This weekend, I've seen a lot of excuses for Donald Trump's bigotry and xenophobia from his supporters, who don't seem to have many reasons for supporting him other than they are sick and tired of the way things are now. One gentleman showed up on my Facebook page to defend supporting Trump, saying it's not about bigotry and calling me "intolerant toward those holding different opinions" because I was willing to call out Trump's blatant bigotry.
I looked at his Facebook page, and he had reposted a letter to the RNC supposedly explaining why Trump supporters are fed up. The gist of it was about getting rid of "rabid, messy, mean raccoons":
You’ve been on vacation for two weeks, you come home, and your basement is infested with raccoons. Hundreds of rabid, messy, mean raccoons have overtaken your basement. You want them gone immediately…You call the city and four different exterminators, but nobody could handle the job. There is this one guy however, who guarantees you he will get rid of them, so you hire him. You don’t care if the guy smells, you don’t care if the guy swears, you don’t care how many times he’s been married, you don’t care if he was friends with liberals, you don’t care if he has plumber’s crack…you simply want those raccoons gone! You want your problem fixed! He’s the guy. He’s the best. Period. Here’s why we want Trump: Yes he’s a bit of an ass, yes he’s an egomaniac, but we don’t care. The country is a mess because politicians have become too self-serving. The Republican Party is two-faced & gutless. Illegal aliens have been allowed to invade our nation. We want it all fixed! We don’t care that Trump is crude, we don’t care that he insults people, we don’t care that he had been friendly with Hillary, we don’t care that he has changed positions, we don’t care that he’s been married three times, we don’t care that he fights with Megan Kelly and Rosie O’Donnell, we don’t care that he doesn’t know the name of some Muslim terrorist.
When I asked the gentleman on my Facebook page (whom I don't know) who he thought the "raccoons" are, he said he "assumed" that the piece he was reposting meant "illegal immigrants"—perhaps not knowing that he is speaking of human beings that Trump has said the most horrible things about, especially the darkish ones south of the U.S. border. He also added: "Not agreeing on issues or politicians or political parties is one thing but when either side turns to vile hate towards others that don't agree with them then that is bigotry."
I'm seeing this argument all the time now from Trump supporters: It is just as "racist" — ??? — to point out someone's bigotry as it is to be the bigot, at least according to their twisted rationalization. In addition to being incredibly absurd logic, this is a straight-up defense of racism, bigotry, xenophobia and homophobia. (Plus, Trump is a sexist, but we won't even go there in this post.)
It is a scary place for America to be when racists pretend that it is racist to call them out. And those who support open bigots are, of course, bigoted themselves, as white Mississippians were during my childhood when they wouldn't speak up. Trump (and Cruz) supporters also love to tell us that they reject "political correctness," and they act like that is something to be proud of when they froth at the mouth over immigrants, black people, LGBT citizens or any other group that supposedly doesn't match up to their ideal of purity and perfection.
I grew up in this culture in Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil-rights workers were killed when I was 3, and most white people around me were either too afraid to challenge the racism, or they agreed with it. This is not a place we can return, and none of us can allow it to happen. It takes every person who doesn't agree to speak up.
Trump and his supporters are trying to return America to a place where they control the dialogue, the laws and who gets to be a full American, and if it gets ugly and violent along the way, so be it. In other words, they are trying to kick out the "raccoons"—a really unfortunate and telling statement with President Obama their main source of hatred, considering traditional racial epithets for African Americans in our country. It's hard not to hear what they're actually saying (see SNL video below, too).
Good Americans, regardless of party or ethnicity, must speak out not only against Trump, but our government's continued embrace of racist symbols and the other politicians who have long hawked racist beliefs in order to get votes and gain power. We must loudly reject the rhetoric and lies. We must look squarely at what is happening in front of our eyes and speak up about to everyone we know and in social media. The dangers of American becoming a fascist nation are real and eminent. Don't stay quiet as so many people did during the rise of Hitler, then later to ask "how did that happen?"—we don't want to have to say "we did that," whether through support of fascism, or because we were too timid to talk back to those supporting it.
To that end, some of the best responses are filled with wit. This morning I saw two videos that are the perfect response to Trump and his excuse-making supporters. Enjoy and share as we try to beat back this surge of hatefulness and attacks on decent people who talk back.