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Eichmanns in Trump’s Circles—Banality of Evil?

December 31st, 2016 | Posted by David Whitfield in Uncategorized

What will be our collective role in the coming year?

When Trump first came down the escalator and spoke June 2015, the madding crowd roared, cheered, sounding like an 18th Century lynching or a Super Bowl in action. I immediately thought that Trump could win the nomination. And when he spoke derisively of Mexicans and Muslims and the crowd salivated for more, I no longer thought he could win, I was convinced.  I said to my friend that he was doing an excellent job marketing America’s underbelly.

I was baffled that many others didn’t see what I sensed; or perhaps they pretended not to. The relative silence from the GOP in particular and millions of citizens in general spoke volumes. I thought hard about what his winning would portend for America in general, women and nonwhites in particular; I thought of his “I’ll be a law and order president.”  I’d heard those codified words before.  And given numerous shootings of mostly innocent Blacks and some Hispanics with impunity and the relative silence that followed, I recalled reading about “Eichmann in the Organization,” referring to Adolf Eichmann, a German Nazi and a key organizer of the Holocaust who claimed atrocities he participated in were normal because he followed orders; it resulted in a “banality of evil,” as Hannah Arendt would have it.

Eichmanns are alive and well in our political systems and many other entities and Trump’s entities are no different. Eichmanns’ marks are made by perpetuating “the banality of evil,” pretending all that’s done is normal.  Example are: shootings of innocent citizens with impunity under the justification of ‘law and order’; many CEOs collect more than $2,000 per hour and many of their organizational members earn less than $10 per hour;  80% of the US population shares only 11% of the financials wealth (See William Domhoff).  Another example is Goldman Sachs invested in human trafficking with a 16% take and ceased only after being outed. And these deeds are normalized?

Question is, how long will these actions be tolerated by common citizens? How long will citizens remain docile, silent?  Bernie Sanders passionately spoke of these conditions: police brutality against innocent people; he spoke of those who are at the bottom of the financial and economic ladder; that most of the money is at the top 5% of the population.

There seems to be confusion between the meaning of shareholder and stakeholder as manifested by Goldman Sachs, mentioned above, having invested in human (sex) trafficking (NYT, “Financiers And Sex Trafficking,” with a 16% stake, dated April 1, 2012, by Nicholas D. Kristof). Who was the Eichmann there at Goldman Sachs? How long was sex trafficking normalized there? And who’s to say they aren’t still doing it? How many Eichmanns do we have in Trump’s circles? How many are willing to co-opt their conscience to feed the already greedy, corrupt, oppressive, political, financial and other social systems?

Being Eichmann means co-opting one’s conscience in a corrupt, racialized political system. It appears that Trump and his followers are headed into an Eichmann-like world; namely, White supremacists are represented in his circles; he pretended not to know David Duke; he upheld policy in his company to reject Blacks from housing opportunities, giving preferential treatment to Whites; starting a national registry based on religion; rejecting the authority of a judge based on the judge’s race; building a wall and making the Mexicans pay for it.   Once there, how will they relate to those of us at the bottom of the financial and economic ladder? What will they do about the 80% who share a meager 11% of America’s financial wealth?

What is our collective role in resisting the foregoing?

In Peace, Joy, and Resistance!

Happy New Year!

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