Steve Bannon: "the single most dangerous American who came our way..."
Must see TV. You need to know the general who has declared war on democracy - everywhere.
It seems there are three camps of us. One camp is consumed by the torrent of increasingly daunting news each day. ‘We’ are a fairly small camp. Then there are those cognizant of, and sympathetic to reality, but with too much of it inconveniently and rudely on display, take the view that if they pretend the dauntingness doesn’t exist - then it must not. This is a pretty large group. Then there are those who fell or jumped into the rabbit hole of grievance based culture conflict. To their handlers, reality is an especially fluid and malleable resource, perfect for weaponization. Of the three, this might now be the single largest cohort.
That this is possible in the 21st century is mind boggling. That one man can be said to be the architect of it, even more so. That most of us are unaware that we are his mortal enemy - existentially dangerous. There is one man who has committed his life’s work to the destruction of liberal democracy in the West so that a new judeo-christian world order can emerge triumphant. His name is 69 year old Stephen K. Bannon. He has been a film-maker, a Goldman Sachs investment banker, a media executive, Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager, Chief Strategist and now Chief Enabler. Often described as a Rasputin to Trump, he is not an acolyte of the ex-president, but rather one shrewdly using TFG as an instrument of total war.
CNN has recently aired an episode of its Special Reports series on Bannon that is simply must-see TV. Entitled Steve Bannon, Divided We Fall, Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin explores the recent evolution of Bannon, and his central role as catalyst of a systemic, global effort to assure the ascendency of a white nationalist, Judeo-Christian world. As CNN colleague David Chalian notes, Bannon is “ the intellectual and cultural navigator for the modern day Trump era Republican Party.”
One thing you can’t say about Bannon is that he is subtle or discrete. He says what he is going to do, and then sets out to do it. The self-described Leninist is not a conservative in the current political vernacular, but an anarchist weaponizing the disease of ignorance and intolerance that grew and metastasized under Trump - an asset he describes as an “imperfect instrument” that is nonetheless an “an armour piercing shell.” He plans to catalyze and grow more of the same, with too-many-to-count quotes employing the highly militarized language that he uses - with each utterance normalizing violence. Indeed, on his top-rated podcast War Room, the self-described “headquarters” of the MAGA movement, he daily exhorts his millions of followers to “destroy” his and their “enemies”, admonishing his RINO critics to “grow up. We're in a war right now,” forthrightly admitting that “We didn’t win an election to bring the country together.”
Even conservative commentator and conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck presciently said of Bannon being named Trump’s Chief Strategist “He will make the Nixon administration look like Mary Poppins. He's a dangerous man.”
But that was then. This is now.
Griffin walks the viewer through how Bannon has mobilized his army in pursuit of the ‘precinct strategy” the vision of Arizona attorney Dan Schultz to systematically seize the machinery of governance and power, to determine who counts the votes, from the precinct up. To Schultz and his patron Bannon, the stakes are clear, with Schultz stating, “If we conservatives don't take over the Republican Party. We're gonna lose our Republic.” It’s clear though that it’s not just the republic they fear losing, but the primacy of white, judeo-christian culture - everywhere. From three smitten soccer-mom-cum-foot soldiers in Georgia to fellow traveller Viktor Orban in Hungary, Bannon is laying the scaffolding for what he calls The Movement, where “we’re actually going to provide the tools and building blocks for victory” just like when “I took over the Trump campaign”. It is not for nothing that Wolfgang Ischinger, Former German Ambassador to the US observes that “In my view, Steve Bannon was the single most dangerous American who came our way.”
There is however, one point on which I am aligned with Bannon. Former Trump Administration DHS Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, observes that Bannon’s “vision is almost messianic in the sense that he views the need for total systems change in the Western world.” I concur that it is now self evident that indeed, a total systems change is required, not just in the Western world, but on all of our one, very small, very fragile planet. The pressing question is, how do we counter the messianic mobilization of the third cohort I note at the outset? Though perhaps the single largest cohort in most countries, they are outnumbered still by those that are offended and feared by them.
How do we prevail over our adversaries utilizing a language of tolerance and humanity, as opposed to defeating those we label enemies? Of using reason over mania? Of leading by example rather than grift? It remains that some sort of purposeful, massive and massively scalable entity needs to “provide the tools and building blocks” not for victory, but for prevailing (much more than a semantic distinction). But something must be done, and done now. That is made patently clear by Drew Griffin. Ignore this warning at our peril.
The episode does not appear to be available via the CNN website, however, the transcript is: https://transcripts.cnn.com/show/csr/date/2022-07-22/segment/01