President Trump is a racist. At this point, there’s really no reasonable way to deny it. Ever since Trump, along with his Dad, evicted people of color from their homes then decided it was his duty to persecute the “Central Park Five” for crimes they didn’t commit, we’ve witnessed one account after another in which Trump targeted minorities as somehow non-Americans — as criminal “others” — outside of mainstream society.
Somewhere on Trump’s list of top-shelf targets is, of course, the first African-American president who Trump insisted, quite derivatively, by the way, was secretly born in Kenya and was therefore an illegitimate president.
From there, we need only thumb through the stratospheric pile of quotes and deeds from Trump’s political career to further prove the obvious. While hiding behind empty self-aggrandizement as “the least racist man in the world” — This I can tell you! Believe me! — Trump continues to let his racism out to stretch its legs every chance he gets. Whether it’s calling Mexicans “rapists,” whether it’s attacking Gold Star parents who happen to be Muslim-Americans, whether it’s repeatedly defending Nazis as “good people,” whether it’s announcing that everyone in Haiti has AIDS, Trump inevitably goes there.
And now we can add his “shithole countries” pejorative to the list, and just a matter of days before this year’s commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Meanwhile, at least two high ranking senators, Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin each confirmed Trump’s racist blurts during an Oval Office meeting about Trump’s decision to inexplicably terminate President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Naturally, Trump’s supporters are all over the board. Some say it’s fake news. Others insist he was correct in his assessment, while others agree with what he said but that it wasn’t racist.
Regarding the latter, imagine if Obama had said the same thing about, say, West Virginia or Mississippi, two of the poorest states in the Union. Obviously, the people who call those states home would’ve been deeply offended even though median income in those states is, indeed, the lowest in America. They’d take it personally because it reflects not just on the land and its traditions, but primarily upon the people and their ancestors. Likewise, those of us who come from less fortunate parts of the world are more or less permitted to comment on our ancestral homes, but we recoil when outsiders do the same. Trump and his people seem shocked by this fact of life.
Sure, you can find plenty of statistics and news items to make a “shithole” claim about less fortunate nations, but coming from a white-trash president with a history of racism and who’s been frequently photographed posed inside his vulgar, nouveau riche gold-plated penthouse, it’d obviously be taken as a blanket insult about both the economies and people in those nations, as it was with El Salvador, Haiti and so forth. Trump and his supporters also fail to take into consideration how the history of colonization by white imperial governments has damaged those nations, triggering decades of poverty and civil war. Plus, Trump only singled out countries with majority black and brown populations, while favoring the very white Norway.
If that’s not profoundly racist, nothing is.
The question we need to be asking today, MLK Day, is whether it even matters anymore. While those of us who continue to cherish the values of decency, fairness, equality and tolerance are justifiably outraged by every instance of the president’s racism, what about the rest of the nation? Beyond the continued morality of us Normals, does the label even matter in 2018?
Yes, the president is a racist — unequivocally and without apology. But what now?
Most of us who follow Trump’s daily annihilation of cherished American institutions know that racism at any strata of society, most importantly at the presidential level, shouldn’t be taken lightly or allowed to pass only to be forgotten later. There has to be accountability. Trump, however, seems impervious to the charge. “The president is racist” has become almost a given, worthy of occupying a news cycle but, sadly, not much else beyond that — and it shouldn’t be like this. It seems as though Trump’s episodic racism has become so frequent, while also tossed in with the growing database of his other hourly trespasses, it’s ultimately stripped of its impact, blunted in its severity.
And maybe that’s his strategy: flood the news with so much crapola that it’s impossible to remember individual items as they sail on by. His racism last week will likely be forgotten by next week, lost amid the debris-field left behind by Hurricane Donald. Putting ourselves in Trump’s tiny shoes, it’s easy to see that he’s just waiting this one out, knowing that it’ll eventually blow over — lost down the memory hole. I mean, if you’re Trump, you have to be thinking, The base is happy and everyone else will move on to the next thing — it’s a win/win for Trump.
The president has gotten away with, and has even been rewarded for deeds that are just as awful as his “shithole countries” racism last week. Now, we have no choice but to wonder whether the fitting label of “racist” means anything without the appropriate condemnations and punishments. Hell, his poll numbers aren’t even taking a hit considering all of the revelations of the last 15 days. With the past as prologue, it’s entirely likely Trump’s life will move forward just as it did after the Central Park Five, after the Khan Family, after Charlottesville, after Birtherism, and after Puerto Rico.
The president is a racist. Now, today, what are we going to do about it? If the answer is nothing, does the label even matter without the appropriate comeuppance? We’ll see.