When the Devil Calls you out by Name: The Southwest vs. Donald Trump
By: Matt Sedillo
The Southwest Political Report
Political scapegoats are not picked at random nor are Presidential campaigns composed of random ideas. Nothing just happens and nothing is just said. On any given topic society is tilted a certain way because, at the very least, the recent history of that society is tilted in that very same direction. When Donald Trump said Mexico is sending drug dealers and rapists, and later proposed to build wall claiming Mexico would pay, he was tapping into the ethos of a culture built in part on revenge fantasies born of false narratives. From the Western to Gone with the Wind, the lost cause of the frontiersman and slave owner run deep in the culture of this country. Make America Great Again is simultaneously The South Will Rise Again, Custer’s Last Stand and Remember the Alamo. Chants of Build the Wall and Mexico will Pay were by Donald Trump’s own account and the accounts of many who attended his rallies served as the euphoric highlight of his hate filled revivals. For huge portions of the Zombie Apocalypse the call and response from their cult leader asking “Who will pay?” to which they yelled back “Mexico” was a cathartic experience of unparalleled racist ecstasy. The Zombies are not racist because they are confused. They are racist because it delights them. Having someone to blame for the frustrations we all face and having that person be someone that the US has historically trampled upon gives shape and meaning to the lives of bigots. These the thirst of these bigots for hate was quenched in ways it had not been in decades. Long had they wandered through a desert of coded language and dog whistles. Donald Trump the billionaire White nationalist spoke to them, because regardless of income they were White nationalists. The rural vote went for Trump. The suburban commando neighborhood watch vote went to Trump as well. Incomes were immaterial. Trump won the hate vote. Trump was not delivering political speeches but rather old fashioned hate revivals. That’s what Make America Great Again is and means.
The Mexican population was not picked at random nor is it possible to imagine the reverse happening. Firstly the undocumented cannot run for office. It also is impossible to imagine in 2016 a Chicano politician running for president of the United States of America calling White people drug dealers, rapists and pinche gringos. It could only be described as political satire to imagine said politician proposing to build a wall along the eastern seaboard. Under today’s conditions that could never happen. White reaction among the liberals and others making false equivalences just show either their own intellectual weakness or complicity with and in White nationalism. The notion that Anti White sentiment is a force of any power in society or its political economy at all is the stuff of reactionary fantasy. Yet it is very much a material reality that Donald Trump a hate speech candidate is now President elect and President elect largely by stoking anti Mexican sentiment, Islamophobia, anti Blackness, misogyny and various other forms of bigotry. It is also true that he stood out in the Republican field initially as the supreme border warrior. He lost ground to Christian Crusaders Ted Cruz and Ben Carson but then quickly outhated them with a proposal for a ban on over a billion Muslims and the suggestion of Muslim registry.
This is the country we live in. Hatred of various communities within it are not random but rather historically rooted. Anti Mexican sentiment is no exception. Anti Mexican sentiment runs rampant in a nation where a third of the land mass was gained from a predatory war with Mexico. Jefferson Davis was a leading figure in the Mexican American war. Ulysses Grant also fought in the Mexican American war. Leading figures from both the confederacy and the union fought in the war. Both slavedrivers and northern industrialists were committed to the principle of Manifest destiny and would later struggle as to what to do with this and other newly acquired land. In the decades following the seizure of half of Mexico, Mexicans were lynched in the American southwest at the highest rate per capita of any ethnic group in American history. This is racist for certain but it is not disconnected from history nor economic development. People were lynched in mass in a period of land grabs.
In the decades and century following Mexican labor was made into cheap labor and suppressed to what were considered degraded positions in the economy. In the American Southwest there are still people alive who lived in a time where diner windows read no dogs no Mexicans and can remember segregated swimming pools as well as the so called “Mexican schools.” These legacies are still very much alive today. The notion that brown people should serve runs deep in the American southwest through the nation as a whole as various other Latino communities have been subject to similar abuse throughout the nation as a whole.
History is why Donald Trump could draw upon a reserve of Anti Mexican sentiment. The centrality of it for a Presidential run is somewhat new. This is the way one gets elected in Arizona or Texas or even portions of California or New Mexico. It is not typically how one runs for President. The politics of the Southwest are going national because of what its demographic shift portends for the nation as a whole. White nationalists are panicked about Dora the Explorer and taco trucks. It may sound absurd but it is perfectly rational by White nationalist standards. By 2042 the US is projected to become a minority majority nation with the Latinos in general and the Mexicans in particular driving this shift. And while it is impossible to imagine a Mexican American Trump riding anti White sentiment to the White house, it is not impossible to imagine Mexican and Mexican American resistance to Donald Trump.
One need not imagine it, as it has already happened on several occasions now. In many instances in the American Southwest resistance to Donald Trump has been multi ethnic but nonetheless featured pinatas of his likeness as well the Mexican flag and flags from the various republics of Central America waved not in defense of those countries but rather the human dignity of the populations being degraded by this demonic clown. Huge portions of the population of the American Southwest hate Donald Trump and for good reason.
The most striking examples of resistance that took place during the Donald Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination would likely be Chicago, San Jose, Albuquerque, Costa Mesa, San Diego, Burlingame and Fountain Hills. These resulted in arrests, free way shutdowns, property damage, confrontations with police and confrontations with the Zombie Apocalypse.
In many cases the reporting on these stories showed just how invisible the history of these populations are. Questions swirled around whether or not protesters were Bernie or Hillary supporters with no investigation of the material conditions of the lives of the protesters. Sympathetic articles would describe the protesters as reasonably upset, though of course never excusing property damage. Unsympathetic articles would describe them as thugs and criminals motivated by their disregard for property rights and democratic process.
Hillary Clinton answered that Donald Trump more or less started the antagonism. Bernie Sanders response, ever the legitimizer of unspeakable evil, was to disassociate himself from anyone doing anything the media deemed violent. The truth however is that people willing to fight in the street with cops were not motivated by love of Sanders or Clinton nor even spontaneous hate for Donald Trump. They were motivated by what the fact of the Trump campaign confirmed about their lives here in the US.
There is a world of difference between the Silicon valley and East San Jose or as it is sometimes known Sal Si Puedes. One consists of some of the most highly paid workers in the US alongside their billionaire bosses and the other is the barrio that Cesar Chavez grew up in. East San Jose is plagued, like many Mexican and Latino majority communities in the US, with deep poverty and lack of opportunity. When the Zombies were getting pelted with eggs it wasn’t just about Trump and it didn’t have a damn thing to do with Sanders or Clinton. They were expressions of lifetimes, of generations of pain and frustration that came from living in the shadow of a citadel in a nation that offers them nothing but daily insult.
In Albuquerque when cop cars were being danced upon that was about more than an election or a few campaign words. In 2015 Albuquerque PD killed more people per capita than any major city in America. In 2016 the state of New Mexico leads the country in people killed per capita the wide majority of victims being Latino. Again this is about more than some strong words coming from some orange demon with a ghastly combover. This spoke to the violence that is part of every day life of the state. Albuquerque is a city constantly on the verge of rebellion.
Arizona is the most Anti Latino most Anti Mexican state in the union. The freeway shut down towards Fountain Hills took place on a road that led to Donald Trump being introduced by Joe Arpaio an outright fascist who has compared his tent cities to concentration camps. He boasts of this in his own words. It was a glorious thing to watch all those hate mongers in Arizona stew in their hate on a narrow road in the Arizona sun, traffic jammed for miles.
The scenes in Costa Mesa, Burlingame and San Diego all speak to the material conditions there and again to lifetimes and not single campaign seasons. This was all before the election. All this rebellion and fight back took place merely because this hate monger set foot in their town.
In the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump people across the country took the streets in protest of the Eugenicist in chief. Some of the first and largest actions took place in the Southwest for perfectly predictable understandable reasons. In Los Angeles these included student walk outs, freeway shutdowns and the largest march in the country. Donald Trump and Mike Pence never set foot in Los Angeles and its doubtful they will. Los Angeles is a city of constant rebellion. The southwest as a whole would appear a provocation or two from being on the verge of it. It is for those reasons the historical mission of the fighting section of the proletariat of the American Southwest, ground zero to the demographic shift, to confront the forces of this White nationalist backlash. When the devil calls you by name you must respond.
Make America Great Again is The South Will Rise Again, is Custer’s Last Stand, is Remember the Alamo. Fine then. In each case, remember who won.
Taco trucks on every corner. Fuck Donald Trump.
Photo: The Source