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Donald Trump’s White Supremacist Appeal of “A Clash of Civilizations”

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“I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph.”

Thus, during his speech in Poland’s Krasinski Square this month, President Donald Trump threw down the metaphorical gauntlet by turning up the volume of the dog whistle to full audible blast for human perception by declaring what propagandists for extremist Jihadist groups and ultra-right white supremacist neo-nationalists throughout Europe and the United States have long claimed: there is a clash of civilizations between the so-called West and the East.

What exactly, though, does Trump mean when he talks about “the West”? Not surprisingly, he evokes a white primarily Euro-Christian “civilization”:

“Americans, Poles and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty,” he said. “We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. . . . We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.”

By implication, all other cultures rank as inferior, savage, and non-innovative societies. Well, Trump’s vacuous understanding of world music is only rivaled by his vacuous understanding of world history, since China, India, the Middle East, and other global regions during numerous historical eras have led the world economically and have produced some of the richest innovations in industry, technology, engineering, architecture, literature, philosophy, art, music, and of course, food.

Though most other U.S. presidents who visited Warsaw, Poland have placed a commemorative wreath on the monument in tribute to the brave Polish Jews at the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi oppression, Donald Trump chose neither to visit the monument nor to mention the slaughter of the estimated three million Polish Jews during World War II.

In his Poland speech, written by Steve Miller, chief architect of the administration’s travel ban, Trump continued by asking:

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” the president said. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

So, if Trump by implication defined what he meant by “the West,” who does he include in his use of the word “we.” Actually, this “we” is a misstatement since he campaigned during his run for the presidency on a platform of “America first.”

By personally attacking many of our allies, some who attended the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany (in actuality, now G19 since Trump has pulled the U.S. out of many of the agreements and accords of the other nations), Trump has transformed his “American First” position to that of “America Alone” and “I, Donald Trump First,” with the corollary, “And Screw the Rest of the World.” This comes directly from the playbook of Senior White House Divider and Isolationist-In-Chief, Steve (Breitbart) Bannon.

I found it extremely difficult and frightening to watch the Republican National Presidential Convention last summer, since I had the definite impression that I was witnessing not simply a political gathering, but more distinctly, a neo-nationalist power rally with angry, primarily white and older Party activists.

During the convention coverage, I watched a panel discussion on MSNBC hosted by Chris Hayes, which included Esquire magazine’s Charles Pierce who discussed what he perceived as the “old white people” who run the Republican Party. He argued that the convention is filled with “loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people.”

Before I could take pride in the accuracy of my own perceptions, GOP Representative Steve King of Iowa piped in with a jaw-dropping quip by retorting:

“This whole ‘white people’ business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie. I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute to civilization?”

“Than white people?,” asked Hayes incredulously. King then emphasized that in “Western civilization itself” and places where Christianity had a foothold, this was based on the contributions of primarily white people.

It seems, however, that according to Fox News host, Tucker Carlson, though Europe comprises a major portion of this so-called “West,” it betrays its culture and its civilization. Carlson asserted on his program, Tucker Carlson Tonight (5/23/17):

“If you care about America, you won’t let it become Europe” by blindly accepting multiculturalism. Carlson and others use “multiculturalism” as an epithet and coded language for “non-white,” “non-Christian,” as “the other,” as “not us.”

Though Trump brought his “clash of civilizations” rhetoric to perceivable levels, still for those of us skillful in breaking codes, we discover the not-so-subtle racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, anti-semitic tropes coming from Trump, Carlson, and other right-wing zealots.

U.S. Republican Representative Steve King yet again insulted not only the Iowa residents of his congressional district but also the people throughout our country. In one of his many nationalist white supremacist rants, he supported far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders by tweeting that civilizations cannot be restored with “someone else’s babies”:

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

King doubled down in a CNN interview by stating that he meant what he tweeted, and criticized immigrants who “don’t assimilate into America.” Soon afterwards, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, retweeted King’s diatribe adding: “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!”

Trump, Carlson, King, and other right-wing activists connect narratives representing immigrants, migrants, and even visitors to our borders in the language of disease, crime, drugs, alien and lower cultural and life forms, of invading hoards, of barbarians at the gates who if allowed to enter this country will destroy the glorious civilization we have established among the lesser peoples of the world.

The 2016 Republican Party Platform codified the language by defining the “other” as “illegal aliens,” as if they were dangerous and deadly non-human invaders from deep space.

On the right-wing side of the political spectrum, we find the philosophy and practice of “fascism.” While also deployed as an epithet by some, fascism developed as a form of radical authoritarian nationalism in early-20th century Europe in response to liberalism and Marxism on the left.

Donald Trump clearly exalted the fascist white so-called “race” in his Poland speech in referencing to “the West” ten times and “civilization” five times. His rhetoric in issuing an implied Christian crusade for, as he stated, “family, for freedom, for country, and for God” could have come directly from the Ku Klux Klan or from other white supremacist militias in the U.S. and Europe.

Though Trump asked “whether the West has the will to survive,” a more urgent question arises over whether we as a democratic nation will survive Donald Trump.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 9th, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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