Soundtracking the Resistance - Temperament of a Leader | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Soundtracking the Resistance - Temperament of a Leader

Trump vs. Obamacare, Trump vs. Bob Corker, Trump vs. Rex Tillerson, Eminem vs. Trump

Oct 13, 2017 Bookmark and Share


After a week off, we return to look at Trump's regular outbursts, his threats to end aid to U.S. citizens, and efforts to weaken healthcare for the most vulnerable in the country. On top of that, rappers have been calling out both the President and the Vice President while standing up to racists in public. And there's some Beyoncé too. 

The Big Event 

Attempting to find a moment to sum up Trump's presidency so far is tricky. There are too many instances of bombastic awfulness fighting to take top spot in a highly competitive field. Another one was added a couple of weeks ago when he stood throwing paper towels out in Puerto Rico like a small-town radio host handing out raffle prizes at the county show.

Such moments are likely to keep accumulating given the temperament of the man now occupying the White House. None of them are what seems to truly define Trump though. For that, we need look no further than his own periodic outbursts. No matter how well or badly things are going, he seems incapable of holding back jibes that range from petty to bitter.

Some of these emerge on his favorite platform, Twitter; others come across in print or TV interviews. Occasionally, word leaks about private rages, although with Trump, unlike previous presidents, the public façade is so brittle we don't need anonymous internal sources to reveal his inner thoughts; he puts them out there in 140 characters or less.

The past few days have been yet another example of this behavior. First, Senator Bob Corker moved himself into the line of fire. The Republican chair of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations broke ranks with his leader, going so as far as to suggest his bungling foreign diplomacy could lead us all into World War III. Such a damaging attack deserves a carefully thought-through response. Cue one of Trump's insulting nicknames as he took to Twitter to label him "liddle" Bob Corker.

It's easier for someone like Corker to come out against Trump since he has announced his retirement and won't be standing again for office next year. The Tennessee Republican can take the ire he's likely to receive with less concern. That ire has certainly been forthcoming, both online and at the White House on Tuesday.

Tuesday also revealed the publication of an interview in Forbes that finally saw Trump strike back at his Secretary of State following suggestions Rex Tillerson had referred to his boss as a "moron." While still sticking to his story that it's all fake news, this despite the fact several sources confirmed the comment and Tillerson himself failed to explicitly deny it, Trump went on to propose an IQ test if the comment had been made. He also heavily implied he'd prevail in such a test.

As far as Trump goes, his attacks on Corker are much more characteristic than those on Tillerson, at least in terms of their virulence, but they fit a pattern of externalized anger. The President seems physically incapable of keeping emotions in check. Attack him and he'll lash out. Question him in the slightest and he'll lash out. There's a sad irony here given he accused Hillary Clinton of not being made of the right stuff to lead the country.

One way in which the Tillerson comeback does become more characteristic is the obsession with IQ. Trump loves to brag about his intelligence. There's an odd mix of boorish self-confidence mixed with inferiority complex inhabiting the White House.

With such a makeup, there will be many more situations causing eye rolls and gasps while he's president, but it's this thin-skinned lashing out that seems to mark so much of what he does. When looking for defining moments, Trump provides them each time he's let loose on Twitter, or given the freedom to pontificate in front of journalists. Thus, we have a whole load of moments combining into one clear example of the kind of person everyone in the country is now dealing with. It's not a pretty revelation.

What's Going On

We briefly mentioned Trump's unedifying behavior in Puerto Rico above. That's nothing compared to his threat to withdraw emergency workers from the embattled territory as it tries to get back on its feet after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. He's also been blaming much of the situation on poor management locally. It seems astonishing for a sitting president to threaten to remove support to U.S. citizens, although we really should be past the stage where anything done by this administration counts as truly astonishing. The bar has been raised (or should that be lowered) so much already.

Sometimes it can feel like the entire Trump presidency has been one big battle with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Certainly, in terms of congressional efforts and airtime, it has dominated in ways no other field of policy gets close to. No matter how many setbacks the Republican cause has faced, they've refused to budge in their core mission to rid themselves of the dreadful behemoth they feel Obama inflicted on the nation. Trump has seized on anger by pledging to roll back Obamacare, and he took a big step on Thursday by making a move that could scuttle the whole thing. By ending payments to health insurers used to help lower-income Americans afford coverage, he could implode ACA marketplaces and hasten the end of Obama's landmark policy, all without a backup in place. It's a drastic step even Trump held off taking for a long time. But he's done it now. 

Over in Europe, the extent of the upheaval in Catalonia seems increasingly unclear. The region in Spain held a disputed referendum last week to vote on independence. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor, albeit with less than 50% turnout, and without the official sanction of the Spanish Government. Now it's hard to tell if the region has declared independence or not given conflicting comments from the current head of Catalonia. It's a fraught and baffling situation that has potentially huge ramifications in Spain and across the European Union. But before consequences can be dealt with, it would be helpful to establish where everyone stands.

Speak Up!

Eminem has joined the growing number of music figures willing to publicly go after the President by launching into a four minute plus freestyle attack that not only peppers Trump with insults, but also calls out the rapper's own fans who voted for him. He does the latter unapologetically.

A video emerged this week of a man being kicked off a subway train in New York by fellow passengers after hurling racist abuse at a group of teenagers. Near the end of the video, soup is thrown in the face of the racist as he tries to barge his way back into the carriage from the platform. NYC rapper Princess Nokia has since confirmed she was the one to throw the soup after refusing to be cowed by the man's outrageously unacceptable behavior.

 

 

Killer Mike took to Instagram to call out Mike Pence for his decision to leave the Indianapolis Colts NFL game after a number of players took a knee during the anthem. The Vice President subsequently justified his actions on Twitter, leading to Killer Mike's rebuttal in which he attacks him for going against principles in the U.S. constitution.

I wonder how he feels about the constitution. 🀷🏾‍♂️The document that contains the principles this republic is founded on. The 1st being #FreeSpeech. Free speech is what protects this and any protest. The constitution that guards against Tyranny like the state abusing and denying citizens full rights. U know the stuff that prompted the kneel. The kneel is to bring awareness to the public that officers of the law are playing Judge, Jury and executioner therefore denying Americans Citizens their constitutional rights becuz they are a racial minority. I wonder if he knows he and the soldiers I respect and value swear to uphold that constitution and not simply be propaganda agents for the state. He loves religion to much to hold public office in my opinion and he shows that he cares nothing for our republic by not honoring the constitutional rights of its citizens. I'm glad he left that event because he cheapened it with his presence. God speed on our next election. I hope we send his religious nut ass back home to relish in his false understanding of what this country is and we never see him on a national stage again. 😊

A post shared by Killer Mike (@killermike) on Oct 9, 2017 at 7:09am PDT

Even if the government is willing to walk away from Puerto Rico, not everyone is. Mac DeMarco is selling four signed test pressings of his 2012 EP Rock and Roll Night Club to raise reconstruction funds for the territory. He also put out the message "Love you P.R., keep your chin up!"

Song of the Week: Beyoncé - "Freedom" 

Beyoncé has long been a role model looked up to by millions of fans. The past year has seen her really embrace her position of influence. This week saw her continue to do so by releasing a new video of "Freedom" for International Day of the Girl on Wednesday. It features girls from across the world singing along to the track from her critically acclaimed record Lemonade.

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