“Lock Her Up!” or “Burn the Witch”: Persecution Language at the RNC
Haven’t blogged in a while. But I figured I’d try a series of opinions, like short editorials on the politics of the day. I don’t think my opinion is very important in the scheme of things, but it is my opinion and one can either keep that to oneself or share it.
What is on my mind, as it is with many regular citizens with an interest in politics, is Donald Trump. I just have to give my two cents. The first is not really all Trump, actually, but Republicans in general and their mob chorus chant during the Republican National Convention of “Lock her up!”
The Republican faithful were chanting “Lock Her Up!” in effigy, or at least, I think. I don’t rule anything out now, not with the promise of walls, targeting of specific ethnic groups and nationalities, calls for law and order without any regard as to why the violence occurs, promises to “Make American Great Again” which only sounds like a nationalistic and nostalgic wish for an all-white and antiseptic America.
This persecution language recalls the finger drawn across the throat by Clint Eastwood during his infamous turn at the previous Republican convention and his bizarre monologue to an empty chair, occupied by the metonymic President Obama. It was a gestured threat of one powerful white man to a black man who not only puts Eastwood to shame in terms of power, but who is yet subject to the suppressive privilege of a white actor.
And now Hillary, en masse this time, threatened with the ecstatic mob adrenalin rush with the “Lock Her Up!” chant. This time it’s not white privilege trying to keep a black man in his place, but the patriarchal ideology (which subsumes a lot of women in its sweep) attacking a woman who for the last thirty years has been working her ass off as a respectable and effective politician, global, and social leader. The woman is a threat to the man.
Hillary has achieved more than Donald Trump ever will politically, and she’s not bad at making money, either. But for her to make a lot of money is condemnable, not commendable.
Though the threatening refrain originated, I believe from Gov. Chris Christi, Trump is the one who has created the atmosphere of hate and persecution speech in this campaign. His propaganda relies on attacking his opponents as opposed to offering any substantial solutions to solving problems, or even using any inspiring and uplifting discourse. Trump uplifts by putting others and everyone else down. One could argue that his tactic is quite brilliant, as it has so far worked for him, but if that is true, its success means that a great deal of the general population is stupid. Propaganda depends on the general public thinking very little. The less we think the easier we are to manipulate, like whipping big crowds into witch-hunt frenzy.
Ask a Hillary hater or Trump supporter, exactly why should she be locked up, and you will probably get, “Because she is such a liar.” Well, she has lied, and she has made mistakes, and she was not forthright over the email scandal at all.
But show me a politician who does not lie, and well, the one who probably most comes closest to that ideal currently is the one in the White House. And as long as Hillary hitches her campaign to Obama the more I’m on board. Obama has been the epitome of statesmanship and integrity and has led with dignity—certainly not without mistakes and disasters along the way, but again, under which president has that not occurred?
The Trump-led “Republican” party has reduced its fight against its main opponent to name calling, fear mongering, and, really, persecution. It’s like being thrown back into the days of the Salem witch-hunt. Might as well just say, “Burn the witch.” Throw her in the Potomac and see if she floats. If she does, she’s a witch, so burn her. If she drowns, she wasn’t a witch but we got rid of her.
Hillary, though, I have the feeling, will swim. Trump? Picture a floating device full of hot air, soon to pop, sending him zooming into irrelevance for a long long time.