Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Next One Will Be Much, Much Worse

So this guy's toast. Moving on, here's the thing that bothers me. None of the things I despise about Trump's administration (its ignorance, venality, racism, demagoguery, disrespect for institutions, authoritarianism etc.) will have had a lick to do with his downfall.

It's easy to wind the whole Trump mess up into one single ball of badness - the issues I just listed, plus the criminality, obstruction, and treason. But that's not correct. We got super lucky here. We had no right to expect those last three. And the next nativist pussy-grabbing demagogue and would-be tyrant won't come loaded with an array of easy hooks from which to hang him.

Ha. Looks like I already made this point, way back in May:

This all reminds me of one of the strangest experiences of my life. I recounted it here once, back in 2013, and here's a replay:
When I was 22, and building a career as a jazz trombonist here in New York, I spent lots of time in black neighborhoods, where I was tolerated - sometimes a bit more than tolerated, sometimes a bit less. Among the less tolerant incidents came courtesy of a bass player named Tarik. He was friends of friends of mine, and I was kind enough to give him a ride home one night from a gig we'd played. I'm not sure why I'd offered, considering that he was a sour, glowering fellow with a huge chip on his shoulder. But, hey, as a white dude playing jazz, I blithely took my lumps.

As we drove, music played on my tape deck. Tarik asked whose recording it was, and I told him I don't label my cassettes, preferring to listen as freshly as possible, without knowing too much about what I was hearing. He didn't like my answer. In a voice dripping with self-righteous disdain, he replied "Well, that may be fine for you, but this music is my people's heritage, so it's important that I learn as much as I can about it." I of course wanted to stop the car and shove him, his bass, and his heritage out onto the curb. But I remained polite - then and in subsequent highly unpleasant encounters.

Years later, it was in the news that a jazz bassist had been arrested in a FBI sting operation. He'd run a sidelight business teaching various fighting and weapons styles, and had told the wrong person how eager he was to train jihadists, admitting to having sworn an oath of loyalty to Bin Laden. He boasted about his skill at blending in among infidels, always prepared to slit their worthless throats in an instant.

It was, of course, the same guy. Tarik. He's currently locked up as a terrorist, likely forever.

When I heard this, my emotions were complicated. There was a sense of validation (yeah, hey, I told you he was an asshole!). But the crazy scale of it wouldn't quite parse for me....
Generally speaking, assholes who mistreat you don't wind up in the Supermax for terrorism. And deranged, bigoted authoritarian demagogues, similarly, don't normally turn out to have juicily indictable histories of collusion and obstruction, plus a demented propensity for self-incrimination.

Even so, expunging this one will continue to be slow and tedious. Next time, it will be incomparably more difficult. I hope we've learned something. Most of all, I hope we all start voting.

No comments:

Blog Archive