Ingrained Inhumanity and Trickle Down Corruption
By Jorge D.H. Prosperi, 2021
Republican Trumpism is guilty of Crimes Against Humanity and Democracy. Guilty of Pandemicide, Separátocide, Domestic Terrorism, White Supremacy and trickle down corruption. From “Stop the Steal to Stop the Vaccine”, this is the legacy of Republican Trumpism. History will judge its followers guilty, be they politicians, media pundits, donors, lobbyists and/or voters.
Fascism, Nazism and Republican Trumpism are born and bred in the same cesspool of inhumanity.
The legacy of these three maniacal ‘isms‘ are founded on the insidious socio-cultural-political constructs of division, oppression, obstruction and victimization fostered by injustices engineered by choice and design meant to obstruct the fundamental principles of Democracy. Victimization is the binding thread of its inherent amoral corrupt state of being.
These ideologies are interwoven by common historical norms. It’s an old playbook that surfaces generationally when socio-cultural-political-economic shifts provide opportunities for authoritarianism and autocracy.
All three ‘isms’ require a segment of society that believes in the superiority of its race, a despot savior – in America’s case, yet another ‘Great White Hope.’ Credentials of proven personal ethical norms, emotional intelligence and moral courage not required.
A reality TV host with a history of chicanery, charlatanism, womanizing, elementary school capricious babbling, and proven to be a dishonest hoaxer were sufficient in 2016 to become “Err Kommandant in Chief.”
A new low bar to become president of the United States was established by the Republican Party with Republican Trumpism. The standby ‘White walkers’ from gerrymandered hamlets would follow with vigor and animosity to get their country back. No conscience was needed, just misplaced fear, hate and paranoia based on shifting demographics, economic uncertainty, racial divides and the loss of the delusional ‘capital of whiteness.’
As many Germans in the 1930s believed, and as many of us felt in 2016, “This too will pass. What we are experiencing is insanity. It can’t be real. We are so much better than such buffoonery. We are a Democracy!”
Milton Mayer warned not to ignore the lessons of history and not take Democracy for granted. In his excerpt, “They Thought They Were Free – The Germans, 1933-45, But Then It Was Too Late” he foreshadowed our autocracy in the making – unfolding on January 6, 2021.
The design of such ideologies, then and now, are the same: Accept corruption as its ethos, foster BIG LIES followed by daily little lies, rewrite history, scapegoat others, disregard the rule of law, require blind loyalty, institute nepotism, create constant chaos, anxiety, threaten insurrection and succession. Stagecraft rallies (Reichsparteitag) repeating the deafening mantra over and over and over.
Avalanche each day with contrived convoluted misinformation designed to constantly confuse, ‘whitewash’ and divide, conquer and control. The process was relentless and exhausting – still is.
Unfortunately, some colleagues and friends are still convinced and debate vigorously that an autocracy could not be possible in the good old USA.
“Hey – the Germany of the 1930s is not the America of today! We live in the United Stated of America in the 21st century! We are a free people! We have the rule of law, the courts to protect us from lunatic autocrats, from power hungry authoritarians. We have a free press. We would never vote for a psychopath – pathological liar and proven manipulator! We are educated – much smarter! We would not vote for local, state, federal legislators and judges who would be complicit in supporting an autocracy. We have our state and local police, Congress, Senate and the military to protect us!“
So did the Germans think . . . and so did we . . . some still do.
Sorry to burst the proverbial generational bubble, but the nuances of what Mayer forewarned became commonplace in 2016 – a nightmarish daily altered reality rendering many Americans feeling helpless, hopeless, powerless and exhausted.
Keep in mind, this was before COVID-19!
We did not know at the time that America would be facing two deadly pathological viruses – one political – one medical. We did not know that at some point both would intersect – reality and myth turned deadly.
The attacks on Democracy were fostered by a Republican Trumpism creed that was the antithesis of America’s founding core democratic principles and norms of equality, inalienable rights and ‘E pluribus unum.’
But let’s be clear -the seeds of Republican Trumpism were planted long ago and nurtured with each new generation. The inhumanity recycled over some 401 years and tears ago.
The isms and phobias are not new. Let’s keep in mind that interwoven within those high minded humane founding principles is the inherent shame of broken promises and lingering inhumanity.
But aren’t the norms, values and principles of our founding documents set in stone and non negotiable? Sorry to burst yet another bubble.
Democracy does not just hang around so that we can continue at our leisure to shop at Costco, spend countless hours on Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, invest a few dollars on the market, binge watch GOT and wager on March Madness. It does not only show up on the 4th of July.
Citizenship and Democracy are inseparable – intersecting on a daily basis demanding respectful observance – intellect – reason -veracity – acknowledging history’s chapters of NEEDLESS inhumanity – showing all its warts and oozing soul wounds.
Democracy requires pro-active daily vigilance and involvement because Democracy is not only about us, but our connection to each other and future generations we may not see. Yes! Democracy is not just about me, myself and I!
In this respect Democracy is selfless meant to empower others. It’s about the quality of life of children born under our watch and those yet to be. Therefore, Democracy is not – must not be – static and dormant. These are but some of the disconnects and distinctions when comparing Democracy to an Autocracy.
Perhaps self absorbed indifference is the most dangerous element of Republican Trumpism – to lull citizens into a state of apathy and impassiveness about citizenship – to avoid the tough daily work – disregard the personal responsibility that Democracy demands.
That said, Republican-Trumpism is a lazy ideology not requiring awareness of its connection to the quality of the lives of others. Republican Trumpism relies on keeping its constituencies in a pavlovian stupor.
It’s a simplistic process – just sit back and complain, no daily homework required, blame others for personal shortcomings and failures. Blaspheme anyone who does not believe in psychotic isms and phobias. Obstruct legislation that is not blessed by “The Great White Hope” or GOP enablers. Listen to isolated-bigoted-racist cable TV and radio nodding with agreement all day long – wake up the next day knowing exactly what will be proclaimed as ‘the rumored truth of the day‘ – day, after day, after day. Exist in an isolated life with cynicism, bitterness, fear and vengeful hate. On occasion, provide some thoughts and prayers for victims of gun violence and quickly disown, self-absolve and reload.
Repeat relentlessly antiquated Tweets to the base: “THEY will raise YOUR taxes – THEY will rape YOUR children – THEY will burn YOUR suburban homes – THEY will take YOUR guns away – THEY will lie about OUR history – THEY will defund YOUR police and military . . . THEY, THEY, THEY . . . all day long – generation after generation. “THEY against US!“
Democracy warns that PRONOUNS matter – always have – always will!
Republican Trumpism avoids challenging white folks to seriously think and rethink with candor about the history of white privilege, white entitlement, white loss, critical race theory, the science of race and eugenics.
Such terminology on “whiteness” can lead to grimaces, like screeching nails on blackboards with scowls, sneers and winces of racial heresy.
ESSAY ALERT! Excuse the interruption . . . but I must digress . . . I think I hear a ‘white walker’ challenging with vigor, not only language but content –
“Hey! Stop right there! I worked for all I have! I never needed any affirmative action to get into school or get a job! I never needed or asked for government handouts! I am not racist! I took the required Multicultural course in college and sat through the HR video! I never owned slaves! I work with people of color – all kinds! I’m color blind! We are a melting pot! As far as I’m concerned ‘all lives matter!’ My neighbor is Asian! Our nanny is from Honduras! Carlos has done our lawn for years! Don’t be accusing me of ‘entitlements and privileges’ because I happen to be white! I think it’s all about PC and sour grapes! Don’t blame us for owning everything!“
Challenges to even pause to consider “entitlement and privilege” cause ‘white walkers’ to bristle, infuriate, deny and defend an altered reality excusing and ignoring the legacy of white birthrights, white visas, white passports, white get out of jail cards, avoiding serious critical examination of the capital of whiteness.
Unfortunately, some white folks only heard of the words and concepts of entitlement and privilege in their 30s and 40s. Wonder where they grew up and were schooled?
Not to mention ‘white walkers’ never having to experience the excruciating painful conversation that people of color have with their children before leaving the house . . .
“You look at me! Listen to me! If you are ever, EVER stopped by the police . . . . !”
No, there are no guarantees that a child of color will return safely home to pursue their future – their lives. Some Americans are entitled and privileged to never consider such a conversation – not live with that constant angst.
Shouldn’t all children have the opportunity – the right – the gift provided to their families of celebrating their next birthday, confirmation, graduation, profession . . . ?
Republican Trumpism does not ask for introspection and reflection on how children are raised and schooled – how family, friends, community and colleagues create bigoted attitudes and predispositions about Native Americans, African Americans, LatinX, Asians, immigrants, women and the LGBT community.
Such difficult conversations rarely take place inside and/or outside of homes, schools and workplace. Such conversations are uncomfortable, edgy and meant to be. The same as the words: sexuality, homosexual, lesbian used to be – like transgender is today.
The Republican Trumpism mantra is to keep white folks ‘fact-immune’ and scared. Don’t challenge their intellect or curiosity. Promise miners, farmers, veterans, police and trades workers what they want to hear. Pledge to all those small business owners – up and down rural towns – whatever they want as long as they vote blindly for Republican Trumpism. Keep the Grand Old Party old and out of touch.
It sounds so innocent and “all American” . . . Just meet up with some town folk at the local church bazaar, apple orchard, corn maze and state fair rallies. Meet the local council members, school board members, coaches, militia groups (in proper bravado garb). The district police chief will greet with a MAGA hat on. Don’t forget to stop by the Republican Trumpism tent, make a contribution, pick up your buttons, hats, flags and anti-vaccine jargon. Leave your brain, conscience, citizenship and soul at home.
“Low information-voters” represent a major segment of Republican Trumpism that is more likely to respond to regional emotional appeals without emotional intelligence. Generalities about the economy, immigration, Muslims, gun control, race relations, sexual orientation, gender equality, indignation and antagonism towards President Obama’s presidency are fodder for a constituency that does not know, nor wants to know certain basic facts about history and government. Ignorance becomes socio-cultural-political bliss.
“Low information-voters“ lack what psychologists call a ‘need for cognition‘ – the basic propensity to want to know via reasoning about the world and the people who inhabit earth. That curiosity and inquiry begin at the time of birth and never stops until the last breath. Some would argue that unexamined lives are not worth living.
To deprive the young of the passion to seek knowledge, prod, question and challenge conventional thinking through a multitude of reputable sources and critical research should be considered a form of radicalizing young minds.
To limit and disparage knowledge, by listening to sound bites by pundits who double down on ‘asserted but not proven opinions’ creates a cycle of ignorance by choice, an association with mutual grievances, self-serving agendas and overt, covert and aversive alliances with racist, sexist and xenophobic hate and cult groups.
The Republican Trumpism message to the future is alarming: get parents to instill in their children the same fears about otherness and difference. Teach isolated absolute thinking in silos rather than promoting curiosity, inquiry and critical thinking. Home school and teach revisionary history and alternatives to commandments, Constitution and social justice. Keep the children hostage from realties of the world in the 21st century. Teach them to blame others for their personal shortcomings and their family’s dysfunctions. Teach them above all else that ‘whiteness is rightness.’
In this respect, Republican Trumpism is self-oppressive destined to consume itself. To radicalize oneself is tragic, to foster such multigenerational trauma on children is unconscionable.
The state of mind of low-information citizens provides ample opportunities for despots, political charlatans and hate groups to recruit and radicalize. Such ground is ever fertile. The danger being that this includes those we depend on to serve and protect with justice, professionalism, honor, credibility and trust – such as politicians, police chiefs (officers-unions), local councils, the military, educators, clergy, the media and leaders of industry and markets.
These agencies that impact our daily social curriculum were also present in Germany in the 1930s. They too joined and anointed the horror and terror that followed. But America then was not only a spectator. Some American industry leaders and politicians supported Nazi Eugenics and its genocidal ideology.
Do the painful homework! Don’t look away! Along with BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Fords were also cruising on the Autobahn. Do the painful homework!
The despotic strategies fostered by leaders of industry and political parties are not new: redefine and rebrand language declaring divisiveness, insurrection, secession, domestic violent extremism to mean patriotism. Associate being American with Proud Boys, Blood and Honour, Boogaloos, White Supremacists and other hate groups.
These are the Blackshirts and Brownshirts of the 1930s resurfacing in the name of racial supremacy. We saw them storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – not 1935! Some were ex-military, ex-police – home grown and radicalized.
At a safe distance, without white hoods and masks, were the macho/a dog whistleblowers known as the “Freedom / Liberal / Rights / Tea Party Caucus”, now rebranded as the “Anglo-Saxon Caucus.” The words used by these groups always sound so traditionally and patriotically American – like “baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet”.
But beyond the marketed rhetoric are the dark layers of racist content and context of American history. The traditional creed of “race science” – known as Eugenics, took a back seat for some years, living in the shadows, but now brazenly on display. The names, gender and regionalism have changed but the beguiled message of fear-mongering remains the same.
The message to Americans by Republican Trumpism is convoluted, dishonest and in the case of the pandemic – CRIMINAL. A perfect example is the strategy by Republican Trumpism to keep the truth about COVID-19 from the American people for months causing thousands of deaths that could have been prevented. The plotters and conspirators included members of the Republican Trumpism Cabinet, Congress, and Senate along with governors, mayors and local legislators.
It is important to understand just how toxic and insidious autocrats become when engineering the survival of their autocracy. Risking thousands of lives is the price for such political desperation and mania.
The combination of narcissism, greed, fear and altering the truth were used to create a false narrative – an alternate reality that the COVID-19 was a hoax and would quickly dissipate. It was all caught on videotape and could not be erased.
The same playbook was used to shout BIG-LITTLE lies from the most powerful podium in the world – the Mighty Pulpit – that became just decayed wood – cheap plastic – with a soiled seal lacking integrity, credibility and trust.
But COVID-19 was different, it would not and could not be buried, hidden and discarded. Republican Trumpism could not victimize nor control it. Insidiousness met its match.
What was revealed was that power, control, money and image were valued more than lives proclaiming that restrictions prohibited civil liberties and freedoms, that simply wearing a mask or even admitting that the pandemic existed was deemed non patriotic. For some, COVID-19 became a reason to blame immigrants focusing on the Asian population that has always been disrespected as a collective noun.
Republican Trumpism, as evangelically based as it proclaims to be, is godless – as autocracies are. It does not believe in a sense of mutuality, obligation to each other outside of one’s immediate circle.
A question that is often shared with youngsters by evangelicals is, “What would Jesus do?” That question has been rendered mute by Republican Trumpism. The very question is irreverent and unholy. “The Great White Hope” obliterated any notions of decency, honor, dignity, integrity, veracity and connection to the human soul.
Republican Trumpism is based on Trickle Down Corruption, cascading down from the “The Great White Hope” to local politicians. The formula seems to follow a national trend – just like gerrymandering. Simply ignore ethics commissions, use nepotism to place cronies as buffers to allegations and indictments, defang oversight agencies, ignore polices and laws. If caught, indicted and all else fails, relentlessly proclaim innocence and blame accusations on opaque conspiracies against Republican Trumpism and the “The Great White Hope.”
Florida is now the national disgraced example of Trickle Down Corruption, from undergirding public business transactions, fraudulent campaign contributions, tax fraud, to current sex scandals. What is always interesting is that supporters of such ‘in your face’ corruption overlook the unscrupulousness. It does not matter whether there are formal indictments and prosecuted criminals connected to the “The Great White Hope.” The mantra being, “If it’s one of us, then it must not be true and surely a left wing conspiracy.” Wow, it must be nice to live in such bubbles of privileges, entitlements, absolutions and delusions.
As simplistic as it seems, Republican Trumpism should never to be taken lightly. History tells us so. There is a sociopathic and psychopathic socio-cultural-political dark side to Republican Trumpism. The 3-Rings under the GOP circus tent can lead to tragic violence via White Supremacists, White Nationalists and Domestic Terrorists masquerading as patriots.
This is the socio-cultural-political space that Republican Trumpism now inhabits and owns in 2021. By all accounts, this is the ideological strategy that will be used in the 2022 and 2024 elections. The names may change but the constructs and strategies will be the same.
In contrast, Democracy is hard work. It is not a rally, nor one shining moment in time. Rather it is dynamic, fluid, ever evolving and empowering. It is ever morphing 24/7/365 because of the shifting nature of human conditions, compressed times, expanded spaces and CHANGE an ever present catalyst.
The pandemic caused all of us to face and deal with change as an ultimate truth. It did not ask for our zip code, credit card, endorsement or party affiliation. Change became the reality that could not be ignored or lied about. The underbelly of America’s abnormal normality and business as usual was exposed.
Change is a constant with Democracy that should be embraced rather than feared. Democracy fosters a relentless pro-active vision and mission rather than bewildered knee-jerk reactions to problems. Democracy does not wait nor hesitate. It knows that problems will occur – be it a pandemic, climate change, natural calamities or man-made victimization. Democracy demands articulating challenging problems and facts with clarity and honesty.
This is not easy for a society living in the moment, semi literate, undisciplined, self-absorbed, capricious and racially egocentric.*
*(All generations included in such a statement – none to be classified as ‘The Greatest Generation’ – that challenge left for our children to become.)
Democracy seeks to engage change made by the people, for the people in a spirit of collaboration, deliberation in order to enhance the quality of life of every human being. Democracy does not provide blind loyalty to a “Great White Hope” wannabe.
Democracy has a spine cast in the enormity of courage and compassion. Democracy does not bend a knee to markets, gun manufacturers and coal/oil conglomerates.
Democracy does not lessen or deny citizens participation and voice but encourages debate, constructive criticism and inclusion. Democracy provides opportunities to those who have lived in silence to share and does not fear their counterstories.
Democracy expands voting rights providing avenues by which citizens can cast their ballot without contrived barriers and walls. Democracy is ever asking, “Who is at the table of discourse, why and who has been left out?”
Yes! Democracy is hard work from sun up to sunset.
So how did Republican-Trumpism come to be? How did it surface in 2016 . . . or did it? I provide an answer by way of the American Academic, Professor, Author, Lecturer Eddie Glaude who on Nicolle Wallace’s MSNBC network provided an answer that continues to stir souls. The following is an extract followed by the powerful video:
“It’s a very difficult question, Nicolle. I mean, America is not unique in its sins as a country. We’re not unique in our evils to be honest with you. I think where we may be singular is our refusal to acknowledge them, and legends and myths we tell about our inherent, you know, goodness to hide and cover and conceal so that we can maintain a kind of willful ignorance that protects our innocence.
See, the thing is when the tea party was happening, we were saying as pundits, “It’s just an economic populism. It’s not about race.” When people knew, people knew -social scientists were already writing that what was driving the tea party were anxieties about demographic shifts — that the country was changing, they were seeing these racially ambiguous babies on Cheerios commercials. That the country wasn’t quite feeling like a white nation anymore. People were screaming from the top of their lungs, ” Yo! This is not simply economic populism! This is the ugly underbelly of the country!”
See, the thing is this, I will say it, and I will take the hit on it, there are communities who have had to bear the brunt of white Americans confronting the danger of their innocence. And it happens every generation. So somehow, we have to ask, “Oh my god, is this who we are?” and just again, here’s another generation of babies — think about it, a 2-year-old had his bones broken by two parents trying to shield him from being killed. A woman who had been married to this man for as long as I have been on the planet almost, lost her husband. For what?
And so what we know is the country has been playing politics for a long time on this hatred. We know this. It’s easy for us to place it all on Donald Trump’s shoulders. It’s easy for us to place Pittsburgh on his shoulders. It’s easy for me to place Charlottesville on his shoulders. It’s easy for us to place El Paso on his shoulders. This is us. And if we’re going to get past this, we can’t blame it on him. He’s a manifestation of the ugliness that’s in us.
I have had the privilege of growing up in a tradition that didn’t believe in the myths and the legends because we had to bear the brunt of them. Either we’re going to change, Nicolle, or we’re going to do this again and again, and babies are going to have to grow up without mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, friends, while we’re trying to convince white folk to finally leave behind a history that will maybe, maybe or embrace a history that might set them free from being white . . . finally . . . finally . . .
Do you happen to remember the 2016 Republican Trumpism Platform? If you don’t, no reason to feel uninformed because there was no discourse – no platform. Change was not an option. How bold is that! Just tell your constituencies – “We are good enough as we are! No changes necessary! Just come to the next rally, sign the COVID-19 disclaimer and scream as loud as you can about remaining the same!”
Not investing time, effort and critical thinking on a visionary platform was yet another indication that Republican Trumpism voters did not have to think, pursue facts, do research and scrutinize candidates – not even dare to care about the future of their children. They just had to remain loyal to the “The Great White Hope” – the savior of white supremacy spewing unlettered, unfettered tweets, doubling down on unconscious biases, isms and phobias.
Republican Trumpism Sycophants are driven by a simplistic slavish devotion and belief that markets and privatization will fix every problem and that tax cuts for the wealthy will eventually trickle down to all those who believe the promises made by Republican Trumpism. The status quo playbook and antiquated rhetoric is always the same every two/four years.
Let’s review a few . . .
“Washington Is Broken!” Deflect responsibility – blame government for being sterile – non-functional with one short phrase. Avoid mentioning that Republican Trumpism obstruction is the main reason why it’s dysfunctional. Avoid the fact that legislation, policies, bills and programs are waiting to be passed but never allowed to be voted upon.
Another mania is the “Don’t Tread on Me” calling for obstinate independence from regulations, federal mandates and rule of law.
Lastly, the “white is right” legacy. Yet another belief emboldened by mob white supremacy, with its script of owning lots of automatic weapons, stockpiling ammunition, showing up dressed in battle fatigues, playing soldier on weekends – all meant to intimidate – as macho/a autocrats tend to do.
Republican Trumpism moved towards the future by returning to a southern folkloric fantastical past. It returned with vengeance to blatantly unhood White Supremacy, White Entitlement, White Privilege, White Victimhood and White Capital.
Facebook and Twitter were used to defame, insult and disparage the character of those who debated, opposed, investigated and/or confronted suspected corruption. Respected Attorney Generals, diplomats, public servants, military personnel were classified and identified as the enemy. Yet another reminder of Germany and Italy of 1930s.
But the Nazism and Fascism in Republican Trumpism was not recognized by some Americans until they witnessed Separátocide – the caging of children. So much so that some die-hard Republican Party members felt that they were no longer in control of their party’s conscience, ethics and decency. What dominated was fear of being held hostage by intimidation of losing local, state and/or national influence and leadership. This was no longer about political discourse, representing and defending the Constitution, but unscrupulously holding on to power and control.
The choice was clear – become a facilitator, enabler and conspirator to the maddening daily corruption and inhumanity or stand alone. Only a few showed the courage to do so. The rest hid from view or tried to assure their constituencies that they were holding fast to their lack of conscience and moral courage. The home grown biases and prejudices of the ‘BASE’ were safe and would be ‘great’ again. To tell folks the raw truth would no be an option.
The majority of us can’t decipher Republican Trumpism’s plethora of lies, misinformation, conspiracy theories, hate, fear, paranoia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, revisionary history and confirmed biases.
The majority of us can’t understand the supporters of Republican Trumpism accepting such an ideology – be they rural, urban or suburban folks, and/or members of Congress and Senate. The ideology is too blatantly inhumane – too corrupt – too outside of how we were raised, not only schooled but educated – taught to be responsible fellow citizens – conscientious human beings.
Regardless of our ability to fully understand the needless horror and trauma that Republican Trumpism inflicts, lest we forget that the legacy of Republican Trumpism is home raised, home schooled, home regionalized, home politicized, home radicalized. As Pogo reminds, “We have seen the enemy and He is Us.” *1971 Walt Kelly (Pogo Collection)