The Politics of Cruelty Have Roots Before Trump

By Mark Naison (June 24, 2018)

Those of you who are shocked that Donald Trump successfully employed a politics of cruelty and rage to take him to the Presidency might want to revisit two events which prefigured his campaign:

  1. the excommunication of the Dixie Chicks from country music radio;

2. and the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s Vice Presidential candidate.

That the most popular female group in country music history could be turned into non-persons because they dared question George W Bush’s plunge into war, and that a crude, uninformed provocateur with a blue collar image could get elevated to the level of a Vice Presidential candidate showed how much the politics of bitterness had become entrenched in large sections of the US white population.

Trump saw this, correctly, as something he could tap into to achieve his life long ambition,

And he is still tapping, to the nation and the world’s great detriment.

I know this country’s history pretty well. I have not only studied it and taught it, I have lived it. I know racism when I see it. And i am seeing more open expressions of it now than I have in a very long time. This is not good, for the targets of this racism, for the people expressing it, and for the country as a whole.

If the people who have unleashed this ugliness knew where it was heading and what it would mean for them and their children, they would hesitate before unloading their rage. But they don’t listen to anyone outside of their political comfort zone so they are going to have to learn the hard way that what goes around comes around.