Donald Trump has been branded a bigot. Yet his acceptance speech suggests a radical rejection of heteronormativity and an embrace of radical queer identity politics.
By opposing both Islam and heterosexism, and using the phrase LGBTQ, Trump may have positioned himself as a woke nominee. For the sake of the unwoke reader who doesn’t know what woke means, MTV News defines it as “Being aware — specifically in reference to current events and cultural issues.” Urban dictionary says, “Being Woke means being aware. Knowing whats going on in the community. (Relating to Racism and Social Injustice).” If we include– as we must– homophobia in our definition of Social Injustice, we must also frame Trump’s seeming Islamophobia in its rightful woke context.
Trump clearly grounded his Islamophobia in a fierce, even fabulous, commitment to LGBTQ rights as he addressed the RNC Thursday night at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans arena:
Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBTQ community. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.
A cursory textual analysis reveals the problematic nature of Trump’s argument. There is no proof that the man who murdered 49 people at the Pulse night club in Orlando was influenced by Islam. And Trump conflates Islam with an inherently violent and hateful ideology. Perhaps most troubling is Trump’s exoneration of the homophobia, violence and hate perpetuated by his own religion, Christianity, and by his very own running-mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who self- identifies as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” And yet, despite his intersectional self-definition, Pence’s record, which includes pushing through the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” allowing businesses to turn away and corporation to deny health insurance to LGBTQ people, suggests he has not freed himself of the shackles of homophobia.
But Donald Trump, at the very least, is laying bare what we talk about when we talk about intersectional identity politics. And he should be commended for initiating this much needed conversation.
In order to further support his subversive rejection of heteronormativity , we must push Trump even further, empowering him to use his unique voice to give voice to the voiceless. Of course, we must do this in a way that honors his authenticity, uniqueness, and agency. What better way to do this than by turning to Trump’s own words and recasting them in the radical voice he has already discovered. Here is just one example of how he could apply his woke and intersectional framing to things he has already said:
“I will build a
great wallsafe space– and nobody builds safe spaces better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great safe space, and I will make straight, cis, able-bodies, men Mexicopay for that safe space. Mark my words.”
It is incumbent upon us to thoroughly reflect on, process and unpack the potential wokeness of Trump. And yet, we would also be remiss if we failed to interrogate this question. I will be offering more thoughts and sharing some concrete suggestion in a follow-up post.
In the mean time, I urge readers to share their own ideas on Twitter. Please tag me, @kthalps, and use the hashtag #WokeTrump.
Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why
According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.
As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."
After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare
With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."
As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California
As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."
With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.