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Monday, July 15, 2019

“Go Back Where You Came From”–Trump’s Fighting Words, And An Angry Dismissal of Bite-The-Hand-That-Feeds-You Political Grandstanding

Much has been made recently of Donald Trump’s harsh dismissal of the claims of three progressive Congresswomen that America is a racist, white supremacist country governed by a bigot and supported by a mass of unwoke, backwoods, cracker ignoramuses.  “Return to your countries of origin”, he said in so many words, “and fix the endemic problems which make them perennially dysfunctional” rather than bite the generous hand that feeds you, the country that took in your parents, gave them protection, economic opportunity, and safe haven from the assaults and depredation of the corrupt regimes they fled.

Of course Trump’s language was far less temperate and chosen. “Go back where you came from” were his fighting words, a retort to what he saw as the thankless, unpatriotic, and politically self-serving statements of the Congresswomen; and of course they were taken as the latest and most condemning proof of his racism; and worse his desire to return America to an all-white, male elitist, autocracy.

Now, anyone following Donald Trump pays no attention to the words he says but the meaning behind them.

The progressive Left is nonplussed at the continued mania of Donald Trump.  To them he is a misogynist, xenophobic, sexist homophobe - has always been and will always be.  He is an inveterate, congenital liar, a braggart, a capitalist who built his fortune on the backs of the poor, and an unreconstructed egotist.

f course he is none of the above.  As a son of Hollywood and Las Vegas; a performer, vaudevillian, and big tent revivalist in the old American tradition, he doesn’t mean what he says.  He says what he means.  His is a political circus act with a semiotic foundation.  Crazy as a fox and as smart as a whip, The Donald speaks a firestorm but is as rational – more rational in fact – than his opponents who speak in platitudes, shopworn nostrums, and old-fashioned appeals to ‘experience’.
No one but unreconstructed liberal elite take him at face value.  Everyone knows that his call for expatriating all illegal immigrants is purposeful hyperbole, circus act exaggeration, and vaudeville at its very best.  Everyone but older Eastern progressives and young idealists understand that there can never be an impenetrable wall on our southern border.  Everyone but academics who have insulated themselves from the world outside Cambridge, the Upper West Side, San Francisco, or Chicago knows that there will be no mass deportations, no electrified wire fences at Dulles Airport, no Gestapo on the Canadian border to keep immigrants out. Hyperbole to make a point.  Illegal immigration is a serious problem which must be addressed no longer with the tentative, hesitant gestures of the past, but forcefully.

Deconstructionism has had its day, although because of tenure there are many academics who will preach this secular animism until the day they die.  All texts are equivalent, they say.  There is no such thing as artistic genius, and the works of Shakespeare, Aeschylus, and Dostoevsky should be read only within the narrow context of  race, gender, and ethnicity.  Hamlet and Macbeth are nothing more than plays about political power, the corrupt nature of elites, and the alienation of the many to serve the powerful.
If one reads the text carefully, deconstructionists say, one will discover the true meaning behind the words which are mere and artificial constructs of individuals who can but express political zeitgeist and the particular configurations of social, economic, and cultural conflict.

So where are these deconstructionists when it comes to parsing the stump performances of Donald Trump? Why are they so literal in their interpretation of his words?  How could they assume that his hot button rhetoric is anything more than getting sinners to walk up the aisle and accept Jesus as their personal savior?

This myopia is not surprising, for despite progressives’ claims to objectivity, rationality, and on-the-one-hand-on-the-other tolerance and consideration of differing opinions, they intend no such thing.  Their canon of diversity, race-gender-ethnicity, and social liberalism is as enshrined as any.

Such political and philosophical absolutism ipso facto requires blinders.  In an a priori world where right and wrong are pre-determined and absolute there is no room for due consideration or rational debate. Put more simply, the progressive Left has made up its mind about Donald Trump and nothing can change it.

Of course he is pissed at the venal, intemperate, and self-serving remarks of the newly-entitled progressive comers; and so are the tens of millions of Americans who voted for him.  Americans who while appreciating the plight of the marginalized and underserved, refuse to champion their causes at all costs.  Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem, the virulent hostility and self-aggrandizing words of the Women’s Soccer Team co-captain, the uncompromising  pursuit of the LGBTQ agenda and its rejection of traditional Judeo-Christian Biblical interpretations of sexual and reproductive normality, the universal call for the dismantling of liberal economies in favor of socialist dirigisme, and the primacy of ‘diversity’ over ability not only rankle, but anger.

No one who has read the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers; or who has reread Locke, Thoreau, and the thinkers of the Enlightenment can tolerate let alone accept this pseudo-revolutionary cant and preposterous ignorance of the principles that have characterized democracy since the ancient Greeks.

To listen to modern-day American progressives, there is an absolute, inherent value in racial, gender, and ethnic diversity.  Somehow a radically polyglot society benefits all, raises all ships and sets their sails for Utopia.  But how, exactly, does diversity per se benefit the commonwealth of America?  In the early days of the Republic all comers were welcome because the nation needed building – roads, railroads, ports, and cities.  There was no lionizing of Italians, Chinese, Jews or Poles.  Once they were here on American soil, they were Americans, and Americans only, here to work, to benefit, to contribute, and to belong. 

How does being gay, Mexican, black, female, or Indonesian per se help the commonwealth to prosper? What benefit does anyone have rubbing shoulders with diversity?  We all live in narrow, insular, self-protective sub-groups and are quite happy that way.  Our individualism and individual non-diversity driven enterprise benefits all.

It is natural and normal, then, for an American president to be insulted by the claims of entitled newcomers who insist that the country that welcomed them is hostile, predatory, and exclusive – just as it is for an ordinary American, working three jobs, accepting no welfare, proud and determined to succeed, and happy for the opportunity to do so are angry at these self-anointed saviors.

In short, to progressives Donald Trump is not ‘presidential’; but in leveling this latest charge, they betray their social and political myopia.   Trump is not presidential because he does not act presidential – a textbook example of begging the question. 

Of course we know what they mean.  They want Mr. Trump to act like Lincoln, FDR, Woodrow Wilson, and Thomas Jefferson all rolled into one – modest, well-spoken, respectful, careful, and dutiful.  They want erudition, oratory, and stature.

Image result for woodrow wilson images

Democrats may have applauded LBJ for his principled stance on civil rights and poverty, but he never shook his country bumpkin image.  To those who loved Kennedy, his successor was not only a happenstance stand-in but a rube – a pushy, manipulative, cracker-talking Texan dirt farmer.  In their eyes he was marginally presidential but presidential nonetheless.  He at least met the minimum requirements of the office.

Ronald Reagan was a B-movie actor, television huckster, and hail-fellow-well-met politicians; but he never embarrassed himself, never went overboard.  If he was not as eloquent as Kennedy or FDR, he embodied the American presidency – stalwart, principled, and socially conservative.

No one or nothing prepared the liberal and conservative establishments for Donald Trump.  Not only is he considered retrograde and beyond the pale of political opportunity; he is a cultural outlier, a social maverick who redefined the term, and a true take-no-prisoners individualist.

Of course he still calls Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’; and of course he still ridicules liberal media presenters.  Only the deadly serious, righteous Left finds no humor in the Twitter exchange between Trump and MSNBC anchors Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.  All three know they are playing for ratings and enjoying it to no end.  If these two media-savvy personalities don’t know what’s what, no one does.

The howls that ‘Trump is not being presidential’ grow only louder the more his critics are befuddled by the man and dig in their heels to defend what they insist must be the ‘propriety, dignity, and honor’ of the office.

But Trump is being presidential.  He, like all Presidents before him hew to a particular set of personal values.  The problem is that no one knows what to make of a president who did not come up through the ranks, governor, senator, congressman, or mayor.  Trump is from the mean streets of NY, the image-making tinsel of Hollywood and the rough-and-ready frontier.   His stances on immigration, social justice, equality, and ‘diversity’ are different from his predecessors in tone, attitude and demeanor only. The Left is paying no attention, distracted as they are by their insistence on fictitious notions of ‘truth’; while the Right gets it, endorses Trump’s policies while ignoring his braggadocio and bombast.

Trump is right to call out the invidious claims of political newcomers out to make political hay out of the tempestuous zeitgeist; right to demand a certain respect for foundational values, to acknowledge the importance, relevance, and salience of traditional religion-based morality and ethnics; and right to ask those who here only to complain despite the welcome offered them, to leave.

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