Christmas may be coming - but in the wake of the most astonishing US Presidential election in living memory, the fear that a cadre of white supremacists may get their hands on the levers of power is growing. And it feels like uncharted territory...
It is too early to attempt a review of the year, 2016. There is still so much that can go wrong in the twelve days that remain, before we have to undertake that distressing mission in earnest, here at Hot Press central. Things have been bad recently. But only a fool would think that they couldn’t get worse. On the other hand, good tidings might yet come to pass. It is after all, the season to be jolly. Perhaps, for example, that wonderful, interventionist God, who as we know helps footballers to score goals, might just strike down the US president elect, Donald Trump, with a bolt of especially severe, and ultimately fatally injurious, lightning. He can do that shit, can’t he?
In my mind’s eye, I see the bolt hitting the President-elect against a background of clear blue sky. Trump is mid-sentence when it happens, in the process of promising a public tender process for the wall that he has pledged to build along the Mexican border (and which he intends one of his own companies to win). In that sweet moment when the lightning connects with his forked fingers, his electrified hair stands up on his head like a parody of a Mohican, and he collapses to the floor, before dissolving into a pool of what, when it is later analysed, turns out to be vomit.
Ah yes. We live in hope. Well, in Dublin actually, but at least there is some hope here.
But for how long? I have to say that even at this remove, it is impossible to feel even remotely festive in the immediate aftermath of a US presidential election, in which the worst candidate since Richard Nixon – and he will almost certainly prove to be worse, far worse, than Tricky Dicky – was able to win the support of enough voters to claim the keys to the White House.
Donal Trump is a liar, a bigot, a fraud and a huckster. He is grossly, repulsively sexist. He is a loud mouth and a bully. And he is horribly, irredeemably racist. And that is all putting it rather nicely and politely.
He has no meaningful policies to offer and no real idea what the role of President entails. But he is carrying a big chip on his shoulder. And in that respect, sadly, he connects with almost all of the worst instincts and attributes of a depressingly large swathe of the American population, most of them ‘white’.
The mantra that springs to mind is this: they are still out there, you know. They are still out there.
On December 1st, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, was travelling on a bus. When the ‘white section’ of the bus was full, the driver James F. Blake, ordered her to give up her seat in the so called ‘coloured section’ so that a white passenger could sit down. She refused. In doing so, she was in violation of Alabama’s segregation laws, and as a result was charged with civil disobedience.
It was an act of defiance, which is widely seen as having kicked off the modern Civil Rights Movement. At that time, all over the southern States in particular, the US was a flagrantly racist, apartheid society. Throughout the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement mobilised people to challenge the ideology of white supremacism in the United States of America. But like the twisted Afrikaners who took control of South Africa in 1948 and imposed their rule through brute tyranny until their stranglehold was finally wrestled from them in 1994, white American racists did not relinquish their privilege easily. Far from it.
Martin Luther King Jr., an African American Baptist minister, preacher and activist, who advocated non-violent civil disobedience in the pursuit of racial equality, was among the leaders of the burgeoning US civil rights movement in the early 1960s. A powerful orator, he became a figurehead for what was a growing coalition of the righteous. In 1963, he organised the March on Washington, where he delivered the seminal “I Have A Dream” speech. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, for his work in combatting racial prejudice and inequality.
On April 4th, 1968, he was shot dead on the balcony of his hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Much like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a ‘lone gunman’, James Earl Ray, was found guilty of his murder. But that version of events was never accepted by the family of Martin Luther King, who believed that he was the victim of a conspiracy between the Memphis police and the Mafia.
The assassination of Martin Luther King took place less than 50 years ago. There are those in America yet, who think that his brutal murder was not only justified but to be applauded. Many are still alive, who grew up in an atmosphere where lynchings, arson attacks and shootings were seen as legitimate methods of enforcing the ideology of white supremacism. As late as 1981, a young African American, Michael Donald, was murdered in Mobile, Alabama, by two members of the Ku Klux Klan – an organisation dedicated to white American nationalism.
These people have not gone away. Rather, they were biding their time. And an ignorant, unscrupulous and volatile populist demagogue like Donald Trump is potentially their route back centre-stage. The former ‘Grand Wizard’ of the secretive Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, has already put his head above the parapet, to congratulate Donald Trump and to hail the Republican candidate’s victory as one of the most exciting nights of his life.
“Make no mistake about it,” Duke added, “our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!”
This is true. Donald Trump would not be President without them. As if to emphasise the fact, Trump has chosen the notorious Republican Senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions, as his nominee for the job of, wait for it... Attorney General.
In fairness, Sessions is actually a lawyer. However, he is also a climate change sceptic; he has opposed every immigration bill that has come before the Senate over the past two decades; he has attacked legal immigration, including visa programmes for foreign workers in science, maths and technology; he has voted against amendments preventing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners; and infamously, he joked about the Ku Klux Klan, that he thought they were ok till he discovered that they smoked marijuana.
Not everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a white supremacist. But there is no doubt that, during the election campaign, the Republican candidate tapped into a widespread, simmering resentment, among older white males in particular, of the fact that ‘equality’ has been forced on them. Not just racial equality, but also equality between the sexes.
Trump, of course, also got lucky. By choosing Hillary Clinton as their candidate, the Democrats handed a huge majority of white males to Trump. For this disgruntled demographic, the thought of a woman in the White House was about as attractive as slugging on a litre of rat poison.
In fairness to Democratic strategists, that concession of the white working class male vote to Trump should, in theory, have been more than counterbalanced by African Americans, Latinos, the youth vote and women of every colour and stripe coming out to support Clinton. And, up to a point, that is what happened. But some of those on whom the Clinton campaign had relied seem not to have copped what was going down. There were lots of no shows – and the racist was in.
Exactly how far Donald Trump is prepared to go, to reward the white supremacists who won the election for him, remains to be seen. But on the basis of what we have witnessed so far, we have every reason to be fearful. Trump stands first for his own aggrandisement. But one suspects that, behind the risible facade of incoherent bluster, he is a sleeper supremacist, someone who is prepared to gamble on giving those who want to put blacks and hispanics back in their box the leg room to do so.
Already, parts of the US were at boiling point, a series of extra-judicial killings of African-Americans causing riots and protests. Even without the input of Trump and his cronies, the legal and judicial system in the USA is sickeningly weighted against black people. African Americans represent 12% of the population and 35% of the jail inmates. Their rate of incarceration is six times that of whites.
There are almost one million African Americans in prison in the US. To put that number fully in context, there are more African American men incarcerated in the US than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined. There are only 19 million African American males in the United States, whereas collectively the population of those countries adds up to over 1.6 billion people.
The numbers speak for themselves. Even under the country's first African American president, Barack Obama, the united States of America remained a grossly fucked-up country with a justice system that is stacked so heavily against black youth in particular that it amounts to a de facto form of apartheid and oppression. And into that cess-pit of prejudice, vindictiveness and intolerance arrives Donald Trump and a gang of low rent, anti-black, anti-immigrant, would-be Nazis.
Have a very merry Christmas everyone. It just might be your last.
There’s just been even more embarrassing news for President-elect Donald Trump – with a Bruce Springsteen cover band now also deciding to pull out of playing at the inauguration ball later this week.Read More
Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has made a dramatic u-turn and decided not to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s looming inauguration on 20 January.Read More
Senior US intelligence officials briefed both US President Obama and Donald Trump last week about claims that Russian spies have obtained compomrising personal and financial information about the President-elect, according to shock news reports that surfaced last night in the US media.Read More
Trump announced that the album sales of young singer Jackie Evancho have "skyrocketed" since it was announced she would be singing at his inauguration. As a fellow Hot Press journalist points out, there's also another way of looking at it.Read More
British singer Rebecca Ferguson has been asked to sing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on 20 January – but the 2010 X-Factor runner-up took to Twitter to say she will only “graciously accept” the invitation on condition that she’s allowed to perform Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’.Read More
An angry passenger had to be forcibly removed from a domestic US flight after going on rant when he spotted President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter on the same plane.Read More
President-elect Donald Trump took to twitter yesterday to attack Vanity Fair’s editor after the magazine gave one of his restaurants a negative review in their latest edition to just hit the newsstands.Read More
Some of the most influential figures in the music industry are urging President-elect Donald Trump to radically shake-up laws concerning intellectual property rights.Read More
Tina Fey has opened up about how she believes that Donald Trump’s negative presidential campaign and his shock victory has alarmingly fueled an increased level of misogyny in the US.Read More
“Do not deceive yourselves: Trump is no ordinary conservative Republican. He is the closest thing to Hitler Americans have ever seen.” That’s the stark warning from an Associate Professor of US History at Trinity College Dublin.Read More
Bernie Sanders has confessed that he's left wondering "what if" if it was him instead of Hillary Clinton who ran against Donald Trump.Read More
The US's First Lady-elect is threatening YouTube with a major lawsuit over a video on its site that claims her son Barron is autistic.Read More
The USA might have had a very different President-elect right now – if it wasn’t for the fact that Donald Trump's grandfather was booted out of Germany, according to a legal decree that was recently discovered.Read More
The chairperson of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in the USA is urging the media to stop sensationalizing President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on immigration.Read More
US President-elect Donald Trump opened up about a wide-range of contentious issue – discussing everything from abortion, to same sex-marriage and immigration – on CBS’ iconic show 60 Minutes on Sunday night.Read More
First there was shock... and regret. And then the city of San Francisco – a place where so many one-time outsiders have found a home that welcomes them – rose up and marched. It was a moment where hope began again. But the road ahead will not be easy...Read More
More white women voted for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton. And as for white men? They were even worse. The questions is: why? And the answer? Trump’s victory is an endorsement of white racism...Read More
Discover classic book reviews of 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' and 'The Great Gatsby' through a Donald Trump filter.Read More
Celebrities tweeted up a storm during last night's debateRead More
The Republican candidate is damaging both himself and the US electoral system with his ever more absurd utterances.Read More
Saturday Night Live are also giving the American Mr. Pussy a hard timeRead More
The Trump campaign has been rocked by yet another controversy. It’s being claimed that there is a drove of controversial material of unaired footage from ‘The Apprentice’ show in which for the Republican presidential candidate makes unsuitable sexually comments about contestants and crew members. It’s claimed he even made comments on contestants breast size during breaks in filming the hugely popular show.Read More
The potential next American Presidential gave the late-night shows plenty to dissectRead More
The US presidential debate comes to the streets of KillarneyRead More
As part of MoveOn.org's "United Against Hate" campaignRead More
While there is something frighteningly familiar about the mass shooting that claimed 50 lives at Pulse nightclub, there are also signs of an even more disturbing trend within US society. Hot Press writer – and Florida native – Mackenzie Kees explains.Read More
The unthinkable has come to pass. A former reality television star and world-famous blowhard is the presumptive Republican Party candidate. But how did “The Donald” outflank party favourites to come within a hair’s breath of the most powerful office on earth? Here is a frontline report from our man in Washington DC.Read More
The hip-hop singer has assured Trump on Twitter that a "cease and desist" is coming his wayRead More
There's a new anthem for the times we live in!Read More
"Women, you have to treat them like shit"Read More
This is the second time since 2015 that the hacktivist group has targeted Trump's campaign – on this occasion declaring that it is 'hateful' and 'appalling'Read More
"Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he'll never stop trying"Read More
In a climate where anger Is plentiful but constructive solutions rarely offered, maybe we need the stability and clear-headedness of consensus politics...Read More
The Republican front-runner admits that he's full of it...Read More
Someone has superimposed Donald Trump's head into Game of Thrones and it is terrifying.Read More
Needless to say, Donald Trump is among them...Read More
"The trouble with Trump is that he is, by temperament, by experience, and by character, utterly unqualified to be president of the United States. He is a buffoon."Read More
Declaring the programme a job's scheme for foreign youngsters, Trump hopes to scrap the the initiative if he gets elected into officeRead More