That idiot, PewDiePie, had the self-awareness to say that the New Zealand shooter’s call out to him made him sick to his stomach. That idiot, our president, has made no such rebuttal to the shooter’s mention of him. A generous soul might think that Trump covered all this when he tweeted, “God bless all people.” But I have no more generosity for Mr. Trump. And anyway, considering that the NZ shooter is just one of a series of white supremacists who have acted in Trump’s name, you’d think Trump would take care to say something that would distance himself. But he won’t do that—at least not without equivocation. And the reason is because 1) he thinks some white supremacists are very fine people, 2) he knows that he can carry this thought without alienating his base of lapdogs, and 3) he knows that this thought can actually win him more lapdogs. I suspect that Trump himself is a bigot. (Okay. I’d put money on the fact that Trump is a bigot.) But I think he refrains from distancing himself mostly because he knows that bigots help him. They keep voting for his platform. They keep mentioning his name. They keep giving him their approval. And Trump is a sucker for approval almost as much as he’s a sucker for power. And this…er… suckage makes him so malleable that he won’t even reject praise from murderers. He is actually that weak.
And really, the NZ massacre isn’t the first time we’ve seen Trump play footsie with terrorists. We saw him grovel for Putin, last July. We saw him praise Kim Jong Un, last month. We talk so much about Russian election collusion that we rarely mention the other risks to national security that Trump’s spinelessness engenders. As a bully, he’s a pack animal. He impresses and dominates the less-powerful. And then he shows his belly to those who impress and dominate him. It’s the same mechanism that got authoritarians to vote for him: If you have money, then you must be strong—and we want our leader to be strong. We want our country to be strong. We want to be great again.
The problem—or one of the problems—is that a pecking order follows a transitive effect. If you bow to Trump, then you also bow to those who make him their bitch. If you bow to Trump, then you bow to Kim, and you bow to Putin, and you at least share words of praise with a white supremacist who killed 49 Muslims. As far as you are concerned, maybe this truckling is worth the big dogs’ approval—their praise of your race, or of your so-called Christianity, or of your so-called heroism in the face of those who are different from yourselves. Or, I could be wrong here. Maybe you don’t care about approval at all. Maybe you’re not really a lapdog, but an actual jackal, where you’ll join any pack that tears enough from the scapegoats that it’ll leave some fat for you too. It doesn’t matter, really. Not in the end. You’re still debasing yourself for scraps.
EDIT: Regarding NZ, there’s another post that somebody should write about social media and massacres. Perhaps it will be more original than this one. I just tire of Trump and his platform escaping blame for crimes that literally invoke him.