There are some rabid Trump supporters out there. Much more insidious are the ones who make an show of reasonableness. “See?” they’ll say. “I’m a reasonable person and I still support this monster.” Those are the ones to watch out for.
Take for example the post at right, from a family member. (Click it to see the screenshot full size.) I don’t have the time or energy to unpack everything that’s wrong with it, but note the table-turning here.
“Trump bashing” — See how easy that was? In just two words, Trump is now the victim.
“Unlike our prior president” — Because for Trump supporters, so much of what they like about Trump is that he’s not Obama. There was just something about Obama — something they rarely said out loud — that they really didn’t like about him.
The phrase goes on to paint Trump as a calm and measured person — “…take his time, gather the facts, and then respond thoughtfully…” Remember, this is in the same sentence as “unlike our prior president”. What part of that is in any way unlike Barack Obama? And what part of that was in any way like Donald Trump?
“I was impressed by his restraint and ultimate condemnation of the violent acts…” — First, the record is clear: Trump condemned the violent acts almost immediately. That was never the issue. The issue was that he said “many sides” instead of condemning the white supremacists, the bigots, the KKK, the Nazis, and whatever other ideologies were represented in the “Unite The Right” rally.
“While all this was going on, the press was condemning the First Lady for wearing high heals.” — First, “heals” is a verb and has nothing to do with footwear; you meant “heels”. Second, no, “the press” refers to print media — newspapers, magazines, etc. This person probably meant “people I follow on Facebook” or “cable TV organizations”.
But what stuck my craw was the excuse for two days of refusal to name white supremacist organizations. That excuse was “gather the facts”. See my response at bottom of the screenshot. If you’re 70+ years old, you don’t need two days to gather facts and decide Nazis are bad. If you don’t know it already, you’re certainly not qualified to be President of the United States.
Fortunately, I wasn’t the only person responding that took issue with the above points (see screenshot). But many more were happily liking the post, including my own father.
I should have seen this coming. Six days earlier, the same person had posted that it’s “frightening” that non-whites got to be in honors classes at a high school, referring to this opinion piece on the Fox News website about a Virginia high school.
I commented on that one too, but the original poster never replied to me; only a troll replied (see screenshot below) and then quickly blocked me when I didn’t give in.
The race-based fearmongering piece by Todd Starnes talks of “a disturbing letter” sent out by John Handley High School (alma mater of Patsy Cline) in Winchester, Virginia. The letter calmly notes that the local schools, “like many divisions across the country, continue to see outcomes that are disproportionate by race and social class”. It goes on to show how the local school district will work to combat this. One of the goals is for their advanced classes to eventually have “proportional representation”. Nothing in the letter indicates that selections to these honors classes will be based on race; just that through various means, the administration hopes to correct the mostly white representation in honors classes.
Starnes took it farther, of course: “Martin Luther King Jr. must be turning over in his grave” he exclaimed, possibly with a wild glint in his eye. It was unclear whether he was foaming at the mouth at this point.
My family member took it even further, suddenly assuming that bridges and airplanes would be designed by unqualified non-white people. With exclamation points, if you can imagine!
The person who replied to my comment suddenly made it about an entire “demographic” (his code for “non-white people”) being “unable to capitalize” on opportunities and “excluding some of the best”. It was bizarre to say the least.
Both of these posts are suspect, but one taken individually can be chalked up to a misunderstanding. Taken together, however, since they were only six days apart, I realized I had yet another family member defending bigotry.
For me, it drove home the point that bigots aren’t always toothless banjo players living in the hills of Kentucky; sometimes they live among us. They’re here in suburbia. They work at our restaurants, file our taxes, fix our computers, and so on.
It is also no surprise that today, Trump backed away from yesterday’s clear statement and worried about the removal of Confederate statues.