Make no mistake, Donald Trump sent a warning to the faggot community( and other communities expressing disagreement) over the weekend, launching an authoritarian attack on Twitter. As I wrote last week, pay no mind to his word-games in interviews, like his claim on “6 0 Minutes” that wedding equality is “settled, ” and believe instead what he has said of his actual stances sometimes ejaculated out impulsively and the promises he’s made to foes of LGBTQ equality.
I don’t believe, as some have suggested, that Trump fired angry missives at the cast of “Hamilton” or “Saturday Night Live” or the protestors who rose up after the election because he was trying to confuse from some other big stories, namely his having caved on the Trump University suit, shelling out 25 million dollars, and the dangerous conflicts presented by his having a business empire that spans the globe.
These are important narratives, but if much of media isn’t covering them in addition to others nor playing them as big as they should be that is on our lousy corporate media, which seems to have already forgotten that Stephen Bannon is a white nationalist and Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions stimulated racist statements but now will be charged with protecting civil right as attorney general.
It is devoting Trump too much credit to say that he throws out crazy Twitter taunts as part of a strategy to distract. Much of the media could stroll and chew gum at the same time if it wanted to do so and on occasion actually does, and many did so in this case. No, Trump does these things for the same reason he has throughout the campaign: He is recklessly impulsive, highly unstable and angry. Even as his advisors likely try to stop him, he often can’t be controlled nor help himself. He is driven by retaliation and is intent on building threats against the individuals who dared to speak out against him. It’s what he did to the Khan householdfor days, and it’s what he didto beauty queen Alicia Machado, also for days on end, events that expense him though obviously didn’t cost him the election in the long run.
Whether or not these outbursts will cost him as chairwoman remains to be determined, but they are exactly what they seem: impulsive detonations from an authoritarian who demands everyone bow to his feet.
The “Hamilton” eruption in particular, in which Trump demanded an apology from the casting, was directed in part at the faggot community. The Broadway theater world has been a gay space forever, and the boo that came at Mike Pence as he entered the theater were directed at a man who has been an ardent homophobe, had tried to stop LGBTQ rights at every turn and promoted “conversion therapy.” He is a man who, as I explained last week, will be in charge of much of the day-to-day running of a presidential administration, likely stop or even rolling back LGBTQ rights during Trump administration.
Now here he is, coming to the New York theater, a space where we have historically saw a home along with Jews, blacks and others and he wanted respect?( I know it’s supposition, but my instincts tell me that the cheers came from Midwestern tourists — who are among those whose fund keeps the Broadway flourishing who scored tickets to the depict on their trip to New York .)
Boos- and cheers- from a crowd in public directed at a public figure are democracy in action, and guaranteed by the First Amendment. Pence- who was booed at a baseball gamein his home country of Indiana last April even recognise this the next day, telling Chris Wallace of Fox News that he “wasn’t offended.” President Obama was booed at public events and was even shouted down by a member of Congress as he devoted the state of the union. He did not send out tweets berating people or demanding an apology, as Donald Trump did.
Furthermore, what Trump actually did was assault the casting of the indicate- not the booing crowd- which delivered a respectful, heartfelt message to Pence at then aim of the depict, which included these terms:
We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton American Musical, ” we really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, most children, our parents or defend us and upheld our inalienable rights … Again, we truly thank you for[ inaudible] this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, girls, of different colourings, creeds and orientations.”
The reference to “orientations” was part of the message to Pence from the theater community about his brutal attacks on LGBTQ people.
In response, Trump tweeted 😛 TAGEND
Before Trump’s tweets and even before news of the cast’s message had surfaced there was strong criticism on Twitter of New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman, after she tweeted that the booing was “disrespectful” of the vice president-elect.
( This is the same Haberman, by the way, who laughed mockingly on ABC’s “This Week” back May when Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison warned that Trump could win the GOP nomination .) She was quickly rebutted by homosexual commentators and others who pointed out that, not unlike in the past, she was being tone deaf to the gay community. What she was also being was overly generous to the incoming Trump administration, something we’ve watched the Times and much of the TV media doing in recent days.
There’s a constant, hopeful portrayal since the election of Trump as “moderating” or becoming like a normal chairman. Then he does something crazy and they’re forced to pull it back. Even the Times ’ coverage of the Hamilton incident stated that Trump issued a “surprisingly sharp rebuke.” What was astounding? This was the same Trump they’d encompassed for over a year. Don’t they know him by now?
This brings me to Masha Gessen, an expert writer and commentator on Putin and Russia, and a Russian immigrant and lesbian I’ve known for many years, having worked with her at the pioneering LGBTQ weekly magazine, Outweek, 25 years ago. She wrote a piece for the New York Review of Books that is a must-read: “Autocracy: Rules for Survival.” You should read the whole thing, but apropos of the “Hamilton” controversy, just some snippets 😛 TAGEND
Rule# 1 : Believe the dictator . He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself reasoning, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reaching for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930 s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. More recently, the same newspaper made a telling option between two statements made by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov following a police crackdown on protesters in Moscow: “The police acted mildly–I would have been able to liked them to act more harshly” rather than those protesters’ “liver should have been spread all over the pavement…”
… Rule# 2 : D o not be taken in by small signs of normality ….
… Rule# 4 : Be outraged . If you follow Rule# 1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will result people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself…”
So, believe what Trump is saying and dong, as he demonizes and targets groups. Don’t fall for those in the media and elsewhere who try to normalize him. And be prepared for the fight.
So believe what Trump is saying and doing, as he demonizes and targets groups. Don’t fall for those in the media and elsewhere who try to normalize him. And be prepared for the fight.
Follow Michelangelo Signorile on Twitter : www.twitter.com/ msignorile
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