We Smell What The Donald Is Cooking, But Have You Tasted It Though?!
President Trump loves to stir the melting pot with ingredients that are sure to thicken and cause one to gasp and choke. Whatever he is cooking up has surely boiled over, releasing a cascading of emotions that will be hard to clean up let alone digest. Certain ingredients — like the NFL; healthcare repeal and replace; tax cut and reform; white nationalism; Hillary Clinton; North Korea; Russian interference with the 2016 national elections; narcissism; fake news; falsehoods: a.k.a. straight up lies; anti-feminism; anti-immigration policies; anti-gay initiatives; evangelicals; America First protectionist initiatives and policies; President Barack Obama; and authoritarianism do not mix well and can be quite toxic. What happens when you pressure cook these combustible ingredients can amount to something rather explosive — incivility.
Trump has stirred in enough NFL diatribes about owners reluctance to punish players — the ones whom are predominately black and have sought to peaceably protest grievances under the first amendment to bring awareness to the physical and mental toll of inequality and injustice to their communities, as well as the community at large that they entertain — immeasurably in very bad taste.
Last month the NFL owners had a series of meetings which included a session with a group of players. This two-day event resulted in no league mandate enacted to force players to stand during the national anthem.
However, the cooked up emotions that Trump has poured into the issue has raised it to pressure cooker levels, releasing an ear shattering dog whistle blown by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair’s statement released in the national media outlets.
“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said, a comment that “stunned some in the room,” according to ESPN’s reporters.
Most will fixate on the raciality of the comments, but just as importantly, should your focus be keen on the plutocratic aspects of that statement as it reeks too of corporatism. That is probably why only “some” seemed stunned in that room as opposed to all of them being appalled by such a candid statement coming from one of their peers in the ownership realm. Now that was not an off the cuff remark by Mr. McNair, the utterance has been stewing, for quite some time within the supreme consciousness along with the many other toxic emotions churning around in the crackpot that Trump stirs.
This cannot be excused as a form of hyperbole either as Mr. McNair has so apologetically explained away in his “need to just work together going forward.” This comes after after some players were absent from practice this week and about the raised possibility of not even showing up to their next game against the Seattle Seahawks, a prospect that has even wider repercussions and implications for the entire team which includes a diversity of non black players. This wouldn’t bode well for the league itself, if it were to become an acknowledgeable precedent in response to such attitudes and statements.
Most of the players who left returned to the facility, the source said, and the remaining players were talked out of their protest by the coaching staff.
It appears the only sticky thing of value about this situation — in how it all holds the pieces together is the money — contractual obligations, ticket sales, sponsorships, salaries, television deals, and future revenue. What is equally transferable and oftentimes overlooked, but invaluable is our interdependence — humanity.
But the emotional transactions always seem to get in the way
The display of raw emotions can be benign or infectious when affixed to sudden traumatic experiences or unexpected occurrences that we emote during moments of survivorship and its triggers. Generally, and in most cases they are and can be self regulating to reduce the self harm of excess that it can pose to, or deliver as a perceived threat to others.
Disgust is a response generally associated with what you eat, while anger and fear are fight or flight reactions to a kind of threat. Happiness and sadness are ephemeral reactions to certain stimuli.
People think that Donald Trump’s speeches are filled with similarly real raw emotions, even though it is incendiary or nonsensical, it gets this pass, as if there is some real threat posed or something to be gainfully proud of to exhort. They are not real raw emotions. They are cooked up emotions that are more imaginatively complex. They have toxic ingredients that actively help bring emotions to a steady boil when applied to innocuous stimulants.
One of the most indicative aspects of cooked up emotions comes from the perceivable in-group status of having been wounded — the wounded self of America. The cooked up (complex) self elements include an inflated sense of Self, mixed in with aggression, resentment, ignorance, schadenfreude, hate, and violence producing a dehumanizing stew of marginalization and oppression.
Trump’s identification of his personal being with the Self of America is his source of demagogic appeal. He is encouraging those who have lost a foothold in the American dream to place their trust in him as a mirror of their own potential — a potential that he has already achieved.⁴
Our president evokes these feelings and stirs in these emotions into a concoction of solipsistic behaviors that combine and layer real raw emotions to an imagined threat to the psyche. A concoction so dangerous and volitile that has been brewing for centuries with remarkable narcissism and motivated ignorance in copious amounts. It is as if we are all being held down and forced to digest this brew in disgust, of something being cooked up — something no moral and ethical person or non-cannibalist should have tasted, nor should have a taste for.
An interesting survey by NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School Public Health elucidates on a few of my points here.
More than half of whites — 55 percent — surveyed say that, generally speaking, they believe there is discrimination against white people in America today. […] Notable, however, is that while a majority of whites in the poll say discrimination against them exists, a much smaller percentage say that they have actually experienced it. Also important to note is that 84 percent of whites believe discrimination exists against racial and ethnic minorities in America today.⁵
Let’s be clear, and I assure you, that Trump’s behavior is anything but simply raw. These feelings and emotions have been boiling over for quite some time now. Trump supporters are the stew for which he stirs their ire as their chef. He imbibes on this stuff and ends up puking it all over the rest of us as we look on in horror. It is important that we pay attention to how he applies these ingredients to his stew that then become toxic and volatile to your mental and physical health.
The ejected hurl is a biohazard of a concoction of resentment and vindictiveness. Identifiably disconcerting is the reactionary stewing of blended raw emotions being cooked up in response (think Antifa) which become toxic elements of resistant and vigilante rage.
Privileging raw feelings over the cooked analysis of them not only fuels anti-intellectualism, but also conceals the socio-historical context that produces those feelings. In other words, feelings are never completely raw, but always already cooked. So, too, analysis is never completely devoid of emotion. Pathos and logos aren’t polar opposites. Yet to authorize outrage (whether on the left or the right) as foundational and beyond analysis is to deny the ways in which race, class, gender, politics, upbringing, culture and history shape our emotions.¹
This privileging actually encourages a variety of stewing to take place and it portends one big putrid mess. The privileging of raw feelings is unassuming and quite disturbing and it becomes difficult to look the other way because you can smell it cooking. Rub in the double bind as rightholders and it becomes a hot mess.
A person who says to another ‘I have a right to do it’ is not saying that … it is not wrong to do it. He is claiming that the other has a duty not to interfere.” ²
I am going to take a risk and climb out on this limb here which is about a foot or two off the ground and say this. Trump and his base have unqualified grievances for the irascible outrage they display on the litany of platforms that are incessantly being called out.
No matter how oxymoronic, as rightholders we have a duty to not interfere with Richard Spencer’s white nationalism speeches that encourage disunion and exempts the liberties of fellow citizens by asserting some tribalistic in-group supremacy.
If it seems that I have been obsessively trying to find answers by empathizing with stupidity lately — racism, authoritarianism, discrimination, and privilege, then those who proffer it should wont in doing so— and so be it. They barely acknowledge or empathize with their own victims in the aftermath of said stupidity. Therefore we all end up being cooked up in this terrible stench of a stew. And it tastes terrible too.