Jason Parham is a senior writer for WIRED. Depth of Field is his weekly dispatch about culture's most searing current images.The rally recalled all the rhetoric of his first gambit for the White House in 2016, when he promised to "Make America Great Again." For 2020 and beyond, he guaranteed to "Keep America Great." Trump is prone to bland dictums, and he invoked words like "verdict," "witch hunt," and "destiny"—flagging the last four years, and perhaps those ahead, as a time of persecution and fate. Expectedly, he counted himself among the persecuted. It was a stark, comic contrast to the day before, on Twitter, when he announced plans by ICE to remove "illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States." The statement was neither unexpected nor the exception—in tone and texture, Trump brandishes a narrative of dislocation. It is, as I've noted previously , a language that willfully colors malice as virtue.There's a kind of villainous genius to it, I guess. He cloaks the pillars of hate—stripping queer citizens of their civil liberties, flattening women's rights, and funneling children into detention facilities that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called concentration camps just this week—in hollow slogans like "Make America Great." Proclamations like that have kept mediocre white men in power for ages, but they don't really mean much. The phrase is entirely, wickedly subjective—how, and for whom, is he making this country better?
- Jason Parham
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