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When politics becomes personal: Trump and murderous white men



On the night of Wednesday, Feb. 23, a 32-year old Indian national living in Kansas City, Kansas, Srinivar Kuchibhotla, went to a bar with two young friends, to relax after a long day of work. Kuchibhotla was in this country on a work permit as an aviation engineer. He and his friends were nursing their drinks when an older white male, later identified as 51-year old Adam Purinton, began screaming at them to “get out of my country.”

He also hurled “racial slurs” at the men, and demanded to know their immigration status. The club manager asked Purinton to leave. “He stormed back a short while later, angrier than before, armed and animated…before spraying the men with bullets.” Srinivas died almost instantly. The other two men were injured.

We aren’t sure at this point if Purinton was a fan of Trump, but what we can say conclusively is that Trump has long been the mouthpiece for a growing anti-immigrant movement in America (which is really an anti-people of color movement). It’s hard to compare injustices, but people perceived to be of Middle Eastern descent probably have it harder these days than those who look like they’re from Latino countries, especially Mexico. Certainly there is a “type” of white American who takes his own insecurities out on these minority groups and occasionally lashes out at them with violence, as did Purinton, who exemplifies the type. It is a type aided and abetted by Donald Trump and the rightwing media he listens to, including Breitbart.

Donald Trump is very good at finding victims of illegal immigrant criminals and holding them up before the cameras in order to defend his various Muslim and Mexican bans. Indeed, his guests at Tuesday’s speech before the Congress included three people allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants.

Yet until Tuesday’s address Trump said nothing about Srinivar’s murder; finally, he referred to “last week’s shooting in Kansas City,” although it seemed to be like pulling teeth to get him to condemn a murder than was not committed by a “radical Islamic terrorist” but rather a fellow white man. Trump’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress was said by many to be “optimistic” and even conciliatory. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer called it “presidential.” I’m not buying it. After the most disastrous rollout of a Presidency in U.S. history (IMHO), somebody must have sat Trump down and told him point-blank that he was tearing the country apart and that civil unrest isn’t far away. Trump, who sees himself, preposterously, as the reincarnation of Reagan, doesn’t like hearing anything negative about himself; and indeed, his powers of blind refusal to recognize reality are infamous. Who persuaded him to be a kinder, gentler Trump? Maybe Ivanka and Jared, joined by Melania. Certainly it wouldn’t have been Bannon; and nobody cares about Kellyanne anymore. So Trump goes out and pretends to be something he never has been, isn’t, and never will be: a calm, benign, unifying presence. Politically, it was the smart thing to do: there are always some swing voters who will fall for this kind of stunt.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, he renounced violent revolution as a means of seizing power in favor of legal, electoral means: thus he was dubbed “Adolf Legalité” by pundits. This was a kinder, gentler, less scary Hitler; indeed, it helped make him acceptable to the middle classes and the business interests that funded him. But it was all an act. Hitler never changed the basic programme of violence and revenge he outlined in Mein Kampf; he simply and temporarily camouflaged it.

This Trump we saw last night is a fraud. The Resistance cannot and will not accept him as a legitimate President. Not after what he’s done for the last six years: the lies, the bullying, the disrespect for President Obama, the tarnishing of our political and moral values, the insults, the hostility, the cynicism, the vulgarity, the corruption, the trashing of truth, the utter incapacity to feel empathy, the appeals to the lowest, scurviest and most vile impulses of the basket of deplorables.

At this point, it’s not even about the politics. Trump could support the 2016 Democratic platform and we still would not accept this deviant poseur. Politics has become personal, because Trump has made it so. Nothing he says or does can make up for the deficiencies in his character that have hurt and angered so many of us Americans. He has caused wounds in the body politic that will take a generation to heal. He is the political equivalent of a domestic abuser, promising not to hit us again. He lies.

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