Sunday, April 09, 2017

"Donald Trump & Mediocrity Of Privilege"

Image result for trump images twitterThe following opinion piece was written for News One by Joshua Adams.

"Over the last year, it’s been astonishing to see how the bar for basic decorum has been lowered for U.S. President Donald Trump.

Every time Trump––or anyone from his administration for that matter––tweets, I think about how different the reaction would be if any other elected official had peddled the same blatant lies and half-truths that we’ve seen during his brief tenure. What would we hear from vehement right-wing Republicans and ardent “we need to move away from identity politics” liberals?

Consider the following questions: What would Republicans say if, well, President Barack Obama had spent an inordinate amount of his time tweeting? Or if he and Democrats demanded that Ex-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a U.S. citizen whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from India, show his birth certificate?

What would be the reaction if Russians had hacked Republican National Committee computers and engaged in covert political propaganda to––at the most––help Hillary Clinton win, and––at the least––discredit Trump?

What if, say, after Clinton had won, she and her husband ex-President Bill Clinton were cordial toward Russian President Vladimir Putin?

What would the Fox News headline be if Obama had said, “I like people who weren’t captured” about Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain?

Or, wait, imagine a Black congressman asking on national TV, what “sub group” has contributed more to civilization than Black people, à la Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King?

What if pundits in the “liberal” media asserted that we need to call Dylann Roof a “radical white Christian extremist,” and that to avoid doing so was “political correctness?”

If Obama, like Trump, had been caught bragging on camera that he sexually assaulted women (while he was married to Michelle), how many Black folks, let alone Whites, would jump to frame it as “locker-room talk?” Would we support Obama before and after a host of women had accused him of groping them?

What if incoming First Lady Michelle Obama had plagiarized a speech by outgoing First Lady Laura Bush like Melania Trump? What would be the mainstream reaction if First Lady Obama fake-smiled and grimaced while standing behind President Obama?

Would voters call Fox News “biased” if it cited something straight from Bernie Sanders’ mouth? Then how would Fox react if Sanders tweeted, “Dishonest Faux News!”?

What if Hillary won, and bragged about her historic win, even though she lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes? What if Hillary won on a campaign pledge that purportedly championed the working class, and then appointed nothing but millionaires and billionaires to her cabinet? What if her first act as president made it harder for middle-class homeowners to own property?

How would Republicans, who obstructed President Obama to an unprecedented degree for eight straight years, react to even minimal opposition to President Trump, let alone a Democratic House member yelling “You lie!” at him during a speech or a governor wagging a finger in his face?

Building Walls To Hide Mediocrity

I raise these questions to show that bias is part of the human condition. It reifies many assumed binaries––good and evil, weak and strong, right and wrong, winners and losers. But there is much more at work in terms of the leaps and stretches taken to redeem Trump’s inadequacies. Republicans, but also Democrats, are allowing the standards and practices of American politics to devolve in ways in which we can’t afford.

There are a host of cultural structures and strictures that compelled the election results that goes beyond mere “economic anxiety,” anti-elitism, or anti-political correctness. When it comes to oppression, critics tend to think in terms of racism, patriarchy, homophobia, classism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and other structures. But maybe those walls are meant to hide the fact that the emperor, indeed, has no clothes.

A culture that says men are superior to women affords men certain privileges that women are not privy to, including equal pay. As a result, men can outstrip women in achievements, despite their mediocrity. This is a general probability, not a truism, that may explain why Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard than Trump.

And for all of these “isms,” the more people wield the power that socially constructed superiority affords them, the more mediocre they are allowed to be, the harder they will fight to maintain artificial constructs and walls. Writer and scholar Ta-Nehisi Coates said it best:

“To be president, [Obama] had to be scholarly, intelligent, president of the Harvard Law Review, the product of some of our greatest educational institutions, capable of talking to two different worlds … Donald Trump had to be rich and White.”

Obama had to be excellent in virtually every aspect of his presidential campaigns, particularly in 2008, and appeal to the widest, most diverse base as possible. There are several reasons Clinton lost the presidential election––beyond emailgate or her “basket of deplorables” comment. She was one of––if not the most conventionally “qualified”––presidential candidates in American history, but she did not appeal to enough White Americans.

The Truth About Identity Politics

To become the nation’s 45th President, Trump appealed categorically to White people, and peripherally to everyone else.

But there were social forces much bigger than Clinton, ones that she could not account for, and ones that Trump benefited from. One of them is how deeply race is embedded in U.S. politics, and ways in which it can be manipulated in order to win.

We try to avoid it, but regardless of race, class, gender, political ideology, religion, citizenship status, etc., scores of Americans believe in one incredibly powerful logical fallacy: progress for people of color, especially Black people, is achieved by taking something from White people.

That base assumption is central to an array of discourse and stereotypes––welfare recipients, ”job stealing immigrants,” affirmative action, what people think of when they hear diversity, which immigrants should be denigrated, why, and for how long. That is the rocky foundation on which Americans stand anytime race and politics inhabit the same space.

To be clear, I don’t think any reasonable person could dismiss the fact that to win, Trump tapped into the zeitgeist of the 21st century––economic anxiety.

But it’s dangerous to overlook the identity politics embedded in our democracy, especially ones that allowed such a (relative to historical and common standards) demonstratively unqualified person to become president. It’s why the logic of “deserving” and “undeserving” working class exists in the first place. It’s why the rationale about why poor White Americans are poor versus, let’s say, why poor Black or Latino Americans are poor, is different, even when they share the same economic reality.

It’s why Americans who grow up in the most diverse neighborhoods in coastal cities are said to live in “liberal bubbles,” while millions who have never seen a Muslim are “heartland Americans.” It’s why folks can vote for politicians who promise to diminish globalization’s effect in their town, even though the same politicians know for a fact that, due to outsourcing and automation, certain jobs simply do not exist anymore.

It’s why millions can believe our country is perpetually exceptional, express fiery outrage when minorities express anything less than jingoistic love of country, and in the next moment, galvanize around the idea that America “doesn’t win anymore” and needs to be made great “again.”
Mediocrity vs. Hypocrisy

Though all of these are contradictions, I am deliberately using the term “mediocrity” instead of “hypocrisy” because part of what fuels mediocrity is ignoring the fact that standards are applied differently to different groups. It’s one thing to acknowledge contradiction. It’s another thing to not see it as such. It is committing to a bias so fervently that it turns objectivity into a concession.

Trump is our President. And though he comes from a world of reality TV, this is the reality for the next four to eight years. But the logic used to justify his words and actions are diametrically opposed to the standards we set for the majority of this country, politicians or not. Forfeiting those standards should not be a badge of honor, or sign of solidarity. It’s merely a power-grab; posturing and positioning within the new order of the things. In the midst of Black History Month, it’s bitterly ironic that we are shedding light on the exceptional Hidden Figures of America as we watch the beginning of an “alternative facts” presidency.

How low can the bar go?" [Source]

*Pic from cnn.com

28 comments:

I Hate Spics, Gooks, Kikes and Faggots said...

Mediocre is putting it mildly.

#BlackPride #BlackPower #BlackisBeautiful

Anonymous said...

#BlackPride #BlackPower #BlackisBeautiful
9:46 PM

a lot of black people killing other black people in Chicago....why is that????

Anonymous said...

obamacrimes.com

dinthebeast said...

If he was mediocre as a president it wouldn't be so bad.
Because he is mediocre as a person, and narcissistic to boot, he sees others' capability as a threat that he has to denigrate. That's just human behavior 101.
What sets him apart here is that he believes his own bullshit when he tears down capable public servants in order to appear superior enough to get elected, and in a display that never makes it to mediocrity, fails to even try to obtain the skills of those public servants he lies about, genuinely believing that if those inferior people can do it, it must be so easy that his merest first effort at it would far surpass anything they ever achieved.
In short, he's an ignorant, belligerent, asshole who thinks he's better than everyone else, with nothing whatsoever to support such delusions.
Mediocre would be fine. The system was specifically designed to accommodate mediocre. George W. Bush was, for the most part, mediocre, and we survived his bumbling presidency. But, and here's the fucked up part: we survived, but a whole lot of people did not. A whole lot of wealth did not. The standing of our country in the eyes of the rest of the world did not.
President is a very hard job, and the particular president's skill or lack thereof impacts the lives and livelihoods of millions of people here, and billions of people abroad.
Electing someone specifically because he lacked those skills (and as it turns out, the capacity to gain them or any interest in doing so) is maybe the most supremely stupid and destructive thing we have done in my lifetime.
Here's hoping he somehow attains mediocrity soon, or just fucks off and stops playing stupid little masturbation games with the country.

-Doug in Oakland

I'm Just Saying!! said...

The "bar," not only for "basic decorum," has always been set lower for whites when compared with blacks. Consider the presidential readiness of Obama to trump.

Flying Junior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flying Junior said...

Obama crimes? Are you mental?

Yes, Field. Again you make the correct call. Republicans are total buttholes. It really makes no sense whatsoever. How could such a large group of Americans be so completely fucked up?

I guess one thing that enables them is this culture of silence. It is the unwritten rule that Trump can never be mentioned in polite company.

It certainly is in California. I kid you not. In the last four months, I have only heard one middle-aged lady trying to tell something to a younger male over lunch.

Nobody, but nobody dares even to speak the vile name of the demon spawn.

It is the ultimate taboo. I guess that's what allows republican dildoheads a certain amount of cover.

dinthebeast said...

From twitter:

Paul Krugman‏Verified account @paulkrugman 19h19 hours ago

Fun fact: Retail trade lost more jobs in the past 2 months than coal mining lost in the past 20 years

-Doug in Oakland

Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes said...

Wow. Trump "appealed to whites".

Far as I know, whites are still the majority.

What a stupid strategy.

BTW. Your house is burning down.

Would you rather have a male fireman, or a female firestress to rescue your kids?

Mediocrity my ass.

I say, let's create a military brigade "manned" solely by women, and send them into Syria to show their stuff. Hell, make them Marines.

The Purple Cow said...

10th April 2017. Meters of wall built = 0.

mike from iowa said...

Tar Sands bored with his drapes sez- I set fire to my house so I could proposition that cute little EMT/volunteer firefighting fox from south of the border.

mike from iowa said...

Possible good news for Sanctuary Cities. According to a case from 2012 where wingnuts sued Obamacare to prevent the fed from forcing states to join the party

mike from iowa said...

http://www.sheilakennedy.net/2017/04/never-thought-id-cheer-states-rights/#comments

For the previous comment.

mike from iowa said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/how-bannons-multimedia-machine-drove-a-movement-and-paid-him-millions/2017/04/09/203df1ce-197b-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_bannonmachine-615pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.390b2adcf34d

Now Bannon is a perjurer. Who knew?

makaii7 said...

Give that Joshua Adams a prize for speaking up and telling it like it is and thanks for sharing this one.

Fuck white boys said...

I voted for Trump, but now I think he's worthless.

Nebraska is the greatest state in the country said...

Fuck black people.

The Purple Cow said...

"I'd like a United Airlines ticket to Louisville please"

"Sure, what seat would you like? Window, aisle or ringside?"

mike from iowa said...

olson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad — about a woman escaping from slavery, with just a hint of magical realism — has won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, which means Colson Whitehead is having a very good year indeed.

The Pulitzer comes after The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award, after it was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, and after Moonlight director Barry Jenkins signed on to adapt it for television. (Plus, it has the prestigious distinction of making Vox’s “best novels of the year” list.)

Of course he couldn't have succeeded w/o mediocre whitey wingnuts help, right?

mike from iowa said...

Drunk Peggy Noonan won a Pulitzer for fiction ranting while inebriated every day. Snowdrift Snookie sues the committee right away and declares her ghost writer deserves the prize for rilly fictitious stuff.

Brigade Fifteen said...

"'I'd like a United Airlines ticket to Louisville please'

'Sure, what seat would you like? Window, aisle or ringside?'"


This PR disaster was bound to happen eventually. Airlines have been downgrading the customer experience continually for years to the point that flying coach is now an unpleasant cattle-car experience. This is true on major carriers, not just budget ones. Thus, "air rage" is on the rise among passengers.

This latest incident is the result of overbooking: i.e., airlines doing their best to effectively sell some of the seats twice, once to an actual rider and simultaneously to a cancellation. There is no way to pull off this ridiculous practice without causing a certain percentage of riders to get "bumped," and I can't think of many other types of business in which customers would accept that kind of bullshit treatment.

I mean, can you imagine if you showed up for a concert or sporting event and the ticket agent told you, "Sorry, we oversold, because we're greedy bastards like that. You've been bumped and won't be able to attend the show. Here's a voucher to come see some other event"?

Voucher, my ass.

Anonymous said...

Fuck the gooks and chinks!

mike from iowa said...

“No majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate,” the minority leader said.

He continued: “Breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American. I just hope the majority leader thinks about his legacy, the future of his party, and, most importantly, the future of our country before he acts.”

Are these the words of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the Republican majority changed Senate rules this week to do away with filibusters of Supreme Court nominations?

Actually, they were uttered in 2013, by then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), when Democrats pushed through a similar filibuster change for lesser nominations.

Anonymous said...

For the record this incident occurred on Republic Airlines operating as United Express. Their employees are not as well trained as mainline. This goes to my point that we need more quality control.

PX

Anonymous said...

Field, I'm hoping Comrade Trump runs the tab up on his white privilege to the tune of 100 million dollars. I want Trump presidency to be the most expensive in this nation's history!The reason, so that the other half of white America can see what it truly cost this nation when being white is the only priority of the low intellect voters of this nation.

Anonymous said...

Nebraska is the greatest state in the country said...
Fuck black people.
4:57 PM

Not black people...niggers.

All niggers are black but not all black people are niggers.

field negro said...

Anon@4:10 PM, I see your point. If only we all didn't have to pay for it.

James Bold said...

From the "You Can't Make This Shit Up" department...

"A man was shot to death in an argument with his father over who was going to walk the dog Sunday morning in the Burnside neighborhood on the South Side.

Donald Johnson, 22, and his 43-year-old father shot each other about 8:20 a.m. during an argument in the 9100 block of South Woodlawn, according to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Both men suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said.
"

Feeled blames Trump.  Or White America, for being rayciss and making those two poor innocent Black men shoot each other.  Meanwhile, a Chicago cop describes his advanced case of Negro Fatigue:

""Your Turn" "No, Your Turn"
Just when the inanity can't get any sillier...:

More "Tales From Da Hood," SCC...

Anyone who has seen the nonsense from behind
the wheel of a Blue & White for one-third
to one-half of their lives can both aver
and attest to the madness that fuels
this kind of behavior.

The rest of everybody else cannot comprehend
how viewing this kind of pathology so up=close
is so corrosive to the Policeman's soul.

"If you guys would just stop fighting "reform"
and accept your place as public servants and
give up on your blue collar, Mt. Greenwood
dwelling "Warrior Cop" sensibilities, the
public would support you."

As always, it's amusing how they always manage
to point the cannons of reform and accountability
in the wrong direction in this town.

Father and son have a shoot-out over whose
turn it is to walk the damned dog.

Others we can think of at the moment?

Mother who shot and killed her son
for cheating at the card table."

Black people have NO business criticizing Trump, or ANY White person, until they've cleaned up their culture of stupid senseless deadly violence.