If I thought along such lines, I would suspect there is an evil, supernatural Dark Force alive in the world that wants to keep Donald Trump in power, even though Trump isn’t smart enough to take advantage of its gifts. Trump could have used the COVID-19 pandemic to turn his presidency around by cynically posing as a compassionate leader. Having blown that to an extent I would not have thought possible, even for Trump, this fictional Dark Force of mine has presented Trump with this latest opportunity in the form of the ghastly murder of George Floyd. Trump is blowing that, too, it would appear.
Not so fast, our fictional Beelzubub might perhaps be thinking, maybe Trump is on to something. After observing 30 seconds of amateur remorse for the death of George Floyd, Trump has turned to the one thing he loves more than anything else, inciting hatred. That incitement comes in the form of those martial sentiments disguised as patriotism that Trump and his followers know so well. Flags, guns and streets running with blood — that, more than anything else, is what they love.
But no, even in this Trump has blown it. Trump has made it clear that he can’t incite convincing hatred for very long. For one thing, he’s fallen back on Antifa, the fading nemesis of the alt-right. Trump claims that Antifa has spread like a dark pool of blood across the United States and is doing the violent, dirty work for the protesters who march against the killing of George Floyd. Unfortunately for Trump there is no “there” there, and the less brain dead acolytes of the alt-right know this already. This latest Antifa conspiracy narrative is dead on arrival.
Antifa, in case you missed it, was for a time the bete noir of the alt-right conspiracy theory loonies, loonies who believed (or claimed to believe) it to be an underground, left wing terrorist organization, possibly funded by the Deep State. That narrative faded from view as actual evidence for such an organization failed to materialize.
What is Antifa really? It is a movement, in the loosest sense of the word. The European flavor of the movement was founded in the 1920s as a group dedicated to resisting Benito Mussolini’s fascism. They soon incorporated Adolf Hitler’s rising fascism into their remit. The modern American Antifa offshoot movement began in the 1980s with a group called Anti-Racist Action. Its principal remit was to resist and confront neo-Nazis. While some of them promoted the use of violence the overwhelming majority were nonviolent.
That the name itself is a portmanteau for “Anti Fascism” ought to stop smarter people dead in their tracks from trying to co-opt it as a left wing fringe group and represent it as a bad thing. But the fact remains, Trump to the contrary, it is not a terrorist organization and, as such, cannot be officially declared one.
But that didn’t stop Trump from artlessly declaring on Twitter Sunday night:
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a terrorist organization.
I could not resist a refutation from my recently activated twitter account (@RAHarrington):
ANTIFA isn’t a group. Hezbollah, Isis, al Qaeda — those are groups, and they are worthy of the name “terrorist.” ANTIFA is an anti-fascist movement. Designating it a terrorist group is like designating the Me Too movement a terrorist group. You twit. @realDonaldTrump
We have been very lucky in one way. If Trump were smart and energetic he could have exploited the current situation into a full blown civil or race war. As it is he instead constantly reminds us he’s an impotent fool. Trump has no remedy in law against Antifa, whether it exists or not. For one thing he runs smack into this bothersome thing that keeps tripping him up: the First Amendment to the Constitution.
If the evangelicals are correct and there really is such a thing as Satan, then he’s as stupid and incompetent as Donald Trump. And so are they, for spending the last fifty years warning us about the Antichrist, then turning around and electing him president of the United States. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.