Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Trump's speech at CPAC

My first response to Trump's wish to make America great again, to be the country which accepts his agenda is to quote my own poem, in order to refute any kind of ownership of a country, whether on private or public grounds. That land existed before any of the immigrants and therefore settlers had arrived, and all too often, they made the mistake that they seized possession of the land as if it was theirs. They ignored the presence of the Indians who suffered above all the first serious consequences of that initial eviction.

Trump with his immigration ban is about the repeat a similar, but far more serious mistake as he is destroying the good reputation of America as being open to everyone. By denouncing especially the Muslim people as if they are 'rapist, criminals and even terrorists', he claims to make America safe again by securing the borders, so that no Islamic terrorist shall be able to enter the country. So the refutation through a poem may begin another kind of discourse as to what America stands for when President Trump asks the Conservative movement to rally around the American flag and Steve Bannon warning that the others will not give back to us / them “our country without a serious fight.”


My country


I have no poem

for a country

of my descent,

my ancestors

are the stars

like countless fishes

in the sea

of my dreams

and tears.


The imprint of such a claim is grotesque especially if build on a kind of Patriotism which links itself through the National Rifle Association to the Second Amendment as if their interpretation of having the Right to carry weapons is the only right one. Trump endorses that version and calls the NRA a bunch of good guys, indeed solid Patriots. Bannon doubles on this one by referring to the concept of economic nationalism which will set trade agreements on a strictly bilateral arrangement.

"The centre core of what we believe is that we're a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being," Bannon said. "And I think that is what unites us, and I think that is what is going to unite this movement going forward." (Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38996534)

Likewise Trump praises other parts of the Conservatives such as the Evangelic and other religious streams in America. He does so gratefully because they had come out in a significant percentage to vote for Donald Trump. The standing up to the flag is, therefore, combined with all being united under one single God. Hence he wishes to empower the churches once again to be allowed to undertake political activities in society.

Consciously Trump with Bannon on his side, he wishes to merge their movement with the Republican Party, so that the American dream can be realised. What many had hoped Trump would do, namely to destroy the Republican Party, has turned out to be a transformation of a party which would uphold in the past free trade but also the Constitutional Rights, including the respect for an independent judiciary even though it was always their aim to make sure the next appointment to the Supreme Court would be one not chosen by Obama, but by the next President and hence by Trump. Trump and Bannon equate the appointment of a Conservative judge with a change which will have an impact for the next forty years.

Let's pick, however, a few details out of the speech which was simply lousy since not even reflecting any experiences gained since elected President and having entered the White House. If he wished really to take the people with him and to open the White House, then he would have spoken not as a person still on the campaign speaking to his movement, but as a President fully conscious that he is equally responsible for those who did not vote for him. For he is not a partial President but that is exactly what Trump does according to the advise of Steve Bannon who wants to make sure the President stays consistent in his impression that he would keep the promises he made. But as my mother already warned don't promise too much, so alone his promise to make America safe again and even more secure than all previous Presidents have managed, everyone knows it takes very little to puncture that illusion, and it does not need to be another 9/11.

So one detail I wish to refer to is how he advertises business enterprises when he named some of the business leaders he had met yesterday, including the CEO from Campbell Soup. He mentioned that name several times and even added that he loves Campbell soup. One wonders what was agreed especially with him to deserve such a public recognition by the President of the United States? One needs only to recall Andy Warhols image of the typical Campbell can with its red letters.


                                           Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup

The tautology of message and capitalist mass product delivered in a can was not only America turning away from quality food, but rode a further wave of innovation which made fast food possible and constituted the so-called new American identity. So Trump turns out to be not an innovator but a traditionalist by sticking to an old well established brand name. I suppose he has some clear business interests of his own in mind, for a deal is a deal.

Another detail is how he came out onto the stage and began immediately to attack the media which would produce 'fake news' and therefore deserve to be labelled as 'enemy of the people.' Now here is the interesting detail. He wishes no longer to see reports which cite anonymous sources but do not reveal the name of the official in the White House when being quoted as having said something about the internal state of affairs. Like any business man Trump wishes to keep his staff in the White House under wraps, but he cannot seem to stop all the leaks. This internal opposition has become for him a headache, and thus his demand that sources are named would in fact overturn prevailing practices by the press. Trump went on further to suggest the moment the people themselves, that is you who is sitting in this audience when not a part of the story even though you are, then no telling what is true about the story being reported on. So his lecture on knowing when someone is telling the truth or not, makes it difficult when he quotes at the same time a friend named Jim who claims to be going no longer to Paris because it has changed dramatically after what happened when terrorists attacked. Jim who? (Naturally such a remark about Paris does underpin the fact that tourism in France has gone down by nearly 34%.) But to return to his attack against the media, he claims that they have their own and not your agenda! He means the agenda he has presented through a set of promises to his movement. Of course, he likes the Media and he does not mind to get a bad story about himself if he deserves some criticism, but naturally he would cherish anytime a good story which would praise him as the best President ever in the history of this country. His followers love it when he subtly puts them first, but then shoves himself in front of this and proclaims to be the reason for the astonishing success of his election victory.

Two things follow out of that perception of his, namely that he won the elections which most polls had not predicted and therefore many of the fake news outlets go from day one their narratives wrong. And by returning to the election victory, he excludes conveniently that he got the majority of electoral vote, but not the majority of the popular vote. Thus he is still a President in desperate need of legitimacy but which will never solidify especially if his ratings are below 50% and he never seems to realise once elected, that you are the President not only of a movement, but of the whole country with people in it who voted against him and who have other opinions not because they are under the influence of the Hillary Clinton gang.

A third detail was his reference to movements who peek but then spatter out like that of Bernie Sanders whom he does like since he saw in his campaign some similar arguments directed against the establishment in Washington against which he is now waging a war, and that includes the media like CNN, New York Times and many others. He exempted the Los Angeles Times who got apparently it right in the prediction that he would win, but so did Michael Moore. Thus his movement which started with only seventeen people and became officially known for its platform when he gave in 2011 his first speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and which Bannon identifies as having laid out already then his agenda. Somehow he and Bannon cannot really believe it yet fully that they succeeded, namely to take over the White House and thereby seize power with extraordinary capacities, given what the United States of America has always stood for. They take this seizure of power as a historic opportunity to transform America into the country they wish to be run under their terms. As a highly Conservative movement, its ideology blends in nicely with Security, Jobs kept and created in America, and obedience to the 'rule of law'. In practice, Trump has already violated so many aspects of this rule of the law. It includes his refusal to publish his tax declaration prior to the election day in November 2016, and which even a Republican Senator is demanding that he does it at least now. Also his first immigration ban issues as an executive order was deeply flawed, legally speaking, and therefore was rightly so challenged by the court. Still, it amounts to a movement deeply driven by ideology, but as one sober voice wondered after Trump had delivered his speech at the CPAC, how he will pay for all of this that he has promised to do.

He wishes to build a wall along the border between Mexico and the USA, to upgrade the American military so that no one dares to question its might as he believes peace can only be secured through strength. To this shopping list can be added a commitment to take care of the Veterans, an important bloc which voted for him after he got their attention on how he named the issues they have. He wishes to deregulate, and what Bannon calls the deconstruction of the administration, so that business can do what it wants without hindrance of any regulation. He wishes to make America safe again by concentrating on the inner cities who he considers to be a part of the mess which he has inherited from the previous administration under Obama. Above all he shall be tough on crimes even though he speaks only about the criminals coming in from Mexico, but not contrary to US Secretary of State Tillerson about weapons being brought into Mexico from the American side as part of a big business deal with all kinds of drug gangs and other forms of militia.

So Trump loves to be one sided in order that he can fight an enemy even though that one might be an invisible one and once translated into policy, victimizes a lot of innocent people like the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. For instance, it was reported that such an immigrant woman suffering from brain cancer was arrested while in hospital and taken away from medical attention and put instead into custody. That means Trump means business for all the private prisons making a huge amount of money at the expense of people who could be easily re-integrated into society.

Whatever Trump aims to do, after this speech at the CPAC, it is clear that he repeats himself over and again as to what he has been saying always. He says it now only less convincing because the glamour of the new is beginning to wear off while the record of him in office is poor and meek. He does not make a significant difference in how the United States would need to be treated if something is to come out of his Presidency. Rather he antagonises ever more people as indicated best by all the protests erupting around the country at town hall meetings with their lawmakers, and this being mainly the Republican Senators in Congress. There is mounting pressure on the Republican party to change course before it is too late and Trump's forceful agenda will become a nightmare for all Americans, including those who voted for him.


Hatto Fischer

Berlin 25.2.2017



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