Sinister and rousing, Donald Trump’s Fourth of July speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore will go down as one of the great political speeches of modern history.
He is now almost certain of winning the upcoming presidential campaign and taking his second term. Possibly by a margin so comfortable it rocks the self-evident truths and culture of those who oppose him.
Should he lose the vote, we are looking at further rioting in the streets – white rather than black – and the complete breakdown of civil society.
Many believe this collapse in America is well underway. As with the rest of the world, Covid 19 has exposed viral inequalities and social injustices that have become intolerable. With no cure forthcoming, there is nothing left to lose. We can only find empowerment in exorcising our rage.
Trump recognises this. And with his speech at Mount Rushmore has defined himself as the demonic inversion of Abraham Lincoln, ready to lead his people free of ‘left wing fascism’ and deliver on ‘the promissory note’ of the founding fathers of America. In these words and his appeal to history, Trump is preparing for nothing less than civil war.
Many would wish what Trump said to be all lies. But his rallying power resides in much more than Foxy ‘fake news’ and Twitter. At least a half of his speech pierced the ghastly condition of liberal and Left culture as identity politics continues to eat away at and divide its purpose and public appeal.
I’m reminded of the rise of Hitler by a blend of democratic means, thuggery and the unsettling smile of collusion that comes with letting others do your dirty work for you once you have lit the fire. Hitler’s main opposition in Germany were the Communist Party, unfortunately caught in growing thrall to Stalin. The more moderate Social Democrats found their base undermined on the Left by rampant Communist ideologues, and on the Right by Hitler’s broad appeals to racism, national identity, the glories of history, and economic ‘rights’ as the Weimar Republic unravelled.
Historical parallels are always loose affairs. But that spectrum has its echoes in today’s toxic and vindictive identity politics culture on the Left and Trump’s appeals to the mainstream today. Listening to his crowd at Mount Rushmore chanting ‘U.S.A.’ over and again was enough to chill the blood.
By whatever means Trump secures his presidency, the outcome will be a highly militant America, its population locked and loaded and looking for revenge for all its ills.
I don’t see the much-heralded and even more sinister ‘Chinese century’ lasting in that scenario. Or any gains for progressive politics at home. Abortion and women’s rights will be peeled back; labour rights will be crushed; identity politics will be boot-heeled into oblivion as law and order in the USA – and a reassertion of power itself – becomes the primary governmental and public concern.
Once that new order is established, America will enforce its muscle globally. Woe betide all who go against it with Donald Trump’s finger on the button and all opposition dispensed with at home.
In common political parlance, Trump’s Rushmore speech was classic divide and conquer. Identity politics, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter… Trump has absorbed them like The Blob and gotten bigger and stronger.
In indiscriminately pulling down statues and disowning a legacy almost entirely, people have made the mistake of giving Donald Trump history. He has taken it. And left those who sought to oppose him sitting confused and arguing in the rubble about who they are and what they are each entitled to. His answer is on the way.
- Mark Mordue ©