Friday Author: Seth Kaplan
Occupy Democrats posted a remarkable video on Facebook Wednesday, entitled, “Trump Fans Admit They’re Angry They Can’t Say Racist Things”
This video answers the question many people ask: Why persons formerly considered to be rational, sentient beings find Donald Trump to be someone they can support for the office of President of the United States. The answer is: Because he is just like them (except richer).
But wait, there is more on racism in politics and society. These folks use Mr. Trump as a surrogate, someone who somehow can say, and get away with saying, words and opinions these supporters are afraid to speak. They become the platform upon which Mr.Trump stands to exploit his unique positions as (a) a Presidential candidate who (b) the media fawn upon because his antics are deemed newsworthy, partly because (c) he is a billionaire with a juicy history.
Now THIS is Reality Television!
The chance to be on television blinded them to the ways in which such an appearance could be used by a political operative or campaign with less-than-pure intentions. For example, being star-struck often clouds thinking. Those filming the session must have thought they had struck gold when a middle-aged white woman grouses that she “can’t call a spade a spade” in her daily communications with her fellow Americans. You can’t script or make up this stuff.
What Does It All Mean?
Speaking for myself, I’ve known for decades that racism, anti-Semitism, and general hatred of those unlike the haters existed in our country. You don’t need a sharp fingernail to scrape away the thin veneer of civilization and tolerance with which most Americans cloak themselves. How did I learn of these attitudes?
I was lucky during my years of fundraising to speak with people across the country about some of the most pressing issues of the day. In addition, I also began following The Southern Poverty Law Center. For example, I spoke with a woman in Madison, WI, a big university city. I had always assumed that the presence of a university conferred an enlightened, ecumenical attitude among the indigenous populace.
She schooled me to understand that, if people of color went trick-or-treating on Halloween, the gangs in Madison would set upon them. I also spoke with a woman in Raleigh, NC, who told me that you could be a judge, school principal, minister, football coach, doctor, but, if you were black, you were still a second-class citizen.
In another conversation, I asked a former client of mine who was originally from New Hampshire what it was like to live in the Raleigh area. “I live in a great town, have a beautiful house, and nice neighbors. But, if I drive twenty minutes into a more rural area, it is totally Klan country. Burning crosses on lawns, the full Cleveland sheet-and-hood ensemble, all of it.”
What Are We? Barbarians?
The ultimate proof, of course, is this sizable group of people that aired their dirty attitudes on a video that may already have gone viral. If only they could say what they really felt about their fellow man and woman, they would feel so much—better? Honest? Closer to Mr. Trump? Who knows? They have been out of touch with their hearts and souls for so long that acting in any other way may no longer be possible for them.
After watching the video a few times, I wrote the following thoughts to let them know how I felt about what they revealed. Then, I took a long shower:
“Fine. I will admit that I, too, am a racist. I hate stupid people, especially the ones with southern accents in TV ads and government. But you folk in this video are a special kind of stupid: You admit to your prejudices on television–the medium with sound AND pictures–and, as happens so often these days, the Internet–you know, the one that goes to billions of people. That is more than millions.
“Setting aside insights into your psychological makeup—fear, insecurity, feelings of inferiority—that prejudice often reveals, you will have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do to friends, family, co-workers, and strangers who may approach you on the street, in airports, hotels, and pretty much anywhere you go. Yes, that’s right, actions have consequences. Maybe worst of all, each morning, you have to look in the bathroom mirror and ask yourself the question: ‘Did I actually say that’?”