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Sunday, 24 July 2016

American Democracy Is a Shitshow

Arun Gupta
Information Clearing House

American democracy is a shitshow that is insightful only unintentionally and captivating only in its grotesqueries.

In the late afternoon of day three of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, media workers and RNC attendees were blocked from exiting the security zone around the convention center. Past the concrete barriers, lines of police, and double layers of 10-foot tall steel-link fence, a protest was swirling. It was the American flag–burning hyped all day by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a tiny Maoist-style group known for provocative but ultimately harmless political stunts.

From the security tunnel, apparently modeled on checkpoints dotting Israeli-occupied Palestine, it was difficult to distinguish protesters from media in the crowd of hundreds. Heated yelling drifted above the tightly packed throngs, but there was no smoke to be seen.

The mere threat of a piece of colored fabric being set alight was enough to trigger a lockdown. Rent-a-cops started herding bewildered media out of the tunnel. When two columns of beefy riot cops in full body armor began filing out to take up position near the protest, security swooped in to clear media out of a parking lot where the tumult could be observed.

On the scene was dozens of Bikers for Trump, loudly lecturing how the flag-burners would be killed in any other country. The imminence of violence is a refrain on a right that glorifies its weapons as instruments of peace. The previous day when I took a photo on the street near the convention of a knot of muscleheads all wearing the same 2nd Amendment t-shirts, one told me, with approving nods from his compatriot, “If it wasn’t for the First Amendment, I would have smashed your camera.”

These gun-clingers hadn’t figured out the Constitution is not an a la carte menu they can pick and choose from, and eliminating the First Amendment would usher in the tyranny they rant about as imminent. 

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