The Ugly States of America, by Finian Cunningham

2020.06.03 Protesting the Murder of George Floyd, Washington, DC USA 155 50239

Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from Sputnik, June 8, 2020
June 9, 2020

The United States seems hopelessly riven with division, as the mass protests over the police killing of African-American man George Floyd reveal.

Protesters are calling for police forces accused of systematic racism to be defunded and disbanded. While opponents – many of whom seem to be supporters of President Trump – are calling for a tough law-and-order response to what they view as rioters and subversives.

The sharp tensions have even torn through the offices of the New York Times. Journalists at the paper are in open revolt after it published an opinion piece by Republican Senator Tom Cotton who endorsed Trump’s threat to send in troops to quell street demonstrations. Such a presidential move has been condemned as violating the US constitution.

Trump warned that he would deploy army units if states did not bring mass protests under control. Critics say he is using relatively minor incidents of rioting and looting as a cover for invoking federal military powers. There is even the suggestion of Trump angling for some kind of presidential dictatorship, as he overrides the autonomy of individual states.

The president and his supporters accuse Democrat-run states of using the protests as a way to mount sedition against his administration.

This is an echo of earlier claims by the Republican occupant of the White House who has slammed Democrat states for allegedly using the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown as a means to sabotage the economy and therefore his presidency. Trump’s call for “liberating” states has sailed close to the wind on being perceived as fomenting armed revolt.

Again Trump got into constitutional trouble by threatening to pull rank on individual states over their lockdown policy with federal decree. This conflict between Washington and the governing rights of individual states harks to the US Civil War more than a century-and-a-half ago.

Trump supporters like radio host Rush Limbaugh are warning that the country is heading towards another “veritable civil war” especially as the presidential election in November approaches. Trump has himself predicted a “civil war” breaking out if he is cheated out of re-election. Given the increasingly toxic political atmosphere in the US, it wouldn’t be hard for Trump supporters to construe political skulduggery even if it didn’t occur.

But the divisions in the US are not merely along Republican-Democrat lines. It’s more complex and chaotic than that. There’s no good guy versus bad guy scenario either. All sides are steeped in conspiracy theorizing of malign plots.

Republicans claim the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 are “colour revolutions” to overthrow Trump. Some Democrats claim that Russia is stoking unrest in order to sow division in American society in a reprise of the Russia collusion nonsense which they say helped Trump win the White House in 2016.

Now we have Republican party figures coming out to repudiate a Republican president. People like former President GW Bush and one-time White House candidate Mitt Romney.

Former military leaders have recently also broken with political tradition not to publicly lambast a sitting president. In an extraordinary interview, Four-Star General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell excoriated Trump for “lying all the time”. Other senior military figures, including retired Marine General James Mattis and Navy Admiral William McRaven, have also in the last week deplored Trump as being unfit for office.

Powell – a former senior Republican government official – went as far as saying he would vote for presumed Democrat candidate Joe Biden in the November elections.

Such unprecedented outspoken opposition to Trump from public figures associated with the Pentagon may be taken as evidence by supporters of the president that the “deep state” is manoeuvring against him and trying to manipulate the electoral process.

There may be a grain of truth in that. Trump’s demagoguery and the uncouth manner in dealing with domestic and international politics have no doubt agitated the political establishment to get rid of him for a more plausible commander-in-chief; perhaps someone like Biden who is every bit an imperialist puppet as Trump is but one who can convey the semblance of a unifying presidency.

The truth is, however, that the class and racial divisions of US society are so deep and entrenched that the country is hopelessly divided in the existing mould of bipartisan politics. Neither of the two parties – two sides of the same coin of big business and the military-industrial complex – can offer any solution to the Ugly States of America.

The nation is heading for implosion under the weight of its own endemic political and economic corruption. Trump’s not the cause of that. He is only an unwitting catalyst, just like Biden is and all those bipartisan pundits who presume to offer opposition to Trump.


Finian Cunningham, is a columnist at the Strategic Culture Foundation, Sputnik, and a Writer on Dandelion Salad. He can be reached at cunninghamfinian@gmail.com.

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From the archives:

Over the Rainbow: Paths of Resistance After George Floyd, by Jim Kavanagh

The Good, the Potential, and What Might Happen, by David Swanson + Chris Smiley: Truth About The Uprising From A Leftist

Chris Hedges: The Capitalist Class Wants To Keep The Working Class In A State Of Constant Distress

It Can Happen Here, by Kenn Orphan

Chris Hedges: The Real Looting of America

US Lectures World on Human Rights as Cops Kill Blacks With Impunity, by Finian Cunningham + Rebellion Against Police Murder Tears Through the US, by Sophie Squire + Margaret Kimberley: The US is the World’s Worst Abuser of Human Rights

Danny Haiphong: George Floyd and the Centrality of White Supremacy in America

10 thoughts on “The Ugly States of America, by Finian Cunningham

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  9. The critical issue in the US is also a universal one ~ the generic problem of governance itself. It is a problem as old as the proverbial hills, but especially accentuated in America because the culture of the US is so enfatuated with novelty, almost utterly cerebral in its purported focus and precociously fantastical in its youthful enthusiasms. The current atmospherics of the US has thus condensed into a type of hysterical teenage psychosis.

    There is no obvious “cure” because reality being necessarily a binary paradox, it can only evolve and manifest through a continuum of diverse mutations. In the US this is currently impossible as it is now experiencing a sociobiological log-jam that is a direct consequence of the fetishised myopia that is the current political duopoly of its corrupt elitism.

    Other countries have managed in one way or another to disguise and ameliorate to some extent their own innate tendencies toward such organised chaos, by drawing upon purported cultural continuities of one kind or another; often manifest as a contrived hereditary sense of idealised (even romantic) pragmatism ~ witness China for example. In Europe proper, the dire experience of the last 100 years however, has generated a much shrewder sense of what is actually feasible and more soberly progressive.

    Such potential tactical continuity is almost completely absent in America due to the current explosion of toxic vulgarity and cringing self-importance. The risk of invoking a more modest outlook is far too great for establishment figures to entertain in any realistic sense, as it would essentially require a public achnowledgment of pre-existent indigenous wisdom that necessarily threatens any priviliged sense of superiority. Such potentially radical developments are clearly especially problematic for “religiously” driven bigots like Trump, his pious handlers & any look-alike wannabe ‘rivals’ ~ whose mob-headed, neo-fascistic paranoid enthusiasms, inevitably display alarming signs of dizzying intoxication with their own prehensile inadequacies.

    Fanaticism is the only option for these dupes of glamourous ignorance, as anything else would require rational self-analysis, emotional discipline and a level of robust worldly education that is sorely lacking. Substantial evidence for any of those necessary prerequisites to intellectual and moral maturity is now virtually non-existent. In America, symbolically bankrupt egotism has presented itself as supreme & triumphant, the pumped-up god; bible-bloating Trump ullulates his craven narcissistic smugness, a perverse beneficiary of abject spiritual blindness….the delusionary embodiment of fatuous, unspeakable ‘materialistic’ conceits.

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