As President Trump’s re-election prospects grow dimmer by the day and the coronavirus crisis resurges with a vengeance, Trump has desperately tripled-down on his open support for white supremacy and the enforcers of the American racial caste system, its police.
In an antagonistic Twitter outburst this morning, President Trump decried New York City’s decision to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s staggering $6 billion budget. He connected this to the unrelated plan to paint “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue — which just so happens to be in front of his Trump Tower building — and claimed that it would “denigrate” the avenue, which is telling choice of words if we’ve ever seen it.
He heaped praise on the police and called the words “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate,” which will surely delight the president’s white supremacist supporters and the police (two groups that are often not mutually exclusive).
….horrible BLM chant, “Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon”. Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
The “Pigs in a Blanket” chant is from a 2015 Black Lives Matter march and is taken out of context; it was meant more as a joke, as BLM activist Trahern Crews explained to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. Crews explained that a police officer had been laughing with them and had shouted “everybody loves bacon!” into the microphone.
The words “Black Lives Matter” themselves are threatening to racists like Donald Trump and his fans; they are an existential challenge to the white supremacist superstructure upon which our country is built and which the police exist to maintain. It is a reminder that the comfortable position that whites hold in American society is a product of monstrosity and inequality, and so produces the white fear that the other shoe is about to drop.
It is to this fear that the president is appealing to with his hateful tweets and statements and his defense of Confederate statues, the provocation of our primitive instincts and prejudices. It is up to us to vote him out in November and prove to the whole world that we are ready to become a new country, accept the sins of our past, and begin building a better future for all Americans that truly embodies the noble ideals our nation was founded on.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.