Trump’s Thursday speech marked a turning point. There to be no scenario in which this country refutes him and simply goes about its business.”>
Its easy to forget how silly most people conceived Donald Trump was, the whole way back in January. It was before any primaries or caucuses. Trump contributed in most polls, but people still couldnt actually quite believe that people were actually going to vote for him.
I spent much of that month at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, reporting for The Daily Beast on the militants who had taken it over. In the intervening months, Trump has morphed from a vague gag or a thumb in the eye of the creation, is dependent on your point of view, to a fascist megalomaniacal wreck of successful candidates who is unlikely to be elected because he is fundamentally incapable of reading past his own nose.
As Trump has become an ever-more-worrisome figure, you can track his descent into right-wing madness readily. There were the Red Meat periods, where he was merely a bigot. Then reached the alt-right stage, the joyous celebration of Daddy Trump and Pepe the Frog and the oven gags on Twitter. Trump has by now lied so often and so blatantly that many people thought it a little joke when we found out hed boasted about sexually assaulting girls. Of course he did, hes Donald Trump.
But for once the man was telling the truth, and in the last day or so America has watched with dawning fright as we realize that if he wasnt lying about being a sex offender, perhaps he has not been lying about the walls and the deportations and the locking up of his political opponents. Maybe hes actually been telling the truth about himself this whole time.
I watched his speech Thursday, and if I shut my eyes, I could reek the campfire smoke at the Malheur refuge and feel the Oregon winter wind on my appearance. Here were the plots, the references to the shadowy international cabals, the whisperings about the illegitimacy of the Department of Justice and the Trilateralist coopting of the FBI.
It was like listening to an immodest Ammon Bundy. We have to protect ourselves from not only the governmental forces( because it is only a pawn) but from the people who actually run it. We should be watchful, resilient, readyand though he is reluctant, he will sacrifice himself, for he is the only one who can save us from the terror.
Donald Trump shouted out every fevered dystopian fiction I heard on the refuge, with certain exceptions of Agenda 21 and abortion as population command. They control the Department of Justice, he replied. They have basically perverted the director of the FBI. This is a conspiracy against you, the American people, and we cannot let this happen or continue. This is our time of supposing. This is precisely the logic that contributed a few hundred persons to take up arms against the governmental forces in Oregon, though at least Ammon Bundy started with a reasonably legitimate premise. Donald Trump doesnt even have two Americans jailed twice for the same crime to legitimize his quest.
What he has is a small but developing periphery that talks about We the People instead of Americans. We have already seen the violence at his rallies, we have seen the vicious street onslaughts, we have worried about the rise of the right. What I have not until Thursday heard was something that spiked my nativist upbringing, words delivered in a very special order that constructed me want to go buy another rifle and check my meat storage.
I was raised among white people, sent to an elementary school in which there were no black children, and then moved to the mountains of Utah for high school, where the neo-Nazis recruited at illicit drinking parties because children who would have a beer is currently being disaffected in an overwhelmingly Mormon culture. There is a part of me that recollects the coding, the atmospheres, recollects the fear that the government might come and massacre us again as the government has in times not that long ago. I reject it violently, but you dont ever forget what you were raised to believe even if you read better.
It would take a linguist to comb through that lecture and parse out which words came from where. I am only a columnist steeped in the language of right-wing revolution. I was outraged by Trump before. But now I am worried. There is no scenario in which this country refutes him and then goes about its business; we let his rise and we have emboldened the people that we ignored for so long. We have three weeks to go yet, more scandals and reactions and dread and terror, and at the end of it, we will have an unknowable number of people who will perfectly and without question were of the view that Hillary Clintons election is an unmistakable sign that it is time for the governed to withdraw their consent.
Not a majority; not even many, compared to the millions of people who live in America. But enough. Thursday, Donald Trump traveled a stair further down the path of militant right-wing revolution. It wasnt a call to limbs, precisely. But it was far past the point of comfort.
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