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Tuesday, September 05, 2017


No country for old white men

by Tom Sullivan

Still from Fargo.

An emotionally damaged president, a West Wing run by Batman henchmen, the Russian government, the Russian mafia (same thing?), money laundering, armed militia in body armor, "free speech" white nationalists waving Nazi and Confederate flags. It feels as if we are all extras in the next Joel and Ethan Coen film. We know somebody's going into the wood chipper. It's just a question of who and when. Maybe the country?

The script still needs some doctoring, though. There's the still-open question of whether the president will or won't deport 800,000 undocumented DREAM kids, upending lives and families to satisfy the demands of his MAGA red hats. DREAMERS might go in first ... in six months. Meaning the Attention Junkie-In-Chief will have 5-1/2 months to puff out his chest about the deportations at rallies and then change his mind if he thinks that works better for him when the deadline approaches.

Then there is the matter of building The Wall now that there is Hurricane Harvey to cleanup after and Irma on the way. UNLESS. Unless, he can get THE MEXICANS to pay for it. Is Javier Bardem available? He might accomplish what the president cannot. He too had the creepy hair thing going.

Republican strategist Rick Wilson has some ideas on the president's character arc:

First, the basic, fundamental problem is President Short Attention Span himself. Trump’s inability to focus for longer than the duration of a tweet will make his troubles in the coming months much, much worse. Consider last Sunday as an example. At first, he greeted the day with a few on-point messages of support for the people hit hard by Harvey. Then things went off the rails, with a logrolling promotion of Sheriff David Clarke’s book, some bleating about Mexico paying for the imaginary Wall, and a swipe at Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. While FEMA, the State of Texas, and tens of thousands of volunteers buckled down for recovery operations, Donald Trump was engaged in his usual Twitter logorrhea.

If you thought that Trump would improve once Steve Bannon, Seb Gorka and a few of the other hangers-on were fired, think again. Trump is always Trump, and never, ever improves. Even the scripted statements and speeches where he reads from the teleprompter are done through gritted teeth, and you can practically see the mania building as he plots his next attention-whoring outrage. John Kelly’s thankless task won’t get easier. The prisoner never loves his warden, even if he obeys the rules from time to time. The White House staff will need to keep the shock collar charged in the next 10 days, as the scope of the deaths and destruction becomes clear.

Second, Donald Trump’s disaster on race isn’t over, no matter how many variations of the staff-driven cleanup speeches and remarks he reads. The cat was out of the bag the moment the “both sides” speech lowered the bar on presidential moral character, and it’s cracked the loyalty of his Cabinet and deeply embarrassed an already shamed and disgusted Republican Congress.
For the climax? Sally Bradshaw, once a top adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, suggested to Buzzfeed a Reckoning:
“Donald Trump is anti-woman, anti-Hispanic, anti-black, anti-anything that would bring the country together,” she responded when pressed further. “The only thing he is for is himself. Those in Republican leadership who have enabled his behavior by standing silent or making excuses for him deserve the reckoning that will eventually come ...
Joel? Ethan? In case you need a parade rather than a toe to advance the plot, we've got a location scouted. Seriously, they filmed a gay pride parade here for My Fellow Americans. But you'll want something a little different. A retired businesswoman posted this Monday on Facebook:
Not In That Parade - Not This Black Woman Who Knows History: This is what I was suppose to look like in today's Labor Day Parade in Canton in support of the Western Region Coalition of Raising Wages NC as a representative of Asheville Buncombe County NAACP (but I would've had a smile). In our effort to put Labor (workers) back into Labor Day, we were all coming dressed as workers - me as a woman in business.

To our dismay, when Bruce and I entered the float lineup location at 9:07am, the first thing we saw was two trucks with very large confederate flags (the battle flag of North Virginia led Robert E. Lee and later adopted by southerns as a symbol of their heritage which included hate of black people, terrorism visited upon black people and murder of black people, and some whites of good will, too.). With a knot in my chest, we proceeded forward to our spot, #33, where we sat for a few minutes. We decided to head back to the entry just to see what was up...then there were 3 trucks. Without missing a beat, we decided to leave.

Whether those three trucks marked with HATE were officially in the parade or not, I cannot say. But I do know they had to pass through a check point manned by Canton Police. Why did they not turn them away?

We stopped for breakfast in South Asheville. Those flags were a trigger...all through breakfast I kept having flashes of the HATE filled images of white people waving confederate flags screaming at black children integrating schools, signs that read Negroes go back to Africa, Keep Our Schools White, white child with KKK uniform. The images of people being trampled on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on what became known as Bloody Sunday because it ended in Alabama state police and volunteers tearing through a column of black non-violent demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks and whips, beating the protesters.That HATEFUL flag has been waved, cheered for and rallied around by whites with rage and hate in their eyes, hearts AND actions. The link between the confederate flag and a legacy of racial HATRED is inextricable.

Heritage yes...heritage that had it as the battle flag of a treasonous group of people who fought to keep black people enslaved. Heritage that taught and supported denigration of black people all during Jim Crow until today. A heritage that terrorized and killed black people with their KKK hoods on and without.

Now they wave it and march with Nazis and the so called Alt-Right and our president has normalized it. It's just plain HATEFUL...sickening.

There are plenty of people around this country who believe they no longer receive the deference to which people of their hue were once entitled. Besides being a futile and stupid gesture of defiance, perhaps they embrace the Lost Cause because subconsciously they see their futures as just that. Still, nothing says Loser quite like the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. Maybe irony isn't dead after all.

It is easy enough around here to muster extras who can supply their own Confederate flags. But for filmmakers they are a little harder to direct [NSFW; Dalton, GA]:

"God don't like ugly."

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.