It started before the election geared up, but it grew to maturity with the Republican candidates. They have set the stage. Some more than others.
Trump gathered another crowd of haters and when a protestor spoke out, Trump said, “Get him the hell out of here.” Trump supporters surrounded the man, tried to choke him, and then wrestled the man to the ground. They kicked him. They called him a “nigger.” Security escorted the man away.
Later Trump said “maybe he deserved to be roughed up.” Obviously. He interrupted Donald Trump. He was black.
A day or so later another group of white hate-mongers shot five black protestors in Minnesota. The NAACP in Minneapolis has accused Minneapolis police of involvement. The protest was over another black death at the hands of police.
Trump says he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers. He saw it. It was on television. It was in the newspapers. It was on the internet. He is not mistaken because he has an excellent memory. Thousands, cheering the fall of the towers and the death of Americans.
Days later a group of armed men and women surrounded a mosque in Irving, Florida to protest Syrian refugees coming to this country. They were protesting the Islamization of America. They were armed with AK47s for defensive purposes only… because the Muslims who had been worshipping at that mosque peaceably for years might suddenly go all jihadi on their asses or something.
This all has happened before.
It’s starting again.
It will get worse.
If you have been following along since last June you know how we got to this point. I have been laying that out since “Back To Square One.” I had hoped we might avoid it. I knew we couldn’t, but I had hoped.
It is playing out pretty much as a textbook operation.
First you lay the groundwork. Teach people to think that their government is no longer working for them. Teach them to fear it. Tell them it is Godless. Tell them it is coming for their guns. Tell them that their president is a Muslim. They can see that he is black. Tell them that he was born in Kenya. Tell them that he wants to destroy the country. Their country. Make them afraid. Make them angry.
Tell them whatever lies you want. They won’t care. They won’t check. They are sure they need your strength. They are afraid because you made them afraid and now you tell them how strong you are and how you can protect them. Tell them that. Tell them that only you are strong enough to make them safe. You are so strong. They won’t believe how strong you are.
It’s all a lie. Tell them anyway. They won’t know. They were raised to believe. They were raised to follow. They were taught how to not think. They had to be taught. It’s not a natural state.
And then there was Paris.
Ramp it up another notch. Tell them that refugees fleeing death and destruction are the same as the combatants dealing out death and destruction. Tell them that the danger is even worse. Make them fear anything associated with Islam. Make them fear blacks. Make them fear Hispanics. Make them fear anything that is not them. Make them need your strength, your wisdom, your courage.
Let them see the footage of people beating the man in the Black Lives Matter t-shirt, not security guards, just people like them… beating a black man… for interrupting. Because you said, “Get him the hell out of here.” They beat him. They kicked him. You could do that too, you know.
Stand before them and in language suitable for a fourth grade audience; tell them how it will all be ok. You will make America great again. Things will be wonderful. They won’t believe how great things are going to be. Our military will be so strong… you won’t believe how strong… no one will want to mess with us.
It is all cobwebs and straw men, but when you see that it works, double down. Tell them that you will have to do certain things to keep them safe. Little things. Because you want to keep them safe. Because they have lost the American Dream and you can get it back for them. You can save them. They’ll have to give up so little. The leaders we have are stupid. They are so stupid. We don’t win anything anymore. We need to win. You can win for them. You’re not stupid.
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before,” according to Trump. “And some people are going to be upset about it. But I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule.
“And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”
To keep you safe. You’re NOT safe, you know.
Little things. Names in a database… registry is such a loaded word… just Muslim names for now. Close a few mosques. Set up surveillance on others. Stop immigration. Send all the foreigners home. The Muslims. The Mexicans. The Asians. Especially the Syrians. No immigrants. Too Dangerous. Build a great big, wonderful wall. It will be so wonderful. Keep the language simple. Offer few specifics. Don’t confuse them.
Remember those thousands of cheering Muslims in Jersey City after 9/11! They cheered as Americans died. Right here in America! That’s how dangerous things are today. They hate us… the Muslims… they hate us and they want to destroy us and they cheered. Trump saw them. You should fear them.
But they didn’t cheer. They didn’t exist. Not a single person can come up with evidence this ever happened. It did not happen.
Trump watched as people jumped from the Twin Towers. He watched from his apartment. “Many people jumped and I witnessed it, I watched that. I have a view — a view in my apartment that was specifically aimed at the World Trade Center,” according to Trump.  And that’s another reason he wants to keep you safe. He saw those people jump to their deaths. He saw that. And it touched him deeply.
But he didn’t. His apartment is and was four miles from the Twin Towers. He didn’t see that.
Trump is not a stupid man. He is not a crazy man. He is a very calculating man who thinks that he will have a great deal to gain from being president and as a result he is justified in saying whatever it takes to get himself elected.
But Trump is a hollow man. He is all good-natured; “we’re all in this together” talk. Until someone says something he doesn’t like. Then it’s “get him the hell out of here.” The tone changes. The anger comes through. The hate is there to see.
Trump, like many others on the conservative right, lives in a self-made reality where facts have no place. I saw those people cheer and you can’t prove that I didn’t. I know that terrorists are crossing into our country through the border and you can’t prove that they are not. I know that the world is only 6000 years old and I reject your so-called facts, so you can’t prove it isn’t. This alternative reality is becoming a threat to the country itself.
If you say you were offered a full scholarship to West Point many years ago, there is a certain absurdity to the lie (no one gets a scholarship to West Point…or everyone does, depending on how you look at it). It’s a lie, but it really hurts no one. It’s like victimless crime. Ben Carson prostitutes the truth for political gain. We may no longer trust what he tells us, but West Point will be just fine, thank you.
When Donald Trump said he witnessed thousands of Muslims cheer as the towers collapsed, the press gave him the opportunity to say that he misremembered. He was asked often how it was others didn’t remember that. How was it that there were no newspaper reports, no internet reports, to back that up? But he doubled down.
This is not a victimless crime.
Trump is not just prostituting the truth for political gain.
Trump is using his considerable power and influence as a leading candidate in the Republican Party for President of the United States to slander an entire religion. He is telling thousands at his rallies that this group of people is un-American. They live among us, but they are not us. They cheer at American deaths. He is doing everything short of daring these followers to do something about it. Perhaps things that “were unthinkable” a short time ago.
And if they don’t act on their own, when will he say “Get them the hell out of here.” After he’s elected?
This isn’t a matter of political incorrectness. This isn’t saying what everyone else is thinking. This is spreading a specific lie to undermine the tenants of a religion from a political stage. A line has been crossed.
Across this country, in front of police stations, on college campuses, at health clinics, at our American mosques, anger and fear are simmering just below the surface, now and then erupting in violence. The groundwork has been artfully laid. It will not take much to push this country beyond the occasional outbreak.
And then it will take extraordinary measures to contain it. Perhaps measures that were “unthinkable” even a year ago.
And Donald Trump will be there to impose those measures. To keep you safe. Because it will make America great again. Because he told you this would happen. Because now you need him more than ever.
Trump is a dangerous man. He crossed a line. The world has watched other dangerous men rise to power.
Just not in America.
Your Humble Servant,
Roger A. Shipley, The Willowbrook Curmudgeon