Trump’s Wall: Side One of Camp Hercules

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trump’s Wall: Side One of Camp Hercules

News outlets have reported that a public school teacher has been suspended for comparing Trump to Hitler. While that comparison obviously struck public school bureaucrats as being a nasty rush to judgment, the teacher was hardly breaking ground within the public sphere. Given the radical tenor of Trump’s campaign, the teacher’s juxtaposition of Trump and Hitler is a reasonable mock-up that is a well-worn trope by now.

In point of fact, Trump will soon have at his immediate disposal enough weaponry to eradicate all human life on this planet, and he has not shown sufficient composure in dealing with infinitely less stressful situations to reassure me about his command of this weaponry. In an attempt to quell public panic, Trump said in a “60 Minutes” interview that his opponents “should not be afraid.”

I am not afraid.

I am terrified.

I’ll grant you that Hitler’s track record will be difficult to surpass. But let’s be honest about the planet’s prospects: Hitler’s scale of evil is likely to have serious competition in the next decade or two, and Donald J. Trump has fashioned himself into a viable candidate to join the parade of potential competitors. The appointment of Steve Bannon is hardly a disqualifying move. Maybe we will be lucky, though, and Trump’s term(s) of office will only be an extraordinary disaster, such as the one that occurred at the end of George W. Bush’s terms of office.

This is to say that Trump’s administration may not end up making “The Killing Fields” look like a Sunday school picnic. What’s the value in being unduly pessimistic? Maybe I’m completely overreacting. After all, I am hardly the best prognosticator in Los Angeles. I certainly was not able to foresee, for instance, the consequences of a previous instance of a President who lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College. I remember watching the 2000 debates between Gore and George W. Bush. The latter seemed earnest and intelligent enough to serve as governor of Texas. In closely listening to him, though, I didn’t believe that he possessed the acuity needed to be president of the United States. He didn’t strike me as profoundly incompetent, however. How wrong I was.

By the end of his second term, the overwhelming majority of my fellow citizens felt equally chagrined. Indeed, we all know how his presidency turned out: the United States invaded Iraq, without sufficient justification. That invasion was based, in part, on a lie. Furthermore, should anyone wonder whether I am exaggerating the case against Bush, the prolonged reiteration of deceitful propaganda leading up to the war was quite clearly established when Bush argued retrospectively in the 2004 Presidential debates that “They (i.e., Iraq) invaded us.”

I knew things were hopeless in this country, in 2004, when nothing in the polls budged after that particular, egregious lie. The people who supported Bush did not care that Bush distorted the war’s justification with a total fabrication. In conflating Al-Queda with Iraq, Bush engaged in a sleight of hand that was nothing short of contributing to a criminal conspiracy to generate profits for the war industry in this country.

As for the financial calamity that spun like an apocalyptic tornado into the American economy near the end of Bush’s second term, let me be blunt and say that this is not some abstraction that stirs me to righteous anger on behalf of other people. It’s much more local than that, for the Great Recession destroyed my family’s economic well-being, and while it has partially recovered, it will remain a hampered, depressed situation until I die. It is permanent damage. Economically speaking, I will never walk again.

Trump is far less qualified, in both intelligence and experience, to be President than George W. Bush. When I consider how Bush’s eight years in office led to an economic and global political catastrophe, then how can I not be terrified at the outcome of an election resulting in a president-elect far inferior in the ability to govern?

Friends, as well as the ideologically invested media businesses of this country’s infrastructure, urge me to stay calm. Our ecological crisis, however, is at the tipping point, and the planet’s ability to sustain human civilization is no longer merely struggling to breathe. An all-out asthma attack will soon begin, and will no doubt contribute to the need of the Trump administration to distract the population through starting a war with an enemy well primed to be the “bad guy.” Trump, for instance, could easily find ways to put enough pressure on North Korea that its tenterhooks leadership will launch a missile with a nuclear bomb at the U.S. mainland. If that attack vaporized an American city, Trump would not give it a second thought other than its propaganda value. Oh, he would cry crocodile tears, but it would all be a perfidious show.

Trump is as phony a patriot as any con artist politician who has ever run for office. I have seen nothing from Trump that indicates he cares about his fellow citizens as being anything other than exploitable customers. If he is offered the chance to “cash in” several million disposable chips, he will take it. Even if Trump were given advance warning from national intelligence services, he would first consider the advantages of not lifting a finger to prevent it. From Trump’s point of view, the death of a couple million Americans in a sneak attack would just be the cost of doing business and giving America a chance to be “great” again.

I am terrified, and to pretend otherwise requires an act of unparalleled self-control. If you should meet me in person, do not mistake my mien for my inner state of equilibrium. The late poet Don Gordon was correct: “We are only on leave from Auschwitz.”

I have no doubt that James Comey is already assembling a list of names to be in the first round of citizens shipped off to a camp currently on the drawing boards at FBI headquarters. My guess is that the first part of the camp is being built to take advantage of another construction project proposed by Trump. This is to say that the first part of this camp is being built under the guise of a “wall” designed to close the Southwestern border between the United States and Mexico. Let no one imagine that walls cannot have two uses. Side one of the four sides needed to construct a concentration camp: soon in place. Only three sides needed to complete the job.
It will be named Camp Hercules as a tribute to the strength demonstrated by President Trump in defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose initials are prominent in the camp’s name.