An Ape in Heels, Bring on the Hate
In response to last weeks post, President Dr. Frankenstein, a Wake-up Call, Ken, a loyal Blackacre follower wrote:
I have read your latest posting with great interest and even greater empathy. I have voted in every national election since November, 1964. Never in my previous voting experience have I witnessed the ugly, embarrassing, spectacle that our country experienced for the better part of two years leading up to November 8.
Regardless of the rational voter’s party affiliation, I believe he/she would agree with me that we have never had two major party candidates who were poorer choices to become the “Leader of the Free World”. In this election (perhaps more than any other in recent history), we needed to elect a healer and not a divider.
Based on my observation, neither candidate possessed even a scintilla of the healer attribute. At this point in the immediate aftermath, it is easy for me to say we did not elect a healer. I am hopeful (but not optimistic) that I will be proven wrong.
So, where do we, the people, go from here? I think the time is now to start pressing the respective major party leaders to find and recruit future presidential candidates who are capable of leaving their personal agendas “at the door” and putting country first; who are capable of identifying the issues that plague this country; who are capable of proposing and implementing effective programs to solve the problems of this country; and by way of their example, capable of leading the entire world to a better place. (I would also hope such candidates do not carry so much baggage that real issues never get discussed.)
We, the people, can take a first step by having better relationships with our neighbors and, by extension, all people. In my experience, a better relationship with my neighbor?starts with having a better understanding of my neighbor. I think that starts with building on the things my neighbor and I have in common while recognizing and respecting the things about which we differ.
And it all starts with each and every one of us taking the time and making the investment in each and every relationship so that it will be lasting, mutually supportive, faithful and true. Do you think that is too much to ask?
Ken’s diagnosis is sound. However, given our current state of affairs, we seriously doubt that the patient will follow the doctor’s orders. We have no desire whatsoever to close the rifts between us. If anything, the forces of division are emboldened.
The 1st Amendment faces unusual threats following Trump’s win and team Trump is reportedly still contemplating payback against critics. Shameless star Emmy Rossum was harassed by Trump supporters on-line and comedian Wanda Sykes was booed off stage for simply telling a Trump joke. http://news.sky.com/story/comedian-wanda-sykes-booed-off-stage-for-mocking-donald-trump-10657472.
A Trump supporter violently attacked a protestor at the Ohio State Student Union and Dallas sous chief, Christian Koelling was verbally harassed when overheard speaking Spanish to his grandmother. Speak f*cking English. Get out of my country! We won, you lose. Now get back across the wall Mr. Koelling was admonished. Both he and his grandmother are white. See the Dallas Observer, November 17-23, Volume 36, Number 46, p. 28, respectively.
A Tennessee official said that the KKK was more American than President Obama and that the first family should be hanged. Carl Higbie, an immigration hard liner and former Navy Seal cited World War II internment camps as a precedent for internment and Trump’s proposed Muslim registry. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-backer-cites-internment-as-precedent-for-muslim-registry/ar-AakoCGh?OCID=ansmsnnews11.
Stephen Bannon, the erstwhile editor of the far-right Brietbart News, a haven of white nationalists which preaches white nationalism, misogyny and hatred, was promoted from chief campaign strategist to the White House chief political strategist and senior counsel. Some of the headlines published on the Briebart site are downright bizarre, including but are not limited to “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/18/technology/steve-bannon-harvard-business-school/index.html.
Well versed in the politics of division, Bannon reportedly coined the phrase, bring on the hate. And ‘Mother Jones’ uncovered that Bannon joined a conservative Facebook group that urged a military coup against President Barack Obama, posted an image of the president dressed as a SS officer, celebrated the Confederate flag, highlighted a photo shopped picture of Obama with watermelons, praised a police officer who called Obama a “F*cking Nigger,” and called for Obama to be “executed as a traitor.” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/stephen-bannon-facebook-group-racist-material-obama-death-threats.
Things have gotten so bad that the United States Justice Department is probing whether post-election incidents constitute hate crimes. Earlier this week, the FBI released crime statistics for 2015 that showed a 67 percent increase from the year prior in hate crimes against Muslims. There was also a reported rise in hate crimes against Jews, blacks, Latinos, women and LGBTQ community.” http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/justice-dept.-probing-post-election-hate-crimes/article/2607773.
Lastly, the comments of Pamela R. Taylor, the Director of the Clay County, West Virginia, Development Corporation and Clay, West Virginia Mayor Beverly Whaling warrant special attention. Celebrating the Trump victory Ms. Taylor posted “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.” The Mayor endorsed these sentiments by responding Just made my day Pam.
It goes without saying that the First Lady has said or done nothing deserving of being referred to as an ape in heels. And to be fair, the West Virginia community was outraged by the comments, the Director was fired and the Mayor forced to resign.
Taylor later apologized saying My comment was not intended to be racist at all. I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not of any way racist! Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand.
This is not to say that malice is exclusive to one side. Trump supporters have also been attacked or harassed. Mike Pence, the US vice-president elect was booed by the theater audience of the hit hip-hop musical Hamilton and after the curtain call, was lectured from the stage about protecting diversity. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-demands-apology-from-hamilton-cast-after-mike-pence-booed/ar-AAku2i4?
And dealing with ‘Family’ can be difficult. Try to convince some African-American that our problems are not the sole consequence of racism can be an exercise in futility. Hint at the viability of other faith belief systems and expect to be attacked. Suggest that some allegations of rape and abuse may be untrue and suffer the consequences.
The problem with our present trajectory is that hate reflects hate. Bile, bigotry and intolerance produce only bile, bigotry and intolerance in a circle without end.
In summary, we are all possessed on shortcomings and biases. However, referring to others as apes, monkeys, baboons, orangutans or any other simian is a centuries old racist trope, our denials notwithstanding. To pretend otherwise shows how delusional and divided we truly are.
At this time in our nation’s history, a unified community, governed by reasonable, principled leadership and built on mutually beneficial and supportive relationships, is not our present course. We are instead committed to the opposite path.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum