Racism has been a plague on our nation from its founding. It has flared and ebbed over the years. It has been directed at different groups, at different times, but it has always been passed down from generation to generation to ensure its ugliness never dies. A child has to learn to be racist.
Despite the fairy tale told by Chief Justice John Roberts nearly three years ago, when he sought to justify the striking down of the key component of the Voting Rights Act, racism in our country is far from a thing of the past.
“Our country has changed,” Roberts wrote in his opinion, Shelby County v. Holder. It has wiped away so much of its racist past that the “extraordinary measures” employed by a key provision of the Voting Rights Act could no longer be justified.
The very next day, after this “extraordinarily” horrid decision, states that had been covered by the Act started proposing legislation to make it harder for certain folks, mostly the poor and African-Americans, to exercise their constitutional right to vote!
What’s truly astounding is that nearly a half dozen states immediately moved ahead with restrictive voter ID laws, some of which had already been rejected as discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act!
You didn’t have to be a constitutional scholar to know what an abomination the Supreme Court’s decision was.
But it wasn’t until the emergence of Donald J. Trump that we truly discovered exactly how wrong was the Court.
Donald Trump launched his bid for the presidency by labeling Mexicans “rapists, criminals and drug dealers.” Of course he did not stop there. His hate speech soon covered Muslims, Asians, and blacks. His rhetoric became so popular with his supporters that he just kept doubling down with his racist rants.
And now he is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee! Even some stalwart Republicans have started to decry Trump’s over-the-top racist rhetoric.
What helped Trump most in securing the Republican nomination was that no other candidate spoke in such pure, overtly racist language. No more dog whistles here! Of course, Trump loyalists just eat up all the bile that emanates from the “billionaire’s” pie hole.
Trump is a man, say his supporters, who “tells it like it is” and who is unconcerned with political correctness. This, apparently, is what the Republican base had been wanting for so long.
It was only a matter of time before Trump supporters felt comfortable enough to show their inner, latent racism. What had been kept in check – concealed – was now on proud display.
Trump, in a real way, signaled it was OK for racists to come out of the closet.
The ‘n’ word has been popping up more frequently on social media and in public discourse lately. Latinos, Muslims and African- Americans are often beaten at Trump rallies for daring to protest the racist hero… all with the blessing of the dear leader.
“If you get sued ‘knocking the crap’ out of protesters,” Trump promised, “I will pay your legal bills.
Hey, if the man who might become our next president thinks it’s all right to call a spade a spade (no pun intended), why shouldn’t I be free to express my sincere, deeply-held hatred?
Donald Trump has single-handedly set back race relations in this country to the 1960s. I fear what he has uncovered and unleashed could take decades to repair … even with the inevitable loss Trump will suffer at the polls in November.
While Trump may soon be removed from the national political stage, his many loyal followers will still be around displaying their newly green-lighted “open carry” racism.
Photo | cnn.com