We all have our personal reasons for loathing Donald Trump, those of us who loathe him, that is, of which there are many.
There are so, so many reasons to so, so loathe a man many of us have never met that narrowing it down to a single one is a mind-boggling, mind-numbing task.
And if I didn’t know in my heart of hearts that overwhelming his foes with outrageous, ego-driven, hate-filled actions was his way of neutering them and getting what he wants, I wouldn’t bother writing about him or it.
But that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world, nee a democracy, where each and every one of us is obliged to speak up and out against a clear and present danger to the freedoms we hold dear and those that threaten to take them away.
This, sadly, brings us back to the overfed, over-oranged and over-indulged temporary occupant of the current White House, as many things do these days.
So let’s play a game. What is the single reason you choose to loathe him for???
…..Okay, I’ll go first.
It has always been – the racism.
As I’ve said and written many times before, I grew up in the boroughs of New York City in the sixties and seventies and knew more than a few adults who thought like Trump. They exuded an ugly kind of east coast racism that differed radically from the over-the-top southern lynching and beating form often depicted in the movies or on TV.
Their type promulgated the idea that the Blacks and Puerto Ricans were different, inferior, lazy and not like us. As a kid I overheard countless times by numerous white adults that they didn’t respect their communities, weren’t educated, couldn’t hold down jobs and, when push came to shove, were generally shiftless and perhaps violent.
Having attended integrated schools since kindergarten this didn’t compute for me and seemed just plain, well, mean, stupid and misinformed. It probably helped that my parents didn’t espouse these views but nor were they the kind of people who liked to make waves. When I’d hear these statements made by a handful of their friends or in the neighborhood they would just shake their heads and say don’t listen or just change the subject.
Their reaction angered me and as a teenager I began to speak up and eventually got into screaming matches with some of their friends, one of whom in particular reminds me of Donald Trump. This ignoramus claimed to work with the “schvartzas” (a pejorative Yiddish term for Black people) and fancied himself as an authority on the kind of people they were and weren’t. When I’d bring up examples of famous Black and brown people who didn’t fit his stereotype he’d claim they were exceptions and even went so far as to mention one or two Black people that he liked.
I can’t tell you how much this reminded me of Trump bringing Kanye and Jim Brown to the White House or the news stories of the last few days where he said to the prime minister of Sweden that he’d be willing to vouch for the black rapper A$AP Rocky, now being detained in that country while assault charges against him are being investigated.
Like they’d be friends.
This, of course, is the same Trump who went on TV in 1989 to campaign for the death penalty for the five teenage boys falsely accused and convicted of raping and beating a woman in Central Park. The same guy who spent approximately $82,000 for full-page newspaper ads imploring the city to change its laws to kill them.
The same guy who once called Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) a fat little Jew and yet spent the better part of last week lambasting four Democratic Congresswomen of color who criticized him as anti-Semitic, that is, after he initially tweeted they go back to the countries where they came from.
Never mind that three of the four were born in the United States and the fourth is a naturalized citizen who emigrated here with her parents legally from a war-torn country.
Filmmaker Ava Duvarney’s searing four part Netflix miniseries, When They See Us brilliantly depicts Trump’s rabid mindset en masse thirty years ago as she unfolds the gut-wrenching story of what can happen to young people and their families when they cross paths with the I know better fast-talking Trump-like racist mindset born and bred through the white privilege of the boroughs I came of age in.
It is a mosaic of injustice for others promulgated by people like our Electoral POTUS, who watched and participated as his very own father presided over his very own real estate empire that for decades redlined most Black and non-white people from his apartments until they were eventually taken to court over it.
It therefore shouldn’t be surprising to any of us how Trump is trying to do the very same thing on a grander scale to the entire country by scapegoating immigrant families, especially young children and babies, and locking them in cages for days and even weeks on end without proper food, water and hygiene.
In turn it might then even be expected that the next up would be duly elected non-white representatives in Congress, or even those on the courts or in public life HE didn’t like.
It’s easy enough to brand them all as anti-American, aliens or even murderers, especially when he has at least a handful of public face acquaintances and/or supporters from pretty much every ethnic persuasion at this point. Yet there are few if any of these people supporting him in Congress, none of them are in his immediate family or small circle of friends and very very, very few are granted membership in any of the Trump-owned country clubs.
I know this double talk, this white speak and this blowhard misogyny of Trump’s cowardly brand of street-fighting because it harkens back to the type of immoral, misinformed racists who inadvertently taught me to fight and argue in the first place back in the day.
What I didn’t know and never expected was that I’d be having this very same argument with so many of them and their spawn five decades later and that they would all have a de facto leader temporarily occupying a Chair in the Oval Office.
So from one Chair about another, here’s how you deal with them and him.
You call them out at every turn and racist trope and challenge them and it over and over again. Then you bring along other members of your extended families and friends and urge them to do the same. Then you keep at it, day in and day out, week after week (Note: Or at least every time you see them) and, eventually, they will be outnumbered, retreat, pipe down and age out.
That’s we how we did it back in the day and they and their hate speech went cowering back under the rocks and into the private residences and chat rooms from which they came.
Sadly, every few decades we need to do it again, and the time for disinfectant is now.
Gil Scott-Heron – “Home is Where The Hatred Is”