Heir-Head Skittle Analogy
Last weekend, a New Jersey man planted myriad bombs throughout the tri-state area, intending to kill innocent passers-by. A couple of the bombs went off, and although no one was killed, dozens were injured on 23rd between 6th and 7th. This New Jersey man, Ahmad Rahami, was born in Afghanistan in 1988 and came to the United States with his family in 2000; when he was 12 years old. His father opened up a fast food stand in Elizabeth, which ran into some flak with neighbors and there was activity within the city council and in the courts over its operation. Rahami was a naturalized American citizen.
In the aftermath of an act of terrorism perpetrated by an Afghani-American, the Republican presidential nominee’s son Tweeted this:
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016
That’s the cover of Der Giftpilz, or the “Poisonous Mushroom“. This children’s book taught German kids in the 30s and 40s that, “just as it is often hard to tell a toadstool from an edible mushroom, so too it is often very hard to recognize the Jew as a swindler and criminal”. Streicher was tried and hanged at Nuremburg.
But aside from the clear regurgitation of some of the most insidious Nazi racial propaganda, how are Skittles like people; from what war or conflagration are these Skittles seeking refuge? What “politically correct” agenda was being served? If the bombings were the thing that prompted Trump to Tweet this, what does Syria have to do with Rahami? What the hell logic is going on here in this heir-head’s mind?
By all accounts, Rahami was a grade-A scumbag before he tried to maim and kill people with shrapnel propelled by homemade bombs. He allegedly beat and stabbed his own sister. He traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, and may have been radicalized while on one of those trips – he spent a year in Pakistan. But he lived with his mom and dad and had a job at the family business. What he attempted to do in New York and New Jersey is abhorrent, and he deserves fully to be prosecuted.
But how does this sick act by one perverse asshole lead to the conclusion that accepting Syrian refugees is our misfortune? The immigrant story – indeed, the refugee story – is not tragedy for the United States, but a triumph. It’s not for nothing Rahami’s father could open up a fast food business in New Jersey and make some sort of living in a new world. It’s not for nothing the manhunt for Rahami ended when the Sikh owner of a bar called “Merdie’s Tavern” called the cops. It’s not for nothing that it was an American Cypriot refugee who took the picture of Skittles that Trump, Jr. Tweeted.
I’ve already written that Trumpism is not dissimilar from fascism. From its very creation, the Trump campaign has been founded on the notion of white resentment – against Mexicans, against Muslims, against any minority group who can reasonably be scapegoated. The world is changing in many ways – socially and economically. Not only aren’t the coal mines coming back, but neither are steel mills. By the way, gay people can get married to a same-sex partner, to boot. For many people, this is all too much. America is gone. Obama and Hillary have taken it away. The liberals and Nancy Pelosi must be stopped.
On top of that, the immigrants. The refugees. They’re coming for your jobs; your children; your lives; your women.
They’re here. And I’ve been saying. This is going to be like the Trojan horse. We’re letting tens of thousands of people flow into this country and they are bringing in, in many cases, this is cancer from within. This is something that’s going to be so tough and you know they stay together, so nobody really knows who it is, what’s happening. They are plotting. They keep plotting, and this has been going on for so long and everybody knows it and the good law enforcement, we have such great people. That’s the best thing we have going is that we have great law enforcement. They know about it.
Trump says, “Cancer from within”. Like this Nazi Russian-language propaganda from 1943 branding Jews as “people of contagion”.
‘They are plotting; they keep plotting”, says Trump. Like this 1942 cartoon accusing Jews of a “conspiracy against Europe”?
But racial animus isn’t enough – Trump also has to attack our fundamental principles. The bomber was shot; we have a duty to provide him with medical care, and even if you think he doesn’t deserve it, it keeps him alive to face justice.
But the bad part: Now we will give him amazing hospitalization,” Trump continued. “He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he’ll probably even have room service knowing the way our country is.”
We have a constitutional duty to provide him with legal defense if he can’t afford his own lawyer. Again: it’s not our race hate, but our Constitution that makes America great.
“On top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer,” Trump added. “And his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation. We must have speedy but fair trials and we must deliver a just and very harsh punishment to these people.”
The Constitutional guarantee of a right to counsel doesn’t just protect people whom you think are guilty, but all people who stand accused of a crime. “His punishment will not be what it once would have been” – what, exactly, does that mean? Guillotine? Hanging? Is that what will make “America Great Again?”
Stoking the fires of racial and class resentment isn’t going to turn back the clock to a happier time, when it was “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”; when women and minorities knew their place, and, ironically, trade unions succeeded in the working class into the middle class. Railing against “political correctness” so that white millionaires can feel more comfortable using racial epithets, isn’t going to lead to any great regression, either.
Within the Trump campaign, all of the hallmarks of a fascist movement are there; authoritarianism; scapegoating of immigrants and minorities for real and perceived social and economic ills; disregard for the Constitution and rule of law; spouting lies and falsehoods with impunity; “stab in the back” mythology; “take our country back” jingoism; appeals to class warfare, here inciting the working class to blame the pointy-headed liberal elites for their own economic misfortunes in a changing economy, etc. Mussolini blamed the socialists. Hitler blamed the Jews. Fascism was a perverse reaction to Marxist collectivism; while Marx emphasized class over the individual, fascism holds that national and/or racial identity take precedence over the individual. Toil for the good of the proletariat; toil for the victory of the Volk.
Trump (so far) has blamed the Mexicans and Muslims – especially the Syrian refugees. But they haven’t done anything. Their only crimes are that they’re not like Trump. From Vox,
A report released last week by the Cato Institute measured the risk to Americans posed by refugees. The report found that an American’s chances of being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack in any given year are 1 in 3.64 billion. America’s murder rate — at 4.5 per 100,000 capita — is about 163,800 times higher.
Therefore, math being a thing, if three Skittles are deadly terrorists, you’d need a bowl of 11 billion Skittles to match the statistical likelihood of harm. Aren’t Republicans better than this? Shouldn’t they be?
At this point, the only difference between Naziism and Trumpism is that Hitler believed that all the Skittles were poison.