Will those who believed Donald Trump's promises turn on him? Selling snake oil to cure all your ills...
Racism is virally transmitted. You can pick it up like a flu. It transmits itself from host to host indiscriminately and once you catch it, it digs in and only reluctantly lets go.
But racism itself is not a virus, you have to agree to host it, and getting you to agree to host it is a full time job that some people actually sign up to perform.
There are people who literally make it their life's work to promote racism. They get up in the morning and start sending their racist messages to dedicated internet forums and unsuspecting chat boards that are publicly read; many also print and distribute racist pamphlets and often hold public meetings. Their message is as simple as it is foul, our group is superior and all other groups are inferior and we are working to keep it that way, the way it's supposed to be. Deport all immigrants, build that wall.
I have always been amazed that racism is a thing you can literally sign up for in America, a bit like a joining a bridge club or hosting a Tupperware party. It can become a lifestyle brand. Once you sign up you can buy the bumper stickers and wear the funny hats and get the eye catching tattoos that spell out what you think of other races.
You can hold rallies and give Hitler salutes whilst brandishing assault weapons. You can stand around public moments with your racist buddies holding tikki torches and sending threatening messages to the races you oppose. You can start to meet a whole lot of other people who share your racist views.
What's depressing about the current outbreak of racism is the way eight years of a very successful presidency by an African American lifted the rock on what always was always lurking under our society.
The shock Barack Obama represented to the centuries old system of white male privilege is still playing out in real time, with real time results. We are still in the middle of this convulsive shockwave. Our current president is one of the most visible expressions that it is still ongoing.
The phrase Make America Great Again, it can be said with confidence now, was a blunt invitation to not only turn the clock back but to restore the top dog status to the white race after it's ultimate seat of power had been usurped. It's code of course, a dog whistle, like the phrase Restore Law and Order, or ghetto or thug or welfare queen or inner city. It's saying one thing to say something else.
Trump couldn't very well print hats that read Restore Whitey To Power, so he did the next best thing, he inferred that America was great because it was historically governed by white people and that he alone would represent the push to restore their hegemony.
It's amazing to me that anyone will try to argue that this wasn't the case, now that we have Trump administration policies in place that seek to explicitly put a stop to all the progressive politics of the Obama era, and roll back the hard won rights of minority communities as though the next decade will be 1950 rather than 2020.
Trump represents a human wall against progress. The progress that he was voted into office to stem was the shocking gains made by people of color and minority communities. So his supporters actually expect him to build the wall he promised. They will be greatly disappointing to discover that in fact he only ran for president to pursue his historic tax cuts, he ran to benefit himself and his plutocrat buddies.
But that's the contradiction of ordinary racism, it always over promises and it always under delivers. It provides you with an Aryan image of the perfect society that you wish to live in, but it uses bullying and brutality and division and violence to achieve it. It seeks peace but is unwilling to live in peace with its inferior neighbors. It sabotages itself in pursuit of itself.
So when it finally becomes clear to the people who most ardently voted for Trump that the restoration of power they expected (after the shock of the Obama years) will not be delivered, they will finally turn on Trump. That day isn't here yet. The honeymoon is over but the disappointment hasn't yet hardened into cold regret.
It will of course, because it has to. Selling snake oil to cure all your ills has a very long history in America, as does falling for the seductive words of the snake oil salesman, as does waking up the next morning with your pockets empty to find you've been completely hoodwinked by all his smooth talk.