About an hour into last night’s Republican debate, Ohio Governor John Kasich excoriated Donald Trump’s mass-deportation plan, calling the idea that we might deport 11 million undocumented immigrants “not an adult argument.” We have to do it,” Trump replied. “We have to.” But how would he do it? Once he had removed the immigrants from their homes, would he put them in camps while he determined their countries of origin? Or would he just deport them all—Guatemalans, Uighur Chinese, Nigerians, French—to Mexico? Will the deported immigrants fly commercial, or will there be some kind of train? These are the questions no one asked at the fourth GOP debate, while we waited for a real candidate to take the stage. But this is it. These vague, impossible ideas are not ciphers for real policy different Republicans will tell us about later. There is no one behind the curtain.
Before Dylann Storm Roof almost didn’t kill nine black churchgoers but then did it anyway, he read a list of black-on-white murders compiled by the Council of Conservative Citizens. That group developed out of the now-defunct White Citizens’ Councils, and it is still a white primacy organization. It has also donated a lot of money to Republican politicians, including Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker. The CCC supports the GOP, but not the other way around. Of course, the GOP does oppose affirmative action, and it supports states’ rights and strong limits on immigration and other polices that racists happen to like. But the Republican Party is not racist. It just happens to hold many of the same policy positions as a white primacy organization.
After children have lost their other innate abilities—when they can no longer recognize facial expressions or manipulate objects, but instead swipe feebly at whatever images they hope to change—they will still have a keen sense of what’s fair. Fair is I get what you get. If you are, for example, one of a numerical minority of Americans whose parents were legally kept as slaves five generations ago, and you are twice as likely to be born into poverty and roughly one fifth as likely to successfully hail a cab, it’s unfair that I don’t get to say the n-word. I thought racism was supposed to be over, but here we are giving people special privileges. Today is Friday, which is totally unfair to Thursday, when you think about it. Won’t you forget where we came from with me?
At 12:01 this morning, thanks to that villain Randy Paul and, to a lesser extent, the guy who told us about it, the US government lost its authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. The Patriot Act has expired. I assume you are reading this from the point of a scimitar, at the other end of which gibbers a bearded zealot. Perhaps you have already become an ISIS or, worse, a copyright infringer. Perhaps you are one of the handful of Americans who remain free, for now. Don’t panic. Probably, most major US cities will be anthraxed between now and lunch on Tuesday. But the strong can survive. You just need to take a few precautions.
If I see a bicycle and a ramp on my computer screen, I know someone is going to get hurt. Certain forms create their own expectations, and the internet video is one of them. So is the school board meeting, the science fiction book, the episode of MTV Cribs. But what about more organic forms, like the parent-child relationship of the presidential campaign? Once you start thinking this way, anything can be a form, and events within them take on a strangely concocted quality, as they shift from the realm of ontology to aesthetics. Not Combat! blog, though—we will never succumb to formal expectations. Today is Friday, and it’s hard to realize what you’re doing from the inside. Won’t you satisfy the conventions of the form with me?