What price freedom?

Trump Tower Of Hate

Good morning, America!

It’s been another week of Trump’s tweet bombs inciting divisive hatred and pumped fists, or dropped jaws of the too polite, clueless elite. Listening to NPR’s Ari Shapiro interview Marc Lotter this week was audio torture. Lotter is the strategic communications director for Trump’s 2020 Campaign. Shapiro repeatedly asked variations of the same question: Weren’t Trump’s latest tweets telling the four, new congresswomen (aka The Squad) to “go home” racist? Duh. Lotter barricaded, parsed, spun, and lied. The obvious lie was fact checked by NPR; Ilhan Omar has never professed to support al Qaeda. There was no reveal in the interview. Most people know or are willing to admit Trump’s tweets are racist. That’s the whole point. The only surprise is that citizens are supposed to believe there is an actual inquiry happening here.

That Trump’s behavior would have consequences in other contexts in America is ironic. Zoom into a high school cafeteria in Anywhere, USA. It’s lunchtime and teens are grabbing hamburgers or pizza, chips, limp salads and finding their peeps. A few are solo. A 17-year old male with fluffy, orange hair and a MAGA hat is remarking loudly to a friend, while gesturing toward four, young women at the next table, “They should go back to the countries they came from.” He turns toward them and speaks loudly so everyone can hear: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.” The four young women have different political views and different skin pigmentation than Mr. MAGA. However, they are fellow citizens and already home. A teacher overhearing the exchange approaches the young man and intercedes. There are consequences for public bullying and racism in high school. It wouldn’t be allowed between first graders on the playground, nor would many of Trump’s other egregious behaviors. However, Trump continues unfettered, and notably uncensored, by his Republican colleagues. While Trump is responsible to Congress, Congress is accountable to Wall Street and corporate America. Citizen’s United exponentially empowered corporate influence and significantly weakened our democracy. As Wall Street buzzes along, so does the President. Tweet. Tweet. Whatever. Money always Trumps.

In 2019, American citizens and the world know that Trump’s MO is crashing cultural norms and defying the ‘lowest of low’ expectations of common decency. He mocks being presidential and leads with a toxic, mean-spirited mix of arrogance and hubris. It’s predatory and effective. Citizens like or dislike this, or are so busy with daily survival that it’s irrelevant. Trump is stoking racism again to benefit his re-election bid. The four Congresswomen attacked this week will be made into the “socialist” face of the Democrats, a trigger word. Other trigger words are abortion, the 2nd Amendment, climate change, immigration, “the Dems,” and “the wall,”, etc. Racism as an original and ongoing wound of our nation’s psyche has the broadest reach and impact though; more will be forthcoming.

Trump survives and thrives on these sound bites, the amygdala overdrive, and social unrest they stimulate. The amygdala, about the size of an almond, is part of the emotion center or limbic system of the brain. The amygdala is where the emotions of fear, anger, and negativity arise and get activated. Trump is highly skilled at ramping up the amygdala. Think about the emotions that can be evoked at high level sports competitions or even Little League. Then remember Trump’s rallies and tweets. Trump is the King of Scarcity, fearmongering, and ‘othering.’ Trump manipulates and redirects American’s fear and angst related to their legitimate concerns. If you believe him, X, Y, and Z have taken your jobs, your security, your fill-in-the-blank. Or will, if you let them across the border. If you are white, struggling, and disenfranchised, he has a reclamation fantasy of power and possibility for you, while exacerbating your sense of victimhood. This includes putting women in their place, the great grab (literally and through infringing on reproductive rights.) In the Trump Tower of Hate, aka Trumpdom, women are objects, not autonomous equals. We are meant to please first and shut up second. Ask Melania. The First Lady knows this better than anyone, except Ivanka.

Make no mistake though, Trump represents We the People in obvious and subtle ways. He’s unleashed the underbelly of our racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic history and ongoing festering behaviors and wounds. Name these as social justice issues or identity politics, they are real and manipulatively divisive, as citizens are pitted against each other under conflicting banners. He throws the live bait in-between a divided citizenry, and their purported representatives, and then watches them attack the bait and gouge each other to pieces. Business as usual continues on in the background. Trump symbolizes our greed, insatiable hunger, and willingness to exploit each other, foreign nations and their people, and the planet. We Americans fetishize wealth and celebrity at any price. The commodification of everything is more important than character, common decency, or the care for community, country, and unity for the greater good.

So step right up: Trump has a vast expanse of hate and discontent to sell and the megaphone of Twitter for marketing and distribution purposes. While his current product is no more viable a long-term investment than Trump University or Trump Steaks, what more should we expect from a spoiled, real estate mogul turned president? We The People are living The Art of the Deal, 2nd Edition, living draft. Racism thrives, the planet heats up, women’s reproductive rights falter, wealth inequality expands, health care is an oxymoron, and democracy is on life support. It’s a horror story. Meanwhile Wall Street buzzes along. Tweet. Tweet. Whatever.

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