As if Donald Trump were a black hole, the media sadly cannot escape his gravity; like a magnet to steel, bombastic remarks are usually good for ratings. But his remarks, either in their totality or their flavor, have given
people pause. Where his durable presence at one point was perhaps a curiosity (if not slightly amusing), he now is generating fear amongst many. This leader is bringing out the worst in us.
Let’s think about some of his remarks.
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” – On media zen and women’s body parts, from a 1991 Esquire interview.
“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” – “Trumped!”: 1991 (Quote confirmed by Donald Trump).
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” – Trump Tower Atrium in Manhattan on June 16, 2015.
“When these people walk in the room, they don’t say, ‘Oh, hello! How’s the weather? It’s so beautiful outside. Isn’t it lovely? How are the Yankees doing? Oh they’re doing wonderful. Great.’ [Asians] say, ‘We want deal!’” – August 2015 rally in Iowa.
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.” – Birmingham, Ala., on Nov. 21, 2015: The claim has been debunked.
And his policy recommendations?
On exporting goods to China: “Listen you mother fuckers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent!” – Michael Joshua. “Trumps Dumps: Outrageous Donald Trump Quotes that could Sway your Presidential Vote: Donald Trump for President 2016?” 2015
On Muslims coming to America: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” – Written statement on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015.
On Mexican migration: “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” – Trump Tower Atrium in Manhattan on June 16, 2015.
At the core of Trump’s thinking, “the other” is to not be trusted as fundamentally good, honest, or worthy. Xenophobia should be seen as a virtue since, with the exception of “some… good people,” most people are bad and are out to hurt us. And those who challenge his worldview are not to be tolerated or trusted. If his treatment of people to date is any indication, contrarians to Donald Trump should be punished.
But, the much larger problem is not Trump; rather, that he is drawing such popularity. In the most recent New York Times/CBS News nationwide poll, 35% of likely Republican primary voters support Trump – about double that of the next closest challenger. Based on the 2012 election, perhaps as many as seven million Americans extol Trump’s approach? Do we feel comforted that the Ku Klux Klan is successfully using Donald Trump in their outreach effort?
Arguably, the greatest ill currently facing America is the structure of vile inequality that grips our nation, where millions of good, honest, hardworking Americans are suffering. This year’s bouquet of Republicans could have tackled this issue, but they chose to fight over who is the “true conservative.” But, to be clear, no one in this dog fight is trying to proclaim themselves to be the true compassionate conservative. No Republican is proselytizing on compassion, sharing, “neighboring,” fairness, equality, and diversity as being the hallmarks of American strength. The energy of this race is fed from our nation’s ugliness from within.
Regarding Trump, I have not met the man. I do not like the man. For the man, as well as us all, has a critical responsibility to wield our power purposefully with love and understanding towards all – always.
Shame on the man who cannot bring us together. Shame on the man who breeds myopic hate. Shame on the man who hurts any soul living in America who is contributing to making this country a better place – be they “illegal” or not.
We all will do better following those that live their lives from a place of love and wisdom, knowing “the blind lead the blind right into a ditch.”