Thursday, June 16, 2016

Coal Dust

The nexus of the LGBT community and the Muslim community created by the flash point of the Orlando massacre is a dangerous moment for two minority populations here in the US. We're already seeing Republican politicians refusing to accept the obvious fact that nearly everyone killed and injured at the Pulse nightclub was gay as being anything but a random accident of chance. This weird denial of reality, which is exhibited by a number of senators and congressmen, is grounded in the right wing politics they maintain, which includes a total denial of the fact that there is a LGBT community, or that such a community deserves any sort of acknowledgement and protection. Same sex marriage may be the law of the land, but much of the right wing takes the same position about that as they do with Roe V. Wade. And it's being proven, with every stumbling block law passed, state by state, to make legal abortion de facto illegal, that there's more than one way to deal with moral progress that conflicts with accepted prejudice. As Rachel Maddow proved when she held the last innocent conversation with Rand Paul that he would ever have, states rights is still viewed by many as a powerful tool of reactionary forces. For that matter, on nearly every front the progress of the Civil Rights struggles of the '60s is being tested, from voting to public schools to housing to hiring. De facto is a bridge too far. The buses are being parked. (For much more on this aspect of the situation, see: )

Meanwhile, people are calling today for the actual outlawing of the religion of Islam in the United States, and Mr. Trump is perhaps only stopping one dependent clause short of that when he continues to call for a ban on immigrating muslims, the constant surveillance of muslim Americans (Mateen was an American citizen, born in the same city as Donald Trump). What could be more perfect, from the standpoint of the bigots and white supremacists, than to pit one hated community against another. Mr Obama the other day made an incontrovertible point when he said that singling out American Muslims for special surveillance would be un-American, or as he put it, "that's not the America we want." Former Ambassador John Bolton, responding on Fox News shortly thereafter, said essentially "who says?" He accused Mr. Obama of "snark." Mr. Trump suggested Mr. Obama was on the side of ISIS.

I hope we can all recall the remarkable atmosphere just after 9/11. From the media to Hillary Clinton there was precious little objection to mounting a military intervention in Afganistan, and shortly to staging the Iraq War. The thousands of citizen protesters to these wars were brushed aside as unworthy of notice. The few eloquent voices in the Congress, mostly black women, were ignored.

Mr. Trump is now espousing the fundamental doctrine of the Nazi. He says in speeches that muslims "cannot assimilate." This was exactly Hitler's complaint about Jews. They remain "other." They're "not like us." Mrs. Clinton's responses to Orlando are more nuanced to be sure, but also accept much of the "them/us" rhetoric of the moment. As someone asked, what would we be saying if Mateen was Lutheran, or Southern Baptist. No one talked of outlawing a religion or even a religious faction when back in the winter a former North Carolinian slaughtered some innocent people at a Denver Planned Parenthood clinic, no matter that he was spouting scripture.

One or two more escalations of essentially random events and the American public might be pushed over the edge into fascism with nothing but the feather of Trump's incoherent rhetoric. Fear magnifies. It's exactly what happened to our little cat, Kirby, a few weeks ago. He couldn't help himself. His deepest instincts, to stay alive, took over, and he began to mistrust everything, including us, his "people." It took us a week to coax him back. Today he sleeps in the window in the cool morning breeze, and that week in the woods is hardly a memory. We--us humans--are mammals, just like him, ten fingers and toes, all the rest, just bigger brains. Deep down in our brains sleeps the fear response, the voice that screams run, run now, don't stop. Like Sheila O'Malley on September 12, 2001, we can find ourselves crouching under a bench in Central Park because a fighter jet has passed low overhead.

It is odious to vote for the Clintons, who are little better than Rockefeller Republicans and far far too interested in their own financial well-being. It is probably likely that before the first term of Hillary Rodham Clinton is over we will be watching new impeachment hearings on the teevee. Or perhaps turning them off, night after night, in utter disgust. The right wing, the white supremacists and the oligarchy, have pursued the Clintons since they achieved national power because they have obvious flaws, be it "bimbo eruptions" or an ill-considered private email server, or an odd coincidence of incredible speaking fees and friendly banking legislation or the lack thereof. It's not even policy, it's just power with the right. If Clinton wins it will be in part because Trump is so much a Nazi that the oligarchy perceives the obvious financial downside of an out and out war with the religion of Islam. German industry did not benefit from Hitler, not in the end. The industrial power of Germany eventually recovered because Germany was utterly defeated, Berlin in a state of rubble. Why, the oligarchy surely asks itself, go there again.

The question now is, can democracy be buffaloed by screaming fear. The beast slouches towards Bethlehem at the start of this summer of 2016. At the top is Berlin, 1945. That's the Reichstag in the background, abandoned and in ruins.

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