#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump #NotMyPresident – as if any of them ever was.
Show up and show out in D.C. this week, or in your own home town. If there’s no march or demonstration near you, get on social media (and the phone) and organize one.
But dumping Trump and stopping the hate are far from sufficient. Why?
Focus on system
Our brother and friend Cornel West published a piece last week that spelled out the popular fallacy. He was talking about Obama, but he could have meant the next president too. Cornel said that “character is destiny,” as if we were ruled by replaceable characters rather than a replaceable system.
The truth is that if Hillary was being sworn in instead of “Big Cheeto,” we’d still be spending half the nation’s wealth yearly on a murderous global military empire with over a thousand overseas bases. We’d still be bombing seven countries and operating networks of global torture, kidnapping and secret prisons.
If Hillary was president, American would still have the two biggest air forces on the planet: the US Air Force and the US Navy.
If a Democrat were installed in the White House till 2020, the Black unemployment rate would be about the same as it’s been the last half-century – about double the White rate.
If a Democrat were in the White House, hundreds of thousands with full-time jobs would still be homeless, and millions more an arbitrary paycheck from it.
If a Democrat were in the White House we’d still have 2 million-plus people in prisons and jails, mostly Black and brown, and gentrification of inner cities and privatization of public education and public resources would continue apace. Big Pharma and Big Insurance, military contractors and corporate media monopolies and parasitic hedge funders would get still fatter off privatized nature, racketeering and theft of the commons.
The hashtags don’t scare the Democrat billionaires who backed Clinton or the Republican ones behind Trump. None of them offer ordinary people a handle to recognize the capitalist system as the problem, rather than the despicable character of Donald Trump.
If somebody other than Trump were being sworn in, the banksters who targeted millions of low-income families with predatory loans and were rewarded with bailouts – while the homeowners got millions of evictions – would still be too big to fail or jail.
Median Black family wealth, because of the housing meltdown, fell from one-tenth to one-twentieth of the median for White families. Thousands of water shutoffs per week would continue in Detroit, Baltimore, and other places. #StopTrump and marches with big puppets don’t encourage us to remember any of that.
Nearly 95 percent of all the jobs created in the Obama era were part-time and/or without benefits.
Employers steal more of workers’ wages than the total of all armed robberies, and annually force millions of workers to declare themselves “independent contractors” ineligible for unemployment and other benefits, and not counted among the unemployed when their jobs end or they are fired.
That’s one of the reasons the White House can claim a phony 4.5 percent unemployment rate when only 66 percent of the eligible workforce is employed and the real rate may be in the 20-25 percent range.
The hashtags don’t invite us to dive into any of the crimes committed by Democrats, only into the character of Trump. Even #SaveOurHealthCare allows Democrats to pretend that the Affordable Care Act was NOT a blanket full of holes that offered skimpy expensive insurance, NOT health care to only half the uninsured, and fat subsidies to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. It doesn’t lead us to fight for #SinglePayer, which Obamacare was engineered to prevent.
Ridicule is not enough
If we aim to build a movement that cannot be co-opted by Democrats, our hashtags must educate our people, not just eviscerate Trump. As good as they make us feel, storms of ridicule failed to drive Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from office, and our scorn of Reagan didn’t prevent Presidents Bush or Clinton. Our mocking of Dubya didn’t hold Obama accountable, either.
Big protests – especially the permitted kind that take place on weekends, marching through canyons of empty office buildings, sometime with hilarious puppets, some of us being chased by police – are routine, almost traditional pageantry by now.
Mass protests don’t have magical powers. Ten million people hit the streets the weeks before Bush unleashed bombs over Baghdad, and those bombs still fell. Even street actions without permits are not going to trigger anything like general strikes and uprisings. We just are not there yet.
These are the limitations of #StopHateDumpTrump, and a hundred other hashtags, petitions and meme stashes. Donald Trump is already the most unpopular president in US history, and he hasn’t even been sworn in. Fixating on Trump’s despicable statements and personal history doesn’t help us target the system that produced him and the next ones after him.
Worst of all are Democrat stooges, especially Black ones like John Lewis and Donna Brazile, who claim (without need of any proof) that the Russians hacked the presidential election to install the Donald. These folks are clearly fronting for another, equally reprehensible faction of the US ruling elite, one that knows it can make a lot more money off a cold or hot war with Russia than they do off the shadowy “war against terror.”
It’s crystal-clear that Democrats need us to limit ourselves to throwing figurative and personalized rocks at Big Cheeto. When Democrats focus on impeachable offenses, they trot out his conflicts of interest – but not the mass surveillance state, the drone wars and the many other offenses he will share with Democratic occupants of the White House.
So while mocking Donald Trump is big fun, just like it was with Reagan and Dubya Bush, we gotta go deeper. If we aim to change the system and not just the personalities, our hashtags, memes, activism and messaging must do more than just mock the persons and selected stands Trump and his minions. We have to attack the positions he shares with Democrats. Ridicule is indispensable, but targeting persons doesn’t change systems.
We need to educate while we eviscerate. If we can’t do that, we’re just warming up crowds for Corey Booker or the next Democrat. It’s just #NotEnuff2DumpTrump.
Bruce Dixon is managing editor of BlackAgendaReport.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.