When I was a kid my grandmother told me never to count people. She admonished that it was only safe to count legs and divide by two, “to confuse the evil eye.” The idea is that if something draws attention to—singles out—an individual, that individual becomes the target of the evil force.
I have watched enough wildlife TV to see this work out on the Serengeti when a straggling zebra becomes lunch for a cheetah. Still, it seems odd to think that a mysterious power lurking in every knife drawer and sewing box would be math challenged by even simple division.
But back to Trump. Trump is the contemporary version of the lurking evil that the evil eye represents—except that he manages to lurk in plain view.
Take the census. Scotus worked its too rare good magic to erase Trump’s citizenship question. So, the Moloch of Pennsylvania Avenue sired a new scheme. Once people have been counted, it becomes possible to separate and isolate the targets of Trumpian predation, the presumed “illegal” non-persons, and delete them. The evil “I” seeks to erase those he deems unfit for being counted –or, for that matter being counted on, as workers, caregivers, taxpayers. Delete them. Cancel them. Effectively do an ethnic cleansing of those he and his GOP acolytes deem unworthy of being.
By uncounting those who followed the law and responded to the census, the victims can be starved of resources, stripped of the protections budgeted for them, and sacrificed to xenophobic racism. Get the irony— people abide by the law and then you punish them for acting lawfully.
Not so eerily, this is the same strategy as the administration’s approach to DACA. Those who registered to prevent deportation have provided their names for the passenger list for deportation.
Canceling actual people while inventing non-existing crowds at his inauguration or creating “many people” who supposedly say whatever it is Trump wants to promote is his modus operandi– easily seen through, yet he persists because we let him get away with it.