Late Thursday night last week, Buzzfeed broke the story that the president is doing that shit we all thought he was doing. We’ve pretty much known since November.
Cue the avalanche of think pieces proclaiming yet again that this is the beginning of the end for 45. Finally, this is the lie that the American People will not tolerate! But then Friday comes and objections emerge from Mueller’s office and I can’t help but wonder if any of this even matters.
The question seems to be “Has the president committed a crime?” Well, there are problems with that question. First of all, we’re conflating illegal and immoral. Some of us know who he’s always been and hate it, and some of us are OK with that and wish he’d be a little more of himself. Two versions of right and wrong, but there aren’t two versions of legal and illegal. Of course, that’s no great equalizer as so often the difference is decided by corporations and the wealthy elite. (For other examples of moral/legal differences involving the will of the rich and powerful, please see: Jim Crow, Slavery, Native American Genocide.)
In the end, it comes down to what 45 symbolizes, which is whiteness.
I know, I know. Hang on, hang on! Whiteness?
Yup. Whiteness. Again. But if that word gets in your way, try to think of it as permission. Like if you’re white, you have permission not to be pulled over for the color of your skin. Or if you are white and get pulled over, you have permission not to be killed for your skin color. Or if you’re convicted of a crime, you have permission to get out of jail well before a Black person who has been convicted of the same crime. You get the idea.
Anyway, yes, the president symbolizes whiteness. It’s the apparently invisible through-line for his entire political party. Some republicans will justify their political stances with their Christianity. Others with ideas about fiscal conservatism and others still with some kind of semi-patriotic notion of defending a noble, fly-over, white working class. That was all perfectly plausible right up until they voted for an east coast elite with an exclusive personal history of fiscally irresponsible extravagance and at the very least amorality when it comes to lifestyle.
I know I keep saying this, but…
For five years before he even ran, 45 got in front of every camera he could find, pointed at the Black president and screeched all about how that n*gger ain’t from around here!If you didn’t know anything else about his politics—which you didn’t because he’d been on both sides of every other issue—you knew that.
The hope is that it’s unsustainable. Like, stacking the religious lies and the fiscal lies and the cultural lies of the party, and then the individual lies of the politicians, and then the personal lies of the members and finally, the infinite amount of lies of the president will create some sort of Tower of Babel situation and the whole thing will come crashing down.
That could be true. It’s probably not, but it could be. In the end, whiteness—that is, giving legal and social permission based on skin color—should be a crime, but instead it’s the glue that holds the tower together. And as long as 45 continues to be that glue, I can’t see any limit to the heights he can climb.
On the bright side, just before Rome fell, rather than the wealthy admit the end, they allowed the poor to fall into such desperation as to cannibalize one another!
Wait. That’s not a bright side.
Maybe there’s no bright side.
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