Trumpty Dumpty – Why Now?
By: Alan Hasnas
“Trumpty Dumpty sat on a Mexican wall. Trumpty Dumpty had a great Fall. All of the Mexicans, both women and men, couldn’t figure out how to get into the country again.”
“Trumpty Dumpty sat on a Mexican wall. Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall. All of the Republicans, both women and men, couldn’t figure out how they got a Clinton again.”
After Inauguration Day 2017, which of the above will apply? Who knows? As bizarre as it seems, Trump may just win this election. Over a year ago this would’ve seemed impossible. After all, in 2008 and 2012 Trump tried throwing his orange hair-hat into the ring and the response he received wasn’t exactly big, resulting in his campaign’s early demise. But now….well, now it’s been positively YUUUUGGGE, this he’ll tell you. All of which brings us to: why Trump, why now? What conditions obtain now that didn’t then?
Answer: Renewed charges of national racism, political correctness and simple condescension are the culprits causing this Trump tower to rise.
Let’s start with the question of racism. In the span of my 60 years, America has improved significantly regarding race, gender and equality. As a youth coming of age in the sixties and early seventies, I witnessed the world of politics, government, TV and film being dominated by white males. With few exceptions, such as Bill Cosby and Dianne Carroll in TV, or Shirley Chisholm in government, nary was heard of a black or a woman in any meaningful role in society. Today, however, they’re well represented in all areas, justifiably so, of course. Film and TV, politics, government – one only has to turn on a TV, read the papers, or go to a movie to see this is so. To deny this is to be intellectually bereft. Obviously the lion’s share of the credit must go to people of color who fought against Jim Crow and championed civil rights, a movement cresting just as I became cognizant of such things. But it’s also true that many white people of good will aided in the effort to realize a more equitable society, sometimes at sacrifice to their own immediate interests through affirmative action, etc. Yet, despite this, the narrative of America as a racist society has increased during the past few years, not lessened. With the Ferguson effect spawning new accusations of racism in America’s police force and courts, and movements such as Black Lives Matter, it’s as if there’s been no progress at all since the 60s. To be sure, it’s possible that better police training methods can be devised to hinder unqualified persons from gaining access to such power, as well as excising the few true racists from the force completely. But this is more a case of best practices as opposed to racism. In this vein, it would be fine for NFL quarterback Colin Kapaernick to continue protesting recent police shootings, if his intention were to bring focus to better policing methods. But it’s not. He thinks people of color are in danger due to pure bias, not bad practices. To Trump supporters, his smug self-righteousness comes across as nothing more than misinformation and perhaps willful ignorance of the true cause of these shootings (which is a subject for a whole different discussion).
Which brings us to political correctness. It has run amok, hampering meaningful discourse in politics, precluding almost all politicians from speaking freely on the subject. Despite calls for an “honest” discussion regarding race, as soon as blunt viewpoints contradicting the narrative of rampant racism are proffered, well, racism is charged. Now add to this the insanity of many of today’s college campuses with their “safe” spaces and childish speech codes. If any dare to disagree, they’re accosted with shrieking banshees to do a 5-year old proud. Just view the Youtube clips of last year’s protests on the college campus of Missouri where an accredited professor yelled for “muscle” to remove a journalist from the scene, or the crazed girl (I would not call her a “woman” due to her childish behavior) who became unhinged and railed against a Yale professor for calmly trying to explain why it’s OK to wear costumes during Halloween.
Finally, we come to the subject of condescension. Before delving into this, I want to be clear that I don’t hate President Obama, as do most who disagree with him. Rather, I find him an impressive figure. To me he appears intelligent and thoughtful, and responsible in his decision-making process. But, and this is a big one, I disagree profoundly with his world-view and opinion of America’s past. Nevertheless, I still respect him. With that disclaimer noted, what has been his contribution to the rise of Trump? For most of his presidency he has carried himself with an unmistakable air of condescension. This moral preening may be the result of one too many attacks from the right at the fore of his presidency, but whatever the cause, it has helped midwife this movement. After the first of the terrorist attacks in France, he gave a speech, saying, “and lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Well, thanks for sharing information most people already know, your moral Highness, regarding the irrelevant events of a millennium ago. I offer this as just one example of the condescending attitude this very capable president often sports. Included in all of this is his continuing apology tour to other countries regarding America’s past behavior. Also, harkening back to the racism issue, he’s been elected not just once, but twice. I think there may have been one or two non-people of color to vote for him both times.
All of the above has produced a backlash in many of America’s precincts, leaving a large number of its citizens harboring resentment at being demonized as racists and talked down to as children. It is this very context in which the fertile ground for the Trump phenomenon has been seeded and in which it has taken root. No matter that Trump can come across as ignorant of government workings, of the Constitution and what a president can or cannot do, of relations with foreign countries, of….well, anything that qualifies one to be president other than receiving the requisite votes. Simply by refusing to be cowed by political correctness, and instead spitting in its face with enough saliva flying to slather the media as well, another entity detested by Trump supporters, he is seen by many as the person to return America to the path of righteousness after years of perceived disparaging diminishment.
So will Trump have a great Fall, or just a fall off his wall? Stay tuned.