Monday, October 17, 2016
Right Trope Walker
Mainly this is a stated concern of people under 50, sober, intelligent, well-educated, who have no living memory of what the national mood was like in the early-mid '60s. Unfortunately, I kind of do. Which is to say that very few people now worrying about the Trump effect after Nov. 8, have any grasp of the influence groups like the John Birch Society, KKK, and even the American Nazi Party once had.
People enjoy recalling how Wm. F. Buckley banished the Birchers; and the FBI, and Justice Dept. did a fine job taking down the Klan (while the AmNazis mainly took out each other), with the applied notion that somehow these groups were thereby nipped in the bud. No. They were well-established regional extremist organizations for years before their respective collapses.
Which is to say that the current crop of mean yay-hoos the DT campaign is viciously attempting to gin up is nowhere near the weight of those past failed movements, and should not be showed the respect of fear, or attempted understanding. Losers lose, a lot, and though it may be discouraging that there are so many furious simpletons keen on misunderstanding real life, it is a problem mainly for themselves.
Because, yes, their brand of white Protestant small-stakes culture is dying, but more from its roots, an ingrained suspicion of outsiders, and a patriarchal hatred of things they can't control, than any snide dismissals, like this one, made by outside elites. If any elites betrayed racist, small town America, it was the ones they relied on the most: elected officials who refused to extend federal social services to communities very much in need; churches obsessed with heterosexual probity and female submission in lieu of forgiveness and charity; a popular culture emphasizing national belligerence, patriotic display, guns, big engines, and alcohol consumption, over folk art, history, and community festivals.
Because even if the wider, coastal society didn't offer much to these interior white enclaves, the supposed base of GOP anger, neither did they have much to offer themselves, and the fact that so many fell for a patent conman, a big talking nutjob with his own jet and a fondness for gold leaf interiors, should give you some notion of how successful any political movement growing from the DT campaign will be. Maybe someday they'll come up with someone more like themselves, a plain-talking guy with a cheerful smile and at least a run at coherence to cover the hatred, but, demographically, it may be too late for even that. We'll see.
Yes, some spiteful cretins will threaten and hurt others in the aftermath of Trump's defeat, and promptly end up in jail. Some will attempt to find some justification and meaning in disgrace. But the cat has been belled. It will be very clear going forward who the idiots, useful and otherwise, are, and the losers, unless they give it a rest, will find new ways to utterly fail.