Sunday, December 13, 2015

"... I think there's a serious misunderstanding... on the role Trump is playing. Trump is not the cause of anti-Muslim bigotry in the US: he is a symptom of it. We're now 14 years into a war that the United States has waged on Muslims, in which all of the extraordinary steps that the state has taken - Guantanamo Bay, torture, black sites, omnipresent electronic surveillance, endless war, unlimited drone assassination anywhere on the planet - are acceptable precisely because the victims of these measures have been racialized. "The innocent have nothing to fear" is code for "look, we're going after Muslims, everyone knows we're going after Muslims, you're white, you have nothing to worry about." And a decade and a half of a bipartisan project to criminalize Muslims - embraced by every mainstream candidate in the United States from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders - has been an American mainstream which is suspicious of Islam at best and violently racist at worst. This is not a surprise; this is not a shock; this was predictable and predicted.

What we have in Trump is not some dramatic break from the status quo of American politics, believe me. Rather, he is the logical and inevitable expression of a form of politics which has already been practiced in this country for most of my adult life. Trump is cruder about it, and more overt about it, than any other national politician, but the logic of racism has always been there; Obama's entire foreign policy depends on it, as did Bush's before him, as will Clinton's when she's president. To the extent that Trump is having a real effect here, it's that every time he says something insane, it gives the actual next president of the United States more room to shift further to the right herself (as she did a few weeks ago, when she promised a ground invasion of Syria). 

Chris Mastrangelo, a Facebook comment, 13 December 2015


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