People express shock over the extreme popularity of Donald Trump’s campaign — one centered around psychologically- and physically- charged rhetorics of violence. Trump has, as we know, recently expressed hatred for all other countries and everyone accept the so-called “silent majority.” He and his followers are the perfect embodiment of the ideology bell hooks calls the (Heteronormative) Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.
But, as honest reflection on the long trajectory of the United States and how it treats people and other countries reveals, we should not be surprised by the success of Trump. Indeed, trajectories of classism, imperialism, jingoism, racism, and sexism, for example, create something of a straight line pointing toward the rise and success of a “Trump.”
Just think about how our country has treated other people and other nations since its birth and even as a colonial state. Just think about all of the gaps between “all men are created equal” and how women, Blacks, Chican@s, and others have always been treated in the United States. Recall images of violence. Just think about the on-going power of Whiteness. No one should be surprised at all that people swarm toward Donald Trump in a nation that wrote inequality into its Constitution – a Constitution said to embody freedom rather than the oligarchy it actually creates. In too many cases, people in the United States have only grown more racist since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and then elected again.
Our often deeply-held collective notions of the United States’s exceptional greatness and utopian equality sort of distract us from seeing how bad it really is for most when images to the contrary are barely below the surface. But then again, according to various theoretical traditions, such “freedom” is defined against and only possible because most do not have such “freedom” and actually live the opposite.
Donald Trump’s success shows us that Christianity in the United States continues to manifest in ugly and dangerous ways and that religion is in no way automatically correlated with any notions of morality, as accepted by most.
Trumpism is only the logical next step, 300+ years in the making – Trumpism simply packages and celebrates the so-called “oppression” of everyday “forgotten” White United Statesians who vote against their own best interest; further, Trumpism legitimizes, condones, exemplifies, and showcases long-held hatreds of difference and diversity, while saying the absence of such extreme displays has not just ceased but rolled-back progress; and finally, Trumpism creates and perpetuates a worldview where no words, no policies, no actions are too extreme to be publicly legitimized by the State.
Trumpism, additionally, has opened Pandora’s Box and will not easily be closed.
Andrew Joseph Pegoda