Lawlessness is the Oldest Story of Power in America

Let us recount what happened on October 23rd, 2019, in the basement of the Capital Building, Washington, D.C. How could they get away with that? What just happened?

What we saw yesterday and what we are seeing from Trump is as old as America. The Republicans storming the SCIF and Trump’s lawyers arguing that the President can commit murder without consequences. How much lawlessness will Republicans assert to be their exclusive right? Why do they think they are above the law? Because in America such people have always been above the law.

I’m going to repeat here what I wrote elsewhere, if I may? There is something far more nefarious at work here but it is nothing new. That’s kind of their point even if they aren’t full conscious of it—they know nothing will happen to them, that there are no consequences. Why?

This sort of “stunt” holds together an underlying narrative of white male supremacy. These clowns believe they will get away with it because of who and what they are. Just like Trump believes he can get away with murder if he wants. White Americans love their outlaws. Jesse James was a Confederate, let us not forget that. It won’t matter how he died or what he really did—it’s the outlaw that embodies the insouciant indifference to the law and the lawlessness itself is deemed not the privilege that it is but the entitlement it claims. Thus the Republicans exploit privilege and claim entitlement, all in the name of their grievance and victimhood. This is textbook white male supremacy.

Now make the contrast. Obama wears a tan suit and the world is deemed lost. The horror! The violation! The abuse of power! I use that particular contrast to further the point that it’s the white clown car’s desire to seize on the meaningless and the trivial to take us away from their agendas and, at the same time, assert their “power.” In this case, power means doing whatever they want because they can. It’s a further legerdemain too, a distraction not merely for the sake of noise and fog but because they don’t have the facts, the evidence, or the argument on their side. And when you got nuthin’, you pound your fist and stamp your feet. Cue the escalator of aggrieved white guys.

There’s a deeper evil that uses such superficiality to keep their rubes cheering. They want to be lawless because laws are for other people. They assert their power and remain unscathed because they can mock a serious situation and use impunity to make their dangerous point look comic. It’s in fact nothing like President Obama’s tan suit but rather a real affront to national security and then…nothing happens to them.

Male whiteness wins again. It’s Rambo, Frank and Jesse, it’s fact-free, it’s assertion and right without evidence or reason. It’s the ability to reject the system and claim the mantle of power again and again because they believe it is theirs to own. And no sharing. No one else can dispute their privilege or question their behaviors. If others did this? Think about it.. If this had been “the Squad” or a minority caucus, imagine the clamor. Imagine what Fox and Breitbart would be saying.

But I think those good folks would not have acted out with such puerile and callow disregard for truth or shared values. Their opponents actually mean to respect the institutions they represent. If you doubt that claim ask your self: Would Elijah Cummings have done such a thing?

These white privileged men are in truth incorrigible, childish nihilists who will do anything to remain in power. They think they are the institutions, that they answer to no law, no norm of decency, no matter of character, and that no one else deserves such privilege. That’s an important part of the history of America. There are others, like Elijah Cummings.

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