It happened. It fucking happened. I didn’t think it would be this quick, but I now realize how futile that assumption was after living through these past four years of misery. I’m exhausted, as I’m sure everyone else is. Anyway, I’m sure by now, most people know the story of Martin Gugino, the 75-year old activist, in Buffalo who was taken to the hospital after being forcefully shoved by two cops causing him to fall and hit his head hard on the ground. The video is hard to watch, perhaps the most infuriating part is when a dozen or so cops casually walk past Martin’s bleeding unconscious body before anyone thinks to call for help.
The two cops involved have been charged with assault and as of this writing, Mr. Gugino is still in the hospital. Everyone thought that’s where the story would end until today when Trump accused Gugino of being an Antifa provocateur. As first glance, the accusation appears to have all the Trumpian hallmarks of a batshit insane conspiracy theory that he decided to hawk off some sketchy far-right source, but the more I think about it, the more worried I get.
While it’s true that Trump, the current U.S. president, watched a segment of One America News Network and turned it into a tweet, Trump’s smearing of. a man who’s currently in the hospital with the vague label of Antifa is far more troubling. What’s to stop him from doing with the label “antifa” what he so brilliantly did with the term “fake news”; that is, strip it of all real life meaning and use it as a teflon shield to deflect anything that might harm how he sees himself while simultaneously providing a convincing security blanket to his millions of supporters assuring him that he truly is the real deal and not some narcissistic grifter who preys on small minds like everyone else says.
The ironic thing though in all of this is that the term “fake news” used to be employed by respectable news outlets to counteract crazy conspiracies, essentially a weapon employed against people like Trump. Now, it’s being used by all of Trump’s dictator pals. We’re slowly going down that road with “antifa”, which is already a term most people don’t know.
Today, it’s some 75-year old hospitalized, genial activist from Buffalo. Tomorrow, it’s Sarah Grossman, a protester who died after being sprayed with pepper spray by police. The day after it’s George Floyd. The day after that it’s former Obama administration officials. Who knows?
Pretty soon it becomes “Will no one rid Trump of these turbulent protestors?”
I know the instinct to all of this can be to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation and then shake your head in resigned acceptance, but don’t. It’s easy to shrug your shoulders and say “Welp, it’s Trump! What can you do? Vote!” That’s a false sense of security that no one should feel comfortable with accepting. This guy can absolutely win, and part of his strategy is pulling nonsense like this.
It keeps the media attention on him instead of the dozen events Biden has been a part of recently. It lets him control the narrative. Whatever he wants to talk about is the news of the day, and what people need to talk about gets wiped away.