The next time Trump and Fox News claim you need to love America in order to live here, tell them they should be the first ones to pack their bags.
Let me be very clear here: Trump’s demand that four American congresswomen of color known as “The Squad” “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came” is breathtakingly racist. But it is even worse than that.
For one thing, there is nothing anti-American about criticizing this country or engaging in dissent. The Founding Fathers enshrined that right in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So for Trump and his acolytes at Fox News to try to try to stifle dissent by smearing it as “foreign” or un-American is anti-American right there.
To put it another way, the defense for Trump’s attack on The Squad (Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) is, essentially, “It's not racist, it's McCarthyism.”
Yet while the self-styled patriots demand fealty - or else, they never stop hating on America themselves. In fact, Trump’s brand, which is symbiotic with Fox’s, is built on hating America.
Before Trump ran for office, he and Fox worked together to mainstream the lie that then-President Barack Obama had been born in Kenya. It’s hard to think of a more anti-American act than that, especially since the lie had already been disproven. But Trump has not apologized for it, nor has Fox News for promoting it.
Next, Trump famously kicked off his campaign by smearing Mexicans as criminals, drug dealers and racists. But not far beneath the surface was a blatant disgust for America. In that same speech, Trump claimed Mexico was “laughing at us, at our stupidity,” before he got to the better-known “not sending their best” line. Trump also disdainfully claimed, “we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening,” Fox News stood behind the speech.
In his inauguration speech, Trump vowed to reverse “this American carnage.” Fox (and other media outlets) called it "populist."
But wait, there’s so much more. A March, 2019 article in the New York Times lists “The 598 People, Places and Things Donald
Trump Has Insulted on Twitter.” The compilation “only” includes tweets since Trump declared his candidacy. And, of course, it leaves out the verbal attacks. But here’s a partial list of the parts of America Trump hates, from just the article:
American Presidents Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush as well as presidential candidate and former First Lady Hillary Clinton;
Numerous U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives, including deceased Sen. John McCain;
U.S. media outlets (which Trump has repeatedly called the “enemy of the people,”) such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post;
Trump has attacked entire states and cities in our country: California, New Jersey, New York, and Chicago, e.g.;
He has smeared American institutions such as the FCC, the FBI, the Federal Reserve Board, along with their personnel;
Trump has attacked a slew of American entertainers and athletes, including American icons LeBron James and Megan Rapinoe. He not only hates American-TV staple, Saturday Night Live, he wanted a federal investigation of the show for mocking him.
The list of American people, places and things that Trump hates goes on and on.
Walking hand-in-hand with Trump in the hatred for America is Fox News. It regularly demonizes Americans not in lockstep with its ideology. Fox News hosts and guests have slathered hostility on Hillary Clinton; Barack Obama; John McCain; Nancy Pelosi; Justin Amash; U.S. media, the F.B.I.; American tech companies; department stores whose employees say “Happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” and American athletes. Fox also hates the separation between church and state, universities, homeless Americans, food stamp recipients, gun control advocates, American Muslims, Black Lives Matter and more.
This goes beyond "mere" antipathy. Because while Trump poses as a America-loving crusader, his administration and cronies are working furiously to undermine many of our country’s norms and foundations: Obamacare; right to abortion; the State Department, our NATO alliance; the Housing and Urban Development Department, voting rights are just parts of our bedrock that Trump is deliberately destroying.
Who don’t these people hate? Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deemed responsible for the murder for Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
So yes, Trump’s racist and nativist attacks on Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley are appalling and dangerous. But not far under the surface is loathing for and outright subversion of America and Americans.
Trump’s attacks on The Squad, along with Fox’s defense of them, are an attack on all of us. Yes, we should condemn the racism but we should also not let Trump or Fox posture for one second as lovers of this country.
(Trump image via screen grab)
To pick one of many personal examples, I know a (now retired) dairy farmer who lived off government subsidies and special farm tax breaks. Even then, he was so low income he lived off his wife’s teacher salary. He’s the quintessential Rush Limbaugh zombie so if you point out his anti-government hypocrisies you’ll get a load of bulls—t in return about how he’d be so much better off without government help.
There’s a common right-wing conceit they’re better, harder working, more honest, more moral, smarter, etc. than other people and in a truly Darwinian economy they’d rise to the top. Despite all evidence to the contrary.
The irony is that this revolution of sorts is fueled by the same people that stand to lose the most. What has Trump done to make their lives better? How’s the future of their healthcare looking these days? How safe is their Social Security? How about safety in the home, on the road and at the workplace? How about the farmers? The list goes on and on…
The truth is that the older, white and largely ignorant uneducated will suffer the most hardship. I wonder how amused and fired-up they will be about Trump in 5 or 10 years.