I do not understand this country I thought I knew.
Yes, there is and has always been racism, and sexism and in fact, all kinds of oppression meted out to a lot of people and groups. The history of racial and sexual oppression of people in this country is not pretty. People want to deny it, or ignore it, but it is there.
Even though I read this history and am knowing it better and better, even though I knew the history of domestic terrorism which white mobs have engaged in, most times with the help and support of law enforcement, I always thought that deep down, underneath the racial hatred, there was the possibility of hatred passing away or at least diminishing so that all God’s children could live together.
I believed that.
I do not believe that all white people are bad, nor do I believe that all white people are racist.
But this election has shown me that too many white people are racist and are unable to rise above their racism for the common good.
During the presidential election, I truly thought that the masses of Americans, white and black, would be disappointed, angered and repulsed by the hateful rhetoric spewed by the incoming president. I thought they would reject hatred, reject racism and sexism and all the other “isms” that we heard over the past year and a half.
But the masses didn’t care. The incoming president tapped into something in them – an anger based on economic woes, for sure, but also based on something else more sinister. They did not care what he said, who he said it about, how true or false it was, how crass it was, or whose feelings it would hurt.
He was going to “make America great again,” which seemed, in the end, to mean that he was going to give a lot of Americans permission to openly …hate …again.
I was sure the masses of Americans would be dismayed that he used people from Breitbart News as close advisors. I was wrong. I was sure people who called themselves patriotic would be appalled at this would-be president delegitimizing the heroism of Sen. John McCain. He was speaking to a certain group of people – mostly white – and he was clear about it.
I was sure the masses of Americans would reject that. I thought we had come further than that.
I was sure Americans would be disgusted by this man making fun of journalist who had a disability. He said he didn’t do that; his surrogates say he didn’t, either. No, it was the “dishonest media” that spread that story. He completely ignored the fact that people saw him, saw what he did and said.
His supporters were ready for a change; how it came about didn’t matter. They loved it that he was “not a politician” and that he “said it like it was.”
But “like it was” for whom?
Time will tell what this man’s policies will be. It is not my opinion of his shortcomings which is the big deal here. The big deal is that the masses of Americans supported his hateful rhetoric. They applauded and ignored his name-calling and bullying people They ignored his obviously thin skin and his lack of impulse control. Even now, they do not care that he is buddying up to Vladimir Putin.
It is troubling to me because I thought I knew America, fundamentally. I thought there were more people who despised racial hatred than there were people who still live in it.
I was wrong.
A candid observation…