One man is not the problem
“…where seldom is heard a discouraging word. And the skies are not cloudy, all day. “ —Dr. Brewster M. Higley
All right, it strikes me that once again some perspective is needed.
Yes, Donald Trump stepped in it once again, mindlessly referring to Haiti and all African nations as “s—-hole countries,” the diplomatic equivalent of spitting on somebody’s ambassador, but the Claude Rains in Casablanca-quality shock being exhibited at that remark is more than a little naive and over-the-top.
After all, he’s been in office a year and if anyone by now does not recognize the President of the United States to be both painfully uniformed and an unmitigated boor, he or she is bound to suffer from attention deficit, myopia and hearing loss.
As cartoonish as is contemporary America, rather than punditry it might be more appropriate to just have Daffy Duck walk up to the leader of the free world and tell him, “You’re despicable!”
That Trump would do such a thing, of course, is simply awful, but in a big picture sense, that is not really the greater problem. The greater problem is the number of people who are not only completely unbothered by Trump’s crude coarseness, but actually agree with it completely.
Sad as some surely find it, what Trump said is exactly what somewhere between 35-40 percent of white people in the country think and their opinion of him probably just went up for his having said it.
The person on the pew in front of yours in church may very well think that way; the person in the lane next to yours at the bowling ally almost certainly does.
The fact that Donald Trump was elected (and yes, he was elected — that’s another thing that self-styled progressives are simply going to have to accept and move on about) is an affirmation of the fear of an unhealthy chunk of white America.
It is the fear of that “browning of America” phenomenon that the demographers have been talking about for more than a decade. Their statistics indicate that sometime in the near future (dates and numbers vary slightly depending on methodology and the accuracy of modeling), the number of non-whites will, for the first time in its history, exceed the number of white Americans in the nation’s population.
And that scared the white folks. And that began to shape (largely unnoticed) the under-the-polling-radar politics of this country from the day that projection was initially announced.
Why, “our country” was about to not be “our country” anymore. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk ranted and raved about it on the radio for hours every day and people heard and they fretted and when Trump began to recite the same code words they embraced him as a savior.
It is the siren song of nationalistic authoritarianism and its lyrics are both old and familiar: “We have got to save our country…we have got to save our way of life…from THESE PEOPLE…”
Why, if we are going to let any more people into this country (after we kick some undesirables out and build a wall to keep them out), then they need to be people who look more like us. You know, like from Norway…
And while the circumstances may be less stark and the offered solutions more subtle, the driving force fear behind what we are seeing today is no different from the driving force fear that led another people to adorn themselves in bed clothes and burn crosses in the Reconstruction South.
THESE PEOPLE are threatening us and our legacy.
And if you think you can merely shame that fear away by labeling it and those who suffer its influence racist, then you simply do not understand either the fear itself or the history of mankind that is in a number of ways its chronicling.
It is insidious and it is powerful but it must be faced and stared down and banished by the better angels of our natures from the public domain back to the dark corners of individual souls, where sadly it seemingly always remains, dormant, awaiting only its next resurrection.
Donald Trump is not evil. He is rude, crude and uncouth, to be sure, he is and grossly unfit to be the leader of this, or any other nationstate, but he is not evil incarnate, merely its latest tool.
It is foolish to point our fingers at Trump alone; we should instead look in our mirrors and ask, “what happened?” We should tell ourselves we are better than this.
And we should quit waiting on some gimmick. We should quit laying our hopes at the feet of such things as impeachment and the 25th Amendment and a special counsel to remove the buffoon we elected. Trump is the antithesis of Rule of Law, a fluke of the system, so it is that very system we must now embrace to save ourselves from ourselves.
We must rid this country of its defiler the old fashioned way — with the vote.
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.