In 2012, fictional American newsman, Will McAvoy, inspired self-respecting journalists worldwide from his chair at The Newsroom when he called out the Tea Party for what it was – the American Taliban.
“A need to control women’s bodies.
Intolerance of dissent.
Pathological hatred of the U.S. government.
They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves conservatives. And they can even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are – The American Taliban.”
(source Rational Wiki)
If this sounds eerily familiar, it should.
Four years on, the Republican Party is comatose, if not dead. And the American media is calling the Trump takeover of the GOP, the Alt-Right, or Alternate Right.
But that’s just a newly minted word meant to avoid saying what needs to be said: The Tea Party, or the American Taliban, is now running Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign.
With the appointment of Steve Bannon as CEO of Trump’s campaign, the Republican Party has been officially occupied.
The Ultimate Corporate Takeover
But no one is talking about McAvoy or the occupation, because there are no television reporters like McAvoy left anywhere.
This leaves the non-reading public to believe that inland occupation is a hippie, left-liberal habit that requires striking images of the vast unwashed camping in tents outside government buildings.
But there are other kinds of Occupation.
One man comes out of the shadows pledging loyalty to no idea and no belief, except the art of deal making.
He then reveals an abominable sense of hatred for everything he does not consider Male, Homo-Saxon
As an accidental businessman, repeated failure and proven fraud, he still manages to convince people he knows how the world economy works. More importantly, he convinces people, he knows how world politics works.
In the space of one year, he dethrones every senior leader of the Grand Old Party and pushes them into the shadows. Today, he is the hottest ticket on American television.
All conversation is now about what he says. Whether for or against the transpacific pipeline, immigration, security, email hacking to relations with blacks, Mexicans, Russia and NATO.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is called Occupation Incorporated. Or Citizens Disunited.
We in India recognise this kind of occupation better than the Americans. A similar lack of insight allowed the Indian Taliban (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) to take over power in India in 2014.
It’s front face was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi.
Reporters and editors have called the Trump campaign and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 election, a democratic process.
They would be wise to remember that Hitler was voted to power in 1935
Democracies do have a history of voting fascists into power and then saying, “sorry, we didn’t know what we were doing.”
When a nation is encouraged to let out an unrestrained primeval scream and call it free speech, it is the job of the media to point out that we cannot and should not, scream ourselves into fascism.
However fun that party sounds at the moment.
When the drinking ends, it’s going to be one hell of a hangover. For those who’ve drunk off the potion and those who stayed sober.
As the U.S. slowly recedes into a primeval past, it should look toward India as a shining example of medieval politics of the RSS kind. Trump’s 2016 campaign is an exact replica of the Mode 2014 campaign.
Modi shouted Bharat Mata Ki jai (long live Mother India). Trump says let’s Make America Great Again
Both hearken to a past they never specify. As great as what? Nehru’s India? Jefferson’s America? Not likely. They both refer to a deeper, darker past that is left unsaid.
Modi promised development as the new national mantra. Trump promises to convert the art of the best deal for America, into a new national anthem.
Modi swore to turn India from a soft power to a hard power that stands its own ground in the world.
Trump promises to make neighbours pay for boundary walls, NATO allies for their dues; and the Middle East for its dalliance with fundamentalism.
Two years on, Indians have come to see the shadow war that Modi was fighting and the shadow gains that did not come our way.
But the past he really hinted at, has come to be.
Vigilante groups have sprouted all over the country. They beat up and lynch minorities, lower castes, suspected beef eaters, people who won’t shout Bharat Mata Ki jai and rationalists.
All dissenters, Muslims, liberals and anyone perceived as non-Hindu or anti-Modi have been branded IINO or Indians in Name Only. American RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) will understand this.
Crony capitalism was an ailment under the Congress government. Under the BJP, it is the institutional definition of economic governance.
Development indices have plunged but all major banks continue to loan obscene amounts to big corporate defaulters. Government data has become so unreliable that ‘data integrity’ is a thing now.
International relations were to be based on a mixture of soft and hard power.
But India hacks away at its own face in Kashmir while blaming Pakistan for being the mosquito that sat on its nose. Any early gains on Indo-Pak relations are long lost.
Ties with Bangladesh are on edge because of the refugee question. China is barring India’s entry into the nuclear suppliers group and long-standing trade deals with Nepal have been overturned.
The country has become a pariah in its own neighbourhood and two years on, it has neither soft power, nor hard power.
As for democratic institutions, Modi despises the media, has sidelined the judiciary, barely acknowledges the legislature and has poisoned mainstream discourse. As the executive head, he has delivered on less than a fifth of his promises.
In a clash between rhetoric and reality, reality is winning.
The Brotherhood of the Hawks
If Americans vote in Trump, that is the future that likely awaits them.
If this sounds like an exaggeration, it shouldn’t. They are a natural fit and “would enjoy each other,” Trump’s close friend, Newt Gingrich said this July, while talking to the Republican Hindu Coalition that he helped build.
Donald Trump and Narendra Modi are hawks of the same feather in more ways than one. They both:
- Thrive on high octane nationalism which is really just a hatred of any minority
- Display an overt machismo that is just a perverse need to control women
- Overcompensate with an exorbitant glorification of men in arms
- Are hostile to the media and judiciary
- Have an easygoing relationship with facts
Is there a silver lining? Early September polls show that Hillary Clinton might win the Electoral College votes by a substantial margin, but the popular vote is still equally divided.
Yet, however it ends this November, the conversation has already changed in the U.S as it has in India. Antisemitism, racism and white supremacy are back again.
A new era of American politics has already dawned. Goodbye Uncle Sam. Hello Uncle Trump.
Shortlink Occupy America
Feature image from the Flickr Photostream of DonkeyHotey
Hitler Image from the Flickr Photostream of teacherstevenson