This recent op-ed on CNN.com crystallizes a number of thoughts I’ve had about the election, though it may not go quite far enough. To make things absolutely clear to Mr. Matt Vespa and other Trump apologists: yes, Mr. Trump is in fact a racist. Just ask the Central Park Five. To insist otherwise is to require people to forget that the President-elect first came to prominence at the head of the Birther movement – a perfect example of coded racism if there ever was one – and his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Latino heritage, just for starters.
(Well, okay, let’s get specific here – at the heart of things, I suspect that Trump is racist against all humans who aren’t Donald Trump. That said, that’s never stopped him from taking advantage of race, gender and creed to bully others or to raise his own profile. Indeed, it seems to me that’s the exact attribute that raised him to both the candidacy and the Presidency. In any case, the point is that I call him a racist for his actions, not his beliefs, or at least whatever he believes his beliefs are at the moment.)
At the heart of all of this, I suspect that it all comes down to a matter of power. Conservatives seem to believe that they can define what is and isn’t racist at their convenience, and that they can force the country’s minorities to accept their self-serving definitions as a matter of course. To them, I would ask: has it ever honestly occurred to you that such decisions aren’t up to you? That even if you decide not to read your actions in that fashion, that America’s minorities very well might? Indeed, sharing that power as to what is and isn’t acceptable is the entire point of racism as a concept. It’s part of the never-ending negotiation process that allows the nation to continue to function without us murdering one another. To deny the other side a voice in such an exchange strikes me as… unwise.
(And no, Ben Carson alone most certainly does not qualify as enough representation. So please don’t start.)
So where does that leave Trump’s voters? Whatever their reasons might have been at the time, they still made the decision to vote for him. As far as I’m concerned, they voted against the very concept of America that I grew up with – the idea of a multicultural nation, where such things as race and religion and national origin simply don’t matter with regards to an individual’s rights and freedoms. They may not be running around waving Confederate flags, but they knowingly enabled those who are. (They certainly don’t seem to be stopping them.) They can deny it as much as they want, but like it or not, everything that comes after this point is on their hands. Don’t want that to be the case? Best get to work tearing that false idol you raised down.
-----BEGIN SIGNATURE----- ggV6K26hLoD+Kl+Mq71+6wsKs4cTl8fqB5TQTrBoxWS02KAuJgwsMUiafunBdXv3egSjDDYtyvDN/WW/PG0wO/2amzwrgSGMc4m8O2SxGjMSk//D2UeQCmU521MNhMlsc0e48eieNFRJSOFV3Qo79KwRwGl+GVLix5Z3lTAJmxPX3FQXHnigRFnsIUj3FmPEqf+/BLvA+jC7tKKuzXcO/FNWGni5uI9VmLXCOdy+pA7rrGTVG3UH07jjp3W4CbUzngAYVdt1XAsi2a2/UCiCpLMm2pzEJ/7bsC2JQHZcsC7oDAei+Mx8ebz751zPU5JyQ3MgDZHg/nQbIaXMWFhpeA== -----END SIGNATURE-----