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planetc's Journal
planetc's Journal
September 6, 2023

Civil War? Or not.

All right. Last night on NPR I heard a guy saying we could not disqualify TFG on the 14th Amendment because this could lead to bloody battles when his followers will revolt and shoot a bunch of people. There are several reasons why I don’t think civil war is imminent. First, the extreme polarization which the press constantly refers to may be a figment of the media’s imagination. There may be one party of armed maniacs and a bunch of people who are not prepared to shoot anybody because of their red hats. Second, even if enough red hat people got together and decided to attack something, it is extremely difficult to decide what they could attack that would get them anywhere. Third, we have seen the strategic acumen of the red hat people on 1/6/21, and all their geniuses were AWOL. Even if they wanted to strike hard, they have no discipline, since their prowess is mainly in their imaginations. They think owning a gun or seven makes you a soldier.

Are we as polarized as the media think we are? There are certainly a lot of hot heads on the red hat side, people who want to use their guns to defend their country, but they, like all of us, are a little fuzzy on exactly who to shoot. But what about the blue hat side? I don’t see a whole lot of blue hats calling for the arrest of people who wear red hats. We are perfectly happy to wait for one of them to break the law, and then arrest them. We’re law and order types. So why do the media keep going on about it? Because it’s essential to their narrative structure that there be two sides in American politics: The liberal and conservative, the fiscally responsible and the spendthrifts, the red and the blue. It’s essential that these sides be evenly balanced, because if they were not, that would be a whole different story, one the media are not prepared to tell. In short, they’re not in the business of reporting news, but of entertaining us with an endless horse race, pumped full of as much emotion as they can imagine. I only discern one army, when you really need two for a war.

Next, should the red hats decide on revolt, what will their target or targets be? All the blue state houses? I don’t know about your governor, but I don’t see Gov. Hochul standing still for this. There may be an exchange of fire, but governors have the National Guard, police forces, and the law on their side. A blue state strategy would call for a larger army than the red hats could field, imho. What if Gov. DeSantis just surrenders his state house to the red hats? Well, that will be a problem for Floridians, but it will galvanize the rest of the country, who may develop a powerful desire to shut the red hats down. Oh, of course, why don’t they attack the U.S. Capitol building when congress is in session? Even with a traitorous President pulling strings, this didn’t work. TFG wasn’t serious, and some of his followers still haven’t got the memo, even as the 1/6 insurrectionists are escorted off to jail.

And lastly, we have seen no evidence that the red hat mob has any idea what a strategy is, much less any strategists. I have a feeling that any sergeant in the U.S. Army could do a better job of attacking a building than the entire red hat army. The Red Hats are deeply into shouting, roaring, clubbing, and decorating themselves with horned fur hats. I really don’t see that they have an officer class to lead them. I thing Red Hats may be an army of self-anointed leaders, with no followers.

It would be so nice if we had the media on our side, led by a few stalwart journalists who would just explain to the country that a 2024 TFG campaign for the presidency just will not work. They would have to drop their rigid “both sides are equal” theme, and sail out into the uncharted seas of reality, but I bet they would find the trip invigorating.

September 4, 2023

TFG: rhetoric or rap?

I have been listening, when I couldn’t avoid it, to TFG talk for nearly eight years now. Respectable news organizations, like NPR, always quote him with audio clips or have journalists quote him. So he’s been impossible to avoid. And various linguists have attempted analyses of his rhetorical style, as though the secret of his effectiveness lies in the history of English prose. I think it makes far more sense to consider him as an artist, a practitioner of rap, in which poetry is intoned, choruses repeated (“Lock her up!”), and the object of his song to his people is emotional connection, not rational persuasion. This theory would explain why he keeps jumping from subject to subject, caressing each with some simple phrases, and moving on to his next topic. And all of the topics he touches on are sources of resentment for his audiences, or he provides new resentments loosely attached to the old ones. He modulates from: “Not only are vaccines ineffective”, to “but they’re trying to force you to take them,” to “ because they’re treating you like sheeple, not the smart people you are.” Everything in TFG’s “speeches” is subordinated to massaging his followers’ egos, to encouraging their resentments, and to whipping them into a fine froth of frustrated indignation. If DJT is rapping, he has a foolproof formula for fooling those eager to be fooled. The object is emotional connection, not reasoned persuasion.

I am not saying that TFG has studied real rappers and Hip-hop artists. There’s no proof he can concentrate long enough to study anything. His stream-of-consciousness dribbles are characterized by the rhythm of resentment interspersed with not-quite-actionable suggestions. He has a finely honed sense of what could get him arrested on the spot, and he always stops short. The classic example of this is his remark re: Hillary Clinton, that some “second amendment types” should [something] [something]. His other great suggestion, on 1/6/21, was that “you have to fight” for your rights/to stop election theft/to restore him to power. And the crowd took right off for the Capitol, ready to rumble. Intense suggestiveness coupled with avoidance of any responsibility are the hallmarks of TFG’s style.

And exactly what was he trying to accomplish with the attack on the Capitol? Even as I observed, with no surprise at all, his abandonment of his followers to the tender mercies of the criminal justice system, it has been niggling at me that even he could not have expected that mobbing the Capitol would actually change the electoral vote count. He had encouraged his lawyers to whomp up a rickety theory as to how it could be done, but he had not secured the lynch pin of the entire structure: he had not gotten Mike Pence to buy in. Even if Pence had played along, there was no quorum after the mob invasion, to do anything at all. If the elected representatives had been brought (marched?) back to the chambers, they would have laughed at what Pence would have asked them to do.

So if TFG was not seriously trying to take over the government, what was he trying to do? The only answer that makes sense to me is that he was demonstrating his prowess at getting TV ratings. That is, he sent a large volunteer group of his followers to play a righteous segment of the voters who could not contain their feelings one second longer. He created a crowd scene with a few thousand unpaid extras to thumb his nose at the country which had rejected him. If this was his deepest motivation, he succeeded very well. But of course, his faithful followers have never understood that the object of TFG’s presidency was to provide an emotional high for the president. Nothing to do with them or their lives at all. I think TFG never recovered from being the most popular TV reality show host for a while. This experience fed his ego, and only once since then has he felt the same sense of triumph: when his emotionally enslaved mob ran rampant through the Capitol. He sat in front of a TV in the White House lapping it up. Since this was not a TV studio, but real life, all the actors are liable for damages, and even the director will face contemptuous prosecutors from the Department of Justice.

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