Donald Trump has let the racist and bigoted genie out of the bottle and it won’t go back in peacefully
TOM REGAN: SUMMONING ORENDA
May 7, 2016
A taco bowl.
This was how Donald Trump showed his “love” for Hispanics. On Cinco de Mayo, the artificially-created Mexican “holiday” in the United States, the artificially-created small-fingered vulgarian tweeted a shot of himself, giving a thumbs up to a huge taco bowl that he claimed was from the grill at Trump Towers in New York (which is crap, as the grill at Trump Towers doesn’t offer taco bowls). He added how much he “loved” Hispanics.
At least this time the Republican Party’s likely candidate for the presidency did not use the definite article in front of Hispanics, his normal practice, which betrays his not-so-hidden feelings of superiority over all minorities and women. It’s funny how the use of a thing as simple as “the” can be used to belittle and diminish an entire group of people.
But Trump is not the real problem. He will, as they say in Canada, likely lose his deposit in this fall’s presidential election against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
No, Trump is merely the catalyst. It’s his ham-handed ridiculous racism masquerading as “policy” or “outreach” that’s the problem. It’s his open attacks on Muslims and those same Hispanics in the past few months that have opened a spigot of racism and violence in the US not seen in many years. It’s his calls at his rallies for his supporters to beat the shit out of protesters that leave one uneasy.
Racism, misogyny and violence lurk just beneath the surface of so much in the US – culture, politics, business, law enforcement, education – that it’s a bit like losing sight of the forest for the trees. You can fool yourself in America into thinking that “We’ve come a long way baby”… and then there is a Tamir Rice, or a North Carolina anti-transgender bill, or yet another mass shooting, or a bill put forward by religious conservatives in Congress to deny women access to contraception.
In the past, overt racism or misogyny were largely frowned upon and those who dared to openly advocate such measures were normally ostracized or ridiculed by the general public. When it did happen, politicians or public figures would try to retract their statements with a tweet claiming that: a) they had been hacked, b) they were misquoted of taken out of context or c) apologize to anyone who “might” be offended or d) (my personal favorite) ‘God’ told them to do it.
But an interesting thing has happened with Trump. He’s made it OK to openly be a racist again. He’s made it OK to verbally (or even physically) attack minorities or those whose views you disagree with. Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to racism and women-hating since David Duke. The KKK and other white supremacist groups are lining up like tweens for tickets to a Taylor Swift concert to praise Trump, calling him “their candidate” who best represents “their views.”
Meanwhile, stories of attacks on minorities or women opposed to Trump seem all over the media these days. Muslims have been attacked or assaulted on the street, in markets or in coffee shops by people who’ve openly identified themselves as Trump supporters and not cared if what they did was wrong. Many Muslims have talked to numerous media outlets about how things have changed, how people – whose once might have been friendly – now view them with suspicion since Trump.
There was the woman who recently tried to talk about transgender rights at a meeting in a small South Carolina community, and was drowned out by bigots in the room singing “Jesus Loves Me,’ obviously missing the irony in their actions. Or the Finnish woman who painted “Naked Trump,” who was attacked by a carload of Trump supporters as she neared her home in California. And there is more than enough coverage of the violence that grips almost every Trump rally, the attacks on protesters, the brown-shirt like joy his supporters take in beating anyone who does not like the Fuhrer … pardon, I mean Trump. Or how some of his leading supporters openly threatened other Republicans who might vote against him, saying that they would “come and get them” in their hotel rooms at this summer’s convention in Cleveland, as Mr. Trump himself talked about riots in the streets if he was denied the nomination.
At the same time, American media, particularly cable media, is in a frenzy of Trump-love, as he helps their corporate masters earn more and more money with each appearance. The media in the US has almost entirely abdicated their responsibility to push Trump on the violent racism of his followers, or has allowed him to brush it off when they do summon up the courage to confront him.
And as we get closer to election day, this may mark the first time in 150 years when the supporters of one candidate may try to use physical violence to dissuade supporters of the other candidate from voting.
Oh, you say, you’re being overly concerned. Surely we won’t see the kind of thing we see in South America or the Middle East in elections.
There is a longer-range concern here as well. When Trump loses this election, as he surely will, how will his supporters react then? It’s possible that they may be even more openly racist and violent as they seethe in the defeat of their champion. They may feel more emboldened and angry as the new Democratic president appoints several more liberal members to the Supreme Court, as transgender and gay individuals find greater acceptance, as their lily white country becomes the diverse, open nation that America was always meant to be.
As Trump trumpets racism and anti-Muslim rhetoric, Londoners overwhelming elected a Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, a man who even his opponents reached out to all faiths during his campaign. His opponent tried to tie him to extremists based purely on his religion. Londoners, a people who live with the constant fear of terrorism in a way that perhaps only New Yorkers can empathize with, rejected those lies. One can only hope Americans do the same.
But Trump has let the racist and bigoted genie out of the bottle and it won’t go back in peacefully. America needs to prepare for scenes of violence and hatred it may not have seen since the 60s in the South.
I hope I’m wrong, but I fear I am not.
Copyright Tom Regan 2016
Contact Tom Regan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Related on F&O:
Sadiq Khan: British dream reality for London’s first Muslim mayor, by Parveen Akhtar
In Pakistan, the chances that the son of a bus or rickshaw driver could secure a high-ranking political position in the country’s capital city are minuscule. But now, the people of London have elected Sadiq Khan – the son of an immigrant Pakistani bus driver – to be their first Muslim mayor. …read more
WATCH: Room Full Of Bigoted Parents Sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ To Drown Out Mom’s Heartfelt LGBT Speech, ifyouonlynews: http://www.ifyouonlynews.com/politics/watch-room-full-of-bigoted-parents-sing-jesus-loves-me-to-drown-out-moms-heartfelt-lgbt-speech/
Trump’s America: Woman Who Painted ‘Naked Trump’ Beaten By His Goons, Reverb Press: http://reverbpress.com/news/trumps-america-woman-who-painted-naked-trump-beaten-by-his-goons/
Donald Trump Posts Pic Of Taco Bowl For Cinco De Mayo: ‘I Love Hispanics!’ Talking Points Memo: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-cinco-de-mayo
Hate Crimes Rise Along With Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric, the Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2016/05/05/hate-crimes-rise-along-with-donald-trumps-anti-muslim-rhetoric/
‘It could get a lot worse for Muslims in America’, Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/it-could-get-a-lot-worse-for-muslims-in-america/2016/05/03/7f651196-1166-11e6-93ae-50921721165d_story.html
Police Are Looking For An Alleged Trump Supporter Who Attacked A Muslim Woman, Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/muslim-woman-attacked_us_57289b7ae4b0bc9cb0447aed
Trump doesn’t challenge anti-Muslim questioner at event, CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/17/politics/donald-trump-obama-muslim-new-hampshire/
Muslim student at Wichita State reports attack by man shouting ‘Trump, Trump, Trump’, Kansas.com: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article65903602.html
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Tom Regan has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and with the National Film Board in Canada, and in the United States for the Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and National Public Radio. A former executive director of the Online News Association in the U.S., he was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 1991-92. He is based near Washington, D.C.
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