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More Dangerous Now: A Progressive Religious Gloss on Trump’s Big Speech—Peter Laarman

I will treat this speech as a performance divided into a prologue and three acts. It was a somewhat credible "presidential" performance by someone who is about to flop, actually.


The prologue was a brief wet kiss to civil rights. Good enough, but the spittle was hardly dry before we heard a hugely cognitively dissonant paean to the reality that imperalism rots our beloved democratic republic. That's what Martin Luther King said much more clearly on April 4, 1967. But Trump's version is cognitively dissonant because Trump is actually clueless about the nature of the rot. He says that the money needed to maintain the current imperium makes it impossible to do anything for Akron. True enough, but King was talking about the heart of the democratic project and about how military adventures directed at darker peoples abroad mirrors the suppression and oppression of darker peoples at home.

​Omg, ​OK, here we go.

Act One: Keeping Promises, Showers of Blessing

This piece was a lengthy rehearsal of what Trump thinks his crew have already done to Make America Great Again. Interesting that even here, as elsewhere, Trump appears concerned about Black Americans on the selfsame day that he met with the heads of the HSBU - Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Nice try. Don't believe it.

Rah-rah for deregulating what White House Lucifer Steve Bannon calls the "administrative state." Coal miners to the front! Pipelines to the front! Pipes with US-made steel!!

Rah-rah for deregulating what White House Lucifer Steve Bannon calls the "administrative state." Coal miners to the front! Pipelines to the front! Pipes with US-made steel!!

Order for DOJ task for​c​e on Reducing Violent Crime. He talks about "criminal cartels that have spread all across our nation." Hmmm. He says he​ is​​​​ planning for interdiction and treatment. I think racial profiling.

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His first spiel about immigration and The Wall. His language of "serve-protect-defend" echoes police sacred scripture. "Radical Islamic Terrorism" (to raucous cheering). "No sanctuary for extremists" (you get it?). "Exterminate" and "extinguish" those "savages"?? Have we been there before? Take ​Up the White Man's Burden.

Act Two: Restart the Engines

Here DJT revisits favorite economic-related campaign themes. Starting with pretty good stats, in fact, about all the non-employed and the crappy recovery. But the "restart the engine" rhetoric immediately migrates into TrumpCrazyLand when he makes it all about foreign treachery rather than domestic corporate depredations. Check out Eduardo Porter's takedown of Trump's "it's them" meme. Then, of course, Trump segues immediately to a tirade on trade and the economic burdens of unchecked immigration. He calls for merit-based immigration. Catnip for his base, factually somewhat unmoored, and straight back to white nationalism.

Trump spen​ds​​ little time on his "trillion dollar" infrastructure boost, no doubt because GOP Congressional leaders have made it clear they ​will do ​​​nothing on this before next year.​ ​But did we hear his reference to "public-private partnership" in doing the actual work? Watch for that. The swamp is far from drained.

Obamacare? Here again, somewhat less madness than we might have expected, because El Presidente has just discovered that doing health are is "so complicated."

Act Three: Heaven to Hell in a Vertiginous Finish

For just a minute, Trump channeled Jesus in painting a picture of an America where there was universal child care, family leave, women's health, clean air and clean water. But that was just for a throwaway minute. Then it was of to Megan, a heroine of deregulation, and "school choice as a civil rights issue," and big hurrah for our self-sacrificing law enforcement, and finally, a big BIG hurrah for our martyred military heroes. Why they need a 10% raise while poor kids go hungry. God Bless America.

The new president said nothing about how his Great America plans will be financed. Nothing really about taxes and budget. Was it Jesus (I think it was) who said, Follow the money?

Hillary Clinton Not Progressive

Peter Laarman