*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Over the past few months Republican standard-bearer and big-time wrestling celebrity Donald Trump has insulted, denigrated and demonized nearly every American that doesn’t support him. By now it is old news that Trumps thinks “women have to be treated like shit,” that Latinos are rapists and drug smugglers, and that African Americans are inherently lazy and stupid and are content in that condition. At his campaign stops, it is typical for Trump’s supporters to use vile invectives against Clinton and non-Trump supporters calling for her to be killed, call African Americans n*ggers, and chant “build a wall – kill them all” in referring to Hispanics. In fact, as New York Times reporters witnessed, “the frequency with which some Trump supporters use coarse, vitriolic, even violent language – in the epithets they shout and chant, the signs they carry, and T-shirts they wear” is a “pattern not seen in connection with any recent political candidate, in any party.”
Obviously, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has heard the seriously hateful remarks targeting her at Trump campaign rallies, and noticed that Trump leads his hateful acolytes in parroting hurtful, violent, and dangerous remarks about non-Aryan and non-Christian Americans. Everyone with a pulse has heard them and many recoil in disbelief that this is an alleged serious political party and a serious general election. So it was important that on Friday at a campaign stop, Hillary Clinton finally, and rightly, labeled the “Trumpites,” at least half of which, she called a “basket of deplorables.” Actually, Clinton explained what it takes to make it into the “deplorables” basket.
Her partial comment was:
“To be just grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables.’ Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but they are not America.”
With all due respect to Mrs. Clinton, everything she said is true save that last bit about “the deplorables;” racists, nativists, homophobes, sexists, and Islamophobes are certainly America or Donald J. Trump would never be the GOP standard bearer and Republicans would not control Congress and a majority of the states. What Clinton misses is that the Trump supporters she hears, and reads about, are the vocal ones; there are many, many millions more who couch their racism and bigotry to avoid be labeled as “deplorables.” Just because they aren’t shouting invectives from every street corner and evening newscast doesn’t mean they aren’t deplorable and despicable, but they definitely “are America.”
What was typical was the Republican response to the “basket of deplorables” remark the GOP said represented an insult to the millions of Americans who say they plan to vote for Trump. That simply isn’t the case, though, because an accurate portrayal, with print and video evidence, of Trump’s supporters cannot be an insult; it is just the truth that most of the “deplorables” are wearing with great pride. Of course, Donald Trump took to the Twitter to voice his “phony” displeasure, and his campaign manager called on Clinton to apologize. It’s not clear if she is supposed to apologize for being honest or because she is a woman stating an obvious fact.
Donald Trump’s response to Clinton’s honest appraisal of his supporters was:
“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!”
Nice try big-time wrestling-celebrity guy – not one of those “millions of amazing” racists, bigots, Islamophobes, sexists, misogynists, religious fanatics, nativists and xenophobes were ever going to vote for a qualified candidate like Hillary Clinton and Trump knows it.
This was not the first reference to Trump’s supporters being “deplorables” by Clinton so it wasn’t a “campaign gaffe” or misspeak; it was a damned accurate and honest appraisal. Last week Hillary Clinton made very similar remarks on Israeli television and informs that she is not making much of an effort to keep the “deplorables” remarks secret or out of the public’s earshot. Besides, and this goes to Trump’s “deplorables” inherent stupidity, Trump has not made many glowing remarks about his minions in the past.
For example, he has been nothing short of “dismissive” of his supporters most of the time including saying during speeches that he loved his “poorly educated” (read stupid) supporters. He also demeaned them as some kind of mindless lemmings who would follow him over a cliff when he boasted to their faces that no matter what kind of crime he committed, even walking up and shooting someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City, he would never lose even one supporter’s vote. He is right, of course, and it just lends credence to the veracity of Hillary Clinton’s remarks.
Although she refused to apologize, and should never consider it for being honest, she did “sort of” acknowledge it may not endear her to the Trump crowd. She said it was “never a good idea” to speak in generalities about a candidate’s supporters, but she also made it clear that in her original statement she never said all of his supporters are “deplorables,” just over half of them are.
“As I said, many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them.”
According to one political scientist at Middlebury College, Matthew Dickinson; “There are a huge number of undecideds right now, historically speaking — far higher this late than any campaign we’ve seen recently. Being told you or the people you know are racist and misogynistic may not be the way to bring them into the fold.”
As noted earlier, the people that support Trump, or are the “undecided” racists and misogynists or associate with those types, are never going to be “brought into the fold;” not of a candidate or party priding itself on inclusiveness and human decency.
Hillary Clinton didn’t say anything about Trump’s supporters that isn’t common knowledge and plastered all over the Internet and every possible form of social media. One suspects that Trump’s supporters, the “half in the basket of deplorables,” accepted Clinton’s assessment with pride and will wear it as a badge of honor throughout the campaign. Look, they know they are racist, homophobic, sexist, nativistic, bigoted, and Islamophobic, which is what defines them as Donald Trump supporters and why they are acolytes.
What really irritated Donald Trump though, was that Hillary Clinton was boldly honest. For a pathological liar like Trump, honesty and straight talk from any woman is something he is unaccustomed to and can never accept in any situation informing anyone with a pulse exactly why he said “WOW,” as opposed to “that’s not true!”
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.