Sovietization of the GOP

A fellow ex-Soviet immigrant tweeted at me today offering a thoroughly unsurprising take. How can I hate Republicans and love Communists on the other side of the isle? I, who escaped the horrors of communism myself! How could I embrace such raging Brezhnevites as… American liberals?

Fellow ex-Soviets, particularly those over a certain age, have long stopped surprising me with their rabidly uncompromising view of American politics. It might be a good topic for a separate post, but the reasons for their ten-miles-to-the-right-of-Ted-Cruz position on the political spectrum are depressingly simple. Still, it struck me incredibly funny that today, on Day 3 of the Go-Back-Gate, anyone with actual experience of Soviet and Russian life would fail to see how familiar the rhetoric employed by Donald Trump and his chorus of despicables in the GOP has gotten.

In case you have missed it, egged on by Chief Eunuch of the Presidential Choir, Trump did the very last thing from backtracking on his appallingly racist and xenophobic tweets, instead directing more fire at the four non-white Congresswomen he had previously told to “go back” to wherever it is in the world he imagines people of color really belong.

Trump’s enablers in the GOP want to present it as an ideological struggle of “socialism vs. freedom”, with the added implication, glorious in its paradoxical inanity, that everyone who prefers the former should leave. Because freedom, apparently. Race, of course, has nothing to do with this, everyone. Just pure philosophical disagreements between the noted student of political economy Mr. Trump and four hateful commie women over there.

Let’s now break for a second to quickly google how many times Bernie Sanders, an actual socialist running for president, has been told to go back to Poland. Go ahead, I’ll wait here. Shouldn’t take too long.

Trump, of course, has nowhere near the required intellectual capacity to perform such mental gymnastics. His mind, such as it is, doesn’t bend or somersault. So he just went into a barrage of fourth-grader whatabaoutism casting The Squad as the real racists who hate America and love something called “Alcaida” and must, therefore, leave the country. Not because of race, everyone. But because they HATE US.

Let’s break for another second to quickly google how many times Republican politicians told Trump to go back to Scotland or Germany when he referred to America as “fools”, “suckers” or “dumb” under the Obama administration to say nothing of his excusing Putin’s murderous reign by equating it with America’s history. Back already? Man, I thought I had another long sentence in me…

You know, Russian, normally, is a very flowery language. It takes us a damn long time to describe and explain things, because we tend to get poetic and use long words and run-on sentences. This is why Tolstoy wrote War and Peace on 1200 pages, while any Western writer would have needed scarcely more than one sentence: “War is hell, you don’t matter, go brood in the cold.” But in this case, we have a much quicker, more concise phrase that would have easily replaced the entirety of Trump’s verbal diarrhea.

Here it is.

НЕ НРАВИТСЯ У НАС – ВАЛИ!

It means, “If you don’t like it here…”, followed by one of many rude Russian words for “get out.” This phrase has lately become pretty much the battle cry of fiercely pro-Putin “Russian patriots” who use it to silence any criticism of the regime. But it’s hardly new. It was not only uttered but also readily enacted in the Soviet Union where dissidents were routinely deported for speaking out. Trump and the GOP probably don’t even realize how Russian they sound all while decrying communism, but oh my goodness, do they ever!

But, to dig slightly deeper here, what reminds me of Russia even more is the underlying conviction that criticizing the ones in power means hating the country. That patriotism means being nice to the man in control. Equating the country with its leaders is such a deeply-seated trope in Russian politics, it even gave birth to one of the more famous quotes from classical literature.

“Many tend to confuse the terms “Fatherland” and “Your excellency”, wrote Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin in the XIX century, when all of Trump’s ancestors were still residing in their respective shitholes. The Russian classic would not have been surprised if he heard my gym teacher, upon hearing my unflattering comment in 10th grade about the Soviet leadership, say, “So, you are the enemy of the people, then! Get the hell out of our country!”

This phrase is absolutely evergreen in Russia and will be for the forseeable future. It’s not really new in America, either. I am old enough to remember when Republicans ran in 2004 on telling anyone who was against Bush’s war “Why do you hate America so much?”

What is new is that this horrible “Love His Excellency or hate the Fatherland” Sovietization of American politics is now the FALLBACK position. This is where the GOP retreats now when outright racism becomes a bit too hot to handle. When “How dare do non-white people criticize America” is too much, they run for “How dare ANYONE criticize America.” When the KKK hood becomes too tight, they reach for the NKVD hat.

Well done, comrades.

PS. I am still staying and you can still go fuck yourselves.

PPS. You are still racist AF.

Slava Malamud

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