Saturday, April 8, 2017
I am Trump. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
As I review the developments of this past week, that internet meme caption (as featured in front of a picture of Donald Trump's glaring face) seems like less and less of a joke. Since around 85 people in a Syrian town were killed on April 4 by a chemical attack, the political scene, nationally and globally, has gone into a downward spiral that benefits both the Trump administration and the larger centers of American power-which, as that downward spiral includes, Trump has now very much become part of.
The attack in question-which Bashar al Assad is very likely not behind what with how him gassing his own people would ruin the favorable position he's recently gained as a non-target for the U.S. military empire-is being exploited in every which way by the political and media figures who have been so quick to blame it on Assad. Incidentally right after the Queen of Chaos herself Hillary Clinton called for the U.S. to respond to the chemical attack with force, the president betrayed the hopes of those who chose him over Clinton last year because they thought he wouldn't take her reckless approach to the extremely delicate Syria situation and struck a Syrian air base with Tomahawk missiles.
The fallout from Trump's move has been so complex and profound that I couldn't make sense of it at first, but as the implications continue to show themselves it becomes easy to piece together what these air strikes mean: in a wild plot twist, Trump and Friends have now turned their allegiance from the interests of the Russian state to the interests of the Deep State. Yes, after so many months of Trump and his aides quietly aligning themselves with the Kremlin, and then even having initially planned to form an alliance with Putin's political cohort Assad in turn, Trump has caved into the pressures of his neocon critics and betrayed Vlad. And Vlad is just as eager to end the partnership, having responded to the air strikes by suspending the agreement that once prohibited Russia and the U.S. from going into direct military combat.
This action from Trump may have deprived the Deep State and the establishment Democrats and Republicans of their right to continue thumping their McCarthyite narrative about the U.S. having "hacked" the election, but it's given them something even better: the war with Russia that they thought had been delayed four years by Hillary Clinton's loss. As Putin himself already orders his air force to prepare for a "time of war," the neocons who just three days ago were still having CNN put out articles hounding Trump for his Kremlin connections are joining Trump's approach to Syria and Russia with glee. This is exemplified by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's endorsements of the air strikes, which have been accompanied by widespread war drum thumping from the corporate media.
This touching reunion for the Trump team and the Democratic Party and media establishments, the two latter of whom were elevating the former as of around a year ago, concludes an unplanned but ghastly bait-and-switch on much of the American population. The supporters of both Trump and Clinton were trusting their leaders of choice to protect them from the threats posed by the other candidate's agenda, and now the Trump regime and the Clintonist Democrats are partnering to get us into World War III.
No time to reel from the shock of this cinematic twist, though. As the terrifying consequences of this conflict no doubt move towards their culmination in a major terrorist attack on the United States, the political culture will grow exponentially more hostile towards dissidents in the coming weeks, months and years. We'll be told even by former champions of "the resistance" that we must get behind the president. Any criticism of the war effort or the goals of the corporate and Deep State in general will be met with McCarthyite accusations, even from the former Trump-backing proponents of peace with Russia. The rights to speak and organize of those in the greatly burgeoning hate and "patriot" groups will be upheld, while the rights to be politically involved of those who oppose the regime will be incrementally stripped to nil.
Already, Americans are indeed assimilating, with Trump's job approval ratings having jumped to 45% up from 34% before the chemical attack happened. And the pressure to normalize Trump, not to mention the neoliberal and anti-constitutional liberties agenda that he quietly shares with most Democrats in the House and the Senate, will quite possibly soon drive that number above 50%. And to think less than a year ago, I was telling myself that fascism couldn't come if Trump got in.
Before things really start to get crazy, though, I think some reminders are in order.
It's important to remind ourselves that while the American people soon won't mostly oppose the regime itself, they do and most certainly always will oppose what it represents. The vast majority of Americans, including the majority of Republicans, do not believe climate change is a hoax and want to counteract it with alternative energies. The vast majority of Americans, also including more Republicans than not, want an end to the racket of the private health insurance industry and the inaction of universal, federally funded health care. In every way, the vast majority of Americans are disgusted with the current levels of corporate power and wealth and income inequality, and want policies enacted to create an economy that works for everyone. Most Republicans have in many ways joined them, with the majority of Republicans now favoring a higher minimum wage and higher taxes for the rich.
We mustn't forget that while one can disagree over whether Trump or Clinton was the lesser evil in this last election, the majority of Americans understand that Clinton wasn't much different from Trump and that neither major party can bring the changes mentioned above. Even more Americans now view Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party unfavorably than they do Donald Trump; the majority also do not feel represented by the Democratic or Republican parties; and this has showed in how Bernie Sanders would be president right now were it not for the massive voter suppression and electoral fraud that occurred throughout the 2016 Democratic nominating contest, and remains the most popular politician in the country. (Sanders is also the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in the last three polls for that race.)
The recent events mentioned can't distract us from the fact that more and more, this vast majority of Americans who back such sensible measures are successfully fighting to get their goals enacted. Support for and involvement in constructive movements, particularly the efforts for climate action and economic justice, have been rapidly building in the last several months and years. This has been made most recently apparent in the rise of Fight for $15 and the push to get non-corporatist "Berniecrats" into the political system, along with the newly powerful against-odds movement within the conservative community to get GOP lawmakers to address climate change. And as economic inequality and carbon emission-created environmental problems continue to get worse, these and other such movements are expected to become prevalent to a tipping point within the next few years.
The launching of the Syrian/Russian war shouldn't make us lose sight of the monumental societal push that's in motion towards positive change, and it even more importantly shouldn't make us stop paying attention to the jobs we can do individually for that push. The opportunity to donate to groups like Democratic Socialists of America and Brand New Congress is still here. We still have the ability to participate in and organize protests against the war, as well as to pressure those in power through other means such as contacting them directly. Our window for revolt is still here. But it's fast closing.
After decades of incremental corporate and Deep State coups which haven't yet brought about the official elimination of constitutional liberties, we're currently in a strange state where it's usually allowed for one to say the government, corporations and the media aren't working in the public interest, and yet tyranny is still present in nearly every other respect. We aren't yet forbidden from saying we're going to revolt, but every time we make a serious effort to do so-Occupy Wall Street, the Bernie Sanders campaign-it's put down through excessive police enforcement, marginalization from the media, and, most recently, electoral fraud. And as the coup enters its final frontiers in the age of Trump, we'll be met with yet more efforts to crush dissent, the methods of which have been helpfully foreshadowed in things like the heavily policed 2016 RNC and the for now unsuccessful push by GOP lawmakers to outlaw peaceful protests.
Yes, there is still time to resist, and to resist bigly. But it's fast running out, and the dramatic presence of the war is itself already making it harder to mobilize-I shortly ago saw my activist social media friends all talking about getting single payer health care passed, and when the strike happened, the subject immediately changed. We need to get our thoughts back on track, not succumb to the mad distractions being thrown at us by the war-eager corporate media, and take action like never before.
Finally, let's also remind ourselves that we're not alone at all when we get involved in the political system, and that there are far more than enough people across the country also working towards our goals to make continuing the fight worthwhile. History has shown it takes 3.5% of the population to topple a dictatorship, and 25% of the population has been found in polls to be working harder than otherwise for political and social change in the Trump era. With that said, let's get to work.