By Tom Sullivan
Serial killers and mass murderers behind bars at San Quentin State Prison are yuge Donald Trump supporters. I know it. I know people, okay? They are. Believe me. Anybody who doesn't get that is stupid.
Digby yesterday wrote at length about Donald Trump's fascistic rhetoric, about his promise to "take out" the families of Daesh militants, about his expressed disdain for a multitude of Others, about the Times finding that Trump labeled opponents "stupid" at least 30 times in the last week ("weak" is another Trump favorite), about his threat to use waterboarding and worse to make America great again. It is chilling to see crowds cheer for this. Or for Jerry Falwell, Jr.'s Friday boast, "I've always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in." Emulating Trump, Falwell is "not backing down" from eliminationist remarks that on their face targeted a religion held by over 1.5 billion people.
The Washington Post editorial board this morning calls out Trump for his "near-constant use of cheap stereotypes and insults" in his appearances:
Mr. Trump is corrosive to the U.S. political debate in at least two ways. One is his basic contempt for facts. Mr. Trump simply made up his recent claim that he watched “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11, later justifying it by claiming some of his supporters remember similar events. Mr. Trump’s approach to truth — it is whatever I want it to be — uniquely threatens the notion that people of different identities and experiences can nevertheless conduct a civil dialogue based on the universal language of observable fact. Without this rudimentary principle, the American experiment in multi-ethnic, religiously diverse democracy is doomed.
Second, if it weren’t already clear, his comments this week underscore that Mr. Trump sees people as caricatures and stereotypes to be poked at and exploited rather than as individuals with dignity. This not only insults people, reducing them to simple manifestations of gender, creed or ethnicity. It also undermines the very premise of American freedom: that individuals’ inherent worth entitles them to unalienable rights that no president can or should abridge — especially “leaders” who, like Mr. Trump, inflame some Americans’ suspicions and prejudices against minority groups for political gain.
That is, Trump is antithetical to the very idea of America. Except to fans he addresses on a fourth-grade level.
People should stop calling Trump a fascist, Max Ehrenfreund suggested at Wonkblog this week. There is a difference. Rather, he is fascistic, as David Neiwert wrote at Crooks and Liars. Trump does not have a coherent enough ideology to be a fascist:
Trump’s only real ideology is the Worship of the Donald, and he will do and say anything that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the American body politic in order to attract their support – the nation’s id, the near-feral segment that breathes and lives on fear and paranoia and hatred.
Trump's boasting about his strength and manly prowess in damned-near everything proves Mencken's old adage, "There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong." And his opponents?
"All of 'em are weak, they're just weak," Trump said Tuesday of his fellow candidates. "I think they're weak, generally, you want to know the truth. But I won't say that, because I don't want to get myself, I don't want to have any controversies. So I refuse to say that they're weak generally, OK? Some of them are fine people. But they are weak."“People want strength,” Donald Trump told reporters the other day, boasting that his poll numbers go up after every tragedy:
“We’re going to be so vigilant. We’re going to be so careful. We’re going to be so tough and so mean and so nasty,” he said. He returned to the same theme later in the rally, telling attendees how the American people ought to respond to threats in the world: “We’ve got to be vigilant. We’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to be tough.”
Strong. Tough. Mean. Nasty. Celebrating those lofty, family-values virtues are perhaps why Johnny Cash's 1969 performance at San Quentin was such a hit with convicts. It bears repeating:
If you want a perfect encapsulation of the conservative world view, you need look no further than "A Boy Named Sue," a song made famous by Johnny Cash and (ironically) written by the late Shel Silverstein, a writer of children's books.
"Son, this world is rough, and if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough...
It's the name that helped to make you strong"
Not a good father. Not a good husband. Not a good citizen. But strong. It's all that matters.
That's why blustering manhood and guns and codpieces play so well on the right. It is also why weakness is both a cardinal sin and the ultimate RW insult. Weakness evokes the same makes-my-skin-crawl response the Nazi Shliemann had in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to "the thought of this -- (spitting it out) -- Jewish ritual."
Now to watch the Sunday talk shows for the ever-telephonic Donald Trump, the strong man who phones it in.