A blustering man in a red and white pinstripe jacket walks up to the ring, cane in hand. His wispy comb over tucked neatly under a straw hat. His face blotchy from years of anger and drinking. He gestures toward the stage, shouting he can make America great again, if we just get rid of the people we don’t like.
How did we get here?
Anyone who has turned on the news in the last few months knows there’s a show even P.T. Barnum would marvel at playing out across America. It’s rife with drama and suspense. The clowns parade on stage, each making a more outlandish claim than the other. Their ringleader himself dawning a red nose, and perhaps by the end of the election – a white sheet.
There is no denying in recent months the election has been pushed and pulled into xenophobic and misogynistic directions. Boorish claims of Mexico deliberately sending criminals and rapists over our borders- and the assumption that a select few are “probably” good people. Carly’s blood coming from “where ever’.
The truth is, a billionaire being a bigot and misogynist is nothing new; what’s new is the fact that America isn’t just tolerating it- they’re embracing it. We’ve all heard the comments. “Laziness is a trait found in the blacks” or when he did his best Mickey Rooney and touted that the Chinese would walk into a board room and say “We want deal!”
These types of remarks would usually spell doom for a campaign but Trump has a wild card.
We’ve had a black president for two terms.
I know it’s easy to suggest the race card and it doesn’t take long to get the push back. Let’s face it. Americans have an underlying bias against blacks. It’s the reason your mother clutches her purse when a young black man walks by her in the parking garage. It’s not a conscious effort to be racist but It’s there. Trump plays to this, so much so that many Americans may not realize they’re being manipulated. Basically, the white collared American with underlying, subconscious racial bias is giving trump permission to raise up his cross and torch.
That’s where it gets hairy. First, we just had one want-to-be demagogue spitting vitriol on the street corners. Now they’re breeding. Trumps success in the polls has given permission for other candidates to come out saying the same nonsense. You have Ben Carson saying Muslims shouldn’t be considered for the Presidency. You have Jeb bush saying democrats are “luring blacks with free stuff”. Ted Cruz is making thinly veiled assassination threats against the Ayatollah of Iran. “We might have to help introduce him to the 72 virgins”.
Yes, we have a would-be POTUS making murder threats before an election.
Fathom the backlash a Democratic candidate would receive if they made such a damaging remark to foreign relations. Then, as if to say “I’m on the right, too” Carly decides to lambaste a Planned Parenthood video of doctors harvesting a fetus’ brain, as it wriggles on a table. Unfortunately, this video was a complete fabrication that never existed from the get go.
Does the voter base then condemn such a contemptuous lie?
Of course not. Naturally, they churn out video and audio from five locations spliced together to create some sort of smoking gun that was never fired.
America has moved into a political era of letting bad behaviors run rampant. The subconscious logic is as follows: watch your authority, parent, spouse etc bend the rules and by doing so, you get permission to act the same way. We are only as moral as our role models.
Americans crave this permission. They yearn to have the permission to act out on their own social, religious and racial biases. They want permission to push those who disagree with them into a faction. A faction they can declare vile and evil. They want the permission to do this without reprisal.
It’s hard to improve a society and it’s hard to eradicate prejudice. White Americans have been struggling, on some level, with the inherent bias their lineage has borne into them. This causes guilt, which ultimately let’s political practice play to that guilt as umbrage and righteous indignation. Everyone wants to be told they are right.
The effect has been more than a ripple. The Republican Party has moved so far right as to force out John Boehner. Anyone who has been in touch with Politics knows Boehner is far from a moderate. So, to see him pushed out as too liberal is a very interesting day for congress. Make no mistake, this is the return of the tea party. They may have dropped the banner, and their (misused) Gadsden flags, but the racism, misogyny and jingoism are still strong at their core.
The exit of Boehner shows there can be no compromise. The GOP will be forcing right leaning social issues, and it will do them at any time possible.
It’s very evident the Republican Party is not the same of old. The establishment has been gutted and in it has become a place of umbrage and ire. Conservative financial policy has been replaced by hot button issues, platitudes about faith, and the racial and gender ideas that held back the 1950s. It’s clear there is no more moderation, no more compromise and no more apologies.
This change in politics sounds dangerously familiar to the rise of a certain anti-immigrant part of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Fervor over “criminals” trespassing over borders, a call for deporting them to camps and a call to make Germany great again. Call it dramatic if you must, but this is the door way in which the holocaust happened.