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Do they have guns too? by @BloggersRUs

Do they have guns too?

by Tom Sullivan

"We are in very deep, very dark waters," cautions Jared Yates Sexton Toronto's Globe and Mail. Shaken by the U.S. border agents teargassing migrants at a border crossing outside Tijuana, the associate professor at Georgia Southern University assesses how Donald Trump's America looks to the rest of the world:

Whether it was the prejudiced Muslim travel ban, the persecution of transgender Americans, the sowing of racial animus, his inspiration of neo-Nazis and murderous assassins or his partnering with homicidal despots, the sad truth is that, no matter how we want to deny it or wish it wasn’t so, this is who we are now.
On the wrong side of history. Aligning ourselves more with Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia than our erstwhile European allies and NATO, we are no longer the good guys:
We can no longer even lay superficial claim to being leaders on human rights, as we’ve given a blank cheque to homicidal dictators.

We can’t even champion democracy, as our own elections are swayed by disenfranchisement efforts targeted at minority populations.

That in itself is more than enough creepy for one week. What Sexton found even creepier was the notes from Trump supporters who view securing the border as a kind of biblical struggle. Old Testament, of course, with Trump as a kind of warrior-king, flawed, but chosen of God to defend the new Promised Land: This is, of course, an extension of that unholy amalgam of Jesus Christ, Ayn Rand, and Horatio Alger that passes for Christianity for a lot of Americans, with an unhealthy dose of white nationalism now added to the mix. In the Lone Star State, the famously conservative Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) reversed a recent decision to remove Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from a list of persons about which students might need to know something. But the members made sure to add materials that reflected "Christian Americanism … the belief that America is an essentially Christian nation in which the Bible should be normative for law and public policymaking."

Luke Bretherton and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins argue for the Guardian that while religion and populism can work together for liberalizing a country. (The civil rights movement, Solidarity in Poland, and Bishop William Barber II's revived Poor People’s Campaign are just a few.) But the mixture is unstable:

Religiously and democratically, these movements are polar opposites to the sort of nationalistic populism embodied by Trump. Theologically speaking, ideologies like Trumpism are idolatrous: they sacralize an earthly thing – the nation-state – and ultimately end up legitimizing the sacrifice of humans, nature and the integrity of faith itself to a worldly project of political salvation. Trump is elevated to a Christ-figure who will redeem the “true” or “real” people to the exclusion of all others. In prophetic populism, by contrast, the people are seen as a force that can break the bonds of domination so that all may flourish, especially the weakest and marginalized. The people become a beacon of democracy for all peoples.
But that's not what Sexton was hearing.

Peter Laarman wrote about Trump's white nationalism at ReWire.News a few weeks ago. The distinction between that and "nationalistic populism" is a fine one if there is one:

The white nationalism of the Tea Party and now of Trump Time represents an enormous and “authentic” expression of the main spiritual current in American history, which ... is about subjugation and supremacy and greed—and not, in fact, about hope and change. White domination has always been, and still is, America’s middle name.
That's nice. Do they have guns too or just ropes and hoods?