It should be pretty clear to even the casual observer that Donald Trump is not going away. His meteoric rise in the political arena parallels his fear mongering, racist, misogynistic, seemingly jingoistic pronouncements. Trump has touched the openly hidden raw nerve found in the boardrooms, backrooms and kitchens or “white America”.
There was a time, and not too long ago, when the United States was predominantly white. White folks had slaves. White folks owned the banks. White folks owned the places of employment. White folks owned the land. White folks owned the homes. Everywhere you looked, white folks were in charge. States, Counties, Burroughs, Cities and Neighborhoods were filled with white people. Federal, State and Local political positions were held by white people. White people were everywhere. They made the rules, enforced the laws and passed judgement on everyone.
The Civil Rights Movement signaled a change. The change could be seen everywhere, except in the mindset of the folks that were losing power. Publicly they may have smiled and shared that “change is good”. Some dug in their heels and had to be dragged into compliance. George Wallace’s pronouncement “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever…” was delivered in 1963. Note, that is after “Camelot”, right around the time the Beatles were finding fame and a couple years after Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season home run record. It really was not that long ago. For those that missed it…
The mindset of those that cheered this speech did not change with time. The speech relied on the fear found in the hearts of those that saw the power of being in the majority slipping away. That fear lives quite well in the hearts of those cheering Trump as he systematically dismisses the value of women, poor people, black people, brown people, Muslims and anyone else that might become a valid “fear creator” in the minds and hearts of people that have not grown beyond their basic, yet horribly flawed, belief that somehow being white makes you better.
He is no surprise. His popularity should not shock anyone. Our history, as well as the history of the world, is filled with populist campaigners that seize on the fear of a few in their attempt to control the many. Some are outraged when Trump is compared to Hitler. Why? When Hitler began his campaign he did not go on the stump and say “I am going to kill 6,000,000 Jews.” He fed the fear of Germans and promised to make them great again. He spoke to the pure Germans and told them they were the best. He saw fear in their eyes and fueled one of the most horrific campaigns in history. The world doubted his ability until it became a reality. Today, many share that Trump is a blow hard that keeps offering to do things that can not be accomplished (at least under our current laws) by the President. Be afraid, not of what Trump fears, be afraid of what might happen if you allow a narcissistic, power crazed, self absorbed person to become your leader.
I am theoretically right in Trump’s wheelhouse when you look at the demographics of his supporters. I am over 60. I am not in the 1%. I have discovered that the promised fixed income is really a broken system. I fondly remember the innocence of America in the 50’s. I am all of those things.
I also spent my earlier years growing up in Washington, DC. I was clueless about the plight of Black people until one summer afternoon, seeking a free Bob Dylan performance, I ended up on the Mall hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his “I have a dream speech”. I have never forgotten that day and looking back, I understand how I became the man that I am today.
The last 40 years have afforded me many opportunities. I have worked in large corporations and small family owned businesses. Playing golf is one of my hobbies and it has given me the chance to “mingle” with folks on the finest fairways in America and on the less stellar courses that are favored by the average man. In doing so, I have been exposed to people that look like me in settings where they “let their hair down”. It has not been pretty. White men from all stations in life have a distinct air of fear regarding those that are not white. They also have a boorish attitude towards women. Archie Bunker was not an aberration, he was a perfect depiction of most white men over 45 years of age.
Now, I have shared this information often. Most people have scoffed at the notion. Most people just refuse to believe that racism and sexism could be so prevalent among the middle and upper class. Well, it is and Trump’s polling numbers back that up.
Times are a’changin’. Younger generations are not so hateful and fearful of others. The world will evolve and probably be a much nicer place (at least regarding bigotry, etc.). The visions created by the “I have a Dream” speech/sermon are coming into fruition on a daily basis. We still have a long way to go before we reach our destination. I am sure there will come a time when racism is no longer institutionalized and quite possibly eradicated.
Trump is not the spokesman for the majority of Americans. He actually is nothing more than a pied piper leading a small, terrified group of people to the limelight. The hate filled rhetoric shared on social media is forever. The internet has no backrooms. Once it is out there, it can be found and exposed.
Yes, I have read the stories of Trump’s rallies. Recently, Dana Milbank shared a piece in the Washington Post. One paragraph was painfully true.
“Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and now the disabled. His pattern brings to mind the famous words of Martin Neimoller, the pastor and concentration camp survivor (“First they came for the socialists…”) that Ohio Gov. John Kasich adroitly used in a video last week attacking Trump’s hateful broadsides.”
The very people that seem to roar the loudest in his support are the ones that are old enough to remember Hitler and the Nazi’s. Unfortunately, they are too dumb to believe it could not happen again or they secretly hope that it does. Either way, Trump has given them voice and it roars the same vile venom I have heard for years.
For that, I say thank you Donald Trump. Affirmation. I have long shared the belief that these attitudes were alive and well in the hardened hearts and twisted minds of a large segment of the white men in our country. You have only made public what has been private for too long.
You can’t kill a snake until is crawls from beneath the rock. Bluster all you wish, you have exposed one of America’s dirtiest little secrets.
Thank you…………….Affirmation baby