There’s so much to unpack over the last two weeks. Where to even begin? The first presidential debate occurred the day after the last column went live, then there was the VP debate. Neither of which were likely to change any minds.
Trump was objectively disgusting during his debate. Look, we’re 60 columns into this thing so I’m not going to pretend that Basslines and Protest Signs is an impartial thing. I’m a left wing writer, proudly so. My disdain for right wing politics has existed for years, and the direction in which the Trump administration is pushing this country is, in my honest opinion, dangerous. That will come as a surprise to zero regular readers. And we have an award under our belt, so we’re doing something right.
But still, I was at least hoping for a real debate. Like, two candidates adhering to the rules and allowing each other to speak. Whatever — being an oafish bully is what Trump does best. His “fans” love it because they view it as alpha behavior. These are the same people who think that condemning school bullies is wrong because it encourages wimpy, “beta,” “cuck” behavior.
The big takeaway that night, of course, was the fact that Trump effectively refused to condemn white supremacy — instead telling the Proud Boys, a hate group, to “stand back and stand by.” In politics, and especially during an election, words are often twisted but that’s not the case here. This was a clear call to arms by the President of the United States to a known hate group. And they responded with glee on social media, tweeting sentiments such as, “standing by, sir.”
It’s scary shit, although some glorious relief came when the gay community successfully reclaimed the word “proud” by tagging thousands of photos of men kissing with “proudboys” and enraging homophobes everywhere.
Now, to be fair, this column is intended to provide a musical perspective to politics, so let’s look at what rapper Ja Rule thought of that debate:
“This is about GOOD and EVIL… not BLACK and WHITE… vote evil OUT!!!”
Wise words. Meanwhile. Doc Coyle of Bad Wolves asked why Trump is so angry:
“I ask this seriously, why is Trump so angry? I really wonder. He’s fueled by a visceral rage. And I don’t understand it’s genesis. I’m not sure what temperament is more appealing to undecided voters but it’s striking. To me at least.”
Tegan & Sara reminded us (including this writer) that we should be more focused on voting than on Trump’s nonsense.
“Every second we’re talking about HIM, we aren’t talking about voting, racial justice, the supreme court, climate change, separating families + forced hysterectomies by ICE, the million people who’ve died from COVID around the world, LGBTQ+ rights, & his taxes. He’s playing us.”
Baltimore punk band War on Women were justifiably concerned about Trump’s request for his followers to “watch” voters.
“Really worried about voter intimidation at the polls. Please share any links/thoughts about best ways to help/prevent/combat it.”
In response to Trump’s attacks on Biden’s son Hunter for overcoming addiction, metal singer OTEP posted:
“One of Chump’s brothers died of alcoholism. Trump is one very broken man.”
Finally, Bill Gould of Faith No More pointed out that Trump’s tactics are familiar to many musicians.
“Any musician friends who feel like they’ve played in a band with Donald Trump, raise your hands!”
So that was the first debate. An utter shitshow. I cheered when Biden called Trump a clown and told him to “shut up, man,” but really it’s not cool that the former VP and (God willing) future president was forced to do that.
Kamala Harris (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
The VP debate was a lot more civil but still exposed the misogyny running through the nation. Kamala Harris handled herself with dignity despite Pence talking over her with alarming regularity. And for many, her smiles and “I’m speaking, ok? Ok.” were met with cries of “She’s smug.” What bullshit. She’s a strong, intelligent woman of color and she kicked Pence’s ass into next week.
When he openly denied the existence of systemic racism — well, that should have been ‘gameover’ right there. But these aren’t normal times. The fly on his head which caused such a massive buzz (not sorry) was funny but shouldn’t distract from his disgraceful ignorance towards institutional racism.
We haven’t even gotten to Trump testing positive for COVID yet, following a typically ridiculous super-spreader event at the White House. As a direct result, there were more new COVID cases at the White House last week (34) than in 12 countries. Like, 12 entire countries. New Zealand, just for an example, had 25. It’s a huge country with a huge tourist industry but it had 25 last week when the White House alone had 34. Mull that over for a minute.
Trump, of course, released himself from the hospital like Michael Myers, bullishly leaping around the place spitting rants and Coronavirus, endangering countless people. “I’m immune,” he said, like an insane person.
And then today, on the day I’m writing this, which happens to be Indigenous Peoples Day, reclaimed from Columbus Day (and Thanksgiving in Canada, and Day of the Race in Mexico), Trump released a statement which basically flips the bird at the many Indigenous people in the United States.
“Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy. These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions. Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister. They seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy. We must not give in to these tactics or consent to such a bleak view of our history. We must teach future generations about our storied heritage, starting with the protection of monuments to our intrepid heroes like Columbus.”
He also talked about how Columbus “tamed the wilderness.” Disgusting, racist stuff. This isn’t normal and it has to stop. So again, please, just fuck!ng vote.