It’s time to Break It Down!
Many Americans lament the erosion of civil discourse, especially in the political arena. I have noted before, this is by no means a new thing. Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States, and former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton met July 11, 1804, in a duel that led to Hamilton’s death. Hamilton shot first, and missed. Oops! Burr then fired a shot that mortally wounded Hamilton. He died the next day from the gunshot.
As political feuding goes, it’s hard to top Burr-Hamilton. Laying that horrific anomaly to the side (most political tiffs don’t result in homicide), we are in an increasingly bad space these days. I have previously referenced a number of ways in which Donald Trump has contributed to the current low-water mark of public interaction.
In the event you have missed my commentary, or perchance, have been locked in a cave, or engaged in a latter day version of the Rip Van Winkle Story, here are a few of the ways in which Donald J. Trump has personally contributed to the race to the bottom:
- Referred to Mexicans who immigrate to the United States primarily as people who bring drugs and crime. They are rapists. To his credit, he did go on to say, “And some I assume are good people.”
- Suggested that a black protester at one of his rallies be assaulted. The day after one of his rallies, he said Mercutio Southall, Jr. was so obnoxious at his rally, that maybe he should have been roughed up. Video showed Mr. Southall being pushed to the ground and surrounded by several white men who began kicking and punching him. In addition to saying that he should have been roughed up, Trump added that his supporters should throw him out. What was the catalyst for this attack? Southall had screamed, “Black lives matter.” (Black Lives Matter protester was punched and kicked)
- The Trump-White Nationalist nexus – Not only do white nationalists love Trump; he loves them back. During the course of his campaign, he accepted donations from racist white people, including Michael Polignano and Peter Brimelow, both of whom manage racist publications. White nationalists gravitated to Trump for a number of reasons. High on the list were anti-immigrant policies, Islamophobia, anti-blackness, and sexism. Their doting admiration was a key factor in why it took his campaign so long to denounce receiving support from organizations such as the KKK, and their leading personalities, including David Duke.
- Called for the complete shutdown of Muslims entering this country. Trump and his transition team raised the stakes on Islamophobia. From his campaign’s inception, he indicated that a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims was necessary for the country’s safety. He suggested that systems beyond databases should be used to track Muslims in America.
- What the hell do you (black folks) have to lose? In TrumpWorld, virtually all black folks are undereducated, bullet-dodging, abortion seeking at nine months kinds of people. This racial trope seems to be black reality in Trump’s mind. At one of his rallies he intoned, “We have to help them.” The infamous “them,” was black people who are apparently misguided, violent, and hopeless.
- “Why are we having all these people from s…hole countries come here? At a meeting in the Oval Office with politcos from both sides of the aisle, convened to discuss immigration policy, Trump was disturbed by the immigration of people from Haiti and African countries. In addition to taking offense to Haitians and Africans coming to America (about 398 years too late), he suggested we need more Norwegians.
- You also had some very fine people on both sides.” After violence erupted in Charlottesville, VA, during protests of the Unite The Right rally, inspired and led by white nationalists, Trump made the aforementioned comment. The “both sides” included the protesters on one side, and white nationalists and Nazis on the other. Very fine people among white nationalists and Nazis…Really?
- “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, `Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!“ In the height of Trump’s efforts to stump for Roy Moore to become Alabama’s newest Senator, Trump took a rhetorical detour to expand upon his views on one of his favorite foils, NFL players who kneel to protest the violent deaths of black and brown folks killed by police officers. Trump, of course, has succeeded in conflating the issue so that he and his supporters argue vociferously about disrespecting “our great flag,” which has less than nothing to do with the issue.
- “Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country” if you don’t stand for the anthem. When the NFL announced that it was enacting a policy that required players on the field to stand for the Anthem, Trump praised the League’s new stance, though he went on to pan the option for players who don’t choose to stand to remain in the locker room during the Anthem.
- The Central Park 5 Billboard – One of the most abhorrent of Trump’s many acts of incivility was his purchasing billboards with several newspapers throughout NYC promoting the re-establishment of the death penalty, presumably to put 5 black and Latino New Yorkers to death for their alleged role in the beating and rape of a Central Park jogger. A subsequent confession, supplemented by DNA evidence proved conclusively that all 5 of the young men were innocent. The young men, who had spent up to 12 years in prison were released and sued the City. They were awarded a settlement totaling $41 million, a $million for each year they spent in jail. Trump was livid, and for many years refused to relent on his call for the death penalty. At least one report says he finally backed away from his insistence on the death penalty, but he still argues they are guilty. Talk about a science denier!
While I would never suggest this is The Donald’s Top 10 most heinous statements or actions, they all rank high, as far as I’m concerned. But that brings me full circle, and back to the title/theme for today’s post. News reports indicate that Sarah Sanders will get Secret Service protection, possibly as early as today. There have been conniptions, and gnashing of teeth by the Right due to the owner of an unaffiliated Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, VA, asking Sarah Sanders, Trump’s Press Secretary, to leave. Many tossed out the Left’s taking offense about cake-maker who refused to serve the gay couple as an example of hypocrisy, and of a double standard. They blame the escalation of incivility on the Left.
In my view, in a perfect world, the gay couple would have gotten their wedding cake, and Mrs. Sanders and her family would have gotten dinner. But, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in TrumpWorld. And in that sphere, Donald Trump has since long before he ran for president, to while he was running for the office, and since being elected, appeared to work tirelessly to obliterate any sense of civil discourse on matters that relate to politics, race, religion, law, just to name a few areas. He and his supporters and sycophants believe that his obnoxious behavior is a political winner for him, and for them.
At this juncture, they control the Oval Office, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, and more state legislatures than I care to count. It’s hard to argue with them at the moment. Still, at then end of a race to the bottom, you are at the bottom. In my heart of hearts, I believe there must be more, and better. But that’s all about the future. For now, Sarah Sanders Secures Secret Service Safeguarding: “This Is America!” Apologies to Childish Gambino.
I’m done; holla back!
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