I listened to every single minute of Donald Trump’s speech at the closing of the Republican National Convention last night. I listened, though I knew it would pain me to do so. Nearly eleven million people voted for Trump during the primaries—eleven million want this man to become the leader of the free world and I NEED to understand not why, but how?
Why is clear. Our great melting pot has truly never gelled, not really. While we inhabit the same nation, we have never been united. Along comes the showman, using his reality TV star superpower, he finds his ultimate audience: an America whose white majority feels like it is under attack, from immigrants, from refugees (NOT the same thing as immigrants, though we rarely hear the distinction from this man), from Muslims, from ISIS (again, we rarely hear the distinction), from liberals who want to rid our Constitution of the second Amendment (like they promised Obama would do), from Obama who forces healthcare on his uninsured citizens, from Hillary (because, let’s be honest, she’s a woman), from everything that scares them. The super capitalist knows exactly how to capitalize on fear. It is precisely what has fueled his rise to the top. Yes, why is clear.
How? This is where I get confused. I cannot understand how his supporters reconcile his words and upon closer inspection, his actions. As an electorate, we have come to understand the inevitability and preponderance of spin from our politicians and from the uber wealthy special interests who underwrite them. I used to think that most voters made some effort to parcel out truth, to fact check, to weigh the inevitability of bias and castigate the lies. Maybe I ask too much of the voter, because this is where we are: the Republican Nominee’s narrative is the greatest fiction of our times. We have elevated the Pied-Piper of our fears, a candidate who lies with impunity. We may even elect him.
I, for one, cannot reconcile what I heard with what I know. I wonder how eleven million people can:
“In 2009…Egypt was peaceful.” Mr. Trump went on to ascribe Egypt’s revolution to Hillary. She was hardly responsible for the country’s massive unemployment, or poverty, or corrupt government, all of which preceded her tenure in the Obama Administration. But sure, blame Egypt’s long-overdue uprising on Hillary.
“In 2009…Syria was under control.” Ummm hello? Syria’s dictator has systematically repressed his citizens’ wishes to change the direction of his government. He has secretly absented citizens, tortured and murdered them without consequence. All of the freedoms that Americans enjoy every day are and always have been absent in Syria. All of this preceded 2009. For a clear understanding, Mr. Trump (and his supporters) should review the Department of State’s Human Rights Reports on file.
“After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world.” Hillary Clinton did not create ISIS. Hillary Clinton did not create the conditions that allowed ISIS to rise unimpeded in Iraq and Syria. That, Mr. Trump, was the work of Obama’s predecessor.
“Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.” This smacks of self-interest; smacks of xenophobia. This says to me we shall take what we want to the exclusion of the rights of other nations. Millennials, obviously deficient from the ranks of Trump supporters, seem to understand that they are not a generation that will shrink away from the world…quite the opposite. Millennials are but one group that shall not be served by a President Trump.
“When innocent people suffer, because our political system lacks the will, or the courage, or the basic decency to enforce our laws – or worse still, has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash – I am not able to look the other way.” Never mind the indentured servants building luxury villas in your name in Abu Dhabi. How is it okay for these humans to suffer deplorable work conditions, to work for $150.00 a month in the richest country in the world? How is it okay to perpetuate their hopelessness and their indebtedness, to confiscate their passports, and remove all paths to independence? How is this okay? I’ll tell you how, as long as these humans are not Americans, it is okay.
“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves.” Again, as it relates to Americans only.
“We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place.” Clearly Mr. Trump has no clue regarding the incredibly complex processes in place for any person wishing to immigrate to the United States. As for those coming from states compromised by terrorism? They are fleeing war. War. They are refugees. When Trump makes statements like this, what he is saying is that we cannot trust the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or our own National Counterterrorism Center, or the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center or the Departments of State or Defense or Homeland Security—all of whom have a role in vetting the refugees.
“We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.” This is bald-face race-baiting. This is pandering to fear, fear of the “other”. This is placing the blame for violence, for drugs, for gangs squarely in the lap of Mexicans. It is disgusting.
On January 21st of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced. We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone…” Except for immigrants, of course, and refugees, and Mexicans.
“My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steel workers of our country out of work – that will never happen when I am President.” In seventy-five minutes of rambling, there was not ONE mention of the environment—not one. There was not one mention of alternative energy—not one.
“We will completely rebuild our depleted military…” What? Our military spending accounts for 54 percent of all federal spending. We spend $598.5 billion annually! We spend 3 percent on science. We spend six percent on education. We spend 1 percent on food and agriculture. If this is not fucked up (pardon me, but seriously) I don’t know what is.
“An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with the loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.” In Trump’s America it is okay for religious institutions to utilize their assets to secure passage of controversial laws, not to fund charitable works.
“But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.”
Lying ad infinitum will never be truth. Not ever. So no, I do NOT understand how…