We were often told, back when I was a student, that artistic genius anticipates life. Many times in my long life since, I have had occasion to understand the truth of what my teachers revealed to me.
So it is that I reference Peter Jackson’s “The Two Towers,” in the climactic scene of which we see the battle of Helm’s Deep. Wherein Theoden, seeing the army of Orcs massed at his castle wall, says to Aragorn, “such hate !” And then ‘and so it begins.”
Today, in our terrifying election, we see Helm’s Deep take place in our lives. We see “such hate,” and we have seen it begin.
But let us not mistake what we see. Those of us who are known as “white” because we have skin with less melanic chemicals than the skin of other people tend to think that our Helm’s Deep is all about us. It isn’t. In the contest between the Orc and Theodin that is now reflected in our election, most Americans aren’t conflicted at all. People of color stand with Theodin; almost all LGBT people stand with him; and most women join him tool. The conflict is one among “white” straight men only.
The conflict did not begin yesterday. It came to life on the day that Barack Obama was elected in 2008. It spawned in the brains of people who could not accept — felt threatened — that a Black man was now our leader. It began with the poison of racism, and it has always had racism at its core and still feeds on racist weed today.
For the insecure, weak and morally vitiated who felt themselves existentially threatened by Barack Obama as President, rescue came in 2011 when Trump, who sensed the racist current as yet unspoken, but strong running, brought forth his “birther” attack. From that day to right now, the racism he so precociously grasped has underpinned the entire energy of his campaign. Racism is the forge in which he, like Saruman in the movie, welded his army of Orcs.
Racism has proven a very prolific weed; and Trump has known how to grow it. Out of racism — a virulent, lethal racism — has grown the misogyny that underpins Hillary hate; the anti Semitism of the alt-right; and the homophobia on the alt right as well. Just as the Orcs of Helm’s Deep are depicted as hate-grunt, so the Trump campaign has wielded hate almost exclusively. There isn’t a single positive feature in his campaign of insult, belittlement, irresponsibility, fraud, and childishness, and this by design : because he knows that only all the varieties of hate that he can conjure into play can keep his campaign of death alive. But if that has been his game — and clearly it has — that it caught a wave lies at the door of those who have bought into it. You have full freedom to reject racism and all its progeny.
Why this hate among people deemed “white” ?
I doubt that many “white” people even realize that this crisis of hate arises from their being white; or that the Trump crisis is present only among “white” people. I am thinking that most ‘white” people, the men especially, but also some women, take for granted that power in our society is theirs alone. Just as it took long for the NFL to allow Black quarterbacks, or for the sports world generally to promote people of color; just as many law enforcement officers fear people of color rather than embrace them; just as — as President Obama has said — people of color hear the car doors locking as they walk by; just as people of color have warn their children about the dangers of :”driving while Black,” or even of sitting in a parked car, reading a book while Black; just as no Black person I know of has ever been compensated financially for the lynch murder of her ancestor 100 years ago; just as Black men are arrested multiple times more frequently than ‘white” men, for crimes petty if at all; just as women have to endure the sort of gloated groping that Trump boasted of in that 2005 tape; just as women have to hear people trying to tell them what to do with their bodies; just as women have no leadership role modes and, trying to elect one, find their candidate pelted with lies and garbage, by men mostly, but also by women envious of another — just as I list all of these and have in mind a thousand other denigrations, prejudices, falsehoods and envies — including vicious attacks on immigrants who may look “different” or speak a language other than English — that have arisen from obscure crevices into the gunked river of this election, slimed and cyanided, so the crisis of soul squeezes those take their safety and respect for granted because in America being “white” (and not LGBT) gives you that.
I say “crisis” because that’s what is going on. That is what Trump has made of this election. When he uses teams of lawyers to stiff people and fight them to exhaustion when they sue, the (white) people who tongue his heels see themselves doing likewise. When he says it’s smart not to pay taxes, his belly masturbators wish they could say the same. When he attacks journalists whose sin is to report facts, his mushroom fungi feel vindicated for believing what they want to believe.
In the bully poison of his laboratory of evils, his mouth slaves salivate over who thery can drown next in filth syrup.
He gives his stipple people the power of devils, of thunder gods, the delicious depravity of a destructo party that doesn’t end when the gong strikes midnight.
And what are his stipples afraid of, that needs be destroyed ? Simply this :that the future will not be theirs; that it will be different looking, different talking, different in gender roles, different associations, different economy, different liberties. That it will be unrecognizable, no north or west, no compass at all by which to get one’s bearings while those in it need no compass because the bearings are known and are made by them.
That is what they fear, Trump’s “white” people, and they are right: it’s a battle of life and death, and Trump has called them to iot because he knows that they know it and because he too faces life or death.
But in the movie, the good guys win the battle of Helm’s Deep. And so it will be in our election, and for “white” people; and for the future that our nation is inexorably embracing.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere