As usual, the past week was filled with important news items. The lingering deluge of rain in Louisiana and the flooding and misery it caused for thousands was a big story. Scientists again speculated that climate change was behind the storms disastrously slow movement. (But, one more “brief” incident along humanity’s path toward existential disaster wasn’t enough to retain much interest.)
Another story that briefly grabbed our attention was the continuing revelations about conditions at immigrant detention facilities on our southern border. Depending on your media source, it’s either “just fine thank you,” or a national disgrace. — Fair and balanced. You decide.
But then something really big occurred that steered our attention away from everything else.
I agree, the event was certainly newsworthy, although what we learned from the story could hardly be called “news.” President Trump tweeted a message to the nation that was untruthful, bigoted and, in its context, pretty clearly racist. And, he used language that many of us thought had been abandoned for its ignorance several generations ago.
How shocking! Donald Trump was capable of saying something with a racist perspective and an ignorance of our nation’s most treasured values. — This is not really news to most of us.
Republican politicians and commentators quickly recognized that Trump’s tweet was, at the least, controversial and could be problematic for some Republican office holders and candidates. So, they immediately began spinning their interpretations of what Trump had said, what he was defending, why he was correct. The congresswomen the president referred to were “radicals, socialists, communists; they hated America and, if given the chance, would destroy it.”
Democrats, on the other hand, saw Trump’s foolish twitter rant as a “gotcha” moment. Here was Trump using language that many Americans knew was identical to words used against their own families in past (or in some cases present) times.
Our USA has families with Irish or Italian or German roots, who know stories passed down from earlier generations about hearing, “Go back where you came from,” when they emigrated to America. There are Catholics and Jews and Muslims who know their families have heard those words. There are African American and Mexican American families whose roots go back to our nation’s beginnings and yet still hear that hostile epithet.
“Go back where you came from!” has been yelled at Americans by Americans throughout our U.S. history. It is truly a stupid thing to say. And coming from the mouth of the President of the United States makes it doubly stupid.
So, I’d like to think that the offensiveness of President Trump’s most blatantly dumb tweets will begin to have a damaging effect on his chance for reelection. Maybe they will.
However, seeing so many headlines and editorials, so much TV and radio attention, so much Internet activity exclusively devoted to President Trump has me wondering who is benefiting the most? Trump may be gaining more than he’s losing.
His outrageous behavior may be giving the man just what he wants: — He’s reinforcing his pugnacious appeal to the core of his supporters.– He’s laying the groundwork for 2020 by establishing his credentials as the defender of “real Americans.” — He’s memorably branding some of the most progressive members of Congress as “people who hate America.”– He’s drawing attention away from embarrassing news stories – like his old friendship with accused sex trafficker of children, Jeffrey Epstein.
I may be giving Donald Trump too much credit. He may not be a clever strategist, but merely a guy who learned how to succeed by doing and saying outrageous things without putting much thought into it.
So I will end with this: One of the things I love most about our United States is when I spot a storefront sign or an advertisement for a business with multi-national names. You know, like the law firm of Shapiro, O’Reilly and Wong, or the design firm, Olson, Ramirez, Schmidt and Patel. — I made those names up but I’ll bet you can find similarly diverse real world examples. What’s so cool about this is that there are only a few nations where you might see such a wonderful mix of backgrounds, people with origins that represent every corner of our world, now working together as Americans free to pursue their ambitions and dreams.
As House Speaker Pelosi recently said, “Our diversity is our strength. Our unity is our power.”
Nels Howard, NTD Member Since 1973