Tradition has it that whenever a group of people has tasted the lovely fruits of wealth, security, and prestige, it begins to find it more comfortable to believe in the obvious lie and accept that it alone is entitled to privilege.
-- Bantu Stephen Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist
And we've circled back 'round to this.
He’s so predictable. This is Trump’s go-to move when he’s cornered or stressed or feeling unloved.
This is Trump’s fan-tribute. Like those songs fading music groups do, a closing feel-good number, with lyrics of tired clichés about roadies and the cheap seats and hotel rooms and the lonely road and how it’s all worth it when they get up on the stage and see the faces of the fans. You people, you’re why we do it. And the fans cheer. It’s us! Us! Oh, they’re singing about us! They love us! And the easy applause swells over the music. And a bunch of old has-beens get to feel like they did back in the days when they filled stadiums with a 100,000 fans. Listen to ‘em cheer. We still got it.
That’s what this is.
Trump’s feeling down, feeling blue, feelin’ old and unloved.
So he throws this out. Those darn black people. Always with the protesting. Why, they don’t even know what they’re mad about! The fans, man, the poor football fans. You people go to the game for fun and these ungrateful types wanna protest? They’re practically stealing from you, what with all the money it costs you for the tickets. Why can’t they just be cool? Just be happy? Look at all that money they’re making! You, White People, you’re the real victims here.
Oh, he’s talking about us! He’s loves us! And the crowd cheers. And it makes him feel good. Important. Loved. Righteous. He’s still got it.
The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love. Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!
Take that apart though.
Look at what he’s actually saying.
"unable to define"
Woof woof! There’s a dog whistle for you.
There it is, right there. Unable to define. That's what he said.
Numerous players (i.e. black players)…
…want to show their "outrage" (in quote marks, to delineate that their concerns are fake. Not valid. Not real. Not like white people’s outrage, not like his own supporters’ rage. Black people, you see, they don’t feel things like you and I do, they don’t love their own kids, their families, their friends, their community or nation, not like we do. That’s what the plantation owners used to say when they sold off black children to other slavers. They’re not like us. That’s why their outrage is in quotes, because it’s not like ours)…
…at something most of them are unable to define (they don’t even know what they’re mad at, man! Silly negroes).
There it is.
The whitest of white privilege.
Their outrage, it's not real! Why, they don't even know what they're mad about! I mean, look at how well off they are, what are they complaining about anyway?
That ignorance, that attitude, that dismissal, that is exactly what those players are protesting. The centuries of bigotry and racism and oppression that leads directly to that privileged blindness, that right there. That’s the thing. That’s the root of it. That’s the very essence, right there.
Talk about irony.
You could describe every Trump supporter at every Trump rally in the same manner, only you'd actually be accurate instead of wrong.
These white conservatives, they're all mad, pissed off, they have no idea why and they don't care. Pissed off is an identity, the identity, of modern conservatives. They're always mad about something, always certain they are being attacked, diminished, made lesser somehow, under assault, being invaded and violated.
It’s who they are.
Trump says unemployment is the lowest in history? The only jobs that are unfilled are the ones nobody wants? They're still mad about jobs. Immigrants, yeah, they’re taking our jobs! Those filthy bastards!
Trump tells you the GDP is the highest in history, the economy is booming like never before, the stock market is at an all time high, taxes are low, wages are up and companies are handing out bonuses! That’s what he says. His supporters are mad. They’re taking our money! Impose those tariffs! It’s those bad trade deals! Screw Europe! Screw China! They’re bleeding us dry, man! It’s so unfair! So unfair!
The vast majority of the country is of their religion. We've never had a president who wasn't a Christian. Members of our government loudly declare their faith every day, publicly, from their government offices while in the performance of their government jobs. They don’t have to hide it, they’re proud of their faith, they shove it in your face, they brag about it. Christian prayers are offered up at every public event, every government function, sporting contests, and flood dozens of TV channels and hundreds radio stations across the country. The various fetishes of that religion are on every corner, crosses sprout like weeds, and the symbols of Christianity are displayed openly and proudly by its adherents. Christianity rakes in billions, tax free, and builds itself massive monuments of gold and steel ten stories high. Our religious holidays are Christian holidays. Still, they're mad, our religion is under attack! We’re oppressed, persecuted, they angrily shout!
They’re white and Christian and straight, this entire country is built around them. They have never, not once walked into a place and wondered if they’ll be served or asked to leave instead, if they’ll get refused a room, or a loan, or a decent education. They don’t have to straighten their hair or worry if they sound “American” enough. And every national hero, every Hollywood star, looks just like them. They never have to fear if their kids will get shot down on the street because some cop confused a toy for a gun. They never have to worry if they’ll be thrown in jail for “resisting arrest” when they’re pulled over for no reason. Nobody is demanding that they show a picture ID to vote – and then closing down DMV offices in their neighborhoods to make it impossible to get that ID. No one is purging them from voter records. Nobody calls the police on them when they have a barbeque in the park, or their kids set up a lemonade stand, or they’re waiting for a friend in a coffee shop, or if they fall asleep in their dorm’s study room, or they’re a fireman trying to save lives and property, or they’re a 12-year-old kid running a lawn mowing business. They never had to march for their civil rights, for freedom, for justice. They get a boost, an advantage, in everything, every single facet of our society, just for being who they are. And yet they’re still mad, Trump tells them that they are oppressed and put upon and they believe it. They’re mad. Angry at the idea that somebody else, somebody not like them, should get that same privilege.
Hey, don’t take my word for it.
Go to to a Trump rally. Listen to his speeches. Look at his actions. That’s how he got elected. That’s exactly what he tells his supporters. You’re the victims. “They” are taking your money, your jobs, your religion, your freedom, and your country away from you. I’m gonna give it back to you. That was his whole campaign. Take back America for real Americans, right? Real Americans just like them.
But the people who are actually oppressed?
The Americans who daily face actual discrimination and disadvantage?
The refugees desperately fleeing actual horror and persecution? Screw ‘em.
He’s got nothing but contempt for them.
He’s got nothing but dismissal.
…wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define.
Those players who take a knee, they have articulated the reasons for their protest at length. Repeatedly. Over and over.
They’ve written hundreds of thousands of words on the subject.
They’ve given hundreds of interviews.
They’ve spoken out in every venue this country has.
The reason for their protest, for their statement, has been detailed in every major paper in this country, and on nearly every major media channel.
If you don’t know why they take a knee, if Trump doesn’t know by now, well then it’s because you refuse to listen.
If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."
-- Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States of America
What really confuses Trump is the money.
They make a fortune doing what they love. Be happy, be cool!
You're making money, so what's the problem?
You’re getting paid. So why are you bellyaching about stuff? Be cool, man!
People protest police abuse? What’s the problem? The GDP is at an all time high! Be Happy!
Nazis on the march in America’s cities? What are you complaining about? The stock market is roaring!
Why do you care about black men being shot down in the street? What’s that to you? You’re rich, man!
Other people denied their civil rights and due process? Injustice? Inequality? Racism? Violence and oppression? So what? Business profits are great! If you're making money, what do you have to complain about? To hell with everybody else, you’re making money, right? You’re rich, aren't you? So what’s the problem?
Because Trump and conservatives like him can't conceive of anything more important than money.
This is Trump. This is Trump every day, you’re making money, man, what’s the problem?
No matter how many times Colin Kaepernick explained himself, no matter how many interviews Malcolm Jenkins gives, no matter how many times the players explain the reasons for their protest, no matter how detailed, no matter how specific, Trump can't hear it. He won't hear it. Because he simply cannot fathom putting the welfare of others over money.
This is the philosophy of modern conservatism: I got mine, fuck you.
This is the core of their horrible selfish religion: I'm saved, you can burn in hell.
You’ve heard me say this many times before: It’s not heaven if everybody gets to go. The best part about Conservative Heaven isn’t being up there with Jesus, no, it’s gloating at the poor saps burning forever down below. Ha ha HAH. We’re Saved, fuck you, losers! And that horrible selfish religion shapes everything else. We got ours, our healthcare, our food, our clean water, our homes, our jobs, our retirement, our stock options, our savings, our opportunity, our salvation, so fuck you. The best part of America is that everybody doesn’t get to go. There’s no point in privilege if everybody is privileged. You can’t think of yourself as exceptional if everybody is exceptional. There’s no point in being rich if everybody else is rich too. They see liberty and justice and freedom as a zero sum game. If others get more, they are somehow diminished, lessened, cheated of their exalted status and made average.
This is how Trump and his supporters think. You've got yours, why are you protesting? Fuck them, you got yours!
This is the very core of modern Republicanism where everything is for profit, prisons, healthcare, education, religion, civil rights, equality, justice, liberty, all of it for money. And so long as you get yours, well, then to hell with everybody else because there’s not enough to go around and heaven isn’t heaven if everybody gets to go.
These people are almost literally the rich sons of bitches who rowed away from the Titanic in half empty lifeboats as 1500 people drowned in freezing water behind them. Fuck you, losers! I got mine.
This literally defines the very platform of the Republican Party. It’s become their entire ideology, from civil rights to foreign policy, fuck you, so long as I got mine.
And if you didn’t get yours, well, that’s your fault. If the playing field isn’t level, if society is rigged against you, if others are working night and day to marginalize you, too bad, that’s your fault, loser. If you worked your whole life, you saved and you sacrificed, and then one day a bunch of rich assholes implode the economy and they wipe out your savings, your kid’s college fund, your retirement, your job, your home, everything, well, too bad for you, Loser. You should have planned better, you should have worked harder. You should have been born privileged. Pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps, and then pulled the ladder up after yourself.
This ideology, this religion, is nothing but selfishness. It’s a complete lack of empathy shamelessly writ large.
It’s Trump’s go-to move, his fan tribute, because it always gets a cheer from the suckers.
And the more things change, well, you know the rest…
“Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.”
-- Mwai Kibaki, 3rd President of Kenya