'I am your warrior, I am your justice, I am your retribution'
Former President Trump gave what Charlie Sykes called 'a dark, dark speech' at CPAC last week. It's so deeply unsettling. Here are some thoughts from somebody who reads a lot of speeches.
I haven’t tended to put up too many Donald Trump speeches over the years. I put up some, because I’ve tried to make Speakola a significant speech archive, and he’s undoubtedly a significant political actor of this era, so speeches like his ‘American carnage’ inaugural speech are on the site. As well as his mesmerising, sullen, 2020 election night performance. And that Boy Scouts of America thing too. But the long, rally-style performances that are full of lies and sneering self congratulation are too much for me. I’m all Trumped out. He literally makes my skin crawl. And it’s tragic, even from way over here in Melbourne. Nobody wants to see one of the greatest democratic creations of all time be pulled apart by a geriatric five year old.
Anyway, I was listening to Charlie Sykes on The Bulwark podcast and he constantly says that we shouldn’t ignore Trump’s words, because Trump is openly threatening democracy, and if we don’t listen to the open threats, and American democracy falls, then that’s kinda negligent. (go to 13.00 in this episode)
As Sykes put it:
He’s surging in the polls again … and right now he’s odds on favourite to be the Republican nominee again, so I think it’s advisable to listen to what he is actually saying and the message that he’s putting out there
Sykes went on to address Trump’s ‘very very dark speech’ at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. How he used expressions like ‘nation in decline’, ‘a crime ridden filthy communist nightmare’, ‘an epic battle against sinister forces on the left’.
And this is the bit that Sykes called ‘the money shot’:
And if you put me back in the White House, their reign is over. Their reign will be over, and they know it. And America will be a free nation once again. We’re not a free nation right now. We don’t have free press. We don’t have free anything. In 2016, I declared I am your voice. Today, I add I am your warrior, I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution. I am your retribution. Not going to let this happen. Not going to let it happen. I will totally obliterate the deep state. I will fire…
[Crowd] USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA.
I will fire the unelected bureaucrats and shadow forces who have weaponized our justice system like it has never been weaponized before, these are sick people, and I will put the people back in charge of this country again, the people will be back in charge of our country.
(go to 13.00 in this episode)
I am your warrior.
I am your justice.
I am your retribution.
One man personifying the arms of government. Power vested in the individual. Openly declaring that things will be different in term two. Yes in term two Trump, we’ll get the big murals in Times Square. And fuck you, I’m coming back to destroy.
This is the opposite of the Schwarzenegger progression. Arnie went from fictional warrior to Republican politician. This version of Trump will be gripping the M16 and greasing up those KFC infused bis to lead an army of malcontents against this so called ‘deep state’ — by which he means, ‘people who stop him doing whatever he wants’. And its not a movie. It’s reality. This reality:
And it’s so freaking depressing.
If you need more from the CPAC speech to get a sense of the tone:
The sinister forces trying to kill America have done everything they can to stop me, to silence you, and to turn this nation into a socialist dumping ground for criminals, junkies, Marxists, thugs, radicals, and dangerous refugees that no other country wants. No other country wants them. If those opposing us succeed, our once beautiful USA will be a failed country that no one will even recognize. A lawless, open borders, crime-ridden, filthy, communist nightmare. That’s what it’s going and that’s where it’s going. I used to say that we will never be a socialist country. I said it oftentimes. I said it once at the State of the Union address and people didn’t understand what I was saying. But I’d shout it out loud and I was right because that train has passed the station long ago of socialism. It never even came close to stopping, frankly.
We’re now in a Marxism state of mind, a communism state of mind, which is far worse. We’re a nation in decline. Our enemies are desperate to stop us because they know that we are the only ones who can stop them. They know that this room is so important, the people in this room. They know that we can defeat them. They know that we will defeat them. But they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you and I’m just standing in their way. That’s all I’m doing. I’m standing in their way. And that’s why I’m here today. That’s why I’m standing before you, because we are going to finish what we started. We started something that was America. We’re going to complete the mission. We’re going to see this battle through to ultimate victory. We’re going to make America great again. With you at my side, we will demolish the deep state. We will expel the warmongers. They are people that don’t get it, although, in some cases, they get it. They get it for their wallets, but we can’t do that. We can’t let that happen. We will drive out the globalists, we will cast out the communists. We will throw off the political class that hates our country. They actually hate our country. No walls, no borders, bad elections, no voter ID. We will beat the Democrats. We will route the fake news media. We will expose and appropriately deal with the rhinos. We will evict Joe Biden from the White House. And we will liberate America from these villains and scoundrels once and for all. When we started this journey, a journey like there has never been before, there’s never been anything like this. We had a Republican Party that was ruled by freaks, neocons, globalists, open border zealots, and fools. But we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush.
Trump’s war against democracy, against a multiparty system, against a party system, is now an open war.
It made me think of another speech, from February 1933:
All around us are symptoms portending this breakdown. With an unparalleled effort of will and of brute force the Communist method of madness is trying as a last resort to poison and undermine an inwardly shaken and uprooted nation. They seek to drive it towards an epoch which would correspond even less to the promises of the Communist speakers of today than did the epoch now drawing to a close to the promises of the same emissaries in November 1918.
Starting with the family, and including all notions of honor and loyalty, nation and fatherland, culture and economy, even the eternal foundations of our morals and our faith—nothing is spared by this negative, totally destructive ideology. . . . One year of Bolshevism would destroy Germany.
What’s Godwin’s Law again? The first person to bring up Hitler loses the argument’? I’m not saying Trump is like Hitler. I’m just saying he’s similarly authoritarian, similarly indisposed to elections, and employs similar rhetoric.
You can watch and read the whole CPAC speech if you have the stomach. As always with Trump, a fact check sheet should be kept close to hand.
What a time.
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