Trump Launches Culture War Against Americans Who Haven't Died On His Watch Yet
Over the Fourth of July weekend, Donald Trump declared war against an unseen enemy. Unlike COVID-19, which has killed almost 130,000 actual people (and counting), the president's chosen foe has claimed no casualties because it doesn't exist.
Trump declared Friday at his South Dakota super spreader event that “our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children." Wow, that's terrible. Someone should inform the president. Maybe they already have. He's not big on reading his daily briefings.
The president ranted about those damn hippies at Mount Rushmore, a shrine to American egotism that Laura Ingraham is convinced Joe Biden plans to level and replace with the drag queens from Stonewall. (Just a quick list of people older than Mount Rushmore: Smokey Robinson, George Takei, Sam Waterston, and Nancy Pelosi.) Rushmore is in no immediate peril. It will survive to see 2021. That's not guaranteed of the seniors living in Florida, who are bailing on Trump. The president can't keep living, breathing American citizens safe, but dammit, he's gonna protect the graven images of dead white guys.
TRUMP: Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.
Meanwhile, in the non-Fox News reality, unemployment is in double digits, and the coronavirus is spreading unchecked. As Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth observed, Trump's "priorities are all wrong." Fortunately, the “smarter than Sean Hannity" demographic is significant, and Biden continued winning us over with his Independence Day message.
Our nation was founded on a simple idea: We're all created equal. We've never lived up to it — but we've never stop… https://t.co/0uLx0lyd7F— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden) 1593871201.0
That was damn good. Biden is the man for this moment. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a celebrity Republican who once hosted "The Apprentice," also embarrassed the fake president with a more inspiring speech. I confess to choking up a little, but I grew up in the '80s and enjoyed Kindergarten Cop.
Happy birthday, America. Thank you for letting me live the American Dream. We must fight every day to make sure tha… https://t.co/Lv5MFXRiIU— Arnold (@Arnold) 1593874034.0
Saturday, Trump continued his readings from Travis Bickle's diary at a Salute to America event at the White House.
TRUMP: American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the Earth. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
As impossible it is to believe, Trump is the current president of the United States. That means he's responsible for defending America from threats both foreign and domestic, even the ones he just makes up. He claimed children are taught in school "to hate their own country," but Colin Kaepernick isn't secretary of Education. That's Betsy DeVos, and she works for Trump.
George H.W. Bush tried to beat Bill Clinton in 1992 with a renewed focus on the culture wars. Republicans realized by late summer that a “family values" strategy was failing, because it's the “economy, stupid." The unemployment rate was almost half what it is now, and we could safely dine in restaurants and get shit-faced at bars. Trump has no strategy for improving the economy because that requires admitting COVID-19 exists. The president absurdly claimed Saturday that 99 percent of coronavirus cases were “harmless."
Trump thinks he can win with Richard Nixon's 1968 “Law and Order" platform. However, Tricky Dick at least tried to distinguish himself from segregationist George Wallace. This is what Nixon said when a Black panelist at a 1968 TV forum asked him to define “Law and Order":
I have often said that you cannot have order unless you have justice, because if you stifle dissent, if you just stifle progress, you're going to have an explosion and you're going to have disorder.
On the other hand, you can't have progress without order, because when you have disorder, and revolution, you destroy all of the progress you have.
Trump, however, all but runs around shouting, “Segregation now! Segregation forever!" He's too stupid to effectively code his language.
There's another fact that might've slipped past Trump's crack campaign staff: Nixon wasn't president in the 1968 election. Lyndon B. Johnson had chosen not to run again, and the Democrats were in actual disarray. Trump is the incumbent presiding over the supposed American carnage. “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" isn't a question Trump wants voters to ask themselves when they cast their ballots.
It is strange to think that on this Independence Day, our Republic’s greatest threat is not China, Russia, or Cuba,… https://t.co/0ucuo26HcI— Bernard B. Kerik (@Bernard B. Kerik) 1593872390.0
Protesters didn't topple a Confederate statue on Kimberly Guilfoyle, who's dating Trump's least favorite child. COVID-19 happened to her, as it did Katie Miller, Herman Cain, and countless other Americans. Trump and his fellow bigots can't even consider uniting with us to defeat a global pandemic. They'd rather fight the same old culture war and demonstrate to voters everywhere how unfit they are to govern.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."