Despite its happening on their watch, and not Biden-Harris’s, the powers-that-be behind the 2020 Republican National Convention decided to focus on the lawless aspects of the Black Lives Matter protests — a lawlessness many say the Trump campaign not only focuses on, but foments and funds — and to cast the Democrats as the villains.
The Scapegoat Revue was the latest episode in the alternate-reality show Donald Trump has headlined since 2015, when he decided he needed more remuneration and ego-reinforcement than a grifter, even a glorified one, could ever hope to receive. When he won the election, most people were as shocked — and as unhappy — as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom were when “Springtime for Hitler” won audiences’ hearts.
Trump had always used scapegoats in his private and business lives, and he began right in: labeling the media “the enemy of the people,”;blaming crime on refugees, accusing climate and other regulations of killing jobs, declaring “You had very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville and refusing to assign blame to the alt-right motorist who plowed into and killed a young woman, instead demonizing the left.
Early this year, death made another appearance. Trump channeled his Inner John Wayne, appearing cockily unworried. Soon, this stance was attacked right and left. It became apparent that denial, a skill he’d always wielded on both the public and himself, might be no match against this adversary, that it posed a serious threat to civilization and, more important, his reelection. It was scapegoat time. Dredging up age-old biases against the “Yellow Peril,” he cast China as the villain, Sino-American relations be damned.
This war continues, but Trump has suffered collateral damage: His audience has shrunk by 183,000 and counting.
Before Trump, I’d never heard anyone refer to supremacists as “very fine people.” Meaning…what? Kind? Ethical? Reflective? Supremacists of any kind — Nazis, white nationalists, religious zealots, bullies, sexists — are none of these things.
But as the president’s niece Mary, his sister Maryanne and those who’ve broken away from the president repeatedly warn the reading public, Donald Trump has never been, or been interested in becoming, kind, ethical or reflective; to paraphrase his Covid-19 philosophy, “He is what he is.” Indeed. His policies reveal him to be exactly the unthinking, dishonest, cruel, narcissistic, dangerously dysfunctional person we see.
And, the RNC’s red-colored glasses notwithstanding, the events now being acted out on the streets of our cities, at maskless, socially clustered D.C. galas, in corporate boardrooms and all over America are mirror images of that dysfunction.
If you’re still, after everything, a Trump supporter, God help you — and, should Trump prevail, the rest of us. It’ll be “Springtime for Hitler,” but “Winter for America and Everywhere Else.”
If you’re still, after everything, undecided, ask yourself: “Am I prouder now to be an American than I was four years ago?”
And if you’re still, after everything, at all hopeful: VOTE! Shout the message from the rooftops as if your lives depend on it, because they do: VOTE!