This has been a historical week. Donald John Trump has become the third person to be Impeached by the House Judiciary committee and soon by the entire House. Next month he faces trial in the Senate and potential removal from office. It remains highly doubtful that he will actually be removed, and the most likely scenario is that Mitch McConnell will stage a short mock trial without any witnesses before a quick acquittal. According to Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut there are as many as five GOP senators who may vote for removal. Conservative political strategist Rick Wilson has estimated that 26-27 senators literally hate Trump.
Exactly what will happen remains a mystery, but I don’t plan to discuss all that; I’d like to take this moment to look at the bigger picture. Specifically I want to consider the fact that Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley recently stated that people who continue to blindly support Trump aren’t fully “sane:”
“No, I don’t feel I have to edit what I say,” Ridley told the [The Guardian]. “The things that make me angry are the things that make everyone angry. Everyone is annoyed with BoJo (Boris Johnson). Everyone has an issue with Trump – every sane person, anyway.”
While find it abhorrent to paint with such a broad brush against such a wide swatch of people, I also have to admit after I myself have written that all that the Republicans believe are lies and bullsh*t, that they are rife with the disease of delusion, and that Republicans have lost their damn minds so I admit she basically also has a point. People who still continue to support Trump at this point aren’t exactly all right.
First it has to be argued that lots of people really do have a big problem with Trump. They have problems with the way that he derisively speaks about people who disagree with him. They have problems with that fact that he’s a serial fact mangler who lies and distorts the truth at will. They have problems with his general boorishness. Or there’s the fact that he’s an admitted sexual assaulter. They have problems with his policies, and the way that he’s managing the country. They have problems with the fact that he said there were “very fine people” who agreed with the Nazis and the alt-right at Charlottesville. They have problems with how he’s handled asylum-seekers at the border leading to the separation of over 5,000 children from their parents and the deaths of several children from preventable disease including one young boy who died of the flu while being ignored by CBP staff.
They also have a problem with the fact that Trump was in communication with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 through Roger Stone during the election coordinating the release of hacked emails to help him win the election. They have problems with his arguments that Russia didn’t attack our election in 2016, and that he falsely claims that Ukraine has possession of the DNC server when those systems were cloud-based. They have problems with his asking President Zelensky to create a sham investigation of Joe Biden in order to impact the 2020 election. This is when there was no investigation of Hunter Biden and the investigation of Burisma had already been stopped after a bribe was paid when Vice President Joe Biden moved to have Viktor Shokin removed for not prosecuting corruption cases.
It could be argued that if you don’t have a problem with Trump, you have to be willfully blind and deluded or else a bigot or an authoritarian or worse. It’s sad and alarming that such a large portion of the country seems to be comprised of hateful neofascists. People who openly argue that they will go out and commit murder and terrorism if their preferred officeholder is impeached or removed.
Trump supporter: He’s not going to be removed.
Reporter: You feel confident in that?
Supporter: My .357 Magnum is comfortable with that. End of story.
Reporter: And if they remove him in the Senate?
Trump Supporter #2: I think it would cause violence in this country that we haven’t seen since the first Civil War. I think it will become the Second Civil War.
Trump Supporter #3: I think there would be a strong movement. It would be very negative. Possible violence. Not that I’m condoning violence. There will be a lot of mad Americans. Possible 70, 80 thousand … 70, 80 million Americans on the loose. Not very happy. What were seeing is a divided country. Both sides are dug in. No ones budging. We have families torn apart—including my family. My daughters are liberal, I’m conservative. Now that this whole thing has been going on, we just had a problem at Thanksgiving. Very unfortunate. I wish it never would have happened, this whole mess we’re in.
Trump Supporter #4: Did he do something wrong? It doesn’t appear to me that he did. But I think it’s going to be very hard for people to change anyone’s mind. If you’re a Trump supporter—I’ll speak for myself, as a Trump supporter, I believe in him. And I don’t believe he’s dumb enough to say something in front of all those people that would actually get him in trouble.
Trump Supporter #5: I don’t think he’s going to be impeached. I really don’t agree with it. I mean like, he’s the best president. It’s not gonna work out.
Again, it could be said that Daisy Ridley has a point. At the drop of a hat they’re threatening to turn on their fellow Americans with violence. They are in willful denial of reality and facts. They’re either not fully paying attention, are willing to accept blatant lies as being true, or they simply just don’t care. Or maybe all the above.
Naturally, her statement has generated a considerable backlash.
So there are those that clearly disagree with Ridley’s statement, although it could be argued that some of them also manage to confirm it in the process. Some would like left-leaning actors to simply STFU about politics and just go politely act and stay quiet on public policy issues. On the other hand, even actors have a first amendment right to speak their mind and share their views. Actors live in the same world as the rest of us. It’s pretty clear that this was an offhand comment meant at least partially in jest, and it would be fairly easy to blow it off as just that. I suspect that she will soon walk it back and offer some form of apology considering that the final film in the nine-part series The Rise of Skywalker will be released in less than a week and negative press like this is not likely to help the film in the box office.
On the other hand, just last year another actor Brie Larson before a then soon-to-be released Captain Marvel happened to open her mouth and complain that she didn’t feel that there was enough diversity among movie reviewers and interviewers and ended up having to explain that she “didn’t hate white men.” Then her film managed to gross a measly $1.1 billion worldwide. So there’s that to consider.
There has already been a backlash against Ridley and the new Star Wars franchise for being “too woke” and “diverse” for having a so-called Mary Sue female lead character and prominent actors of color such as John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran. This has meant that the last Star Wars Film The Last Jedi only managed to gross $1.3 billion worldwide. This backlash has grown fairly vocal, arguing that the entire franchise has been moving in the wrong direction for several years under the guidance of Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy. It’s a theory these films are part of a “replacement” strategy of injecting social politics into their media which has been opposed by fans who are formally known as the Fandom Menace.
This is an age-old story arguing that actors shouldn’t speak out on social and political issues, that social justice issues shouldn’t be addressed within the way that movies are made, as if there was some magical neutral world where things are completely divorced from any linkage to the real events in the real world.
This mythical place where movies, TV shows, and film are completely isolated from real life social events and history simply doesn’t exist. The entire Star Wars franchise itself was always, according to George Lucas, intended as an allegory to turmoil and strife caused by the Vietnam War and Watergate. Social upheaval has always been part of the story. Also this magical place where “politics has no room in my movies” view completely falls apart when the particular creator happens to be a conservative.
I admit I was completely done with Clint Eastwood when he appeared on the RNC stage and talked to an empty chair—which was supposed to represent President Barack Obama—like he was speaking with an unruly foulmouthed child. It was dismissive. It was demeaning. It was horribly racist. Frankly, the false conversation that he pantomimed is the kind of thing we’ve been seeing in reality coming from Trump with his “shithole countries” and “bullshit.”
I don’t watch Eastwood’s movies anymore. None of them. if people want to boycott Daisy Ridley for her comment I say more power to them, but the fact is that Eastwood didn’t just put on a disgusting display at the RNC in 2012—he’s made his politics part of his movies with his his depiction of a open virulent racist as a “hero” in American Sniper and in his new release, Richard Jewell.
This film is pure politics with its “fake media” and “FBI malfeasance” narrative pushing down hard on the “common man” represented by the overweight white guy, Richard Jewell:
In the time of a reality-TV president, Eastwood seamlessly blends facts with outright fiction to create a narrative that transcends truth. To get viewers riled up about “fake news," it fabricates a story. Yet, in the end, in making this movie intended to crush any remaining public faith in the news media, Eastwood has unintentionally reminded us of why democracy requires a functioning free press. [...]
A security guard with a slightly tarnished past and thwarted dreams of uniformed police work, oft ridiculed for his obesity, Jewell is working at an AT&T concert tent at Atlanta’s Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics when he sees an unattended backpack that — as he feared — is filled with pipe bombs. His warning and a hasty evacuation saved lives — although two people died and more than 100 were injured. But the FBI’s immediate suspicion fell on Jewell as having possibly staged the event to make a cop-wannabe into a hero. As the film actually shows, it was not unreasonable for the feds to investigate this theory — although leaking that fact to the media was unconscionable.
On the one hand we have Daisy Ridley who represents “Liberal Hollywood” and half-jokes that you have to be insane to continue to openly support Donald Trump. On the other hand you have Clint Eastwood who falsifies his movie to corruptly attack and smear a reporter who has since died and can’t defend herself, claiming that she slept with an FBI agent in order to gain access to the fact that Jewell was their chief suspect in the Olympic Park bombing.
The sad part about this is that Jewell really isn’t the story here. The real story is about Eric Robert Rudolph who was the actual bomber. The fact is that it was former (Republican) FBI Director Louie Freeh who got the wild hair up his butt that Jewell, who had saved lives, was secretly the bomber and was just trying to gain some attention in his relatively pathetic life. Eric Robert Rudolph was ignored and went free for years. He continued to plant bombs at a women’s clinic and LGBTQ nightclubs where he managed to kill even more people.
The story here is that a right-wing anti-abortion religious fanatic named Eric Rudolph committed multiple acts of terrorism against his fellow American citizens, and a right-wing FBI director let him get away for years. Rudolph wasn’t arrested until 2003, seven years after the original bombing. He committed exactly the kind of violence we see multiple Trump supporters threatening if he gets impeached or removed.
The same kind of violence we saw in Christchurch where the shooter personally thanked Donald Trump:
The Australian-born suspect who shot and killed dozens of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, has published a manifesto praising US President Donald Trump and Anders Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011.
The 74-page dossier, which has been described by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a "work of hate", hailed Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose".
It’s the same kind of violence we saw at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was based on the “Replacement Theory” of Jews helping immigrants enter the nation which has been spread by Fox News.
According to a story on Thursday from the New York Times, Somali refugees arriving in the small Minnesota town of St. Cloud are facing bitter backlash from some white residents. While some in the town have welcomed their new neighbors, others are actively working against them, in part because of a particular racist conspiracy theory: "white replacement." [...]
This anxiety, that an influx of non-white, "very visible" immigrants will eventually overwhelm and displace white people in America, is a powerful driver for the far-right in America. And it often turns deadly. The man who gunned down 11 people at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue—which works with HIAS, formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, to support and relocate refugees—wrote online that he believed they were working to "bring invaders in that kill our people." In Christchurch, New Zealand, the man who murdered more than 50 people at two mosques described immigration as "assault on the European people," and wrote in a manifesto that, "This is ethnic replacement. This is cultural replacement. This is racial replacement. This is WHITE GENOCIDE."
“Jews will not replace us.”
And they think it’s beyond the pale to suggest that people like that just might have something fracking wrong with them? Yes, something is wrong with someone who is willing to openly admit he’d resort to deadly violence over a political issue. Over someone who is only temporarily in office. Over someone who is a liar. I do think that person has a problem.
These are the people that will still be us once Trump is long gone one way or another. These are the people we’ll have to deal with—whether they grow violent or not they will remain deeply delusional.
You think Daisy Ridley is taking it too far? That’s not hardly far enough. This man will be impeached and he deserves to be impeached. Time will tell if he will be removed. After that, we’ll see.