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Fantasies of Entitlement

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There’s an old civil rights slogan: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. The slogan of the Trump base might be: He is the one we were waiting for. And they will continue to wait, now even after he has left office, even after a second impeachment, and even if the Senate votes to convict and prevent him from office again. They will continue to wait and clamor for someone who will restore what was supposed to be theirs: the American dream promised to descendants of the Europeans who came to America, white America. The Trump base is not going away. In psychoanalytic terms, it remains gripped by a fantasy of white entitlement, an identity of being those who are truly deserving. They are beset by paranoia that enemies have stolen what they deserve. This identity is largely unconscious, anxious, and unstable, a defense against a more primordial anxiety of having no real or rightful place in the world. One need not be a member of a white supremacist organizations to have an identification with whiteness and all its connotations. But most of those enticed by it are white. Unlike historically rich ethnic or religious identities—whether Italian or Nigerian, Jewish or Muslim, whiteness is not really an identity at all. It is an epiphenomenon and legacy of colonialism, something shared by colonialists and constructed in opposition to those colonized. White identity is guilt-ridden and fragile to its core; but it has through American history been the ticket to membership, inclusion, and citizenship. And now in the second decade of the twenty-first century, that ticket is being called out for being a fraud. It will no longer get you to the front of the line. You will need to wait your turn like everyone else. Many in the Trump base deny they are racists, but there is ample evidence of their unconscious belief and primordial anxieties. Look at the symptoms. During the election season, every single time Trump or one of his surrogates was asked about racial. . .

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News source: gonepublic: philosophy, politics, & public life

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