CSotD: The Stars Are Beginning to Hide

Matt Wuerker shows us where we’re at, and last night’s astonishing hatefest hardly undercuts his point, though I suppose you could quibble over the term “Normal.”

As the old joke goes, “We’ve established what you are; now we’re just haggling over the price.”


Which is to say that, as much as I like Kevin Siers‘ spin on Trump’s absurd flag-embrace, his piece does a lot more — to quote another old saw — to comfort the afflicted than it does to afflict the comfortable.

The image is clearly intended to appall viewers, but I only really know that because of my familiarity with Siers’ work and his attitudes. Someone coming on it cold wouldn’t know if he were praising Dear Leader or attacking him.

No? Well, print it out on a sticker and see what vehicles it ends up on.


Lee Judge has it pegged. The mask is off and the man who gave neo-Nazis in Charlottesville a weak-kneed pass has stopped being anywhere near so subtle.

A couple of things work here, starting with Judge’s style, which is more crude than Siers’ and thus more clearly implies mockery.

The other is that I suspect there is enough division among bigots and supremacists that Klan supporters don’t like Nazis and vice-versa, while garden-variety bigots don’t want to be identified with either.

Not saying the shoes don’t fit, but Judge makes his insults clear.

And Trump really did justify his outrageous racist bigotry by saying “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. A lot of people love it, by the way.”

Even comparing him to the pigs in “Animal Farm” is beginning to feel limp and obvious, both in terms of his politics and his species.


Things once done as political theater have since morphed into reality, and it’s not just that a pig was nominated, but that he was voted into office.

Ah, well. We were told not to worry, that, although the Republicans did not stop him from being nominated, if, by some evil stroke of bizarre bad luck, the fool were elected, they would keep a leash on him and restraint his worst instincts.


To which Stuart Carlson poses the question, “And how is that working out for you so far?”

We worried that they would fail to point out that the Emperor was naked, but they don’t even mention it when he dons the raiments of those fringe lunatics that decent people have declared non grata.

Which means that, perhaps they are quite grata, and not lunatics, after all.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

There have been several comparisons of the current crop of bigots to the Know-Nothings of the mid-1800s, but much of it is in the mode of victors writing history: Dismissing them as cranks and bigots.

They were not an oddball anomaly: They exerted a fair amount of strength in American politics. 

The scariest part of that Wikipedia entry is this:

The party declined rapidly after the 1856 election. The 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision further aroused opposition to slavery in the North …

I suppose we can hope for the Supreme Court to issue similar decisions that shock the national conscience, at least if we give Dear Leader one more bite at the nomination apple.

And note that Merrick Garland was barred from consideration, not by Trump, but before him, by Mitch McConnell and our duly-elected Senate.

Still, it is damned hard to shock the shameless

Part of our triumphalist approach to American history, that way of portraying it as a Golden Road to Perfection, is that we dismiss pro-slavery forces in the run-up to the Civil War as a minority of cranks.

It’s true that Lincoln’s election was a defeat for them, but if they had been a true minority, we wouldn’t have had a Civil War, or, at least, the people who went out in their buggies to watch the rebels whipped at Bull Run would have seen what they expected to see.

Rather than getting to witness, over the next four years, a substantial portion of an entire generation of their young men slaughtered.

And then reconciliation thwarted by that “minority of cranks” who refused to be reconciled, and who successfully manipulated the system to keep Jim Crow in power for the better part of another century.


Oh, and you know those funny pictures in your history book of Tories being tarred and feathered or ridden out of town on a rail during the Revolution?

They were also hanged or shot. And when Tories got hold of Patriots in the wrong neighborhoods, they were hanged or shot.

It was not some fraternity initiation where people were only seriously injured by accident.

Even the common punishment of “tar and feathers” includes the detail that the tar was boiling hot and very thick and caused second-degree burns, leaving its victims’ damaged skin open to all sorts of infections in a pre-penicillin era.

And this was only what we white folks were doing to each other.

When Dylan sang “They’re selling postcards of the hanging,” he was not making some odd metaphor.


He was commemorating a lynching of circus workers in 1920, and if that photo is hard to look at, imagine how hard it was to be one of those murdered men.

In Duluth, Minnesota, mind you. Not Alabama or Georgia or Mississippi, but up among the good folks of the North Country where such things don’t happen, except when they do.

Imagine what it was like to live in a world where people stood around so proudly, and imagine what it was like to live in a world where people wanted that photo preserved in a postcard.

And imagine what it will be like in just a little while if we all sit on our thumbs waiting for the perfect candidate and counting on the automatic votes of decent people who don’t need to be registered, who don’t need to be reminded, who don’t need rides to the polls.

Because this is America, where it all works out.





2 thoughts on “CSotD: The Stars Are Beginning to Hide

  1. I have a big client in NC, which means going there a lot more than I would prefer. Last night’s “speech” (and I use the term in its very loosest) didnt surprise me, nor did the reaction of the crowd. That’s not a dismissal of North Carolinians, just a weary acceptance of an attitude I see far, far, far too often in the self-described Land of Freedom and Equality.

    And if you ever want a really unnerving experience, take a visit at the Civil Rights Museum in Greensborough. Your photo above is positively benign considering some of the horrors people will place on each other.

    And yes, Bill, I think you guys are full bore on the road to a second civil war. It’s almost unavoidable now.

  2. The guy who was just sentenced for running his car into the crowd at Charlottesville, killing one and injuring many , is from my home state of Ohio. Somewhere Clement Vallandingham is smiling.

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