Trump and the Batshit Lynch Mob


The bigoted bullies of American politics are gathering once again around a demagogue of bitter hatred. They are names I’d prefer never to type: David Duke, Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, Duncan Hunter, Paul LePage, Jan Brewer, Mike Tyson, the Kremlin’s Aleksandr Dugin and even Vojislav Šešelj. The list grows longer each day, the choices - the possibilities - fewer. Super Tuesday and the primaries that followed have turned out to be not so very super at all. The phrase “reverse raccoon eyes” officially entered into the political lexicon of America’s highest office. Every statement, every sentence typed feels as though it should be followed by the word, “seriously.”

After winning the Florida primary (causing Marco Rubio to drop out, the “math” (securing enough delegates for the GOP nomination) may be in Donald Trump’s favor. Yet if Trump does not win enough delegates to be the Republican nominee, then a rare event in American politics called a brokered convention will occur. This will mean that the delegates sent to the Republican convention will vote as they choose. This may be the only way to stop Trump from becoming the GOP nominee for president. Meanwhile Trumps rallies become more and more violent.

An alarming number of white supremacists, shady characters and your standard naïve but frustrated good-hearted American folk are flocking to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-journalist, just plain anti- message. The lynch mob is conglomerating, branding. But there is another subtle unspoken endorsement more terrifying than any of the above. The Democratic establishment also endorsed Donald J. Trump. They endorsed him as their wanted opponent. They basically handed him the 2nd player Nintendo controller before anybody else had a chance to call it. Jeb! Tried to tell you guys! - but he had these completely unforeseen credibility issues. Turns out the smug, fat little Trump kid is a lot better at Mario Kart than anybody expected (because he has like FIVE far better Nintendos at home) and now he’s not letting go of the controller.

The democrats, supposedly the adults in the room, sit idly by - even stoking the fire - because they think that Donald Trump is the easy candidate to beat. They are complicit in what has been dug up from the graveyard of American history and unleashed. Ironically, a very Trump-like hubris has put us in a position where the only person realistically standing between Donald J. Trump and the White House is both a Clinton and the subject of an FBI investigation. What could possibly go wrong?

Duncan Hunter might as well get started on that Great Wall of Mexico. Meanwhile Sarah Palin can put the gulags in Alaska because the other list is also getting longer by the day. Populist hatred has a voracious appetite: Muslims, Mexicans, Asians, refugees, reporters, protestors, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (bless her heart), the Pope (literally pissed off), and pretty much all former American POWs, because Trump likes “people that weren’t captured, OK? [He] hate[s] to tell you.” The exception is of course Megyn Kelly who is “essentially” headed to Guantanamo - that special ring of American punitive hell.

Fear and loathing in American culture should never be underestimated much less tolerated for political expediency. But that is exactly what happened. We are in a whole heap of trouble when South Carolina’s socially conservative Lindsey Graham says, “My party has gone batshit crazy.” That’s coming from Strom Thurmond’s successor in the Senate, mind you, and Lindsey wasn’t kiddin’. What the South needs now more than ever is an Atticus Finch - a symbol of courage, integrity and a beacon of hope in a country full of proliferating hatred. We need Atticus Finch because a bully who even Ole Strom might say ‘could start an argument in an empty house’ is trying to take the white one on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the nuclear launch codes that come along with it.

That’s the big difference between Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump for all the pundits who are suddenly wondering: nuclear warheads. Furthermore, comparing the seventh U.S. president, who oversaw the genocidal ethnic cleansing of Native Americans in the Trail of Tears, to Trump just somehow still isn’t fair… to Andrew Jackson. Jackson grew up dirt poor and became a war hero. He was most probably a sociopath. He wasn’t a coward. The likely Republican nominee is very much both.

Perhaps it is only fitting that the very day after Atticus Finch’s literary creator, the great Harper Lee, passed away, Donald Trump won the South Carolina Republican Primary, almost historically guaranteeing (with a few past exceptions) that he will become the Republican nominee. We didn’t need an un-Super Tuesday and the primaries that have followed to tell us that. Trump founded his entire presidential campaign on that all too familiar brand of bitter hatred and xenophobic rage that once defined the very worst of the South. Atticus Finch once defined the antithesis of that enmity. His gentle voice of reason, civility and courage, has never been more in need.

It is easy to get lost growing up in a world where subtle coded prejudice is the norm. Atticus Finch helped many find their way; this correspondent is no exception. In life just as in literature, those courageous individuals are all too often alone standing between the innocent and a congregation - a confederacy of violence and fury. As another political lynch mob lurches off from Super Tuesday, it is time for the Atticus Finches of America to step forward.

Two days before Super Tuesday, John Oliver, the comedian, did just that. Oliver’s bit was as courageous as it is hilarious. There are a precious few Atticus Finches left standing between an idea of the very best of America and the ever-growing unhinged cultural lynch mob determined to tear it apart. But if John Oliver proved anything, he proved that it is not too late.

Will Cathcart

17 March 2016 19:14