that same base in reveling in what they see as theater as those with compassion decry the illegality and deliberate evil foisted on innocents.
So we have a video of Trump’s tanks being driven through D.C. on the way to the Mall for display, as Holmes quotes Masha Gessen, the perfect metaphor to “assert power over truth itself”. The metaphor becomes more literal when we recognize Gessen — a Russian native — has unique qualifications to outline the sameness of Putin and Trump.
William Rivers writing for Truthout takes his observations a step further…
Rivers notes the progression of Trump’s full-on embrace of fascism starting with the “right to vote being dismantled, through “concentration camps” to “threats of violent retribution” against political opponents and critics.
How will it feel, should you watch, Trump speaking while surrounded by his military chiefs who are forced to attend like well starched window dressing?
But it’s the renowned scholar and investigative journalist Noam Chomsky who gets the last word…
Just like Trump opened the door to resurgent white nationalism in the U.S., Chomsky credits Trump with leading a global far-right movement. When your best mates are authoritarians from North Korea, Russia, China, Philippines, Hungary, Brazil and Saudi Arabia it’s hard to deny Chomsky’s claim. Just like Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said of now Governor Ron DeSantis, “Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
It’s not that we’re calling Trump a dictator –we are — it’s that around the world dictators believe Trump is a dictator. Of course it’s not a new question, dating back to 2015 Ryan Cooper writing for The Week posed a question, “does America have a fascism problem?” Cooper also noted that pre-Nazi Adolph Hitler“was regarded as a somewhat clownish dictator with an unusual degree of mass support”.
Trump is clownish and Chomsky makes the case for dangerous.
“Not that there is no coherent policy. There is one policy that emerges from the chaos — the kind we would expect from an egotistical con man who has one principle: Me! It follows that any treaty or agreement reached by predecessors (particularly the despised Obama) is the worst deal in history, which will be replaced by the Greatest Deal in History negotiated by the most accomplished deal-maker of all time and greatest American president. Similarly, any other action carried out in the past was misguided and harmed America, but will be corrected by the “stable genius” now in charge of defending America from those who are cheating and assaulting it on all sides.”
Chomsky has much to say about the risk that is Trump. To come full circle, Chomsky notes, “It makes no difference what the consequences are — terrible, decent, indifferent — as long as the imagery is preserved”.
My vision of a good Fourth of July would be a Trump version with no one in attendance.