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Trump’s First Address To Congress Was Basically A Flowered Up Hate Speech

If we sniff past the perfume, past the flowers, of the language of Donald Trump’s remarks to the joint session of Congress, we’ll find a hate speech.

Typically, the rule of thumb of presidential remarks to Congress  — especially the first one — is that they should be uplifting and inspirational. But we all know how Donald Trump enjoys breaking rules — even as he extols and mythologizes an America completely committed to the credo of “law and order” — and flaunting the fact that he does so.

While Trump may have appeared to be speaking to America from a place of genuine affection tonight during his address to the joint session of Congress, something more sinister was lurking beneath the text of his remarks.

In actuality, if we sniff past the perfumed phraseology, past the flowers, we’ll find — not to our surprise — a speech as hateful as any that he delivered during last year’s campaign.

Here are few examples:

“We will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime. As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised.”

Far be it for us to remind Mr. Trump that drug addiction is a health problem, not a criminal justice problem. Not only is Trump diverging from core American values of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness, he’s also reinforcing the criminalization of drug use, a mode of thinking about drugs that has placed countless lives behind bars.

And let’s not overlook the fact that he never mentioned white nationalists once in his spiel against “gang members” and “criminals.”

“To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”

Assuming, of course, that America is out of the habit of defending its borders — which it isn’t.

Donald Trump’s obsession with immigrants has absolutely nothing at all to do with the security of the American family, but the protection of the American bourgeoisie — a class of citizens to which he belongs — the real culprit behind lost jobs, lost incomes and lost loved ones.

Moving on:

“Obamacare is collapsing — and we must act decisively to protect all Americans. Action is not a choice — it is a necessity.”

But no Republican or Trump-stan has stepped up to suggest an alternative. Trump and this new, more punitive brand of conservatism would prefer that we revert back to negotiating with a corrupt private insurance sector. In other words, let the wolves run wild.

Oh, and there’s also the fact that the rich are taxed more under Obamacare, and we certainly can’t have that.

Next topic:

“But to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of violence. The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.”

“In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone — and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher. This is not acceptable in our society.”

“Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job. But to create this future, we must work with — not against — the men and women of law enforcement.”

“We must build bridges of cooperation and trust — not drive the wedge of disunity and division. Police and sheriffs are members of our community. They are friends and neighbors, they are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters — and they leave behind loved ones every day who worry whether or not they’ll come home safe and sound. We must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. And we must support the victims of crime.”

Because no one associates the city of Chicago with African Americans and, thereby, connect this high “murder rate” to the so-called innate criminality of black people and black cultural pathology. Trump basically exonerated the (white) state and pathologized black existence without ever having to use racially explicit language.

“I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE — Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.”

And we all know how eager Trump supporters are to file a claim against immigrants for any and every minute reason their little hearts can think of. The more “claims” the Trump administration can rack up, the more legitimacy Donald Trump’s approach to immigration reform gains and the more accelerated become the efforts to implement Trump’s agenda.


Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

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