So who do you hate? Who do you consider to be “lesser,” unworthy to be included in that tribe we call Americans?
Whoever it is, isn’t it comforting to know that “political correctness” no longer restrains you from letting everyone know, from “telling it like it is”? It was so silly to disapprove of name-calling, race-baiting, and other forthright communications…
That’s the ugly genie that Donald Trump’s repulsive campaign has let out of the lamp, and I am very doubtful that even his (hopefully significant) loss will allow us to put it back in.
It’s bad enough that the so-called “alt-right”–the NeoNazis, the white supremacists, the Klansmen–have come out from under their rocks to enthusiastically endorse a vile and semi-sentient candidate who channels their fevered hatreds. What is worse–far worse–is that Trump has normalized a dramatically coarsened discourse and made expressions of raw bigotry acceptable in venues where they were previously muted.
A recent post at Washington Monthly by a Jewish commentator is just one example. He writes,
I often get rough messages from people who disagree with me in the thrust and parry of presidential politics and the politics of health reform. It wasn’t always pleasant. It comes with the territory.
None of this prepared me for 2016.
I and many others who write for fairly broad audiences are being deluged with antisemitic messages from Trump supporters. They come mostly on Twitter, but on private emails and blogs, too. Many alt-right messages bracket our names like so: (((haroldpollack))), to indicate that we are Jewish….
Many include four-letter words and colorful vocabulary that is quite familiar to me from my experience working on public health interventions for high-risk adolescents and adults. I block everyone who sends me these messages. For all I know, there are hundreds more.
Pollack shared one long, rambling diatribe, and it was, as he labeled it, hateful and sick. He says he usually doesn’t share such messages–why give them more air–but he does make an observation worth considering:
In a strange way, I’m almost–almost–glad that these anti-Semitic messages are out there. They remind many of us on the receiving end of a few basic realities that hang over our contested, pluralist democracy. They should remind us of what many others are facing, who have so very much more to lose if our nation jumps off the political cliff this November.
I would quibble with only one point: it isn’t only “many others” who stand to lose if this wave of tribal venom and ignorance persists. We all stand to lose something very precious: the ideal and promise of America.
Granted, we’ve never lived up to that promise, but most of us, at least, have tried. And over the years, we have improved. We’ve become fairer, more inclusive, less intolerant. More adult. We’ve recognized that we’re all in this together (whatever “this” is), and thousands–millions–of us have worked hard to bend that arc of history toward justice.
Those efforts are what made America great. Not saber-rattling or bluster or domination of some by others.
It’s those efforts, those ideals, that Trump and his sneering enablers are attacking when they call Mexicans rapists, call blacks thugs, call women fat slobs. That’s the America–our America– that they want to erase.
28 thoughts on “Immigrants, Blacks, Muslims, Jews..”
Trump has just released what was already there. The hatred had been building up for over 45 years. The hatred had been coming disguised in two ways: one masked in Christianity, the other with a robe. Because of Ted Cruz, Trump chose the robe which is the more extreme and difficult route to victory.
Win or lose, this will be the worst of the legacies that Trump will leave. As much as some may sneer at what they call politial correctness, it is always the hope that if we refrain from saying hateful and hurtful things, we may eventually not feel them in our hearts. It’s not the openness of extremists that I fear, it’s what we now know “regular” people have been harboring and could act on. All the more reason why we need to work at avoiding the name-calling, vulgarity, and profanity that now seems to be acceptable.
Marv, has it been only 45 years?
The hatred and bigotry unleashed in this political season will not just be the legacy of Trump. It will be the legacy of the entire Republican Party… every damn member and vote supporter. Since the days of Reagan, the Republicans have silently stood by as distrust of government, public loathing of all ideas liberal, all ideas science, all logic and reason were painted with the same brush of ignorance by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox and the Christian Right. Many of their Congressmen, Senators and Judges have twisted and defaced the laws of the land, shedding any glimmer of honesty and decency in their quest for power. They have played to the worse instincts in the citizenry. They have publically turned against President Obama, heaping disrespect on him and his family, and in doing so have dragged this country to this low point. Even now, with a clear vision of what they have done and the consequences of their actions/ inactions they still cannot bring themselves to act for the good of the country. The shame is theirs and theirs alone.
“Win or lose, this will be the worst legacies that Trump will leave”
I don’t think so. His legacy will be more…..he is the catalyst for catastrophic racial warfare. It’s becoming unavoidable and should be no surprise to anyone.
Marv, they go hand-in-hand. Racial warfare comes from unleashed racial hatred.
I work hard not to hate; Trump makes this a 24/7 battle regarding the hatred he has unleashed from his lofty position, supported by a once reputable political party, in his bid for the presidency. I grew up in a staunch Republican family but they and too many other Republicans didn’t see or refuse to admit the downhill slide into the slime of their current political position.
I have been on the receiving end of racism and bigotry for decades; much of it from my own family, especially after I married that “colored guy”. When I called my mother in Florida to ask why she had not notified me of my uncle’s death, her response/reason was, “You made your bed…” She also told me that no one on either side of the family wanted anything to do with me; I learned later that was a lie. This was in the mid-1970’s; that level of hatred is now blatant on the national level, between political parties (all four of them), families, friends, neighbors, businesses, schools, churches, et al. Led by a man who has been a national joke for decades and who, as reported last night on Rachel Maddow, co-stared in a Playboy soft porn movie with twins putting on the show. His part was not defined. His current wife is a former stripper whose pictures have been posted on Facebook, near naked with only nipples and pubic hair covered. He is still ranting against a beautiful former Miss Universe – for reasons beyond all comprehension as she is not a political candidate. He believes that when he goes more public with Bill Clinton’s infidelities, he is going to stir up women’s ire against Hillary for staying in her marriage. I have been there, done that; I, without knowing her personal reasons, do understand her position. It is not my place or your’s or Trumps to impose your beliefs on her and it does NOT turn me against her. The fact that Trump is Trumpeting this supposedly moral view is certainly “the pot calling the kettle black”.
His hatred of Mexicans doesn’t explain his own production businesses located in that country, or other country, yet he hates all foreigners and immigrants and want them deported along with any and all American citizens he disapproves of for his own bigoted reasoning.
I do work hard not to hate; my feelings regarding this current terrifying presidential election include shame, grief and anger along with stark fear. If the lengthy list of those Trump hates and wants to rid America of will only unite and vote against him; we can take back this country from the haters. It will take more than voting AGAINST Trump; it will take voting out as many Republican candidates from Congress on the ballot this November 8th; barely over one month from now. Can we undo what he has wrought the past year or so; WILL we undo it?
“Marv, has it been only 45 years?”
Thanks for correcting me. I should have said: The anti-Semitism has been building and ORGANIZED for over 45 years. The virulent anti-Semitism like in Nazi Germany has mutated into increased hatred for other groups, especially African-Americans.
That mutation was made very clear in the award-winning off-Broadway production of “Conversations with a Kleagle” by Rudy Gray, the African-American playwright back a dozen years or so.
We Baby Boomers have let the world down,
“If the lengthy list of those Trump hates and wants to rid America of WILL ONLY UNITE and vote against him; we can take back this country from the haters.”
The Republicans and unfortunately everyone else have a big problem with the Donald Trump run for the presidency. Even if they don’t know it yet.
The MAJORITY of Republicans are of two ilks: Either true believers in racial hatred masked in Christianity or true believers in racial hatred masked in white robes. Don’t forget we’re free to hate in America.
Now most Republicans would rather not have a race war if that could be avoided. Of the 17 Republican candidates, 16 especially Ted Cruz would RATHER have played the game of racial hatred masked in Christianity. That way because of the place of Christianity in the African-American community the racism could be downplayed enough to win the presidential election.
So along comes the great opportunist, Donald Trump who says to himself: “Gee whiz I see a great opportunity, screw “Christianity” I’m going with the “white robes.” He then says to himself, “No problem. I can work-out the backlash from the African-American community by playing the Jews against the Blacks or the Blacks against the Jews. They’ll forget about me.” REALLY.
Not a bad idea, but George Bush tried that scenario back in Dallas during the one man, one vote battle which ended in 1991. And it failed miserably. And he lost. See http://www.TheAlarmReport.info.
From my perspective, the only thing DonaldTrump can deliver if elected President of the United States of America is RACIAL WARFARE. Anyone diagree?
Marv; to paraphrase your comment about my comment, that is not only “doable” but probably the only outcome to be expected.
“From my perspective, the only thing DonaldTrump can deliver if elected President of the United States of America is RACIAL WARFARE. Anyone diagree?”
Oh, hell. You’re right, suddenly everyone’s fair game.
Still & all, I find it so satisfying to call the postmodernists the nihilists they are. Is that racism? I don’t think so.
I am still married and have friends because I have been so polically correct to refrain from saying everything that has passed through my head.
My parents taught me that rudeness and disrespect destroy relationships.
They hadn’t heard about political correctness.
Now that apparently we don’t need collaboration any more I guess what culture taught me has passed.
Thank you Theresa Bowers for summing it all up so well! The republicans have done all of this either directly or through their surrogates through social media and other media forms. When one reads about how the Nazis came to power in Germany the parallels between the methodologies both have used is striking. The outcome is the same; everything based on fear and hate, turning neighbors and friends against each other because of political differences and virtually wrecking social discourse in this country in the process. Those that have led these efforts by either directly or indirectly should be keelhauled and if you’re not familiar with that long outlawed form of punishment look it up in the Wiki. That’s what they deserve to what they’ve done to this country and its people.
People in groups behave differently than they do as individuals. Groups feed off of and amplify emotion.
Yes, we as individuals harbor racist, anti-Semitic, anti-OTHER tendencies, but those tendencies are not just being expressed in the current campaign climate; their expression is being reinforced and stoked by passion caused by fear and grief.
The American middle and working classes have been decimated by the events of the past 15 years. Many have lost everything: jobs, homes, savings, pensions, marriages. Those who have been lucky enough to hang on to some of those things fear that could change overnight.
We feel helpless to change anything, hold anyone accountable, even to make ourselves heard.
All of that emotion has to go somewhere, be vented somehow, else it will destroy the person experiencing it. As it has: increased suicides among white middle-aged men being one indicator.
Maybe I’m a Pollyanna, but I believe that we can, in fact, stuff that genie back into the bottle. I believe that most of us do not want to be these awful people. We want to be loving and accepting and egalitarian.
Some of us are able to do so despite our circumstances, but as the jobless recovery drags on for 5? 6? 7? years with no improvement, many have lost hope.
If we can turn things around for the 99% so that fear and hopelessness are not their daily companions, people will recover their more generous impulses. In hindsight, many will be ashamed of their behavior, and will look back at this time as one long nightmare from which they have – finally – awakened.
But that will only happen if we can force the powers-that-be to pay attention to us and start governing for the good of all of us, not just the 1%.
I don’t have answers for how to accomplish this, but there are some things we can do to start: we can have more influence on our local governments, so that’s where we should focus most of our efforts. Run for office or work fot particular candidates if you have the time, talent and energy to do so. If you don’t, let your elected officials know what you think their priorities should be. And, by all means, thank them when they get it right.
At the state and federal level, there too many one-issue voters – guns, abortion, immigration – so we need to declare a moratorium on those issues – essentially, refuse to engage them – and tackle the things that will benefit all of us – more and better jobs, affordable education and improved opportunities for training, universal healthcare, a minimum wage that can provide the basics of life, strengthened Social Security, etc.
Any candidate who does not make those things the centerpiece of his/her efforts should be sent packing. Once we all have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat, we can tackle those social issues with clearer heads and more tolerance.
Beyond the political arena, we must take personal responsibility for helping our neighbors. You don’t have to like someone’s politics to stop and ask how they’re doing. Make an extra casserole for dinner, and ask the family down the hall to help you out by eating it because you don’t have room for it in the freezer. Ask the crochety geezer next door if you can pick up something for him at the drug store or grocery store. Or offer to send your teenager over to clean out his gutters or rake leaves.
We tend to want to disengage when “outside” seems so threatening. But like so many things, the solution is to do the opposite of what we’re feeling. And doing something, even if it feels small and inconsequential, is far better than hiding and worrying.
I believe that we are living in revolutionary times.
On one hand there has been an explosion in what we collectively know and our awareness of it. On the other hand change comes very slowly to the education business so virtually all of us are going backwards in the portion of what is known that we individually know.
That cries for collaboration. But collaboration is hard to impossible for many as they see it as weakness in individuality.
There’s some big time head knocking going on.
To me that choice though defines our candidates. Collaborator vs cowboy.
As usual the NY Times says it way better than I can.
“Granted, we’ve never lived up to that promise, but most of us, at least, have tried. And over the years, we have improved. We’ve become fairer, more inclusive, less intolerant. More adult. We’ve recognized that we’re all in this together (whatever “this” is), and thousands–millions–of us have worked hard to bend that arc of history toward justice.”
Not any more. The internet and polarized news have allowed everybody to find like-minded haters, to move together from the dark squalid corners to the center of the room, where they can trumpet their hatred. What was socially unacceptable in mixed company is the ticket to admission in self-selected groups.
This is from The New York Times article cited above by Pete.
“The elected officials are pretty much universally in a cowering position. But you’d think George W. Bush, who kept calling himself “The Decider,” would stop avoiding the entire question. And Jeb Bush! When reporters cornered him this week, he said, “Well, if everybody didn’t vote, that would be a pretty powerful political statement, wouldn’t it?”
According to the BBC, Prescott Bush was involved in the failed attempt to create a fascist movement in the U.S. in 1935. General Smedley Butler prevented the aborted takeover when he revealed the plot during a special hearing in Congress that year.
Does anyone who is still in their right mind believe George and Jeb aren’t involved “up to their necks” in this stinking mess? Remember George Bush the “compassionate conservative.”
The Bush family’s ultimate objective is the same as Donald Trump. All three, father and two sons, are for the “slow burn with so-called upper-class style.” And Donald Trump has taught them all a good lesson on the problem of taking that approach, especially Jeb. That’s the only major difference between the four of them.
We’re unable as a country to face up to the fundamental changes that are happening right in front of our eyes. The New York Times included.
Theresa, this is brilliant!
“The hatred and bigotry unleashed in this political season will not just be the legacy of Trump. It will be the legacy of the entire Republican Party… every damn member and vote supporter. Since the days of Reagan, the Republicans have silently stood by as distrust of government, public loathing of all ideas liberal, all ideas science, all logic and reason were painted with the same brush of ignorance by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox and the Christian Right. Many of their Congressmen, Senators and Judges have twisted and defaced the laws of the land, shedding any glimmer of honesty and decency in their quest for power. They have played to the worse instincts in the citizenry. They have publically turned against President Obama, heaping disrespect on him and his family, and in doing so have dragged this country to this low point. Even now, with a clear vision of what they have done and the consequences of their actions/ inactions they still cannot bring themselves to act for the good of the country. The shame is theirs and theirs alone.”
The most unamerican group is the collection of rich white guys who think squeezing more money out of average citizens and putting it in their bank accounts. They are the ones to loath.
AgingLGrl; Theresa certainly did nail it; put it all out in the open, hung the Republican’s dirty laundry out for all to see. There have always been politicians whose words, actions and goals were beyond understanding by intelligent voters but; never before have we seen deliberate destruction and lack of humanity by an entire political party whose greed, avarice and total lack of moral integrity have an overwhelming chance to succeed.
We have followed the money easily at this junction; Trump’s ill-gotten gains from the misery of others and lack of paying taxes has been bragged about before an audience of reportedly 84 MILLION PEOPLE. Not only in America but around the world and he continues unabated with his lawlessness which has become a new form of “mooning” the entire country and laughing at our disgust. And when we believe he cannot get any worse…he gets worse. Freedom of speech has become a military level weapon with him, his campaign workers, supporters and the GOP. If elected; his widely varied forms of bigotry will be the least of our worries; our very survival will be the order of the day.
Americans are unable to effectively deal with the advancing shift in the political status quo from DEMOCRATIC to FASCIST.
It’s been a slow motion takeover the last 45 years, always 2 steps forward and 1 backward to stay under the radar.
Where could there be a better set-up for an OPPORTUNIST like Donald Trump to take over leadership of a neo-fascist movement aka “compassionate conservatism.” Kudos to the Bush family along with the Koch Brothers.
ku-dos (kyoo’das’, koo’-) n. [Gr.kydos] credit for an achievement; glory; fame: often wrongly taken to be the plural (pron. -doz) of an assumed word “kudo”
I agree with much of your post. Jobs and a decent life would go far in helping our country with many social ills. The problem is, neither party cares when it comes down to it. The Republicans don’t care about quality paying jobs at all. The Democrats care just one step above Republics due to their economic platform that pretty much is based on doling out welfare benefits to more people. The Dems won’t let you starve, but they will demand you just be content in cramped, crappy subsidized housing, getting handouts like WIC, food stamps, daycare, bare bones healthcare, etc.. Forget about that party actually providing good paying jobs that would allow people to made decent money for extras like smart phones, home ownership, decent transportation, etc.. The Dems constantly talk about income inequality, but they never talk about net worth inequality. The Clinton’s are worth anywhere from $20M-$60M depending on who you believe. Pelosi is worth around $75,000,000.00. All those left leaning CEOs who are worth tens of millions to billions of dollars. They all sit there, hoarding their wealth and not sharing with anyone, only doling out bits and pieces so they can claim to be warriors in the fight for equality.
People blasted Trump for his claim of paying, or avoiding, income taxes for however many years. So what? At least he has the balls to admit his greed and doesn’t wear two different faces pretending to care about the poor and middle class. Unfortunately, I’m not a Pollyanna. I see continued decline from here on out. Neither party wants what is truly best for society as a whole. The wealthy leaders of both parties want nothing to do with true, fair progressive income taxation. Neither party will talk about a one time wealth confiscation tax. They have theirs and they are never, ever going to fairly share with the rest of society. Thus, we will continue to decline. I believe these police shooting riots are in some part connected to the life of poverty many people have to live in this country. We have had many American cities become victims of arson, looting, and violent attacks on both police and innocent people who just happened to be in the area. I just don’t see things getting any better.
“That cries for collaboration. But collaboration is hard to impossible for many as they see it as weakness in individuality.”
Right on target again. That’s our only chance for effective mobilization at this late date.
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