Friday, 16 June 2017

Political art and the geopolitics of violence in U.S.

This post is a follow up of the previous post on the Republican Congregational baseball field earlier this morning. It needs to be remembered that there are millions of Americans who are anti-government and have an aversion to politics unless it concerns them directly. Recent events with the Trump White House is making it difficult to ignore politics anywhere in the country. Political affiliation aside, ordinary Americans' anti government (more of an annoyance) sentiments range from apathy to deep seated hate towards any kind of authority connected to Washington, DC to paranoid government conspiracy theorists. Now some right wing commentators and pundits are trying to blame the media and the Democrats for somehow pushing Hodgkinson to commit the horrific crime.

Footage of Majority Whip Steve Scalise shooting captured by a resident Alexandria, VA 

The dead gunman, James T. Hodgkinson was an anti-Trump and anti-Republican protester and might've once been a Bernie Sanders volunteer. Bernie Sanders has condemned the shooting and has offered his sympathies to Majority Whip Steven Scalise. Congressional Democrats have also offered their sympathies and condemnation both in Congress and during their own Democrats' Baseball game practice. Hodgkinson was not mentally ill. Hodgkinson had been raging against Trump and the wider Congressional Republicans online and in public for ignoring the plight of ordinary Americans. Like many Americans, he was also struggling with finances and unemployment. His actions are normally associated with right wing extremists, the more non political lone gunman and ISIS terrorists. He has mimicked the later two's messaging and actions in eery detail. Millions of ordinary Americans are still angered by Trump's shocking electoral win and worried that Trump will led them to economic problems. Nevertheless, most people have kept their raging rants and violent anger against Congress and Trump under control or from becoming deadly action. Hodgkinson made his declaration of violence loud and clear in Belleville, IL and DC. Bellevile is across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. He sent letters to Belleville's local newspaper and wrote threatening messages on his Facebook page sharing his anger and hatred towards the Trump Administration with anyone who would listen. He is not the first person to publicly show his true feelings for Trump in a violent manner. He is the first to attempt to assassinate a congressman after Trump's inauguration. The Governor of Virginia Terry Macaffile condemned Scalise's shooting and reiterated that "politics in the U.S. is divisive nowadays." Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) commented on Scalise shooting and shared his own experience of being targeted by a gunman during the 1998 Capital building shooting. The gunman, Russell Eugene Weston Jr. survived the confrontation and is currently in a mental institution for paranoid schizophrenia. Ironically, Weston was also from Illinois from Valmeyer Southeast of Bellville near the Mississppi River. Again, the Midwestern United States have long standing grievances against the government related to economic decline, high unemployment, derelict cities and past glory as America's manufacturing hub. Today the Midwest is known as the Rust Belt. The namesake includes Western Pennslyvania and Baltimore, MD.

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Steve Scalise, his experience and today's politics

To rural Americans especially people who don't live anywhere near the coastal states, they have complained of being marginalized in society. When mentioned on the media or in popular culture, the Midwest is lampooned as "fly over country" or a place where conservative country folks live surrounded by nothing but cornfields. In their eyes, the mainstream media has long represented the epitome of Democrats and what the right wing calls, "The Liberal elites" of West Coast, East Coast and sometimes South metropolises. The media pundits (regardless of politics) are also angry Trump is still in the White House since they were initially so sure of Clinton winning. Their predictions were way off. The mainstream media pundits have been screaming foul on everything Trump and his administration does with CNN's annoying breaking news headlines to the point all the wall to wall coverage on Trump and Russia has become childish to the anti-Trump supporters as well. An interesting clip Wolf Blitzer hosted a few days prior to Trump's inaugaration asked what would happen if President Trump or the V.P. were suddenly taken out like in the plotline of the popular Tv series Designated Survivor. The Designated Survivor question was condemned by Trump supporters. Former President George W. Bush was also hated by the wider American public for most of his 8 year term. There were threats against Bush as well as a fictionalized docudrama of Bush being assassinated a la Kennedy in Death of a President. Famed political thriller author James Patterson has recently written and published a new book co-authored by former President Bill Clinton titled, The President's Missing. It is rare book since presidents normally don't collaborate with fictional authors on thrill and suspense novels. The recent political art against Trump is not new. There are literally decades of TV shows, movies, books John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth d art that imagine the worst case scenario of a presidential coup, the destruction of Congress and all out anarchy following an imagined destruction of the various branches of government. Most of these are imaginative political thrillers and critically thinking series.

Julius Cesar Play with Trump look a like NY's Shakespeare in the Park summer series

Political art and anger at Trump

Many ordinary Americans are still upset and shocked that Trump even managed to win the 2016 elecctions. Most can't and won't let Trump's win over Hillary Clinton go. Most Americans were also hoping Bernie Sanders would be the Democratic nominee instead of Clinton. The Bernie supporters won't let that lost opportunity go as well. Both the Bernie and Clinton supporters have been protesting Trump wherever he goes. In New York, the president's hometown, protesters have been unwelcoming and condemn his domestic and foreign policies and statements. They are getting exhausted despite gathering every weekend. There has been protesters on shifts at Trump Tower on a near daily bases. Effigies of Trump ranging from pinatas, to a literal nude statute to crude signs have all but cursed Trump's hair, his body, his hands, private parts, his relationship with his wife and children, his arrogance, wealth and his childish stupidity. The latest effigiy that got comedian Kath Griffin fired from CNN was a severed head of a realistic looking Donald Trump. Griffin was not trying to be funny. It was meant as morbid political art. Griffin is famous for her inapporpiate comedy and pushing buttons. But even anti-Trump protesters and media pundits condemned Griffin's art and said she went too far. Just last week, the famed Shakespeare play Julius Cesar was equally protested by Delta and Bank for American for featuring the titular character Cesar portrayed as a Trump likealook being gruesomely stabbed to death by several fictional senators. Despite the corporate sponsorship pull (which helps to keep the play free) , audiences have been going to the Trump/Jullius Cesar play which has recieved at times standing ovation. Anyone who knows the life story of Cesar and knows the play, understands that its a symbolic metaphor for uncontrolled political power and not allowing tyrants to ruin democracy. Shakespeare himself wrote it as an unapologetic political play to begin with. The late night comedy shows have also been using Trump's blunders and unbearable twitting rants to make memorable jokes and skits to keep their audience entertained. Trump for them is a gold mine with plenty of material to last for the next four years. . .

New Yorkers never liked Trump even when he was building the Trump Tower or trying to wine and dine Manhattan elites. The elites of Wall Street turned Trump away from events and scuffed at him. Wall Street investors were even terrified of him winning. Now they love him only because the Dow is still above 21,000 points. The economy is tyring not to contract with all the neoliberal policies Trump has in store for it.

There has been both pro and anti-Trump protests happening across the United States. Both large and small protests have occured Berekely and San Francisco, CA, Raleight, North Carolina, Chicago, New York City, New Jersey, Dallas, Houston and Boston to name a few cities. Just last Sunday June 12th there were multiple "Anti-Sharia" rallies in the mentioned cities plus additional cities. The Anti-Sharia rallies were organized by a  far right group Act for America that supports national security at all cost via a militaristic foreign policy, police force, increasing the border wall, Pro-Israel and is known to be anti-Islam and blames Muslims for every rights abuse and violence. The Anti Sharia rally were met with counter Anti sharia protesters against right wing, fascism, racism and xenophoibic nationalism. The Anti-Fascists more famously known as the Antifa has been appearing more at the anti-trump and protests against racism and fascism in the U.S. Until Trump entered the White House, Antifa was mostly associated with Europe's Far Left and anti-austerity protests in France, Greece, Britain, etc. Another group has pushed aside the more non violent anti-fascist and liberal groups is the Black Block. They came to UC Berkeley during a canceled Milo Yiannapolous speaking even and wrecked up the campus to the shock of UC Berkeley students. As expected, pro and anti-Trump protesters have been clashing violently. Two men were stabbed on the train in Portland, Oregon while trying to protect two muslim women from a right wing attacker with a knife. . 

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