The American Right cashed in its military cred forty years ago. Now it’s just militant.
Posting this on the day after Colin Powell told Donald Trump to kiss off. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that he will cast his vote for Joe Biden.
In response, the bootlickers of Keep America Great added another military man to their shit list. Sorry, Colin. You broke the rules. The people who say they hate rules also hate it when others break the rules and you broke the rules.
Rules are rules. Except when they aren’t. White man’s rules. Privilege has its privileges. High-five low-five.
Non-military militant types need their folks to fall in line and display unflinching loyalty. While not the most warlike of fellas, they love regimentation and conformity. Go against these and you’re out. Retired four-star General Colin Powell is out of the club, now that he broke the rules.
In the novel The Lords of Discipline, cadets who got expelled from the fictional military school had to walk a line between two rows made up of the entire Corps of Cadets. This line extended to the campus’ front gates and the outside world beyond these gates. Cadets would turn their backs on the bad kid as he moved past in a final walk of shame. In many Republicans’ minds, they just turned their backs on Colin Powell and James Mattis in similarly-regimented ways—yeah, stupid, huh? This is how they think. In their imaginations, they looooove spiffing up their uniforms and taking their preassigned place on one of the two make-believe lines. For some of them, moments when they can give another dude the stink-eye, then turn their backs in solidarity with fellow stink-eye-givers, make life worth living. Nothing else can make them happy like these times can. Nothing. All that money in the Caymans and the new wife with the new boobs? Not as wonderful.
Fox News viewers and Breitbart readers get all mafia-like when it comes to loyalty. (Mafia guys…GOP dudes idolize them, too. But not as much as they idolize military types.)
This article about John Wayne offers some perspective on what’s happening today. In this roundabout way, it says a lot about the modern Right wing that says it wants a civil war, but really wants to call 911.
The piece talks about John Wayne’s lack of service in World War Two and also his racism, specifically an interview where he stated that he believed in white supremacy.
The toughguy of toughguys, the toughguy di tutti toughguy—John Wayne’s legacy can be seen everywhere in the modern Right wing.
To further his political rise, fellow non-military guy and actor Ronald Reagan modeled his public image on John Wayne’s toughguy persona. Using what he learned as a thespian, Ron studied John. Reagan eventually became seen as his own type of strongman. He demonized government, lined the pockets of the military industrial complex, and coined the phrase “welfare queen” to stir up racial resentment in whites. Rich white men loved how he could get working-class whites to fall in line using his mix of dogwhistles, white spite, and anti-Communism paranoia. Ronald Reagan knew how to channel John Wayne’s rugged-individualism (read: selfish) mojo. He persuaded the masses to distrust unions and vote against the interests of their class. No wonder rich white dudes loved Dutch.
Entities like unions terrify chickenhawks. Plutocrats do not fight union leadership directly but instead work to undermine them, often with the aid of complicit government officials. Reagan made these practices appear masculine. Some cowboys ride off into the sunset. Other cowboys buy congressmen.
Here’s the pisser though. Instead of studying the real thing, an actor studied an actor. Reagan became, to use a Chuck Palahniuk phrase, “a copy of a copy” of a toughguy. That’s why Right-leaning dudes like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh seem off-kilter when they try to sound threatening. Whatever feels off, you’re not wrong. Shit is off.
John Wayne’s legacy has manifested in younger Right wingers who refer to themselves as alpha males and state that not everyone gets a trophy while worshipping rich men’s trophies. Just this past weekend, a group of these fellas got a wee bit too ammosexually-amped over rumors of Antifa. Guys like these…their smirk is their war face. The ones who can master the smirk-paired-with-stink-eye expression…the self-described alpha males…how much chicken would a chickenhawk hawk if a chickenhawk could hawk chicken? Make no mistake: rich white men enable these white men. Recent threats of violence have been sanctioned by the tax-shelters-and-bomb-shelters set.
These days, weak, loud types tend to see themselves as the strong, silent type. Why? Because of an unstable philosophical foundation.
Due to this inherent flaw, the whole effort got convoluted and artificial at some point. The further the nationalists and plutocrats deviate from traditional Right wing values, the more fake they sound. Everyone sees it.
It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Unlike chickenhawks, 800-pound gorillas are tough as nails.
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