Trump’s Star Power


It should have been Donald Trump’s weekend. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic candidate, was meeting with the FBI to discuss her use of a private server for official email. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, he, or at least his campaign, couldn’t leave well enough alone, and his campaign retweeted an illustration of Secretary Clinton superimposed on piles of $100 bills, with a star shape on which the words “most corrupt candidate ever!” appeared.

Critics complained that the star, which had six points, was a Mogen David, a traditional Jewish symbol and the total effect was anti-Semitic. The Trump campaign refused to answer questions, even though reporters found that the illustration had originated with an anti-Semitic white-supremacist web site. Eventually the Trump campaign reported that the star represented a sheriff’s badge which in some way related to honesty or dishonesty or breaking the law. They noted, correctly, that the six pointed star is among the shapes commonly used in law enforcement badges. In 1934, in John Wayne’s movie The Star Packer, the badge has 6 points. On the other hand, in The Tin Star (1958), Anthony Perkins wears a five pointed star.

The web site shows an assortment of badges and depictions of stars, both five and six points. The Trump campaign maintained its innocence, even as it reissued the illustration with the star replaced by a circle. There was no reason in their mind to explain how they got hold of an illustration from a white supremacist web site. As it says in Titus 1:15, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.”

Perhaps the star question might have gone away more quietly had it not been for the death of Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize whose obituaries were often accompanied by descriptions of the holocaust, both the death camps and the use of the yellow, six-pointed star that the Nazis forced the Jews of conquered Europe to wear. Beyond that, Donald Trump is a native New Yorker, and New York has more Jews than does Tel Aviv.

Of course with Donald, it’s not just Jews. The Huffington Post offered a useful article titled “Here are 10 Examples of Donald Trump Being Racist.” The first entry is “The Justice Department sued his company – twice – for not renting to black people.” Also, “He refused to condemn the white supremacists who are campaigning for him.” The article has examples of Donald showing bias against native Americans, and doesn’t even mention his infamous comments about Mexicans or his proposal to close all mosques.

For writers, there is a small but useful cottage industry writing articles about whether Donald is the symptom (Huffington Post, Washington Post, and a fair number of blogs) or the disease. Probably the best summary is from Jeff Schweitzer’s Huffington Post article: “Trump’s ascendancy is nothing more than the visible symptom of the underlying disease, a metastasizing cancer of ignorance and hate consuming our society. Trump is not scary — he is a buffoonish Mussolini with bad hair; but those who wish to vote for him are truly terrifying.”

And of course the tragedy is that Donald is both, because he is a despicable demagogue, but he’s also an enabler, rather the way the AIDS virus impairs the immune system so that the opportunistic infections can take hold and and kill. In this case he’s destroying the American ideal and the idea of America.

Voters are angry – justifiably so. An analysis would implicate the Republican Party as a whole, the party that shut down the government and then said the government is the problem, It worked in Great Britain, where the politicians dealt with the greater recession by cutting back on social programs, promising that this would inspire the wealthy people to invest in Britain and create jobs, and when this failed to improve conditions, the answer changed to withdrawing from the EU. The United States did better because we had the luck to have Barack Obama as President, who understood the need for economic stimulus and was able to get some Keynesian relief, even if not enough.

Caleb Verbois writing in Vision and Values, said it well: “Unfortunately for Republican voters, in their anger at their party leaders, they’ve missed the fact that they have even more reason to be distrustful of Trump. And they are running out of time to recognize their mistake.”

Sam Uretsky is a writer and pharmacist living on Long Island, N.Y. Email

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2016

Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2016 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652