If Dangerous Donald is channeling Tricky Dick, it’s time to change the channel.
Promising to restore “Law and Order” Trump sounds a lot like a re-run of Richard Nixon’s campaign.
Talk about ripped from the headlines; that is if the headlines are nearly 50 years old.
Playing on people’s fears in 1968, Nixon emphasized law and order, positioning himself as the champion of the silent majority as opposed to his opponent liberal Hubert Humphrey.
Like a vintage re-run of Law and Order on Hulu we’ve viewed too many times, the story playing out before us today is painfully familiar as Trump promises to “Make America Safe Again” and become the enforcer in chief.
In a 1968 campaign speech Nixon cited the fears and resentments of “forgotten Americans,” and vowed to return “order” to the streets and the country.
The disenfranchised, angry middle Americans of 1968, the so-called silent majority bear a strong resemblance to Trump’s frustrated, fear based followers. Their familiar “America Way” had shattered into a bewildering array of lifestyles and felt their white patriarchal ways were under attack.
Law and Order : Silent Majority
No one represented the silent majority of fading white male patriarchy than that other sexist, racist, xenophobic from Queens, N.Y.
All in The Family’s Archie Bunker, that 1970’s flag waving, John Wayne-loving, loveable, blue-collar bigot became a powerful spokesman for those President Richard Nixon had termed the Silent Majority.
Resentful, Archie was fed up with intellectuals, women libbers, bleeding heart liberals, out-sourced jobs, and other elites intent on messing up a way of life that was working pretty well.
This blue color worker from Queens grappled with the big issues of the day- affirmative action, gay pride, women’s rights, the sexual revolution and his railing at elites has become the leitmotif of American politics ever since.
“I’m white, I’m male, I’m protestant,” Archie Bunker once declared. “Where’s there a law to protect me?” (That’s the sort of question we can imagine coming from Trump supporter Congressman’s Steven King’s mouth who recently questioned what Nonwhites have done for civilization.)
Girls Were Girls and Men Were Men
Suddenly white male entitlement was being challenged, beginning its slow decline.
Like Trump supporters, Archie missed it and wanted it back.
Just as Archie Bunker pined for the good ol’ days, Trump has fetishized the Good Old Days not just in rhetoric or sentiment but in policy that aims to take us back to them.
The American Way of Life had shattered into a bewildering array of lifestyles and some felt American values and the nuclear family, the very bedrock of our society, was under attack. By the mid 1970’s Mom and Dad were divorced, the factory where Dad worked had moved to Taiwan, Sis was a corporate vice president, and Junior was out of the closet and gay.
The silent majority was feeling put out, overlooked and felt they needed to stand up and reclaim the values that once made the country great again.
It’s déjà vu all over again.
That same sentiment and call to the so-called disenfranchised silent majority is embedded in Trumps slogan “Make America Great Again,”or what many read “Make America White Again.”