November 18, 2016

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Torii MacAdams is losing his mind.


A Tribe Called QuestWe The People


 

What a series of phantasmagoric horrors. What a tremendous, species-threatening fuck up. We’ve not just shit the entire bed, from boxspring to headboard, we are in an entire hellscape of diarrhea and pain. 61 million Americans chose nativism, xenophobia, bigotry, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and misogyny. Our cowed, self-interested citizenry chose a pack of venal, bloodlusting hyenas who cannot wait to sink their yellow fangs into the hides of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

I, like many Americans, and apparently the candidates themselves, was suckered by inaccurate polls into believing this election was a foregone conclusion. But I was also suckered by my belief that the United States was inching inexorably toward social democracy, and that we were no longer capable of near-hallucinogenic terrestrial awfulness. I’m a huge fool.

Under Obama alone, we’ve tolerated an American drone murdering 12 members of a Yemeni wedding, the ouster of democratically elected Manuel Zelaya, and the absolute demolition of Libya–why wouldn’t we treat our powerless fellow citizens with the same flippancy and derision? We’ve already looked the other way on the deportation of illegal immigrants. White people (including Hispanics who identify as such) are still 77% of the country, and, as the architects and beneficiaries of a purposefully unequal system, they are clearly dis-incentivized from ceding any of their control.

To a degree, I can empathize with the Rust Belt voters who handed Trump the election. They’ve lost their jobs, union memberships, and homes, and live in places with higher rates of opioid addiction and premature death. Neoliberalism, the altar at which both Democrat and Republican elites worship, has left them bereft. They’re susceptible to muscular anti-trade, anti-immigrant, and anti-environmental regulation rhetoric because they’ve been consigned to bleak, crumbling burgs, and any solution is better than no solution.

Bad news, Midwesterners: your jobs aren’t coming back, no matter what the Rapist-Elect claims. The decline of coal is irreversible and China’s steel production is unlikely to slow. Worse, the social programs which benefit you and your families–Medicare/Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, Social Security–are likely to be negatively impacted by the incoming herd of jackals. Your fears were preyed upon.

And who better preys upon white people’s fears better than the Republican Party? It is a morally bankrupt organization dedicated to atavistic short-termism at any and every cost. Though the inherent racism of Ronald Reagan was, and continues to be, obvious to any human with skin darker than “taupé,” and the electorate which voted for him is shrinking and dying every day, Republicans continue to champion that addlepated nitwit as the paragon of good governance. Despite saber-rattling to the contrary, these establishment Republicans–the voodoo economics witch doctors, the Randian zealots, the ruddy-faced fetus fetishists–are now falling in line behind Donald Trump because they’re spineless pissbabies.

The man these invertebrates are falling behind couldn’t be trusted with his own Twitter account during the final weeks of his presidential campaign. Now he has control over nuclear weapons and the world’s most powerful armed forces. Trump is a carbuncle cloaked in a cheap suit, an illiterate bigot with the syntax of a misfiring Speak & Spell, a small-handed, Cheeto-colored sexual predator, an insecure, conscience-free attention whore, and a pustular, overweight wimp who’d overflow his diaper if someone took a swing at him. He’s an archetypal bully, whose macho posturing is meant to conceal his essential cowardice: he was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, but, after exhausting his educational deferments, he finagled a medical exemption that lasted the duration of the war. When asked about it in 2015, he couldn’t remember which of his feet was afflicted by bone spurs, later claiming the calcium deposits were in both heels. Trump is unchanged: he expects the poor to die for his bluster.

Though Trump couldn’t assemble a PB&J if you spotted him the bread, the Democrats still managed to fuck this up. The blame begins at the top. Under Obama, the party has lost majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and, with a Supreme Court seat currently unfilled, it appears the judicial branch will have a “strict Constitutionalist” (read: idiot) in its ninth seat. The impartiality of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Democratic National Committee during the primaries was–ironically–undemocratic, and it led to the nomination of a widely disliked policy wonk automaton. Even after the myopic, googly-eyed Schultz was rightfully deposed, the interim chair and CNN contributor Donna Brazile caused further grief and embarrassment by leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign. Neither has apologized.

On election night, the Javits Center, filled to its supposedly symbolic glass ceiling with jubilant-turned-teary-eyed supporters, watched as Clinton was thoroughly depants(uit)ed. As the night dragged on, John Podesta, a Clinton lapdog until the bitter end, told the crowd “We’re not going to have anything more to say tonight.” The failure of the candidate to appear before her most committed supporters encapsulates her complete removal from–and likely disgust with–the unwashed masses. To clarify: Hillary Clinton is not Daenerys Targaryen, Beyoncé, a tenured faculty member at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a queen, your “bae,” or a person of color. She is a rich white person who spent more time dabbing with Ellen DeGeneres than she did campaigning in Wisconsin. She believed that she was entitled to Obama’s coalition, and, more widely, the presidency. She was wrong, and should never again hold office.

For all the evilness and dunderheaded incompetence of the Republicans, they at least recognize their party’s overarching purpose: winning elections. They are not humping the legs of celebrities unrecognizable outside of New York and Los Angeles, or rebuilding Democratic field offices in swing states, or making wimpy policy concessions. They are white supremacist death adders whose forked tongues have begun lisping “internment camps,” “Muslim registry,” and “Newt Gingrich.” Swift, robust counteraction is required. The time for memes is over. The cosseted circle of limousine liberals guiding the Democratic Party needs to return to their overstuffed homes and allow for a restructuring that caters to the poor and working classes, the disenfranchised, and people of color.

There are two Americas, one suburban and white, the other urban and ethnically diverse, and they do not read, watch, or listen to the same news. Both are unified by their use of Facebook, where the primacy of fake news articles probably swayed the election. The company abdicated its responsibility, and millions of credulous users were subject to sensationalist right-wing spin or outright lies. Facebook was created so college students could ask each other if they wanted to get drunk and bump uglies, but it’s evolved into the primary news source for scores of Americans who are unwittingly self-selecting what they have access to. When people start dying during the Trump administration, the Silicon Valley giant will have blood on their hands, ergonomic keyboards, ping-pong table, and gluten-free snacks.  

Television news outlets did little better this election cycle. MSNBC, CNN, and the permanently execrable Fox News all benefited from their breathless coverage of Trump’s rise to power. Simply, Fox News are dangerous propagandists. They are the channel for suburbanites who call NFL wide receivers “uppity.” It is exclusively staffed by warmongers in charcoal grey power suits and Eva Braun cosplayers. Though the tenor of their coverage was different–they’re not fascists!–CNN (and to a lesser degree MSNBC) fed into Trump-mania by drawing false equivalences and treating his platform with an unearned degree of seriousness.

Between Wednesday the 9th and Monday the 14th, the Southern Poverty Law Center received 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment. Hatemongers have been encouraged by Trump’s rhetoric, and with the appointment of white supremacist Stephen Bannon, these red-hatted and white-hooded blobfish have been further emboldened. (Stormfront, as you might’ve guessed, was tickled by Bannon’s appointment.) Bannon, an undead lump of mashed potatoes, will likely be joined by a superteam of C.H.U.D.’s in the West Wing. Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, and Sarah Palin are all possible members of the Cabinet. The seeming diversity of the names being floated is a façade–whichever untrustworthy nincompoops Trump appoints will only further racial, environmental, and economic inequality.

I’m a Jewish, heterosexual, cisgendered man who lives in Los Angeles and has a modicum of financial security. Barring open nuclear warfare or a complete (if now plausible) collapse into fascism, I will not feel the worst immediate effects of a Trump presidency. I have many personal worries for the next four years, but I’m utterly terrified for the safety of illegal immigrants, Muslims, women, people of color (Native Americans very much included), and the LGBTQ community. Palestine and Syria are somehow more fucked than before. Eastern Europe will be further destabilized by Vladimir Putin. If, like Obama, Trump attains about 70 percent of what he promised while campaigning, the civil rights of millions of Americans will be violated. Thousands will die at home, hundreds of thousands will die abroad.

The most hopeful thing I can write about the coming four years is that all long marches toward progress face strong opposition and temporary setbacks and that the shifting demographics of the United States indicate that the politics of the far-right are not long for this country. In four years we will have fewer Baby Boomers and more Latinos, and our citizenry will be more educated and more likely to live in major cities. Undoing the damage of Trump’s presidency could be my generation’s lifelong project. We’re fucked for now but there’s a chance that with strength, persistence, and empathy we won’t be fucked forever.


Gucci Mane & FutureFree Bricks: Zone 6 Edition



I’m not yet sure what the above has to do with rap music and this column. (Please do not say it will make for better music–those sentiments ignore artists’ suffering.) On one hand, writing about rap seems facile, and a half-measure toward addressing social injustices. On the other, I firmly believe rap is a great, quintessentially American art form, and that its creators are furthering our oral tradition and exposing listeners to the discrete folkways of underrepresented communities. These communities need advocates, from without and within, particularly in Trump’s America, but I worry that by writing I do more to self-aggrandize than champion or improve. I just don’t know.