Once upon a time ago in a townhall Q&A, Barack Obama was asked about his stance on gay marriage, his response being: “with respect to gay marriage, I do not support gay marriage.” This wasn’t said in 1988, or even 1998 but some 13 years ago in 2008 during his first presidential run. How easy one forgets that Obama, who has risen to patron saint like status by our media denizens, held a position not too long ago that would now get most conservative politicians in hot water in 2021.
Since I was a student, I’ve been in support of gay marriage and since I wasn’t running for office I didn’t have to worry about the vote of independent conservatives, in other words I could stand by my opinions, as I do today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to this positive step we’ve seen in our country as it relates to this topic, rather I wish to highlight that Obama was a politician in 2008 and to this day is a politician. Because politics has become the WWF, should the political winds change, don’t be shocked if Obama one day becomes the heel (see Eric Weinstein’s piece on kayfabe to understand this reference).
In 2021 Obama was asked about how his daughters will approach “cancel culture” in their university, commenting that “…they have a pretty good sense of ‘Look, we don’t expect everybody to be perfect. We don’t expect everybody to be politically correct all the time, but we are going to call out institutions or individuals if they are being cruel.’ ” Quite a pampered take on an issue (I don’t like the phrase ‘cancel cutlure’) that has already cost innocent people their livelihoods. As mentioned, but worth repeating anyone who simply voices Obama’s 2008 town hall response verbatim in 2021 would in fact face a litany of attacks, accusations and perhaps even a “cancellation” for the crime of holding such a “bigoted” viewpoint.
I dig up the past to show how the collective memory of American society, driven primarily by the media, higher education, and tech firms conveniently glosses over parts of even contemporary history that don’t fit nicely into “Marvelization” of politics with your bad team on one side and the good guys on the other. Not only is it intellectually dishonest but highly unhealthy for society that would be villains are heroes and vice versa as you’ll see in my examples.
‘Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo’
Andrew Cuomo, the hero of the Covid pandemic, who through his amazing foresight and leadership could do no wrong when it came to Covid 19 (as you can also read in his book) has a history that I doubt that many highly paid journalists at CNN would ever report on. After all, how could you report negatively on the governor when his own brother is a newscaster!
This same man who would stop Covid in its tracks was campaign director of his father’s mayoral run back in the 80s. His opponent was Ed Koch, a life time bachelor, who like J Edgar Hoover simply couldn’t come out as gay because just like Barack Obama circa 2008, we didn’t have the same social acceptance we do now as it relates to homosexuality. It has recently surfaced that posters were conveniently placed in the Italian-American sections of parts of New York reading: Vote for Cuomo, not the Homo. Credit to the Fifth Column podcast for raising this topic (can’t remember which episode it was).
While I’m no fan of Trump, it’s worth setting the record straight as to which New Yorker is the more homophobic of the two: In a 2000 interview with Advocate magazine, Trump offered the following response on the topic of gay marriage “I think the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman. I do favor a very strong domestic-partnership law that guarantees gay people the same legal protections and rights as married people. I think it’s important for gay couples who are committed to each other to not be hassled when it comes to inheritance, insurance benefits, and other simple everyday rights”
The Case of Donald Trump
Before jumping into this section, the problem I have had with our media apparatus since 2016 and contemporary society is the amount of noise, emotion and intellectually devoid statements made about Donald Trump. If you can’t talk about someone only in a negative light because they are a jerk, then you have a problem. I also shouldn’t have to excuse myself for writing about this but I will anyway just because I need to avoid the various landmines associated with Donald Trump or the buckets I can be placed into, in this case, for the crime of simply digging into history and repeating facts. So as a compromise, I’ll borrow some text from Cops.
WARNING WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Donald Trump is one of the most interesting cases of forgotten short term history. We’ve all seen the famous picture of him with the Clinton family by now, and his WWE appearance, something I won’t rehash as its more or less well known in most circles. Rather, it’s worth remembering that until he picked up the Republican mantle, Donald Trump was very much a part of elite circles, he had his enemies for sure but he was by no means persona non grata.
If you study his pre 2015 character, he’s been rather consistent in his political viewpoints over the years. In an attempt to try to figure him out, I’ve watched some of his interviews during the ’80s and ’90s where many of the positions he argued for then even made their way to the campaign trail (criticism of China, advocating tariffs, patriotism) along with his penchant for picking fights and airing such grievances on live television.
There was plenty of negative to say about Donald Trump back then, he always had his share of enemies going back to the 80’s. That’s actually the point here. He’s never been one to avoid conflict nor is he a saint, I think most of those who knew of him, also knew this was his character. The image he’s been made into post 2016 is something else altogether. Let’s say that pre-2016 Trump was a wealthy Archie Bunker, not well liked by many, filled with controversial opinions but not overtly violent or genocidal. That essentially was his character.
Due to this wealth and financial status though, he wasn’t purely looked down upon. Not all viewed him in a positive light, but many in fact viewed Trump as inspirational. Yes, inspirational. If you can bear to read another paragraph about the evil orange man, you’ll see what I mean.
I recently stumbled upon an old episode of the Fresh Prince, produced in 1994, where Donald visits the Banks family in order to buy their home. In a twist of irony, the main female character, none other than Hillary Banks, is absolutely infatuated with him but it’s not just her, the entire family Banks family is in awe of Donald Trump. “It’s the Donald, oh my god” says Carlton, nearly falling over. A young Wil Smith even offers to mow the lawn for an extra $50,000 on the sale price.
It’s worth remembering that since his first campaign run Donald Trump was characterized as a bigot, racist, homophobe (see above), etc. I would just like someone to explain to me then why in the early 1990s when racial issues were comparatively worse than they are today, a nearly complete African American cast was honored to have him on the show.
Donald Trump also happens to be a hip hop cultural icon, having been referenced in over 60 rap songs over the years, almost always in a positive light:
“Yo guess who’se the black Trump” – Raekwon
“I smoke and make dough like Trump” – Westside Connection
“I’m just trying to get rich like Trump” – Ice T
In 1998, an artist called E-40 even made a song after him called Trump Change.
In an eerie foreshadowing of what was to come 10 years later, Donald Trump even did a mock campaign for Eminem of all people, endorsing him for president. In his own words: “Slim Shady is a winner!”
Of course, Eminiem along with the Hollywood, media and institutional establishment completely turned their back on Donald Trump.
Once again, don’t confuse the dedication of this section to Trump as some sort of praise for him. I think his presidency was a disaster, I didn’t vote for him in 2016 and despite my distaste for Joe Biden couldn’t vote for him in 2020 either.
The purpose of bringing up the case of Donald Trump is to show the power that the media apparatus (social media, TV, newspapers) and institutions like universities have in shaping our opinions, something that I find very dangerous.
I would hope in this piece that one could see the point I’m getting at. If the powers that be as outlined above could be so off the mark about Donald Trump, then what else could they get wrong? I’ve shown that Trump was more progressive than Obama or Clinton on the subject of gay marriage. I didn’t bring it up here because Trump did make it a campaign topic but he was against the Iraq war in the early 2000s, a more progressive position than Biden or Clinton. Then there is the case of Cuomo, who will be heaped praise for his handling of Covid only because of the 2 New Yorkers, he is not Donald Trump.
Sadly the time has passed so most people will always assume Trump was colluding with Putin and that’s how he won the election, not even considering the unpopularity of his opponent. Furthermore, one can walk the streets of New York wearing a Mao, Stalin or Che Guerva shirt with no negative reaction whatsoever, this is despite the fact these men were all mass murders. Substitute the same garb with a red Maga hat and you are now the modern day equivalent of John Mclain standing with his sign in Die Hard III. Frankly, I find it scary that, for better or worse, the truth and free thought seem to be distorted for political gain.
The current president of the United States has a laundry list of skeletons in his closet that have all been swept up the proverbial rug so that democracy will not die in darkness.
The same president who is being asked now to cancel student loans, backed the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which made it far more difficult for students to declare bankruptcy on their loans, a law I disagree with. Strange that America’s “Trust News Source” failed to bring that one up during his election bid.
This is a bit older news and I’d say I’m more forgiving of things from 25 years ago, yet we still should be reminded that Biden’s first presidential run in 1988 was a failure amidst plagiarism accusations. Kudos to Washington Post for actually being the source on this one (yes I like to give credit when it is due).
There are literally hundreds of gaffes throughout his political career, some more egregious than others. Personally, I think gaffes are weaksauce when it comes to political discussion, similar to crediting or discrediting a sitting president with the performance of the economy. I would imagine that if we were recorded every time we said a public statement there would be a similar number of errors.
I bring this up only to illustrate the double standard set by the media apparatus in 2021. On the one hand we are told that America is rooted in bigotry and oppression with white men being the culprit yet in the run up to 2020, the media encouraged black voters to cast their ballot for the very description of the supposed oppressor, an old, wealthy, elite white man who in 2012 told an entire room of black voters that Mitt Romney would put “ya’ll back in chains.”
Of course none of that mattered in 2020 because the media apparatus only cares about pretending to care about racism, or equality or anything their well paid activist, non journalist class of elites read from their teleprompters but don’t actually believe themselves.
“Who Controls the Past Now, Controls the Future”
The line, which I’m guessing is from 1984, I most remember in a Rage Against the Machine song. I am actually kind of tired of so many Orwell comparisons today, but there is some truth in this quote. That’s part of why I write this blog, namely to ensure that it’s preserved.
I’m sure my paragraphs on Donald Trump alone will get me dismissed by many, which is exactly the point. If you want to understand why someone would bother voting for Trump, just remember that not just one news station or newspaper but an entire media apparatus is trying to convince them of what is at most highly stretched truth. Being a jerk, mean spirited or a bully can, but doesn’t necessarily equate to racism, bigotry, or homophobia. You’ve obviously lost some by not reporting the truth but when it becomes a play on morals, such as Hillary’s famous “deplorable” quote then you galvanize a certain set of the country.
Sadly, this constant battle to score points combined with an emotion driven social media news campaign means that credibility and trust have been lost along the way. This is my explanation for why even something like the pandemic became politicized when it shouldn’t.
After all, when the same media implies a moral tinge to your voting preferences, spends years of reporting on why the candidate you voted for is a Russian asset and then subsequently a Ukrainian asset but also demands you believe everything they have to say when it comes to science, can one be at all surprised that some aren’t going to go along?
It’s also why I don’t pay attention to mainstream news outlets, journalists and stay far away from propaganda spreaders like Facebook. If we had good journalists on television, who weren’t highly paid activists, they would on occasion highlight what I’ve mentioned. They would also report the positive things that Trump has done. After all, no human or person is 100% bad or evil. But that’s not how the game works.