Trump may be a crackpot, but he's still dangerous
- Credit: Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Former president Donald Trump's lawsuit suing Google, Facebook and Twitter is as crazy as it sounds - but BONNIE GREER says he is still dangerous
The latest lawsuit from former president Donald Trump is as stupid as you think it is.
In brief: he is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter in what he calls a class action suit, claiming that their banning of him violates his First Amendment rights.
There are basic problems here that any rookie lawyer, other than a Trump stooge, would have told him:
The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects an individual against the government. In other words, you can say whatever you like against the government, the president, whoever.
That is why trying to get a law to prevent the US flag from being “interpreted” - whether used in an artwork or desecrated in some way to make a political point - goes nowhere, because that interpretation is what is called protected speech. The United States says that each individual has that right, simply by virtue of being born.
The tech companies, made up of individuals, most of them US citizens, have First Amendment protection because each of the workers has it. And you cannot sue a private company for a violation of free speech. The First Amendment is about the individual versus the government.
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To be successfully sued, Twitter, for example, would have had to have acted in collusion with the government, in other words: be a state actor. But when Twitter banned Trump, HE was the government - that is, president of the United States.
This kind of suit has been laughed out of court loads of times (one judge told a plaintiff: “See these robes I have on? That means we do law in here”). So you have to ask what’s actually going on, and why what is going on matters. Really matters.
First of all, Trump custom and practice means that if he or his businesses are being sued, he counter-sues. This goes back decades.
Since his businesses are being sued by the Manhattan DA who will be followed by the attorney general of New York, who actually ran on a platform centred around taking down Donald Trump (she won big), the guy known in New York City as 'Don The Con' has to Look Big. Do Big.
But, you may say: “Why does Trump matter? Leave him. He’s done”.
Donald Trump is a salesman/hunter who has found several deeply buried American tropes; dragged them out of the mire into the light of day, bringing the Republic to maybe the most crucial moment in its 245-year history.
As Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip, always says: “America is an experiment.” Before the US was born, what nation on earth ever said, "You can be a citizen by virtue of being born in the country, plus you can decide what being a citizen means"?
You can make up the US as you go along. It’s open to interpretation.
This makes the nation essentially malleable, which is why the Constitution has been amended 27 times.
The person in the White House matters because that person is part of the way the nation sees itself; talks about itself; fights for itself; dreams about itself.
You can have FDR’s “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. ” Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America; ” Barack Obama's “Change has come to America.”
Whether that works or not for you, it is still there; it is still the zeitgeist, it is still what America dreams and national and domestic policy are built on.
So along comes Donald Trump. His inaugural address name-checks something called “American carnage”, causing George W Bush to mouth “What the fuck?”
Trump ends his presidency by exhorting a crowd to march on the Capitol of the United States while the lower House is assembled, doing its constitutional duty of ratifying the presidential election. He teases at being re-instated as POTUS in August, so who knows what will happen then.
Therefore what Trump says and what he does still matter until he stops saying what he says and doing what he does. Because he was once the President.
Understanding him, understanding why he is key.
Trump was born in Queens, New York, and lived in the biggest house in the street. But his money never bought him what he really wanted: Manhattan. Respect from it. Attention. The genius of the Trump presidency and appeal is that he is the ultimate “bridge and tunnel” person made good.
That dismissive term is said to have been invented by Steve Rube;l, one of the owners of that ultimate Manhattan in-place of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Studio 54. If you went there a lot, you always called it "Studio”, and what the guys with the clipboards at the entrance were tasked to do was keep out the people who lived in: Queens, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Staten Island, upstate etc.
The people who had to cross bridges and take trains to get to the island that is Manhattan. The “bridge and tunnel people.”
Trump, in his person and in his words, has tapped into all of the “bridge and tunnel", the "flyover" people. Everywhere.
The other key to Trump is his performance of masculinity. He wears gangster-cut coats and suits; swaggers; doesn’t care what he says. He openly and boldly disrespects women - all women.
In other words, there is a huge section of the American public who Believe in Him.
Imagine if Nigel Farage could insight a mob of people to storm parliament.
For this and many other reasons, n relation to Donald Trump: Attention Must Be Paid
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