Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Donald Trump and the American Taliban
It will be left to future historians to try to explain how a grotesque sexual predator with no discernible morals like Donald Trump, could be embraced by the religious right.
But they are his most loyal supporters.
He has already thrown them a bloody bone by ordering that the U.S. not support safe abortions for women in poor countries.
But today he will present them with the biggest bone of all.
A new Supreme Court justice.
President Trump plans to announce his nominee for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, moving to fill a seat held vacant for nearly a year by Senate Republicans and touching off what is expected to be a furious ideological showdown early in his administration.
One who could roll back the rights of women and LGBT Americans, affect the course of justice for at least a generation. And colour Trump's government forever.
For while some are comparing that government to the one headed by Big Brother in Orwell's 1984...
Jonathan Manthorpe suggests that a better comparison might be found in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
Miller used the story of the Salem witch hunts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692 and 1693 to frame his condemnation of McCarthyism. But what makes his play far more appropriate than Orwell’s book as a guide to the modern American political scene is that The Crucible is threaded throughout with the Christian religious fanaticism that is so deeply imbedded in the faction of the Republican Party that now controls Congress and the White House.
Almost all Republican members of Congress identify as followers of conservative evangelical Christian sects, either Protestant or Catholic. Among voters, according to the Pew Research Center, a clear majority of members of all evangelical Christian sects vote Republican.
For as Trump's vice-president, Mike Pence, made clear the other day while addressing the anti-abortion March for Life.
Those fanatics really do believe that God is on their side...
They are the American Taliban.
American politics has been taken over by the Christian Taliban. They seem just as intent on imposing what they see as Christian religious law on the country as the Afghan Taliban — or, indeed, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq — are on establishing Shariah Muslim law in those countries.
They are determined to sacrifice the lives of women like the Salem witch burners did back in 1692...
And that evil madness, which was revisited during the dark era of McCarthyism, should tell us all we need to know about the state of Trump's America.
Looking now at the list of people blacklisted as suspected left-wingers or communists is a timely reminder of the bigotry and ignorant intolerance that lurks near the surface in American civic culture.
The good news is that today's appointment, coming so soon after the Republicans blocked Obama's choice for Supreme Court justice, will almost certainly trigger the biggest demonstrations that country has ever seen...
And will just as certainly lead to Trump's defeat in the next election.
But the damage will have been done.
And I will always be haunted by all those so-called progressives who kept wailing during the election campaign that "Trump is better than Clinton!!!!"
Do they still feel the same way today? What were they thinking?
And can they ever be forgiven?