I’m grateful to Donald Trump for two reasons.
One concerns my mother. She’s had a full and productive life as a school teacher and principal, mother of four, wife of a career soldier/Vietnam vet. But now she’s retired.
The problem is, she’s always had a taste for the dramatic, but now in her mid-eighties she doesn’t, as the song says, get around much anymore. My dad won’t generally fight (I think he got his lifetime supply in Vietnam), her kids have all grown up and left the nest, so what’s a drama queen to do?
You start making your own at home. She’d begun rooting around in the boxes everyone’s got in the attics of their lives. My sister and I were just about to have a “come to Jesus” with her when the elephantine clarion call of D. Trump’s ego burst onto the national stage.
She and dad are glued to CNN and MSNBC with an occasional side trip to FOX when the drama tank needs to be topped up. “He’ll just say anything!,” she’ll blurt with delight colored with the watching-a-car-wreck crayola.
Out of pre-emptive self-defense, I’ll add to the mix: “Doesn’t he remind you of that bad tenth-grader sitting at the back of the class, keeping up trouble?” (I know she’s always liked those bad boys, having grown up with a passel of pigtail-pulling brothers.) “He sure does,” she’ll chortle, “Sure does.”
I even pulled a two-fer the other day, combining her fascination with the Obama-haters at FOX (“How can they hate like that?”) with the Trump campaign. At the tail-end of Mom’s career, she specialized in teaching math to students who needed extra help.
I pointed out that The Donald’s people were blaming President Obama for the death of a soldier killed in 2004, when he didn’t take office until 2009. “They can’t even do basic math!,” I slyly submitted. “That’s right,” she said, “That’s right! They’ll blame the President for anything.” So that’s one reason I’m grateful to D. Trump. By keeping my mother diverted, he’s keeping peace in our family. But there’s another reason.
He’s saying out loud what Republicans have been saying in lightly tinted code for decades. I’m appalled (by which I mean, entertained) at the hypocrisy of all those GOPers who suddenly find his words offensive.
Where was the Republican outrage when George H.W. Bush’s campaign aired the 1988 Willie Horton, “Revolving Door” ad, blaming presidential candidate Michael Dukakis because, as governor, he’d wanted case-by-case review rather than mandatory sentencing.
According to statistics collected by state and federal governments, white males are forty percent of the Massachusetts population, but they commit nearly sixty percent of the sexual assaults. But Willie Horton, a black man, is pointedly selected as the poster child for crime in a state where black men are only about four percent of the population.
How is this “all blacks are raping murderers” theme different from Trump’s “Mexicans are rapists” meme? (Of course, the part I like, by which I mean it horrifies me, is where he says about said Mexicans, “And some, I assume, are good people” as if he has never met a “good” Mexican in his life and is only basing his assumption on unlikely statistical probability.)
Where was the GOP outrage when Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) aired the famous 1990 “White Hands” ad, blaming “minorities” for white job loss? The paltry attempt to redress centuries of wrong didn’t matter. It was dog-whistle politics at its worse, or best, if you like the result: six more years of unreconstructed Helms in the Senate.
Add that to McCain’s 2008 Britney Spears/Paris Hilton ad against Barack Obama where the attention paid to a potential leader of the free world is compared to that given to two druggie party girls. A woman whispers “Is he ready to lead?”
This, from the man who gave us Sarah Palin? Paul Ryan and running mate Mitt “47%” Romney, later joined in singing the President Obama’s” in over his head” theme song. Is this much different from the Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel “can’t do his job right because of his Mexican ethnicity” meme song?
The State of Oklahoma passed a 2010 nonsensical ballot measure proposing a state constitutional amendment banning “Sharia Law.” This, from the “tornado alley” state that can’t summon the will to make sure all its elementary schools are hurricane safe. How different was that from “keep all Muslims out”?
Maybe the real problem is Trump’s equal-opportunity bigotry. He’s turned the longstanding GOP weapon of mass slander on them. Chris Christie sucked up to him and got mocked for his weight. John McCain hesitated to endorse him and got slammed as a loser for having been captured by the Viet Cong.
So let’s recap: Trump said Mexicans are rapists, Muslims should be banned, a Hispanic federal judge’s ethnicity disqualifies him from fair decision-making; not to mention the side issues that Blacks have achieved so little we have “nothing to lose” by voting for him, women with small breasts (fat rear ends, wearing more than a size two, eating more than salad) are not attractive; and perhaps the winning entry in Trump’s moral bankruptcy sweepstakes: making pots of gold is a sacrifice equal to the death of a parent’s son who served his country.
And NOW the GOP’s surprised he’s tenth-grade rude, locker-room crude?
Trump learned from the best—his own party. They even had a name for the racial unit of this lesson plan: The Southern Strategy. They taught this petulant man-child how to throw fits in the dairy aisle of America’s political grocery stores. But out on the playground, as one of my buddies said to me, “they got hit with the stick they swung.”
One more thing: In 2014, an elementary school child was at an Arizona shooting range with her parents. As part of some dystopian vacation treat, they let her fire an Uzi.
The gun was too big, too powerful, for her. It got out of control and ended up killing her teacher. Head’s up, GOP (and USA).