Thursday, July 25, 2019

Trump Governs Through Spectacle

The Cruel U.S. Administration


“For the trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide. In this sense, truth, even if it does not prevail in public, possesses an ineradicable primacy over all falsehoods.”

Hannah Arendt [1906–1975];
“Lying in Politics” in The Life of the Mind (1978)


An article (“Trump’s Day of Terror;” July 12, 2019), by Matt Ford, in The New Republic explains what the mass immigration raids are hoping to achieve. It is not to solve the immigration problem, but to both instill fear in the “other” communities of undocumented immigrants, and to also assure his supporters that he’s on the right track in his campaign of cruelty. Ford writes:
The Trump administration forecasts its deportation raids not to make them more successful, but to instill fear in disfavored communities and to signal to his supporters that he’s doing just that. Trump constantly strives to slake his base’s unquenchable thirst for harsher policies toward immigrants. I’ve written before on how the border itself, and all the social ills that Trump ascribes to it, acts as a white whale of sorts for his presidency. The Cops-like show drama of the upcoming raids is red meat for Fox News viewers and Breitbart readers alike.
It does not matter to such people whether or not these immigrants are a security risk or what their lives are like or what they are escaping; what matters, and the president and his administration says so, is that these persons, including children and babies, need to be removed and deported back to where they came—even if where they came from is dangerous, even if where they came from is dangerous because of blunders in American foreign policy—the kind that hurts the poor, the working class and the non-wealthy. 

No, none of that matters for people like Stephen Miller, “the immigration warlord” who counsels Rasputin-like the president, who Ford says, “governs through spectacle.” Nor does it matter for his base of fans. Yet, there is a real problem in such callous and superficial thinking, one that is bound to fail. It is hard for me to fathom why anyone in the working-class would want to support this wealthy president, when his economic policies are aimed solely at the wealthy. He takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

The working-class is being used and duped, since the working class has few “friends” in Washington and none among the Republicans. This reason alone makes me doubt that Trump & Co,—who grew up with silver spoons in their mouths, who never suffered hardship, and who disdain the poor—give two hoots for the working class. No, they care as much for the working class as they do the other desperate masses of people trying to make a better life in America. For them, it is all about political spectacle; and it matters not for these “wealthy ones” that its policies are cruel, that its policies are immoral, that its policies are unjust.

Can you imagine what could happen if the nation’s leaders considered as good the virtues of love, of truth, of mercy, and of justice? If it would welcome the stranger with respect and treat him or her with dignity and with kindness? Can you imagine the outcome? Such small gestures alone would move the nation in a completely different direction than the one it is now going. 

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