Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Protesters block highway as Trump makes his way to Mount Rushmore

This is kind of like Netanyahu holding a campaign rally in the West Bank or Gaza.

Trump is obviously trying to fuel “culture war” sympathy on the right because he knows he can hardly run on the great state of the nation. One reason why I think the wave of statue/monument vandalism was a mistake was that it fuels things like this, i.e. a pushback from the right-wing, led by a demagogic politician who only wants to distract attention away from everything else (mass unemployment, botched handling of the pandemic, the recent class-based insurrection, widening class divisions, the police state, etc.) by inciting some tribes against others.

The statue vandalism craze was a distraction from the more substantive issues (the insurrection against the state and capitalist class) and provided a vehicle for propagandists for the right-wing of the ruling class to deflect attention away from the insurgency toward the culture war by playing tribe against tribe: “Forget attacking the power elite, one of those other tribes over there is vandalizing your icons!” How the protestors play this hand will be important. It’s essential that they do not succumb to Trump’s bait. Trump would like nothing better than mayhem so he can appeal to safety-crazed soccer moms and say, “Do you want this coming to Peoria?”

By Tal Axelrod

The Hill

Protesters were seen on Friday blocking a highway in South Dakota ahead of President Trump’s appearance at Mount Rushmore for a July 4 celebration. Demonstrators were seen gathering about three hours before Trump’s appearance, sparking warnings from authorities for them to clear the way. Law enforcement was later seen putting on gas masks and launching smoke bombs into the crowd to try to disperse the protesters.

The July 4 celebration at Mount Rushmore has been mired in a string of controversies, sparking concerns over its health implications as well as drawing the ire of Indigenous groups.  Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said social distancing measures will not be enforced at the gathering, which is expected to draw about 7,500 people, raising concerns about community spread of the coronavirus as cases spike across the country.


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