“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Everyone gasped when Donald Trump uttered those words at his presidential campaign launch event in June, 2015. Out the gate, he hit the racism button, shamelessly scapegoating Mexicans and Mexican Americans for the country’s ills. Complaining that political correctness has kept America from having the “frank” discussions it needed to have about such issues as immigration and terrorism, his language, statements, and proposals have only gotten worse.
During his wild and crazy drive to become the Republican presidential nominee, up to and including his anointment at the Republican Convention in late July, many in the media class have wondered often and loudly, will Trump pivot? Will he mellow and begin to behave more presidential? No, he won’t. Will he start making planned speeches rather than speak off the cuff? Yes, but it doesn’t help. Though occasionally he has condescended to using a teleprompter for his “serious” speeches, he nonetheless continues to hit the racism button with unabashed élan, like a rabid gameshow contestant going for the big money.
In my piece “Republican Supernova,” I called Trump the natural result of a political party in collapse. The collapse has gone beyond the Republican party, however. Now, Trump has become everybody’s supernova. His ascendancy is the latest, and grossest, manifestation of America’s fractured, incomplete, and incompetent discussion on race and class.
His message to blacks: what have you got to lose? Trump states that we live in crime-ridden neighborhoods with lousy schools and have no employment opportunities. He then touts himself as the solution. Stereotyping aside, that Trump himself disdains African Americans is beside the point.
Despite this racist broadside against African Americans, a black minister, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of the Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit, felt the need to invite the Republican presidential nominee to his church, first for a scripted interview, then to participate in a service. Video now exists of Trump in a largely black church, swaying along with the music. Ugh. Rather than challenge Trump on his racism, Jackson became a willing pawn in his campaign’s efforts to sanitize his standing in the African American community. Bishop Jackson seems well aware of his precarious position. He protested in an interview that “I am not a Uncle Tom. I am not an Uncle Ruckus.”
It’s never a good thing when you have to distance yourself from Uncle Ruckus.
We don’t know Bishop Jackson’s motives for making nice to Trump, though I suspect it’s likely the Bishop’s bling addiction.
The supernova has extended even to Mexico, the original muse of Trump’s racist tirades. For reasons no one can quite fathom, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto invited Trump to his country for, what? A meet and greet? To discuss their policy differences? Who knows. In any case, they spoke for a short time, then held a joint press conference, where Trump stated that they discussed his infamous wall, but did not discuss its financing, i.e., whether Mexico will pay for it or not. Throughout the affair, President Peña Nieto remained subdued, or submissive as some critics have charged. In light of his poor standing after the fiasco, President Peña Nieto tweeted out that Mexico would never pay for the wall, blah, blah, blah. Too late, dude. You had your chance to confront El Diablo when you stood next to him. You failed. Thus, rather than vanquish, or at least wound, a racist demagogue, you enabled him. Hours later, Trump gave a policy speech on immigration that was every racists’ wet dream.
Enablers abound. Dr. Ben Carson continues to stand by Trump. Marco Gutierrez of Latinos for Trump, aka, Mr. #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner, continues to stand by Trump. Racism that would have banished any other candidate to well-deserved obscurity has only emboldened Trump and his scarier supporters. The more people try to take him seriously or excuse as rants as slips of the tongue or just “Trump being Trump,” the more people stare pensively at their watches, wondering when Trump will start acting presidential, the more society collectively takes ownership of the Republican’s supernova, and claim it as our own.
We have allowed the collapse of the Republican Party to take down the entire country. It’s too late to ignore Trump. That should have happened day one, when he launched his campaign by attacking Mexico. The only proper response to Trump’s campaign is a complete and sustained denunciation of it. Stop waiting for him to become legitimate. Stop excusing his racism as colorful language. Stop enabling him to improve his image by inviting him to your house, knowing he’s going to shit on the carpet then blame you for the mess. Just stop it.
Trump deserves one response: You’re a racist. Go away. We need to say it loudly and repeatedly. Otherwise, the supernova is on us.
© 2016, gar. All rights reserved.