The shock is only fading now. On Election Night, the electoral map oozed red as every pundit, pollster, prognosticator and pretender submitted their credentials as paid fools, dupes and spittle spewing partisans for the media’s zombie waltz with the corporate bottom line. A billionaire five year old has been enabled all the way to the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton went home with a surplus of 2.8 million votes and the robot Electors played the equivalent of eager sexual submissives to Donald Trump’s raging political id. 62 million Americans fell for an ambiguous slogan on a red baseball cap while imagining a populist instead of a demagogue under the brim.
Having grown up with a hyper awareness of media and direct experience as a news reporter and a radio personality at various times, I had been paying entirely too much respect to the print and electronic media. Election Night proved that. All of the artfully arranged, computer generated and pundit approved prognostications were only so many trillions of bits and bites being forced through the electronic ether of talking heads entitlement. They could not measure the naked rage of the so called Fly Over Wing of the Alternative Right. I did not fully recognize that that voting bloc was comprised of other Americans like me who have been chafing and raging under the mantle of lies and policies that keep them and me exactly where we are.
I have learned that if you laugh at someone’s rage, they are likely to make you pay and pay we will after Donald Trump slaps his undersized hand on a Bible to claim ultimate power on January 20th. To that end, I claim my share of the responsibility here. I did not vote for Trump but dismissing a true threat can motivate others to vote for it. The following video is disturbing and I am not ascribing this hateful, racist vitriol to all Trump supporters.
There is rising intolerance in this country and this is the biggest danger as opposed to what our nation claims to have been before now. I can’t decide if the revolting above video is an unscientific study of a greatly increased level of hate in America or if that particular Trump rally just invited too many goons into range of the New York Times’ cameras and microphones. I do know that the rage expressed here is only rage. There are no ideals being expressed, only vitriol being lobbed because the people there were being egged on by Donald J. Trump to do it. I was not on the front lines of social change in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I forgot who said it but my generation then was wide eyed, not tie dyed. Muhammad Ali shows here that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t a new invention. Only the branding is different today.
I was seven years old in 1968, just mature enough to have a little appreciation for the grief the country was convulsed in when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in early April. About two months later, Robert F. Kennedy was cut down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, a far more impressive hostelry in Los Angeles. Many readers have heard or seen the material below but it’s worth hearing again for the genuine grief drowning out an all but pure national idealism at that time.
The circumstances were of course different. King was in Memphis to support workers carrying out a garbage strike to demand better wages and Bobby was on the way to taking his slain brother’s place in the Oval Office. Both Kennedy and King were hated intensely by many but you never heard either man make the grotesque appeals to ignorance that the President Elect has all but perfected.
These events actually happened but some Trump supporters will say with a straight face that operatives of Hillary Clinton showed up at Trump’s rallies to encourage them, they say the events never happened or like Trump, they say that victims of violence at these rallies got exactly what they deserved. Having the ability to take events you witness yourself and instinctively twist them to match your prejudices is a disgusting commentary on the state of this nation. We won’t have a chance going forward if we can’t agree that beating a person for his or her political opinion is simply wrong. Donald Trump did not invent violence involving political speech.
The Democratic National Convention in 1968 is often referenced but violence in the face of peaceful protest happens almost daily in America. Posting these videos is not inflammatory on my part. This is our current day. It is not exploitative. This is our history. Hillary Clinton was a phony who wanted power and she was unfit to hold it with classified emails sitting in her Blackberry but she did not incite violence or appeal to the worst in anyone as a public figure. She was more of a traditionalist by secretly rigging the primaries against Bernie Sanders. The Russians, in turn, rigged the general election against her with a kind assist from FBI director James Comey.
What concerns me most is that we may have reached the time where any raised voice is perceived as a threat, any demand for rights is a only a challenge to those in power and any attempt to demand better only makes you an “undesirable”. If we haven’t reached that time, then we are perilously close. This is how republics end and dictatorships begin. Don’t bother reading your history on this point if you are disinclined to do it.
You may already be living it.