If Trump Were Black, Latino, Muslim, or a Woman…
I wrote most of these stream of consciousness remarks to myself shortly after the Democratic National Convention. I was angry. I was impatient. And I wasn’t sure whether to press publish or not. But we are less than one week out from the election, and if there’s a chance any of these words can move someone to vote against Trump and for Clinton, I need to share them.
In an election versus Donald Trump, Is Hillary Clinton the lesser of two evils? You bet she is, but the scale on which we measure evil is logarithmic, not linear. And Donald Trump is orders of magnitude more evil than Hillary Clinton. He is in a special category of risk, and we should not make the mistake of assuming that just because he managed to claim the title “Republican presidential nominee” that he in any real way resembles the men who have born that title before.
For all of the issues that I disagree with Mitt Romney over, I acknowledge that he is a good man. He demonstrated love for people not named Mitt Romney. He used his God- and science-given brain for more than the replication of his name on the facades of phallic symbols across the globe. The same can be said about John McCain and yes, even George W. Bush.
If we lined up the past four GOP presidential nominees, we would have to play that old game from Sesame Street and be honest about the fact that one of these nominees is not like the other. One of these nominees is doing his own thing. Donald Trump is that nominee. He is not like the others. He has only ever done his own thing.
So to my fellow Americans who are Republican, I beg you: be honest. This man has shown us all who he really is. He is not one of you. Nor is he one of us. He is an outlier and a threat to us all. He is a monster in our midst, playing at being human. He has betrayed his employees, his creditors, his previous political positions, his wives and even his children. When they were young, and he had left their mothers, he went on national media bragging about all the women he had slept with in violation of his oath.
When his daughter Tiffany was but one years old, he made misogynistic sport of her body when he said she gets her legs from her mother, but time will tell if she gets her breasts from her too. When discussing his daughter Ivanka, he has said he would date her if he could, but he can’t because he is happily married (not because of incest). Each time, he was not backed into a corner when these comments were made. No one asked him what he thought of his one year old girl’s breasts or Ivanka’s body. He volunteered them. What kind of father behaves this way? What kind of human being behaves this way?
Every time he has been challenged, he has chosen to preserve himself and lash out at others. He has always made the selfish choice. Remember the stories of CEOs who have taken massive pay cuts in order to preserve the jobs of employees that would otherwise be fired? Donald Trump has never been that CEO. Think about it. He’s had a lifetime of opportunity to do something for someone else, and he’s only ever chosen himself.
As Mr. Khan said, he has never sacrificed anything.
If Trump were black, we’d call him a hustler, and not in a good way. He’s not a real billionaire. Real billionaires don’t slap their names on everything from golf courses, to cheap ties, to fake universities, to mail order steaks. A man who seeks to put his name on so many different things is attempting to hide some deeper lack in himself.
To expose his crippling inadequacy complex, all we need to do is play the game of “what if.” What if Donald Trump were black and had fathered five children from three different women and bragged how he liked to grab women by the pussy? What if Donald Trump were a Latino immigrant whose businesses had failed spectacularly six times? What if Donald Trump were a Muslim who called on a foreign power to launch cyberattacks against the US federal government? What if Donald Trump were a woman who mocked a celebrated veteran and public servant for “getting captured?”
We would call him an irresponsible thug and possible sexual predator. We would call him an un-creditworthy drain on our society. We would call him a terrorist. We would call her an unpatriotic bitch. Certainly white Donald Trump would call these black, brown, Muslim and female versions of himself threats of the highest order. He would insist they be subjected to law and order! He would fire them from his fake made for TV jobs. He would demand their deportation. He would taunt them for their looks.
In all likelihood, if these versions of Donald Trump existed, they would not have best-selling books written by writers better than them. They would not have top-rated TV shows depicting them as someone to be emulated. They would not be the Republican nominee for president of the United States. If black, brown, Muslim or female Donald Trump existed, we would not know the name Donald Trump at all.
But he is white Donald Trump, and he has been the constant beneficiary of second chances and assumed competence. He is a shining, living monument to the insidious and infectious power of white supremacy. He is a testament to the high levels of mediocrity that are sold to us as excellence so long as they come in a certain packaging. If he has any great achievement in his life, it is simply that he was born the male child of a wealthy, white land-owner in the middle of the 20th century in the United States of America. Donald Trump is not a great builder. He is a great inheritor and a great squanderer of that inheritance. He was born with an irrevocable gift, and he has wasted it on self promotion and womanizing and a tired brand of psychological terrorism. What a sad waste of human potential.
Let me remind you of how depraved this pretend man is.
In 1989, a white woman jogging through Central Park was brutally beaten and raped. She was nearly killed. The NYPD, infected with corruption and bias and desperate to prove to the city and the world that someone would pay for this attack, illegally coerced a confession out of five black and brown teenage boys. None of this had anything to do with Donald Trump. No one even asked him what he thought. He decided, with his wealth and power and connections to insert himself into the story. He purchased a full page ad in the New York Daily News calling for the return of the death penalty to New York State and for that to be applied to these five black and brown boys. Decades later they were all exonerated and freed. Donald Trump still has not apologized. In fact he insists they are guilty, but he is the quickest to demand an apology from anyone who questions the size of his penis and his bank account, which are likely the same thing: highly exaggerated.
We have seen this before in the worst chapters of our history. We saw it in the CASH FOR NEGROES signs erected to capture and return escaped slaves. We saw it in the lynching signs that flooded the south during Jim Crow. And Donald Trump revived it in 1989 with that ad. He called for the death of black and brown children by the hands of the state. And he did all this voluntarily. Is this not what Black Lives Matter is calling on this nation to acknowledge and end? The brutalization of black people by the state?
It is not enough to recognize the degree to which Trump’s power is not of his own creation. We must continue to remind ourselves of how he has abused his inherited power.
In 2009, please do not forget that he used his name recognition and money and connections to publicly declare that our nation’s first African American president could not have earned the degrees he earned, did not worship the God he claimed, and was not even American. He demanded to see the birth certificate of the president of the united states because he presumed that he had a right to do so. He presumed that his maleness and his whiteness allowed him to make such demands. We have seen this in history, the power of the lowest white man to inflict violent injustice on the most accomplished of black people. I need you to remember this moment clearly because what Donald Trump did was more than a political attack. It was the deepest, ugliest form of racial violence that this country uniquely perfected.
This failure of a white man went after the absolute best of what Black America has to offer. Between the two of them, Barack and Michelle Obama have two degrees from Harvard, one from Columbia and one from Princeton. They have more lengthy historical claims to being American than Trump’s relatively new immigrant ancestors. They devoted their talents to improving the lives of people other than themselves. These are model Americans more than twice as good as average. Educated Americans. “Well spoken” Americans. Law abiding Americans. Community minded Americans. Yet the man with six bankruptcies, three marriages, and a self-described “Vietnam” experience consisting of a battle against venereal disease, is the one calling out the Obama family as not belonging here as somehow not one of us. “Entitled” does not begin to describe the level of arrogance on display.
We can pretend that this election is normal. That it’s about Supreme Court nominees and trade policies and criminal justice reform. But that would be just pretend. The reality is that for many people in this country, Donald Trump would represent a reign of terror. To ignore that would be to devalue their lives.
Do you know any undocumented Americans who would be rounded up and deported by Trump? Do you know any Muslims whose mosques will be attacked by people encouraged under Trump’s pro-violent rhetoric? Do you know any black people whose bodies will be broken by the brutal police state Trump invites or whose souls will be crushed by the election of the leader of the effort to dehumanize and de-Americanize our nation’s first African American president?
Do you have children? If so picture your child being punished at school for mocking a disabled classmate, for calling a little girl a fat pig, for punching a classmate in the face in a dispute over lunch, and for defending all these actions by saying, “Why shouldn’t I do these things? The president of the United States got his job by doing these very things.”
Trump has been a master during this election. He floods us with nonsense, overwhelming our defenses and our tolerance. He played the media by appealing to their business model rather than their civic function. He has recognized the pain of millions who have so many reasons to be angry. But what he has done with that truth is abuse it, manipulate it, contort it into something ugly. Millions of Republican voters empowered him. But he’s doing what he has always done with power: manipulate, abuse, contort, and waste it on himself, leaving things worse than before he arrived.
We cannot allow this pretender into the White House. We cannot continue to reward this attention addict with this greatest high of the US presidency. We must defeat him in this election. The world is watching. Our children are watching. And history is recording what each of us does and what each of us refuses to do. If you have the power to vote, exercise it. Many of the people who would be most hurt by the policies and polity under President Trump don’t have that power, so we need to exercise it on their behalf. Put your name on record against our homegrown American demagogue for all of us.