The liberal mainstream media was falling all over themselves denigrating the scary conservative wing of the U.S. one-party system, which masquerades as two separate gangs. But while the Republican convention was a bit frightening (the microphone was dominated by a parade of clowns, liars, haters, racists, Uncle Tom’s, thieves, charlatans and narrow nationalist xenophobes), the show and Trump were merely distraction. A look behind the curtains exposed the real U.S. and its real priorities.
Speaking of priorities, holding the circus — oops — convention in Cleveland and spending $50 million in a city whose abandoned inner-city enclave with its boarded-up homes much like Detroit was as repugnant as Rudoph Guiliani’s speech, and probably meaner. To have this demagogue call “Black Lives Matter” racist in the same city in which 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police in a virtual drive-by shooting is surreal.
It’s as if the federal government were teasing the urban Clevelanders: “Look we got money but we aren’t going to spend it on you.” As one young Clevelander put it, “this is a slap in the face. It’s insulting.”
“[They’re] putting $50 million into the city, but not putting $50 million into the city,” said Tatyana Atkinson in an interview with Intercept.com. Atkinson and other Cleveland young people and students created #CLEoverRNC to express their displeasure.
Neither free speech, nor the right to free assembly were all that free, as Cleveland was turned into nearly an armed camp, a virtual police state. Nearly 3,000 cops were on hand, some in riot gear, with 4,000 national guardsman in reserve.
According to people in attendance, the police presence effectively discouraged many Clevelanders from coming downtown to join the protests. During the protests a woman attempted to burn the U.S. flag and was stopped and arrested by police, who were enforcing their prejudices rather than the law. The Supreme Court has already ruled that even flag burning is protected under the First Amendment.
Some of the protests opposing racism, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim prejudice seemed to be focused on working-class White people as the problem, rather than the system that encourages and foments it. But we can’t go forward by simply hating and disparaging and shouting invectives at our misguided fellow workers. No doubt some of them are lost, but they aren’t the real enemy.
Consequently, the us-against-them narrative plays into the hands of our real enemies. Incidentally, Trump isn’t as scary as advertised, considering most of what he is promising is already a part of U.S. society. Consider this:
- He proposed more law and order; we already have police violence and mass incarceration.
- He talked about kicking out immigrants; the present administration has been doing it at a record pace.
- He promised to put the press in its place. Well, no need; the press censors itself by confusing the issues. They pretend the police are under attack and project it as purely a racial issue, while ignoring the class aspect — police kill White folks, too.
- He promises to go it alone on foreign policy. Does anyone remember the invasion of Iraq and the “coalition of the willing?” The U.S. went in on its own and bribed a few allies to help.
- He promises to make life hard on Muslims. That is already being done as the government presently spies on mosques and singles Muslims out in airports and encourages Islamophobia with selective and over prosecution of young Muslims suspected of wanting to join terrorist groups.
- He promises to not let Muslims, especially Syrian refugees, into the country. Presently the U.S. has only allowed a handful of Syrian refugees into the country. Ironically they are fleeing from a mess the U.S. encouraged.
- He was probably disingenuous with his concern for the lives of LGBQT and Black folks. So is the current administration; it just makes better speeches.
At the end of the day this “show” also exposed just how far the bourgeoisie, the power structure, is willing to go to keep us divided and distracted from the real source of our problem and real solutions. By projecting the Trump gang as incorrigible, unreconstructed, unrepentant enemies of racial and social progress, it made the Clinton gang more palatable, though it too holds little promise of actually bettering the lives of everyday citizens.
But as terrifying as Trump and “Trump-ettes” are, the system as many know it is already scary. Those without “real” money experience a perilous journey through a capitalist jungle, where every official crook has his hand in your pocket while we are confronted daily by potential pitfalls and schemes at every turn.
Some of us colored folks and “others” sometimes find our freedom, our liberty and sometimes our very lives in peril.
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.