I spent most of yesterday in a state of deep, dark reflection. The mass murder in Orlando had me depressed. I got into a fight with a relative on Facebook about it and felt bad for flying off the handle. I reminded myself yet again that after this country allowed a room full of first graders in Sandy Hook to be slaughtered with no real change that mass murders like this would be inevitable.
And then came today, when Donald Trump opened his filthy sewer mouth yet again. Dodgy Don reiterated his call for a ban on Muslims coming to America, despite the shooter having been an American-born citizen. Trump called for a Stasi-like system where Americans would inform on each other's "suspicious behavior," or else. Trump also insinuated, in a rebirth of his birther ideology, that president Obama was some kind of secret Muslim undermining the country. When the Washington Post reported on that, Trump had their credentials to cover his campaign revoked.
There was no way that Trump was going to pass up an opportunity to attack Muslims and exploit fear. He seems to understand, as Bush and Cheney did, that the voting public will listen to the fear reflexes in their lizard brains first, and ask questions later. The Bush-Cheney administration deftly exploited 9/11, saving their sagging administration and accomplishing a radical agenda of invading Iraq, extraordinary rendition, and increased surveillance.
Trump is also less restrained than Cheney-Bush, something I had not thought possible. Bush, to his credit, took pains to tell the public not to conflate Islam with terrorism. Trump has not shown such restraint. His proposed Muslim ban is a statement on his part that he believes Muslims are inherently terroristic, and that he has no problem using the state apparatus to persecute people for the crime of just being Muslim.
In the aftermath of 9/11 I thought that if Bush called for all foreign born Muslims to be rounded up and put in internment camps or deported that a clear majority of Americans would have supported him. Trump looks as if he would actually do it.
I would like to think that his statements today would hurt his chances at the presidency, but I'm not so sure. White America lives in a constant state of racialized fear, from its gated communities to its periodic freak outs over being seated next to Muslims on airplanes. Trump could very well carry a combination voter suppression and white fear with him to the White House this November. I want more than anything else for my white brethren to stop living in fear.