“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction… true and false… no longer exist.” – Hannah Arendt
Last night TRUMP appropriated the airwaves to stage the simulation of a speech in the real Oval Office to broadcast the performance of a faux crisis to those who have permanently suspended disbelief. This implosion & confusion of the actual and the manufactured is just one more episode in a reality show that has no boundaries, while fake in its contents, is horrifying real in its ramifications. This is a Show that oozes out from the mediated spaces of the broadcast transmissions and social media feeds into the physical world where real people suffer real impact. This is the Show to end all Shows.
The Great Wall of America is the perfect, seductive marketing metaphor to invoke the deepest, darkest, most sinister fears about the Other. Like the birther movement, the Wall appeals to our most tribal nature – separation, division, exclusion – all designed to cleanse ethnic blood. Yes, the Wall is a form of ethnic cleansing and the TRUMP humanitarian crisis at the border a form of genocide.
But what is most frightening of all, is that the Wall is a symbolic simulacrum of divisiveness. The totality of a Great Wall of America that stretches from coast to gulf, will never exist, except as a meta-narrative to drive the racist yearnings of a base that is dead set against people of color infiltrating and tainting their White World.
It is crucial to remember that TRUMP is at worst a crooked salesman, and at best a brilliant performer, who has no personal stake in any concepts or ideology except to be in control of an enraptured audience. None of the ideas are his, they come from backstage: the script writers, the producers, directors, aides, and allies who shift and shape his ideology every day in real-time. TRUMP is fixated on the performance, not the content or meaning of what he says. That is why he can shower his performances with false accusations and distorted views, because he is role-playing with every decision and move he makes. You don’t need to take responsibility for your actions when all is theater.
In TRUMP World, the Great Wall of America is a beautiful image, elaborate scenery, the perfect prop for dramatic conflict. And so in the speech last night, you can see swirling about him in the Oval Office, the ultimate stage, a cacophony of voices, rants, ghosts of horror, cheering crowds, complicit pundits and talk show hosts: TRUMP World, gnawing away at Our World, our One World, the one we used to call our own.