Let the Games Begin

15 Jun

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I now think of Trump’s upcoming rally and subsequent events as blood sport on two levels.  The June 20th event is scheduled to take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a site specifically chosen by the Trump campaign for its racial past.  One of the most horrific racial attacks by white vigilantes against African Americans occurred in the city’s black district of Greenwood on May 31 and June 1, 1921.  The rampaging massacre of black citizens by white citizens and the burning of most of the Greenwood district stands out as particularly relevant to today’s unrest across the nation.  Trump’s response to protest, as we saw on June 1st at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., where peaceful protestors were attacked by Park Police and other forces, under the direction of Attorney General William Barr, using chemical gas, rubber pellets or bullets and flash-bang shells, along with healthy doses of baton wielding and pushing, was to “dominate,” as he proclaimed at a podium minutes before.  The day before this intentional attack by law enforcement against peaceful protest Trump tweeted an exhortation to use the National Guard against all protest.  There is a long echo of the tragic events in Greenwood where units of the Oklahoma National Guard were called in to arrest all African Americans.  The burning of Greenwood property was assisted by agents of the government.

Trump continues to pump violent rhetoric into a national situation where earnest protest addresses an already violent policing system, the protest spurred by the murder of African American George Floyd by white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25th.  And this will be Trump’s law-and-order platform until the November election.  Unless he can conjur a miracle drug to combat COVID-19 that does not involve bleaching the lungs, law and order is the only card he can use to promote his re-election as he has failed at everything else.

But there are other ways and other victims from which Trump expects to draw blood.  The people who attend the Tulsa rally will agree to a waiver from harm in order to purchase a ticket to the event.  It reads as follows:

“By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.”

Never mind that daily increases in COVID-19 infections have reached a higher level in recent days for Oklahoma and Tulsa county.  Oklahoma Senator James Lankford dismisses the potential danger of this indoor event causing new infections because those insignificant new infections will be a “little bit of a bump.” (see Amanda Holpuch article cited below)  Trump, who eschews masks, will lead by example.  I will be curious to learn if any event participant practices social distancing or mask wearing.  With that in mind, Trump anoints his followers in blood (there is a recent line of medical inquiry into COVID-19 being a blood vessel disease; see citation below).  This rally and all subsequent campaign events are intended to signal that the country has returned to normal.  Thus, his attendees sacrifice themselves to his campaign so that he can claim that he has beaten the virus through the work of his administration.

Associated Press. “Trump seeks rapid return to normal, including Tulsa rally – whose attendees must sign a health release,” MarketWatch, June 12, 2020; https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-seeks-rapid-return-to-normal-including-tulsa-rally-whose-attendees-must-sign-a-health-release-2020-06-12

Amanda Holpuch, “Republicans insist Trump Tulsa rally won’t spread coronavirus – despite local concern: Attendees at Saturday campaign rally will have to sign waiver; Tulsa health director expresses concern over indoor event,” The Guardian, June 14, 2020; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/14/republicans-trump-tulsa-rally-coronavirus-lankford-kudlow

Carol D. Leonnig. “Park Police spokesman acknowledges chemical agents used on Lafayette Square protestors are similar to tear gas,” The Washington Post, June 5, 2020; https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/park-police-spokesman-acknowledges-chemical-agents-used-on-lafayette-square-protesters-are-similar-to-tear-gas/2020/06/05/971a8d78-a75a-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html

Make America Great Again! Rally – Tulsa, OK, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; https://events.donaldjtrump.com/events/tulsa-oklahoma-rally-june-20?utm_content=main_menu&utm_medium=web&utm_source=djt_web

Amanda Marcotte. “Trump thinks white-supremacist trolling is his path to re-election,” AlterNet, June 12, 2020; https://www.alternet.org/2020/06/trump-thinks-white-supremacist-trolling-is-his-path-to-re-election/

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum; https://www.tulsahistory.org/exhibit/1921-tulsa-race-massacre/

Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Rebecca Tan. “Inside the push to tear-gas protestors ahead of a Trump photo op,” The Washington Post, June 1, 2020; https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-the-push-to-tear-gas-protesters-ahead-of-a-trump-photo-op/2020/06/01/4b0f7b50-a46c-11ea-bb20-ebf0921f3bbd_story.html

Dana G. Smith. “Coronavirus May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything: Many of the infection’s bizarre symptoms have one thing in common,” Medium, May 28, 2020; https://elemental.medium.com/coronavirus-may-be-a-blood-vessel-disease-which-explains-everything-2c4032481ab2

Andrew Solender, “Trump Campaign Tells Tulsa Rally Attendees They ‘Assume All Risks’ Of  Coronavirus Exposure,” Forbes, June 11, 2020; https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/06/11/trump-campaign-tells-tulsa-rally-attendees-they-assume-all-risks-of-coronavirus-exposure/#3d15ace85295

Li Zhou, ” ‘The protesters had to deescalate the police’: Demonstrators are the ones defusing violence at protests. Protesters describe the excessive force they’ve seen police use in cities across the country.” Vox, June 12, 2020; https://www.vox.com/2020/6/12/21279619/protesters-police-violence-philadelphia-los-angeles-washington-dc

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