Monday, March 14, 2016

Donald Trump and The Snake

It has come to my attention that Donald Trump has made a habit of reading the lyrics to Al Wilson's The Snake at his rallies, and I find that really fascinating. It works for Trump's message because it is a simple and multipurpose allegory--a woman takes pity on a frozen snake, who revives and bites her, saying "You knew damn well I was a snake when you took me in." He can apply it equally to Syrian refugees or immigrants--by implying that we can't show sympathy to those people, because we should already be aware of the dangers of being "bitten".

It fascinates me because it vaguely reminds me of the relationship Trumpism has to the Republican Party. Tomorrow, it looks almost certain that Marco Rubio will be sunk off the coast of Florida wearing Trump's popularity like a pair of cement shoes, and John Kasich could very well find himself in a similar predicament in Lake Erie, notwithstanding Mitt Romney's heartfelt suggestion that Republicans extensively employ strategic voting in a bid to rid themselves of this meddlesome billionaire.

Notwithstanding, by the by, a week that might have clobbered the credibility of virtually any other candidate for office, ever. Trump at around this time last week stood next to steak, wine, and water with conspicuous "Trump" labels (or conspicuous labels advising they were not possibly true Trumps) as if to, neurotically, display that, as with the rumor of his stubby fingers, he certainly had no problem in the "brand" department. (Is that so? Because it looks to me like he's got more problems than, um, expired meat.) And then of course there is the escalating violence, which Trump appears to actually be encouraging rather than discouraging, and which he appears to condone against protesters and even journalists. And then there's the peculiar way he accuses protesters of being ISIS. I wouldn't be in a big hurry to accept as POTUS some guy who can, straight-faced, repeat unchecked garbage conspiracy theory bullshit, and defend himself with "All I know is what's on the Internet."

But the Republican Party knew damn well what Donald Trump was when they took him in. His flirtation (which seems to have been legit, and well as hella racist) with birtherism should have absolutely barred him from serious political consideration--especially after his humiliation at the 2011 WHCD, where President Obama savaged his birtherism hours before it was revealed that an operation to take out Osama Bin Laden was successful. He looked, then, like an outclassed smacked ass. But as we all know, the GOP tucked poor wounded Trump into their bosom because his endorsement was so pretty.  He gave crazypants sizzle and had mad donor stacks--what's to hate?

I don't know--who he is and what he does? What any competent oppo research on him would show?

But now the Republican establishment and even conservative media is basically bitten. They knew what he was. They handled him--dealt with him--anyway. And who knows? When he recites that little allegory, maybe he knows he's the snake, too.


3 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Given Trump's racial animus, he is specifically a copperhead.

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, I'm keeping an arm's length away from politics right now, as the whole thing is banal to the point of being asinine.

It reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain, “If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it.” I do disagree with one thing; I regard the Republican Party as the voters and not some super-autocratic governing body of opportunists and manipulators.

I'll bring up one thing simply because down here in the South we found it to be utterly hilarious.

There was an attempt to link Trump to the KKK because of a favorable comment by David Duke. Frankly, down here in the kudzu this has us rolling in the aisles.

The idea that a guy who grew up in Brooklyn, whose career has centered around New York City, knowing much about the Klan is like a guy from Ardmore, Oklahoma, knowing all about the Genovese crime family. You know, they've heard about it, but as to knowing anything about it, they're in the dark.

We had a similar hoot during the Bush administration when someone attempted to paint Condoleezza Rice and her relationship to George Bush. They said that Condi Rice was “brown sugar.” In the South we know what these things mean, and we just couldn't stop laughing.

Similarly, the idea that this New York yankee would know anything substantive about the Klan simply jumps the shark. I guess when you try to mischaracterize something in a language other than your own, it can come out sounding pretty hilarious.

Not to mention that the Klan was the militant wing of the Democratic Party back in the days of George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Senator Byrd. The entire segregationist movement was Democratic in the South at that time. But that, as they say, is another story.

Formerly Amherst said...

Howdy, Vixen, I got to thinking about my last comment, and it occurred to me that there is virtual ignorance when it comes to understanding anything about the Ku Klux Klan. It has become a stereotypical shibboleth to drag out when someone wishes to adversely characterize something.

What people don't realize is that there were actually two KKKs. The 1939 Klan was pretty much the terrorist organization that everyone thinks of. It was a rabid bunch of Southern Democrats who did hang people from trees, terrorize black people, and in general earn the reputations that the Klan now has. (Jimmy Carter had to get a nod from the Georgia Klan before he could run for governor.) In short, the 1939 Klan was as bad as everyone thinks – an absolutely unforgivable militant terrorist group of the segregated South dominated by Democrats.

Incidentally, Republicans were few and far between in the South at that time and had little to do with any of this. Republicans were mostly about free markets and limited government.

What might surprise some to know is that the Klan that was created after the Civil War was different. It was composed of ex-Confederate officers who could read and write Greek. The old Confederate South was based partly on Tennyson's Idylls of the King.

Only one person was killed by the first Klan, and it was a yankee spy who managed to infiltrate the group and would have turned in all the membership. You have to consider that at that point the south was a territory occupied by a foreign military power. Southerners had a total suspension of Constitutional rights. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and most of the others.

Into this milieu came a group that mostly performed guerrilla hijinks. It was actually a sort of protest group against government oppression, as least as they saw it. They pulled a lot of tricks that today would be thought as sort of frat-boy pranks to bring attention to their grievances.

This might help illuminate some of these discussions that go on about the Klan. Popular opinion is always justifiably placed on the 1939 Klan. However, a lot of people in the South, when the subject comes up, also think about the post Civil War Klan.