I took a few days off from following the ultimate feud between candidates. When I re-engaged, low and behold there was Trump telling Black Americans he felt their pain and that HE—the Donald, the Dude—would lead them to a promised land. Quite white, of him, I must say.
Judging from all that has been written in the blog-o-sphere and in the press, I am not the only one who finds it ludicrously ironic when the Trumpster toots: “What do you have to lose?” “Give me a chance!”
The quick answer to the question of loss is, as Ana Navarro has pointed out, “dignity.” Not just the dignity of a people but of a nation. As to giving him a chance—well—that sorta’ depends on believing in his conversion to someone who cares much beyond himself.
Unlike many, I am willing to give the Republican nominee the benefit of the doubt, when it comes to whether or not he is actually a “racist.” I will grant you that he is nasty, brutish and appears to have short fingers. I will even agree that he is rude, selfish, a certifiable megalomaniac and likely an un-redeemable candidate for the presidency of the United States.
I am just not prepared to brand him a racist--at least not on the basis of a preponderance of publicly available evidence. The most damming quotation attributed to him is:
There’s no such thing as racism anymore. We’ve had a black president so it’s not a question anymore. Are they saying black
lives should matter more than white lives or Asian lives? If black lives matter, then go back to Africa? We’ll see how much
they matter there. It is a quote that I have not been terribly successful in securely attributing to him. It is all over the
internet, but usually as someone quoting someone who is quoting him. It may be a flaw in my research. It may even
be an urban legend whose original source was eaten by alligators in the sewers. Although it is a believable reflection of
the man himself.
There are of course secondary sources of racist-like quotations. Among my favorite is a 2fer—most probably racist and anti-Semitic: (353)
Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.
Gotta’ give the guy credit for a certain insulting efficiency.
Then there is the rape and murder of a jogger in Central Park, when Trump very publicly called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in the racially charged wake of the arrest and trial of the Central Park Five, who were wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a female jogger. Four of the five falsely accused defendants in the case were Black. The fifth was Latino.
Donald J. Trump
@CoachClintSwan Tell me, what were they doing in the Park, playing checkers?
10:42 AM - 21 Apr 2013
Donald’s jump to judgement, in advance of a fair trial, was reprehensible. Perhaps more disturbing was his twit of a Tweet after these men were exonerated: “Tell me, what were they doing in the Park, playing checkers?” Why not? Since when aren’t law abiding individuals not allowed a walk in the park?
These outbursts are rude to say the least. They are more a matter of histrionics than racist history, however. After all, he has made a statement or two actually suggesting he is not a total turd.
There was that time in December of last year when he responded to Justice Scalia’s suggestion that black students might be better off not going to the University of Texas but to a “…less-advanced school, a less -- a slower-track school where they do well." Trump’s response to Jake Tapper’s question on the quote was "No, I don't like what he said. I heard him, I was like, 'Let me read it again' because I actually saw it in print, and I'm going -- I read a lot of stuff -- and I'm going, 'Whoa!' "
“Whoa” is right. You have to admit that this is not a racist remark. Neither is it evidence of the Republican nominee’s understanding and sensitivity of what it means to be Black in America. Mostly, he has been judged a racist on the basis of his comments about Latinos and Muslims.
I think what this shows is that Trump is an equal opportunity bigot. Are bigot’s racists? Maybe. When I consider the term “racist,” I think of a more focused attack on people of color—any color. That clearly is not the Donald. No, he seems to squirt spleen at anyone that is not him, his family or in his political camp. Racism seems to suggest an exclusivity lacking in Mr. Trump’s case.
The question that should be asked by any American is whether or not Donald is fit to lead the nation—the whole nation—over the course of the next four years? Even given the check and balance system that is our form of government, a lot will be lost should Trump emerge victorious in November.
Here is a man who not only seems eminently unqualified at the moment to be the leader of the free world, but incapable of thinking beyond his own ego. I understand and even accept to a point that a healthy ego is needed to run for any elected office. Yes, Bernie fans, he has one too.
A certain amount of egotism is a prophylaxis against your opponent and the media. I am not sure that I would wish a run for public office on anyone. I did not, however, ask Trump—or for that matter Clinton—to run for president.
Before I am willing to give a candidate the chance of office I would like to see some basic understanding of what is required to be a part of or, as in this case, to lead the nation’s government. I would also like to see some degree of humanity and humbleness in my leaders.
Based on his record what I see is a provocateur, a divider, a politician who is as free with his facts as a sex addict is with their favors. What I do not see is a person of substance or charity.
If in his recent pivot to a sensitive and caring candidate I could see a catharsis as sudden and sincere as experienced by Saul on his way to Damascus, I might be convinced that Trump is other than an egotistical pragmatist trying to convince White America that he is not such a shit. I doubt that he will succeed in convincing Black America that Orange is the new Black.
Joel B. Stronberg
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.