4 minute read

President Donald Trump divides this country against itself at every possible turn. While celebrations of Independence Day are typically apolitical, Trump’s rabid demagoguery at his July 3 Mount Rushmore rally in South Dakota painted everyone who does not support him as less than American and less than human.

In his speech, Trump “othered” everyone in America who was not white, Republican, and Judeo-Christian but mostly Christian. He spoke of anyone who fights against hate as “alien to our culture and our values,” and the use of “alien” was intentional, a word selected to dehumanize. In particular, he went hard against what bigots refer to as “cancel culture” when one of theirs is outed as a lover of hate.

Opinion

Opinion

by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press

“One of their political weapons is ‘cancel culture’ — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees,” Trump said. “This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America. This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly. We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life.”

When Trump says that this “attack on our liberty… must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly,” he is threatening Americans.

I will be specific about what “cancel culture” is and what it is not.

This week, Michael Lofthouse, the CEO of a San Francisco information technology company called Solid8, was eating in the Bernadus Lodge in Carmel Valley, California when he went on a tirade against an Asian family that was celebrating a birthday nearby on July 4, the day after Trump’s speech.

“Trump is going to fuck you,” Lofthouse said in smartphone video taken at the scene. “You fuckers need to leave. Fucking Asian piece of shit.”

Singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson shared the video posted by Jordan Liz Chan on Instagram. On July 7, the video went viral thanks to Clarkson, who lived up to her title as an American Idol.

Lofthouse is being justly vilified for his hateful actions. Trump claims this is “the very definition of totalitarianism” – a typical claim for a little, little man who projects all criticism directed toward him on his enemies.

Factually, Clarkson and others who shared the video exercised their First Amendment rights. Lofthouse’s words, which were textbook hate speech in every way, are not protected by the First Amendment. If Lofthouse’s behavior is the Trumpian ideal of “our magnificent liberty,” it is only because Trump is cut from the same bloodstained cloth as Lofthouse.

Everything about Trump’s speech, written by his white supremacist political adviser Stephen Miller, was predicated on hate.

When organizations like Black Lives Matter address the systemic racism and subjugation that has plagued this nation since its inception, Trump sees the protests as an effort to “wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

Trump was not lying when he said that protesters “are trying to tear down statues of our founders.” But of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore, two of them were slave owners.

Are black Americans supposed to feel good about this? Trump is a pathologically dishonest man, and Black Lives Matter wants to see our country’s history addressed with honesty rather than with Thomas Carlyle’s “great man theory” of history, a point of view that nearly erased the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre from our collective memories.

The President of the United States is fomenting war between his fascists and our anti-fascists. It was all there under the lights of Mount Rushmore and in his classically rancid style, the fascist called his opponents fascists.

“In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance,” Trump said. “If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. It’s not going to happen to us.”

By definition, fascism is a far-right construct of ultra-nationalist totalitarianism.

Everything about his speech extolled those ideas, and as he has since traveling down his golden Trump Tower escalator in 2015 to announce his candidacy for president, Trump wants to sow hatred and distrust of our most important institutions.

Trump’s desire is to divide and conquer our nation. He was successful in dividing us; he cannot be allowed to conquer us.


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