John Wayne is Back: as Donald Trump

Hollywood fiction as a metaphor for White House reality
Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Firoz Osman

Dhu al-Hijjah 21, 1439 2018-09-01

News & Analysis

by Firoz Osman (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 7, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1439)

Donald Trump turned his menacing gaze from Turkey to South Africa, tweeting that land from white farmers was being seized. The implication was that it was an illegal act and he asked his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate this claim.

White farmers have recruited Zionist mercenaries to train the former to kill blacks. Having honed their murderous skills in killing innocent Palestinian men, women, children, and babies, the Zionists are eager to put these into practice in South Africa as well. The implications can be horrendous.

The US declared “economic war” on Turkey after the failed coup d’etat two years ago. The financial war has caused Turkey’s currency to fall in value by more than 40% since the beginning of the year. Trump has also banned immigrants from “shit-hole countries” in Africa and the Caribbean, and vilified Mexicans and Muslims, blocking citizens from seven Muslim countries to enter the US. He wants to even change the laws concerning legal immigration.

It seems John Wayne, the pistol-packing actor idolized for his role as the all-American gung-ho cowboy in Hollywood western and war movies has been resurrected. In his new incarnation, Wayne appears as a dangerous racist and reckless Donald Trump. One of Wayne’s memorable lines to the outlaw hiding in a building was, “Come out with your hands up. I promise you a fair trial and a clean hanging”!

White racist Americans revered films like The Searchers, The Cowboys, The Shootist, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance as masterpieces, where Wayne represented characters that were rough-and-tough as well as racist. In perhaps his best-remembered film, The Searchers, he nearly kills the young niece he has spent a decade looking for because she has been tainted by living with Native Americans, thus making her something less than human.

His movies from the 1950s and 1960s are still screened regularly to inspire and motivate military conscripts and young film directors championing whites pitted against the demonized Native Americans. The latter are depicted as howling savages and terrifying villains that lack such human qualities as emotions. The only treatment they deserve is death. “The only good Injun [Indian] is a dead Injun,” was one of Hollywood’s favorite lines in cowboy movies!

The movie exhibits old Hollywood racism that persists to the day. John Wayne refers to his part-Cherokee nephew as “blankethead,” making a distinction between Comanches and humans, and slaughters a herd of buffalo so his Native American enemies will starve.

Is this not redolent of Trump’s economic wars? John Wayne’s 1971 interview in the soft-porn magazine Playboy, reflects his racist views on the genocide of the indigenous American “Indians.” He said,

I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.

The “Indian Removal Act,” gave way to the “Trail of Tears,” in which native tribes had to endure forced relocations subjecting tens of thousands to suffer from exposure, disease, and starvation. These cruel acts resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Native Americans weren’t even considered innocent victims, but rather necessary collateral damage in the name of “Manifest Destiny.”

Wayne remains a popular white supremacist, conservative icon. Aissa Wayne, the actor’s daughter, endorsed Republican front-runner Donald Trump for president at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Iowa in 2016. She proudly said, “If John Wayne were around, he’d be standing right here instead of me.”

“He stood for those big American values that we know and we love,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican from Huntington Beach. Wayne “believed in white supremacy” and “didn’t understand why people insist that blacks” have been denied their right to an education,

I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people. We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks [same interview from Playboy magazine].

The international sheriff Donald Trump refused to condemn the white supremacists who are campaigning for him. Trump sidestepped many opportunities to renounce white nationalist and former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, who said that voting for any candidate other than Trump is “really treason to your heritage.”

Trump also condoned the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester. At a campaign rally in Alabama, Trump supporters physically attacked an African-American protester after the man began chanting “Black lives matter.” A video of the incident shows the assailants kicking the man after he had already fallen to the ground. The following day, Trump implied that the attackers were justified, “Maybe [the protester] should have been roughed up,” he mused. “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

Trump disparaged the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a young decorated Muslim US Army Officer who died while serving in Iraq. Candidate Trump insulted Khizr Khan and his wife, the deceased officer’s parents, while campaigning leading to the October 2016 presidential elections. He also claimed a judge was biased because “He’s a Mexican; we’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings — rulings that people can’t even believe.” Trump called Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists.”

President Nelson Mandela, in an interview with the Guardian (April 5, 2000), accused the American government of encouraging international chaos by ignoring other nations and playing “policeman of the world.”

This began with the European settlers’ slaughter of the Native People disparagingly referred to as “Red Indians” at Wounded Knee and continued with invasions and massacres of indigenous people all over the world for nearly 200 years. Their forces have intervened around the globe more than 200 times, dropped bombs on more than 23 countries. They have carried out 20 coups against independent-minded rulers, and are responsible for half a dozen assassinations of heads of state.

Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison, torture, renditions, assassinations, arming of dictators, slavery, exploitation, killing of civilians by drones and so on make a mockery of their claims to be champions of peace, security and democracy in the world. The danger lies in Trump acting as an international sheriff. He can destabilize South Africa, as he did Turkey, given Pretoria’s economic and political vulnerability. This is no Hollywood movie.

Dr. Firoz Osman is an executive member of the Media Review Network, an advocacy group based in Gauteng.

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