“I Am Trump. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”
As I review the developments of this past couple of weeks, that internet meme caption (as featured in front of a picture of Donald Trump’s glaring face) seems like less and less of a joke. Since April 4th, when an estimated 85 people were killed in a gas attack in Syria, the national and global political scene has gone into a downward spiral that benefits both the Trump administration and the larger centers of American power which Trump has very much become part of.
Political and media figures have been quick to exploit this attack and blame it on Bashar al-Assad even though a full investigation has not been completed. There is a question of why Assad would gas his own people now and risk destroying the favorable position of being a non-target for the U.S. military empire. On April 6, incidentally right after the Queen of Chaos herself Hillary Clinton called for the U.S. to respond to the chemical attack with force, the president ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles to a strike a Syrian airbase; betraying the hopes of those who chose him over Clinton last year thinking he wouldn’t take her reckless approach to the extremely delicate situation in Syria.
The fallout from Trump’s decision has been so complex and profound that I couldn’t make sense of it at first, but as the implications continue to reveal themselves it becomes easy to piece together what these airstrikes mean: in a wild plot twist, Trump and Friends have turned their allegiance from the interests of the Russian state to the interests of the Deep State. Yes, after months of Trump and his aides quietly aligning themselves with the Kremlin and having initially planned to form an alliance with Putin’s political cohort Assad, Trump has caved into the pressures of his neocon critics and betrayed Vlad. And Vlad is just as eager to end the partnership, responding to the airstrikes by suspending the agreement that once prohibited Russia and the U.S. from going into direct military combat.
This action from Trump may have deprived the Deep State and the establishment Democrats and Republicans of their desire to continue thumping their McCarthyite narrative about Russia having “hacked” the election, but it’s given them something even better: the war with Russia that they thought had been delayed four years by Hillary Clinton’s loss. As Putin himself orders his air force to prepare for a “time of war”, the neocons who were advocating CNN articles hounding Trump for his Kremlin connections the day before the strikes are now joining Trump’s approach to Syria and Russia with glee. This is exemplified by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s endorsements of the airstrikes, which have been accompanied by widespread war drum thumping from the corporate media.
This touching reunion for the Trump team, the Democratic Party, and media establishment concludes an unplanned but ghastly bait-and-switch on much of the American population. Both Trump and Clinton supporters trusted their chosen leaders to protect them from the threats posed by the other candidate’s agenda. How the Trump regime and the Clinton Democrats are partnering to drive us into World War III.
No time to reel from the shock of this cinematic twist, though. As the terrifying consequences of this conflict move towards their probable culmination in a major terrorist attack on the United States, the political culture will grow exponentially more hostile towards dissidents in the coming weeks, months and years. We’ll be told by former champions of “The Resistance” that we must get behind the president. Any criticism of the war effort and goals of corporations and the Deep State will be met with McCarthyite accusations; even from former Trump-backing proponents of peace with Russia. The right of greatly burgeoning hate and patriot groups to speak and organize will be upheld, while the rights of those who oppose the regime will be incrementally stripped.
Already, Americans are assimilating; Trump’s job approval ratings have jumped to 45% up from 34% (according to some polls) before the chemical attack. The pressures to normalize Trump and the neoliberal and anti-constitutional liberties agenda he quietly shares with most Democrats in the House and Senate, could soon drive that number above 50%. And to think less than a year ago I was telling myself that fascism wasn’t possible with a Trump win.
Before things really start to get crazy, I think some reminders are in order.
It’s important to remind ourselves that while most of the American people won’t oppose the regime itself, they most certainly will always oppose what it represents. The vast majority of Americans, including the majority of Republicans, do not believe climate change is a hoax and want to counteract it with alternative energy. The vast majority of Americans, also including Republicans, want an end the private health care industry racket and support the enaction of universal, federally funded health care. In every way, the vast majority of Americans are disgusted with the current levels of corporate power and wealth and income inequality and want policies to create an economy that works for everyone. Even a majority of Republicans now favor a higher minimum wage and higher taxes for the rich.
We mustn’t forget that while we can disagree over who was the lesser evil in this last election, the majority of Americans understand that Clinton wasn’t much different from Trump and that neither major party can bring the changes mentioned above. Polls taken last month show more Americans now view Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party unfavorably than they do Donald Trump; and the majority do not feel represented by either major party It is likely that Bernie Sanders would be president right now were it not for the massive voter suppression and electoral fraud that occurred throughout the 2016 Democratic nominating contest, and he remains the most popular politician in the country. (Sanders is also the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in the last three polls for that race.)
We cannot allow recent events to distract us from the fact that the vast majority of Americans who back such sensible measures are successfully fighting to enact legislation. Support for and involvement in constructive movements, particularly the efforts for climate action and economic justice, have been rapidly building in the last several months and years. This has been made most apparent recently in the rise of Fight for $15 and the push to get non-corporatist “Berniecrats” into the political system, along with the newly powerful against-odds movement within the conservative community to get GOP lawmakers to address climate change. And as economic inequality and environmental problems continue to get worse, these movements are expected to become prevalent in the next few years.
The launching of the Syrian/Russian war shouldn’t make us lose sight of the monumental societal push in motion towards positive change, and it even more importantly shouldn’t make us stop paying attention to the jobs we can do individually for that push. The opportunity to donate to groups like Democratic Socialists of America and Brand New Congress is still here. We still have the ability to participate in and organize protests against the war and pressure those in power through other means such as contacting them directly. The window for revolt is still here. But it’s fast closing.
After decades of incremental corporate and Deep State coups which haven’t yet brought about the official elimination of constitutional liberties, we’re currently in a strange state where it’s generally allowed to say government, corporations and the media aren’t working in the public interest; and yet tyranny is still present in nearly every other respect. We aren’t yet forbidden from saying we’re going to revolt, but every time we make a serious effort to do so-Occupy Wall Street, the Bernie Sanders campaign-it’s tamped down through excessive police enforcement, marginalization from the media, and most recently, electoral fraud. As the coup enters its final frontiers in the age of Trump, we’ll be met with more efforts to crush dissent. The methods have been helpfully foreshadowed in things like the heavily policed 2016 RNC and the currently unsuccessful push by lawmakers in five states to outlaw peaceful protests.
Yes, there is still time to resist and to resist bigly. But it’s running out, and the dramatic presence of the war is itself already making it harder to mobilize. I recently saw my activist social media friends talking about getting single payer health care passed, but after the Syrian strike, the subject immediately changed. We need to get our thoughts back on track, take action like never before, and not succumb to the mad distractions being thrown at us by the war-obsessed corporate media.
Finally, let’s also remind ourselves that we’re not alone when we get involved in the political system. There are more than enough people across the country working towards the same goals and continuing the fight is still worthwhile. History has shown just 3.5% of the population can topple a dictatorship; right now in the Trump era, we have 25% of our population working harder than ever for political and social change.
With that said, let’s get to work.