Every time I think I’m out, you pull me right back in.
Sorry to go all Michael on you all but I figured this day would eventually come. That’s why I put the “Whatever” in the tagline of this blog.
I knew one day that I’d have to go beyond basketball and professional wrestling and delve into real world issues.
I really wanted to be done writing about politics, but I also knew when I launched this thing to start the year that there was probably one day when it would definitely have to happen: January 20, 2017.
The day the United States of America inaugurates its new president.
Given that this blog focuses in large part of the NBA, a league where 80% of the players are black, it feels very dishonest and hypocritical for me not to speak on the fact that the man sworn in as America’s 45th President ran on a campaign of hatred and divisiveness in all its forms.
Of racism, sexism, ableism , and every other “ism” that you can throw in there that involves oppressing people who aren’t white males.
His entire campaign was one that could only appeal to the lowest common denominator with ridiculous claims like building walls around the Mexican border, solving complex foreign policy matters like Syria in one day, defeating ISIS in no time at all, creating jobs for everyone who ever lived, kicking every illegal immigrant ever out of the US, making an infinite amount of profitable businesses spring up overnight and whatever other ridiculous fucking claim he made (of which I lost count long ago).
Of course the media gave him legitimacy by covering all of this without once questioning its legitimacy or even bringing up the fact that a former reality star with six bankruptcies on record that owes everything he has to first inheriting it from his father can even become the President of the United States.
But they didn’t it was a side show and drew huge ratings so the media fed kept it going through the primaries, through the debates and right on through to the fucking White House.
We all bought it hook, line and sinker. Most of us watched that ridiculous garbage for cheap thrills, we read every article we could telling us every sordid detail about his personal life and views that made him completely unfit for run for public office. We were hooked as much as anyone and drove those ratings through the roof.
Only everyone forgot to question why he was allowed to be there in the first place.
And there we have it. A complete and utter buffoon. A reality star. A fucking joke of a human being now holds the highest office of power in the western world.
I remember when this parasite impacted my life in a sort of personal way.
It actually is a story that really sums up both the appeal of him to some people and why more will (rightly) always believe that he’s one of the biggest pieces of shit on the planet.
I had just recently moved to Toronto and had a major falling out with my roommates at the time so in haste I moved into a tiny bachelor apartment in the first decent neighbourhood I could find which also turned out to be one the more trendy places in the city to live.
Feeling kind of lost and betrayed and really out of it as I was just recovering from a major concussion at work, I joined the neighbourhood gym which was by far the swankiest one that I’ve ever been a member of. One of the things they immediately did was push a personal trainer on me and probably because of the terrible state of mind I was in, I said “why not” and went for it.
Having a personal trainer is not a bad thing or anything but I work in social services, I’m not rich and it seemed like huge indulgence, but I bought my twelve weeks and did my time with a Romanian immigrant who seemed like a nice guy. We actually sort of connected on a personal level.
So much so that he invited me to an event where I could learn how to “help people” and I like helping people so what could go wrong?
Turns out it was a ruse and I was lured into an event for something called ACN which was clearly a pyramid scheme. A fucking lame one at that.
I will never get the morning I wasted there back. People spoke about the company like it was a fucking cult – I suppose it was because you had to be brainwashed into believing that you would become a rich man to waste your time hassling others to buy low grade phone and cable services from you. They spoke very excitedly about how to leverage personal relationships to make sales, how to manipulate your friends and family and how to use knowledge you gained about people to con them into attending one of these things.
I’d been duped.
So when the hype movie comes on the screen who do I see?
None other than the orange lump of shit who would later be the 45th President of the United States. He gave the company a glowing endorsement and talked about how if he was presented such an opportunity he would get into on the ground floor.
You want to know the appeal of this guy? When his tanorexic mug came on the screen, the man who brought me there had the biggest smile on his face and said “if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me”.
Later when antitrust law suits started pouring in, the man with the bad toupee would claim to never have had anything to do with the company.
Now he occupies the most powerful office in the world.
It’s a sad, sick joke.
Of course there are some people who are trying to make it even more of a sad sick joke. These are mainly misguided individuals who for some reason thought that it was a good idea to run Hillary Clinton, one of the most unlikeable, corrupt and entitled politicians that the United States has ever seen against a populist who was appealing to common folks because he was a reality TV star telling them everything they had ever wanted to hear in their lives.
Hillary Clinton, like the President elect, also has a history of being extremely racist like when she referred to young, black men as “superpredators” while hawking a piece of legislation that did so much harm to the black community that I don’t even think the new President could do more harm even if he tried and believe me if he doesn’t the crew of nutjobs from the extreme American right that he’s surrounded himself will: the Clinton crime bill.
Colin Kaepernick characterized the Presidential debates as two old white people arguing about who was less racist. He was spot on.
Now most of her supporters live under the delusion that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are saints and never do anything wrong. They literally seemed to believe that Hillary was going to usher in some kind of feminist utopia despite having a far worse record on reproductive rights than Bernie Sanders.
Because they hold their people in high esteem they ignore inconvenient truths. This was on display in the furor following Barack Obama’s recent farewell address when people were literally tripping all over themselves to deify Obama as the greatest saint ever to occupy the oval office.
None of these think pieces included the following facts about Obama’s time in office:
-sent troops to Syria, despite saying 16 times, “no boots on the ground” -despite campaign pledges, planned a $1 trillion program to add more nuclear weapons to the US arsenal in the next 30 years -dropped bombs on seven Muslim countries and then bragged about it -said “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being” -bragged about his unprecedented use of drones – “I’m really good at killing people” -deported 2 million immigrants which is a modern record -signed the Monsanto Protection Act into law -started a new war in Iraq -initiated and personally oversaw a “secret kill list” -pushed for war on Syria while siding with al-Qaeda -backed neo-Nazis in Ukraine -supported Israel’s illegal wars and occupation of Palestine -deployed special ops to 134 counties – compared to 60 under Bush Jr. -did a TV commercial promoting “clean coal” -signed the NDAA into law – making it legal to assassinate Americans without charge or trial -gave the Bush administration absolute immunity -pushed for a TPP trade pact -started a new “war on terror” -signed more executive memoranda than any other president in US history -sold $30 billion in weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia -signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia -opened a military base in Chile -engineered a coup in Honduras -touted nuclear power even after the disaster in Japan -opened up deepwater drilling even after the BP disaster -mandated the Insider Threat Program which orders federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues -defended body scans and patdowns in airports -signed the Patriot Act extension into law -launched 20,000 airstrikes in his first term -continued the Bush administration’s rendition program -said the US is the one indispensable nation in the world -waged war on Libya without congressional approval -started a covert drone war in Yemen -escalated the proxy war in Somalia -escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan -escalated the war in Afghanistan -repealed the Propaganda ban, making it legal to spread propaganda via government news outlets -assassinated 4 US citizens with drone strikes -under his watch, the US military dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016 alone
That’s only scratching the surface.
Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. Nobody talks about any of this in the mainstream media. The lavish tributes that were given to Obama made no mention of any of these facts. But a quick google search of any of them will show you that they are absolutely 100% true.
Noam Chomsky once said that if the Geneva Conventions were applied equally that every US President would be executed for war crimes. It was no different under Obama.
Don’t get me wrong it was a remarkable historical event to have a black family occupy the White House in a country where slavery was a way of life 150 years earlier, but US foreign policy pathways are locked for the most part. Don’t kid yourself, eight years of US foreign policy under Obama was virtually identical to the second term of George W. Bush.
Expect more of the same under the new President.
Yet that’s not the narrative we’ve been given.
People have abandoned all reason to go to ridiculous lengths to depict the incoming President as some kind of megalomaniac. A power mad tyrant who will soon turn the United States into some kind of banana republic.
Even worse some people are going so far as to invoke the name of Hitler when talking about the new President.
That is way out of line.
I get that a lot of liberals in the US are butthurt over their candidate losing, but to compare a guy who essentially ran on the same rhetoric and jingoism as Ronald Reagan did in 1980 (right down to the Make America Great Again slogan) to a genocidal dictator is not just ridiculous but super insulting.
It makes you even more of an ignorant, disgusting piece of garbage than the incoming US President.
You know who was like Hitler? Pol Pot.
I am writing this while in Cambodia. I went to the Genocide museum and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh.
My life will be forever altered by what I saw there.
I literally stood a few feet from a tree where Khmer Rouge cadre would literally grab infants by the feet and smash them against a tree before discarding them like garbage into a mass grave.
3 million Cambodians were murdered in less than four years of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.
When you compare the incoming US President to a genocidal dictator you are spitting on each and every one of Pol Pot’s victims. You are spitting on each and every one of Hitler’s victims. You are spitting on each and every indigenous person who died and continues to suffer in North America’s genocide.
You are say engaging in a mindset more extreme than anything the orange lump about to take the Oval Office could imagine when you employ rhetoric like that. Beyond that you strengthen and embolden his supporters.
When you tell someone that by voting for the Republican candidate that they are now no better than a Nazi, you only drive them further into whatever mindset caused them to support him in the first place and only lessen the chance for widespread opposition to whatever destructive policies that he will carry on from the previous Obama regime or whatever new ones his staff will conjure up for him.
You’re undermining all valid opposition to the President of the United States. Valid opposition that is always needed.
The rise of Pol Pot and the Cambodian genocide were made possible by a bombing campaign by the United States that devastated the country and created the necessary conditions for a genocidal dictatorship to seize control.
The US dropped more bombs on Cambodia in 1973 than it did in the entire Second World War.
Furthermore, during the Cambodian genocide, the US not only refused to intervene, it also continued to recognize the Khmer Rouge as Cambodia’s government after its overthrow by the Vietnamese-backed rebels in 1979. It continued to provide Pol Pot and company with foreign aid and supported Khmer Rouge diplomas to hold a seat at the United Nations until 1993.
That means that five US Presidents – Ford, Carter, Bush Sr., and Clinton all had no trouble turning a blind eye to or a supporting one of the worst genocidal regimes in history.
It is absolutely absurd in the fact of just this one example that anyone would invoke a comparison between the new President and anyone other than previous presidents who are all guilty of heinous crimes and inherited the shameful legacy of imperialism that defines US foreign policy.
The same legacy that is being handed down to the 45th President of The United States.
Instead of having serious discussions about these issues, many journalists would rather accuse him of being a Manchurian candidate for Russia or talk about his shady business practices or his twitter account or whatever other thing they want to talk about.
Anything to draw attention to ridiculous spectacle that is the man who is about to take office.
Make no mistake he is a ridiculous spectacle but giving that much airtime to such offensive talk such as speculation that he may have inappropriate sexual desires toward his daughter doesn’t just detract from more important issues. It actually completely dehumanizes his daughter in horrific ways.
Even formerly respected journalists are engaging in this behaviour. I remember when Shaun King was known for his writing about the Black Lives Matter movement, now he engages in speculation about what mental illness the incoming president might have or how bad he wants to fuck his daughter. His articles might as well be called TNN these days. The two Ns stand for News Network.
Disgusting. Dehumanizing and a complete failure to address anything of substance. Sensationalism to absolutely no end. All it does is draw more attention to a subject that has doesn’t need any more drawn to him. He thrives on it and as long as he is given attention for anything other than what he should at this point, it only increases his profile at the expense of his victims.
In fact most of the incoming President’s victims have been dehumanized. The media has transformed their narratives as individuals into fodder to discuss the businessman turned politician who is about to ascend to the highest office of power in the United States. Not the individuals who he has attacked.
The best example I can give what when he attacked Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Serge Kovaleski by mimicking the symptoms of his arthrogryposis.
Instead of people being outraged due to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Serge Kovaleski being mocked by the Republican candidate for the US presidency, it was instead said that the now-US President mocked “a disabled reporter”.
This was most famously done by Meryl Streep at one of the awards ceremonies Hollywood likes to throw itself to show how up its own ass it is. Not only did liberal sycophants love it. They called Streep brave for “taking on” the President-elect.
Streep did nothing but give the 45th President of the United States the attention that he so desperately craves. She just stroked his ego. He literally does not give a shit what she thinks of him. He only wants his name out there.
Beyond that – and a far worse crime – is that she, and anyone else who engages in the “disabled reporter” narrative robbed Serge Kovaleski of his individualism and reduced him to his condition.
It is a dehumanizing act.
I have worked with individuals living with a variety of disabilities since I was 17 years old. I can tell you that none of these people want to be defined by their disability and none of them want to live their lives being labelled by it. They live with a disability. They are not the disability.
Every single one of them deserves to be called by their name and celebrated for their achievements.
Serge Kovaleski was robbed of his identity in that narrative.
It should have been the other way around.
The incoming US President has a massive ego and loves hearing his name everywhere. But in becoming the President of the United States, he has also given us the ability to never refer to him by name again.
In fact using his name completely robs his actions of the context that is so needed given his current position.
What is more of a statement: [insert name here] said a bunch of ignorant and racist things about immigrants or The President of The United States said a bunch of ignorant and racist things about immigrants.
Think about it.
I promise you that I will never use the name of the current US President on this blog, or social media or anywhere.
I am guilty of using it once before on the blog to make an “Idiocracy” joke and I apologize (evidence is here: https://thehoopandtheharmblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/the-east-is-already-great-again-part-1/).
It will never happen again.
I will never refer to the racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic piece of trash that is portrayed by Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live as anything other than The President of the United States.
It will help keep everything in perspective into what kind of man the US has elected as its leader but also remind us that the office itself was always tainted. Tainted enough that someone like this could ascend to it.
Take away something from him for a change. Keep that attention away from the man and firmly on the office that he holds.
For the next four years – probably even less until he’s impeached or resigns – simply use his title
Don’t say his name.