Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trump Apologizes for US Intervention on Serbian Genocide

25 days before the election, Donald Trump goes out of his way to tow a rabidly pro-Serbian line that comfortably matches one of the Kremlin's more important talking points.

Look, I'm not conspiracy-minded, and I'm having trouble conjuring up deep emotion re: the whole Russian connection thing. Really, I was off Trump the moment he informed us that Mexican immigrants are nearly all criminals and rapists (on the very day he announced his candidacy, if I'm not mistaken), so I haven't needed much further anti-Trump persuasion. In fact, I'm perplexed that the recent misogyny stuff is the least bit surprising to anyone. So I'm nonplussed by the recent waves of somewhat contrived-seeming outrage - and am, in fact, really upset by this deeply unfair video, proving that the right doesn't have a monopoly when it comes to cynically pushing deep buttons of division and racial animus in order to achieve political ends (the rest of us oughtn't reciprocally match the "burn-it-all-down" stance).

But, still. I have to concede that this Serbian thing is awfully strange.

Two notes:

1. This is like the third really good, really early, really important reporting I've seen from Newsweek this month. Did they get good again?

2. Muslims are, unsurprisingly, freaking out that the guy who wants to block them, and possibly deport them, putatively from a common sense desire to weed out bad apples, is now apologizing for the United States' intervention in the attempted genocide of Bosnian Muslims.


vhliv said...

Not just Bosnian Moslems. Kosovar Albanians, who are also largely muslim.
BTW, I cannot agree with your assessment of the new Clinton commercial as cynical. As I know you know we now have a presidential candidate who has called on the imprisonment of his opponent, and this add is not twisting anything he says, it is reminding us of what a world where legalized racialized brutality was condoned. Does it help heal racial divisions? certainly not, but it may possibly get some people for whom Trump is seen as a lesser evil to think about what that lesser evil really is, and it is not like Trump hasn't himself opened the door to this. is it a necessary ad, I'm not sure, but I can't bring myself to call it cynical.

Jim Leff said...

Just for one example, the black woman being shoved isn't at the rally to stand up for her right to go to school or to live an equal existence or otherwise stand up for her rights. She's there to disrupt a private rally (I happen to support her aim). And, on the other side, they're pushing her out not because they think black people are beastly subhumans who need to be excluded, but because they don't want their rally interrupted. I could imagine Clinton supporters doing likewise if the frequency/fervor of disruption ever hit this point (perhaps, worse, depending on what was being shouted....liberals are very touchy about language). Juxtaposing this with scenes of shameful racial oppression is entirely inappropriate, asymmetrical, and cynically feeds reciprocal extremism on the left....all in order to push political buttons. Ugh.

Yes, there are edge cases of full-throated racist belligerence in the Trump crowd. But every campaign/movement has edge cases which some point to as the inevitable outcome of the candidates message. The left has been painted with such brush for a very long time ("Commies", et al), and should know better. I detest seeing them use the same tactic. Yet again: will we human beings ever learn to react to extremism with enlightened moderation rather than with reciprocal extremism?

To be clear: I do believe Trump himself is operating troublingly few degrees of separation from the mindset of the sort of atrocities we see in the historical video. I, myself have defied Godwin to compare him to early Hitler! But don't assume that when Trump says things in which we hear toxic echoes that his supporters are hearing/feeling/wanting that - that they're licking their chops for a chance to water cannon black children, etc etc etc. The division is getting more toxic than ever, with people like you and I painting nearly half the country with that brush, and that's dangerous and untrue: (

It's tempting to do this, much as it was tempting at one time to paint liberals as commies. Just cuz the welfare state is fewer jumps to Communism than other stances doesn't make liberals commies, and just because Trump echoes stances that bring mayhem in the extreme doesn't make his followers fascist wannabes....even if Trump, himself, is exactly that.

TL;DR: It's fine to harsh Trump, but a mistake to harsh his followers.

Blog Archive