Honestly, if the media and the Democrats hadn’t made such a big deal of his “racist” tweet, I wouldn’t have even been aware of it. Since I am now, I thought it might be advisable to actually read what he sent rather than accepting the mass narrative about it. It was actually three parts: (Tweet 1) So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly..….(tweet 2) and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how.….(tweet 3) it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
My analysis: Part one is true about the governing of the countries to the “left of the hyphen”. What I mean by that phrase is that Rashida Tlaib designates herself as “Palestinian-American” and Ilan Omar, a refugee from Somalia, designates herself as “Somali-American”. The “left of hyphen” governments are totally dysfunctional, though these Congresswomen are American citizens so the phrase “originally came from” lacks precision. AOC was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican ancestry, but the government of P.R. is very dysfunctional too. Still, the idea itself is basically “physician heal thyself.”
Part two is more inflammatory and inaccurate, though the principle, which is “show us how it’s done” is not. Tlaib and AOC aren’t from anywhere but here, so they can’t “go back”, nor does anyone in Congress control how people vote, but they do constantly and negatively dispense unwelcome and inaccurate criticism of our system. Part three is the one that Trump’s enemies have yelled loudest at, describing it as telling unnamed “progressive” Democrats to get out of the country. He’s actually making a joke about the relationship between Pelosi and the “squad” of three, while obliquely saying that Nancy Pelosi would love to get rid of them, which is patently true.
In sum, then, the total tweet was inflammatory and imprecise, but the principles espoused are true. If you insist on advertising your ancestry and hyphenating your citizenship, and encouraging others to do the same, while endlessly criticizing everything about the country you are elected to represent, and expressing contempt rather than gratitude (that might make a great tweet) for both your privilege (yes, privilege) and people who don’t agree with you—which is most of the country—don’t be surprised at President “Id” (Freudian) saying what’s on the mind of most Americans! The only non-US born rep, Omar, also has the nerve to say, “I believe, as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born and because I am ashamed of it continuing to live in its hypocrisy…” She further added that the question, “why can’t you be more like an American? used to be a very positive thing.” Hey lady, it still is. Omar also said that she thinks “dogs are being treated better than undocumented immigrants in the U.S.” The narrative about deliberate mistreatment of immigrants is false and undermining. And Dogs? Don’t they eat them where you come from?
The whole brouhaha about the tweet plays into Trump’s hands. For one thing, he didn’t name anyone in the tweet, so predictably the Democrats leaped to the defense of the squad of three, thus admitting they know who the charge “ingrate” will stick to. Trump knows the press has a strong instinct to repeat his most outrageous claims, and this allows him put the press to work as a marketing agency for his ideas. He reaches millions of people through constant repetition in the press and social media. Language works by activating brain structures called “frame-circuits” used to understand experience. They get stronger when we hear the activating language. Enough repetition can make them permanent, changing how we view the world. Even negating a frame-circuit activates and strengthens it, as when Nixon said “I am not a crook” and people thought of him as a crook.
Then there are what cognitive scientists call “salient exemplars”–well-publicized individual cases, where wide publicity leads the public to take them as having a high probability and typifying a whole class. Trump turns them into buffoon stereotypes. The dominant media is actually subservient to Trump for gathering eyeballs, but they inadvertently allow him to control the news cycle. News gathering used to be a serious affair controlled by editors whose power rivals any politician’s. By chasing his tweets and elevating every sideshow, they further promote the polarization that he benefits from. They can’t win this fight. Trump’s views are shared by far more voters than either the media’s or the Democrats’, even if advanced polemically and abrasively. He is saying what most of the country is thinking, though it comes off inelegantly.
When he lies or exaggerates, his enemies jump right in by spreading his lies and offering even more and bigger lies (looking at you, AOC). In their ceaseless efforts to discredit him, they exaggerate what he says, constantly putting his name in their headlines, leads or hashtags. Hitler lied so often and used a cowed and co-opted press to repeat his lies because “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”. Trump isn’t Hitler but he understands the principle, and the media become his agents by keeping him in the news. I use Flipboard to get my ideas of what to blog about, because I can flip through hundreds of headlines rapidly. By now, I can tell you which media outlet is writing the headline without even looking. If Trump tweets something, I can tell by the distortion which outlet is writing about it.