The ugliness

So much interesting stuff being written about the Republican convention worth discussion and analysis.  Alas, I’m actually trying to take a vacation here (I certainly have much better things to do with my time than actually watch any of the convention).  Anyway, Rebecca Traister’s is among the best, so…

What we have seen, this week, is the Republican Party offering its stage and its imprimatur to speakers who have not appeared reluctant or conflicted, but rather buoyed and energized by the way in which Trump’s candidacy has allowed them to come out as inciters of sexist, racist, violent mob action and xenophobic fearmongering. [emphases mine] What’s more, by framing their hateful rhetoric in terms of patriotism, they are reminding us that much of the poison in this country runs deep…

The Republican Party wants to return us to a time in which white male authority and power was absolute, in which punishment could be meted out as the majority desired, quelling the threats of minority upstarts…

Proclaiming that he was hoping to “do something fun tonight,” Christie recited to the crowd a litany of Clinton’s supposed sins. With every offense, he asked them, “Guilty or not guilty?”

Guilty!” they boomed, with increasing vigor. Watching from the press seats, high above the floor, it was possible to see the crowd undulating with excitement, surging toward Christie with their fists in the air, electrified by this call to mob justice.

It was chilling.

I was not the only person in the room to be reminded of 17th-century witch trials, the blustering magistrate and rowdy crowd condemning a woman to death for her crimes, which often, even then, included reports that she had been consorting with a black man. So evocative were the callbacks to some of the worst nightmares of America’s past that it barely came as a surprise when former presidential candidate Ben Carson then directly accused Clinton of familiarity with Lucifer…

Don’t think that Trump is the exception to an American rule; he is the living embodiment of a cruel and unjust strain of our history that has yet to die out completely. Perhaps the most important sentence so far in this grim and angry week was uttered by Giuliani, who darkly warned, “There’s no next election; this is it. There’s no time left for us …” This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival. They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white patriarchal power. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to The ugliness

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    “Don’t think that Trump is the exception to an American rule; he is the living embodiment of a cruel and unjust strain of our history that has yet to die out completely.”

    This cruel and unjust strain is not dying at all but is thriving, growing and helping fund the Republican party. The current revival started with Nixon’s Southern strategy.

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