School's out for the summer, political tempers are flaring and the time is right for fighting in the streets! Comedian Kathy Griffin's mock decapitation of President Donald J. Trump tweeted to all the twits in Tweeterville last week laid out the rules for the battle: There will be no holds barred in this exhausting 12-week-long affair.
I flipped out when I first saw Griffin's image, in much the same way that I flipped out when former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were similarly degraded in effigy. I know there's a long tradition of this sort of political expression, I'm just not a fan. After the shock wore off, I had to grudgingly give Griffin and her photographer credit: it's an effective piece of propaganda sure to galvanize the Resistance.
That's what they're calling it, the Resistance, as if we were in Nazi-occupied France or something, and no doubt some of its members sincerely believe we are, except instead of Hitler being in charge it's Vladimir Putin, because that's what Resistance figureheads like California Reps. Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, filmmaker Michael Moore and former journalist Keith Olbermann keep telling them, over and over again, for months.
Meanwhile, at the “grass roots” level, MoveOn.org and a score of nonprofit political astro-turf groups funded in large part by billionaire philanthropist/international troublemaker George Soros have been organizing for Resistance Summer since January.
It all sounds innocent enough. There will be local meet-ups nationwide the first month, get-out-the-vote-drives the second, culminating in the by now familiar demonstrations at town hall meetings during the August Congressional recess. It's fair to say all the yelling that went down in town halls this spring may have had some positive effect, considering Obamacare is still in place, the wall hasn't been built and food stamps haven't been cut—so far.
It's also fair to say the rhetoric of the Resistance, which now includes decapitating the commander-in-chief, only adds fuel to the fire that's consuming the entire country, left, right and everything in-between, making it virtually impossible to have a political disagreement that doesn't consist of completely annihilating and/or humiliating your opponent.
In that sense Trump is the quintessential polarizing figure of our times. It's like everything he touches turns into a third rail. Witness the howls of derision from every corner of the mainstream media at Trump's announcement he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. “He's ceded leadership of the Western world!” some wag panicked. (No silly, that's Angela Merkel's refugee resettlement plan.)
To politely suggest there might be legitimate problems with the Paris accord is to be branded a “climate change denier,” but I'll take the risk. One problem has been pointed out by well known Danish critic Bjorn Lomborg, who cites a recent statistical study that shows that even if all countries adhered perfectly to the accord throught the end of the centure, the reduction in global temperatures could be negligible. As in nadda. If true, what's the point of the exercise?
At any rate, I'm far more disturbed by Trump's grotesque promotion of a $350 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia during his first trip abroad than I am with the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.
Officially, I've been off the Trump Train since early April, when he ordered a cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base in response to an alleged—and still unverified—gas attack by the Syrian government on its own citizens. That's the opposite of the non-interventionist platform candidate Trump ran on, and his trip to Saudi Arabia was more of the same.
Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia was cringeworthy, so naturally it received praise from all sides of the establishment. It's no secret that the Saudi royal family, as well as other gulf states that are our so-called allies, fund and foment terrorism throughout the Middle East, Europe and even the United States, yet Trump had the gall to stand amidst these head-chopping ISIS supporters and call Iran (mortal enemy of the Saudis and zero threat to the U.S.) the “No. 1 state sponsor of terror in the world.”
The $350 million weapons pipeline should ensure the Saudis complete the genocide of the Houthis in Yemen and no doubt a few guns will wind up in the hands of ISIS in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan, some could even conceivably be turned on American troops.
What else is in it for Americans? “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” the Trumpster croaked shamelessly. He then jetted over to Israel, where he and Bibi Netanyahu, with totally straight faces, discussed a potential new partnership with Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism throughout the region. That's called 4D chutzpah.
Yet aside from non-interventionists such as myself, Trump's apparent reversal on foreign policy has gone more or less unremarked, particularly by the so-called Resistance. The anti-Trump Republican neocons like Bill Kristol are loving it and even neoliberal Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer have nice things to say. It's as if Hillary won the election, after all, as far as foreign policy is concerned.
Few U.S. reports acknowledge let alone make the connection between the estimated 2 million deaths the U.S. and its allies have caused in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya since 2003 and terrorist incidents like last week's bombing in Manchester. If you're seeking the root cause of Islamic radicalization, you need only look in the mirror. Your tax dollars are funding this nightmare.
A genuine resistance might take up the anti-war cause, but there's something that's just a little too narcissistic about this Resistance, with its grounding in identity politics, for it to take on something larger than itself.
Any respect I had gained for Griffen's gritty decapitation depiction went out the window when she held a press conference Friday, with attorney present, and tearfully complained that Donald Trump had “broken her” because he was a white man just like the white men who have been breaking her all her life, presumedly now including Anderson Cooper, her former New Year's Eve co-host. CNN fired her, shortly after Cooper disavowed her ghastly artwork.
What's next? Ginger Lives Matter?
Griffen's speech was remarkably similar to comments made by Hillary Clinton earlier in the week, in which the Biggest Sore Loser Ever cited two dozen or so reasons why she lost the election, none of which involved mistakes made on her part.
This total lack of introspection is endemic to the Resistance and limits how far it can go in the long run, now matter how much money Soros pumps into it.
Consider the students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, who went berserk last week after their wish to have all white people removed from campus for a day wasn't granted. The left has yet to figure out that these are precisely the sort of tactics that lost them what was supposed to be a slam-dunk election.
That's not to say they won't make for some interesting fireworks this summer.
No doubt there will be more than a few showdowns between members of the Antifa and the Alt-Right, the latter emboldened now that their champion is in office, even though he hasn't exactly lived up to his billing.
There's always the chance that rioting might break out in one or more of the big cities after yet another police shooting or cop killing.
Or Trump could start WW III just to prove he's not working for the Russians.
One thing's for certain. This ain't the summer of love.