Let’s start out with a simple truth and accept it – we’re all racist. Some people will tell you that only those in power are racist. That’s neither true nor is it the problem. The problem is and always has been that whoever is in power can choose whether or not to impose and enforce their version of racism. More often than not they do so because it’s convenient to create a scapegoat for everything going wrong, point the general populace their way, then sit back on the throne and take power as people attack the scapegoat instead of taking personal responsibility for whatever messed up crap is going on in the world. More white people are on welfare than black people, but tell a bunch of white voters that the national deficit is skyrocketing and it’s because of government entitlements, and they’re not going to blame THEMSELVES for it. (As if the two things were even correlated to begin with – but I digress.)
As long as politicians have somebody to blame, they can always whip up the vote. Everyone says they’re tired of negative campaign ads and negative election cycles, but somehow they still remember who they hate MORE even if they wind up hating both (or perhaps more fairly all) of the candidates. The unfortunate reality is that we’re all indoctrinated into hate and mistrust, willingly or not, either by parents or our society. The “us versus them” mentality is incredibly hard to escape, and again there’s nothing a politician likes more than to tell you “we’re in this together” and make you believe it’s a team, then tell you to fight with all your might to destroy the other team because they’re “not us.” The larger the scale of this concept goes the more it grows into civil wars, race wars and even world wars – all designed to divide and conquer in the name of togetherness and brotherhood. It’s shady as f#$# and if you think about it for a bit it’s not hard to see that it works. History repeats itself over and over again as peoples and eventually entire nations are convinced that somebody is to blame for what’s wrong and it’s never “us” and always “them” whoever “they” are.
I like to remind myself of these things while thinking about the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for President. Now the title of editorial is a bit misleading because as stated in the opening paragraph the premise is that 100% of us are racist in some way even though we might not choose to believe or see the way we’re programmed to be – we might not even be capable of seeing it. The difference in the 40% that support Trump, the “basket of deplorables” as they have been described, wouldn’t even deny it or be ashamed of it. They’ve decided that America “isn’t great” and picked a whole litany of people to blame. When just blaming people of a certain racial background isn’t enough to stoke their fire, they’ll blame gender equality, or gay pride, or the liberal media, or even lie about and slander our nation’s President. As long as there’s something or someone they can openly hate they’re happy about it, and that’s who Donald Trump appeals to most – people who are unapologetic and happy about hating simply for hate’s sake. They’re proud to hate. They’ll hate all the way to the polls in November.
The sad truth is there’s nothing that can be done about it. You can’t tell a homophobe to be nice and stop calling people “fags” or “queers.” You can’t tell a white supremacist what to call African-Americans either. It doesn’t work to tell a racist they’re racist. The people who actually believe Donald Trump are not irredeemable though. 100% of us may be racist but 100% of us don’t have submit to our cultural training or crass instincts either. You can learn through trial and error that the things you’ve been taught are wrong, that people who look or worship or live differently than you are not evil, and that there’s no one group to blame for whatever you think is wrong with the world. Being poor or disenfranchised is a common denominator that crosses all racial, religious, or sexual distinctions. You can trick people into thinking that Mexico is to blame, and that building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico solves everything, but whatever side of that wall you live on your only concerns are how to get enough to eat, put a roof over your head, and/or take care of your family. The struggle is the same no matter your name. 40% of people may be proud to be “deplorable” but 60% of us can still say there’s a better way, because no matter who we vote for at the end of the day the struggle remains the same.