Speeches for independence Day usually deal with who we are as a nation. They are messages of unity and a common purpose. They tell us where we came from and delve into how we are a people, with a history and tradition. They are unifying messages and especially so after disasters or doing war. They are saccharine exercises of the flag, baseball, and apple pie. Remember, the season should be well underway, and this year, we are just starting with spring training. It is due to the pandemic.
President Donald Trump did none of the above. His two speeches, first at Mt. Rushmore, and then on July Fourth in DC were none of the above. Both were about division, and an appeal to a shrinking base in an election year. The president’s message was clearly received by those he targeted. These are the same people who believe the Pandemic is a hoax, or not as serious, just the little flu. Why they still refuse to wear a mask, even when we are surpassing 130,000 dead Americans. The nature of the speech was not accidental, and yes, Antifa figures in these events if more like the three minutes of hate. These two speeches were about grievance, white identity, and heritage. It was about a divided nation on the brink of a civil war, which some of his political base is ready for. It was about American Carnage, not unlike his inaugural.
Trump established the themes of these two speeches early on at Mt Rushmore, where people were tightly packed, no social distancing and no masks to be seen, well except for the media. Early in the speech, Trump said this:
1776 represented the culmination of thousands of years of Western civilization and the triumph of not only spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason. And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure. Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.
This concept that the United States is the culmination of western culture (and a white country) is at the core of modern-day white supremacy. This ideology sees the West as the origin of all that is good in the world, and no other civilization could ever produce the same things. They range from art to philosophy, medicine, and engineering to name a few. In classic white supremacy thinking. 1965 was the begging of the end. And the reason why we had a space program was that this was a segregated white country. Don’t get me wrong. During the cold war, western civilization was also superior to the godless Communist Russians. Why some of that language also peppered these speeches. This is why anarchist, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa are muddled into communism and marxism.
The speech had other elements common with the ideology of the far-right, which is tipping towards open fascism. This naming of the enemy in the speeches was that of savages, who are tearing down the heritage of the nation. Incidentally, the term heritage has a very specific meaning in far-right circles and thus is an appeal to the Confederacy and those values. It is taking up the Lost Cause which is exactly what led to the sprinkling of all those confederate monuments to Generals who betrayed the United States. For many people in far-right safe spaces, the code was clear. The fact that he mentioned other cultural heroes, including African Americans and Jews, was just cover. It was a wink and a nod. We need to face who is president of the nation. We are not talking of the president of the United States, but the president of the Volk, the white people. It is white identity politics. He named the enemies of the state, the true people of the country. These are not just Democrats, who Trump continues to call un-American, but also anybody who does not agree with his dark view of the world. Over the course of the different Tweets, he also continues to attack the press and any other institution that may question him in any way. This is the hallmark of an authoritarian.
The president continues to ignore the pandemic, which still rages. When he does acknowledge it, it’s openly racist, which has led to attacks on Asian Americans. He uses the terms Wuhan virus or the Chinese virus. This is very dangerous and has made our national response to the pandemic ineffective. Trump is a white supremacist and a proto-fascist. He would love to move on to full-on fascism, but so far the institutions are managing to barely contain him. So when he also claims in the speeches that there is far left fascism, not only is he projecting on his own desires. He is also using a common talking point on the far right to try to deflect from reality. This is one that exists in multiple manifestos, from the well known to the obscure ones. This is for his white supremacist base, which questions all scholarship and all cultural institutions that reject them and their toxic ideas.
Trump’s July Fourth was just as bad and full of spleen and coded language on the fourth, This part of the speech that perked my ears, Why? It went further into those themes of rage and destruction from people who have mostly engaged in peaceful protest:
“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
When he says Marxists, this is cod for cultural marxism, a nugget that is common with the far right. He is also speaking to how people are controlled by an ideology of hate, which is another common theme. Like the previous day, he offered this as well:
“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children.”
The Lost Cause is central to White Supremacy in the United States. This is why the statures (that were mass produced and put in place by the daughters of the Confederacy) are such a flashpoint. So is the propaganda that the civil war was about anything and everything, except the actual cause: Slavery. This is exactly where the language of OUR STATUES , our history, and our heritage are coming from. Many a far-right site and manifesto are filled with this language.
It is us v them mentality that is raising the temperature and claiming that there will be a white genocide. In fact,. Diversity is genocide in their mind. This is why the marches for black lives scare them. This is not just a few black people marching around./ These are tens of thousand, even millions, marching., and it is not just blacks. It is the beautiful diversity of the nation, with whites also marching along side. This scares white supremacist to no end.
Trump has proven many a time that he does not care about the whole of the nation. He only cares about himself, and he has a deep love for conspiracies His political career started with Birtherism. Barack Obama could not have been born in the United States because he is black. Therefore, he could not be elected president without some serious help. The fact that the Russians helped Trump in 2016 is irony on steroids. He also does not care why people are protesting. He could not admit, ever, that we are at a historic crossroads. However, inherent in the white supremacy bubble he lives in, grievance politics, and a form of identity politics, is deeply engrained.
What was absent from either speech was the virus, which so far has killed 130,000 Americans. He has spent time telling us how much the virus is not a problem, it will go away, or it is far less dangerous than it actually is. He also does not care to treat it seriously because the virus is killing who the right considers useless eaters. The old, the infirm, and those of inferior genetic stock. I also believe that his little stunt with the disinfectant led to that as well. He was utterly embarrassed on the national stage. His messaging goes well with the base, who hate any elites. It does not matter who they are. But the rest of the country was horrified at seeing the president be a fool. I am not sure we were surprised at this point, but it was a moment of cultural clarity. We have a racist buffoon in the White House.
There is something else going on as well. He is way underwater in polling. While Joe Biden is not the most brilliant of campaigners, Americans will vote for Biden, to drive Trump out. There are rumors that the president may stand down (and good question what happens to the GOP at that point) since his fragile ego cannot deal with rejection. And if polls are correct, he is going to lose big in November.
And now we also have another area of danger. While the speeches were full of pandering to his base, some fear a ghost (Antifa) and they drove them out of Gettysburg. It’s not that they ever were going to stop Antifa since they were not ever going to be there, but the tough hombres of the militia showed up armed to the teeth. This is dangerous on its own. When the president loses in November, (as we expect from polling), this militia and his white supremacist base will feel they have little to lose. Trump was the last gasp of a rapidly dying ideology. And while some young people are still radicalized in places like 4chan and Gab, the majority of those same white young people continue to join Black Lives activists in the streets. This was a mobilization exercise, to see if they can get people out to defend the second amendment, another code word, and fight for the people. It is part of the fantasy in places like the Turner Diaries and The Brigade. After all, some, and the question is how large the number is, are looking forwards to the second civil war and the ethnostate.