As you may — or may not — recall, Charlie Manson was fond of The Beatles song Helter Skelter because he saw it as sort of the anthem of a coming race war in the United States. I would propose that you can make the case that there is a spiritual bridge from the Manson Murders to the Trump MAGA fuzzy collection of hateful ideas that now run the country.
Let’s take a look at what was going on in 1969. The whole point of the Manson Murders, as I understand it, is Manson thought if he murdered some people and somehow magically pinned it on African Americans he could start a race war. I would suggest that now 50 years later, we essentially have Donald Trump as the spiritual successor to Charlie Manson as president.
Trump is using the power of the bully pulpit to divide the United States in a way that’s not been seen since the Civil War. He really seems like he’s itching for a race war. And, you have to admit that while Trump may not be a psychopath like Manson, he sure damn well is a sociopath. the man is completely devoid of empathy.
Once you look at Trump and Manson critically, it definitely seems as though the dark vision of Manson saw 50 years ago is coming true under Trump’s watch. The extreme Right definitely seems one step away from itching for a race war, is all I say. They really want a white ethno-state replacing the “city on a hill” that I was told America was when I was growing up. Maybe Trump’s Manson-like worldview is watered down, but it’s definitely there.
Both Manson and Trump see as America as intrinsically white, the only difference is the means they use in an effort to divide the nation. Manson used brutal murders, while Trump uses Twitter. But their goes are identical — establish terror in the hearts of the white majority towards the goal of a dystopian white ethno-state. If I worked at The New Yorker or The New York Review Books, I would write about 3,000 words on this.
Alas, I’m just a loser nobody working on a scifi novel that provides me 200,000 words to do much the same if in an extremely diffused manner.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He is working on his first novel. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.