[If the election of Trump has produced any positive benefit to the country, it’s the rebirth of journalism. Brilliant work is being done by investigative journalists and thoughtful essayists all across the country, in newspapers and magazines large and small. Charles Blow is a NYT writer whose work is always worth a look, and today he’s even more on point than usual. He says what has to be said to speak truth to power, we can only hope that candidates arise soon who can speak and run for office with the eloquence Blow brings to the page. It may be the only thing that saves us.]
by Charles Blow, NYT
Donald Trump is completely unfit to be president of the United States.
That is not an ideological expression. That is an expression of the shock of mounting evidence that he is intellectually deficient, temperamentally unsound and morally bankrupt.
Just this week, he has once again underscored the degree to which he is openly hostile to people of color — I call that racism and bigotry — and demonstrated his lack of impulse control to conceal his contempt even when doing so would be to his benefit.
On Monday, Trump defiled a White House ceremony to honor Navajo veterans of World War II (a meeting already defiled because it was held before a portrait of Andrew “Trail of Tears” Jackson) by using a racial slur, pejoratively referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
These men deserved better, and if Trump were thinking more about them and less about himself — as almost any other American president would have been — he wouldn’t have dragged their moment down into his muck. But this is what happens when you “let Trump be Trump”: He shows up as the bestial creature that he is.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that unnamed advisers told the paper that Trump has also resurrected the racist lie of his political vivification: the question of Barack Obama’s birthplace, and by implication, his legitimacy as America’s first black president, or put another way, its only nonwhite president.
According to The Times: “In recent months, they say, Mr. Trump has used closed-door conversations to question the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.”
This unprecedented “show me your papers, boy” kook campaign of which Trump became grand wizard is deeply rooted in racial hostility. It is a castigation of assertive black masculinity, like Obama’s, which refuses to bend to traditional power or promulgate the fallacy that the legacy of historical racism is all either fantasy or forgiven.
Then, on Wednesday, Trump shared on Twitter apparently unverified, anti-Muslim videos from a right-wing extremist group in Britain. As CBS News reported, “The videos were tweeted out by the account held by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right U.K. political party ‘Britain First,’ which is known for promoting an anti-Islam, anti-immigration and nationalist agenda.”
That’s right: Not satisfied with his implicit (though obvious) endorsement of white supremacy here in America, Trump has now explicitly endorsed white supremacy in another country.
These are not mistakes. These are not coincidences. This is not mere bungling. These are revelations of the soul. This is who Trump is and who he has always been. This is who he was before he entered politics, and who he remains.
The Trump Doctrine is White Supremacy. Yes, he is also diplomatically inept, overwhelmed by avarice, thoroughly corrupt and a pathological liar, but it is to white supremacy and to hostility for everyone not white that he always returns.
When the political vise tightens on him, he just so happens to find a nonwhite target to attack.
When his tongue gets loose within him, he just so happens to find a nonwhite target to attack.
Anyone who doesn’t see this is choosing not to. They are clueless as an act of convenience, willfully blind and intentionally ignorant. Or conversely, they not only see it, but cheer it. Either way, the people who elected Trump and those who continue to support him are to blame for what they have inflicted on this country.
Republicans had a choice of 17 nominees; they chose Donald Trump. The party threw its weight behind him. Many of the candidates who had vigorously opposed Trump, including on moral grounds, endorsed him. Millions of voters who had voted for other candidates also voted for Trump.
So never let these people feed you the lie that they voted for Trump only because they didn’t have a choice and they wanted to vote against Hillary Clinton. They had a choice, and they chose the magnification of their darkest demons.
They nominated and elected a sexist, bigoted, white-supremacist sympathizer because, to them, those traits were, on the one hand, not disqualifying, and on the other hand, commendable.
Some reason that they needed a Republican, even this opportunistic Donny-Come-Lately, for the conservative judges and tax cuts that would outlast whatever bad behavior he brought to bear. Others actually wanted the anointing of their own racial animosity.
But I see only shades of difference between open racial hostility and the accommodation of racial hostility. It’s all interrelated and interdependent.
There is no way to maintain your honor when you have given Trump your blessing. There is no way to claim that your position is about conservative ideology when you support a man who keeps demonstrating that he is obsessed with an ideology of color.
Trump is your baby, Rosemary. I give no quarter to Trump or to the people who still support his demonstrated hostility to my and every other person of color’s right to live without being, as James Baldwin put it, “menaced and marked” — by the leader of my own country. I believe in diversity and tolerance. But the tolerance of a hateful ideology is not inclusiveness, but appeasement, and of that I will have no part.
If you support Trump and his racial hostility, you and I have absolutely nothing to discuss. Nothing!