are you constantly watching and reading the news? i can’t stop.
i must admit i’ve always been a bit of a news junkie… just one of many vices i’ve learned to live with over the years.
i keep most of them in check, most of the time. really. you’d be surprised.
yet despite my most valiant efforts, i’ve not been able to ignore the recent saturation of political coverage following the GOP and DNC conventions, nor the steady decline in the emotional and intellectual integrity of much of our political discourse this election cycle.
what we’re witnessing has never before been seen in the history of american presidential politics.
this to be seems true not just on mainstream media, but in our online conversations as well. a markedly divided america is gearing up for the november election, and the contrast between the two candidates of the country’s major political parties and their vastly different visions for the future have created an environment of unprecedented agitation and aggression amongst their supporters.
there is an unusual frenzy around the upcoming presidential debates – it’s expected they’ll bring the largest international television viewing audience in history.
i know i’ll be watching.
if you’ve been paying attention to the incessant political coverage i knowingly and willingly subject myself to, you’re aware secretary clinton’s gotten herself into a little hot water in the past week – and i don’t mean her health or the non-story of polls tightening in republican battleground states or her curiously slipping lead in national polling.
‘I know there are only 60 days left to make our case — and don’t get complacent, don’t see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think, well, he’s done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment.
You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables’. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — 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 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America…’
< emphasis mine. you can read the entirety of the transcript of her speech here >
in addition to the unfortunate language she used, this statement includes the ill-advised denial of a potential third group – republicans who support Trump simply because they have a tremendous disdain for hillary.
many republican voters have been influenced and molded by jerry falwell’s Moral Majority movement in the 1980’s. before his death, the founder of the largest evangelical university infamously claimed ‘nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton…if Lucifer ran, he wouldn’t.’
think about that statement.
the late evangelical leader’s son jerry falwell jr. was one of the first religious leaders to endorse donald trump. he also spoke at the republican national convention, and is included in a large number of (mostly white, straight, cis-gender, male) conservative evangelical leaders who’ve thrown their support behind the real estate mogul in an effort to keep hillary clinton out of office.
embarrassingly few have spoken out against Trump.
secretary clinton’s comment – particularly the use of the term ‘basket of deplorables’ – has been broken down and debated by pundits on every major news channel, and quickly caught the attention of her opponents in the race. GOP vice presidential nominee mike pence was quick to say ‘They are not a basket of anything. They are Americans and they deserve your respect.’ *it should be noted indiana governor pence said this at an event sponsored by FRCAction, the legislative affiliate of family research council – a fiercely anti-LGBT group led by tony perkins – who continuously makes dehumanizing statements about the LGBTQ community.
but i suppose that’s neither her nor there, either.
donald trump also defended his supporters, saying
‘While my opponent calls you deplorable and irredeemable, I call you hard-working American patriots who love their country and want a better future for all our people.’
even in the midst of Trump defending his constituency against the ‘deplorable’ label, his rally was interrupted several times by demonstrators and violence amidst the attendants. even as several Trump protesters were being escorted out by security, one man in the crowd grabbed another male protester around the neck – and then punched him. next, he slapped at a woman being led out.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 12, 2016
the Trump supporter was not ejected by security.
<you can read more in depth about that story here or catch it in compilation of other ‘highlights’ from the same rally here> from the podium, the TV personality cracked a joke after the disturbance, ’Is there any place more fun than a Trump rally?’ the crowd cheered.
perhaps this is precisely the type of thing hillary was talking about.
or perhaps she means this ::
yes. that behavior is deplorable. participating in that behavior is deplorable. endorsing that behavior is deplorable. celebrating that behavior is deplorable.
refusing to call it deplorable, is deplorable.
it should be noted – as was pointed out here – that in addition to a growing mountain of video evidence exposing the vulgarities and violence broadcast from Trump rallies across the country others have cited various surveys and polls to defend the accuracy of clinton’s remarks.
multiple national polls have found that most Trump supporters believe president obama is muslim. another poll taken in the spring found that nearly half of Trump supporters consider blacks more violent than whites. most republicans polled during the primaries favored a temporary ban on muslim immigration.
naming sexism, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, islamophobia and any posture of hatred toward another as unacceptable, unwanted and deplorable ought to be a perfectly acceptable part of any good, civilized society.
to be unable to do so is absurd.
it is true that oftentimes progressive’s attempts at the practice of inclusion run the risk of becoming merely a new form of segregation – we include those who believe as we do, excluding of the excluders in the name of inclusion, or in our intolerance of the intolerant in the name of tolerance, et cetera. even in making the right move in naming the bigotry of donald trump and his campaign and a number of their supporters and calling it what it is – deplorable – clinton herself called a large group of people ‘irredeemable‘ because of their beliefs or behavior.
and she did so in the name of progressivism, inclusion and equality.
when called into the light from the perspective of the Other, our posture at times can be seen at best as ironic and sometimes, flat-out hypocritical.
still, many of us sometimes still struggle to grow beyond the tribalism we so desperately despise. we struggle to live together, as a collective whole, amidst and amongst others who do not share our view of the world.
our world is quickly changing – and if i’m not mistaken, we’ve not seen anything yet. growing numbers of us believe we’re living in some of – if not the – most exciting times in human history.
we believe a better world is possible – one that works through, then rises above the conflicts related to tribalism and allows us to become more aware of the collective shared human experience.
…but back to being deplorable.
secretary clinton issued a statement early the following day that she regretted using the word ‘half’ to describe the Trump supporters she was referring to.
‘That was wrong,’ clinton said, ‘But let’s be clear, what’s really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values.’
that last point cannot be overstated. it should deeply concern my level-headed and well-intentioned conservative family and friends (whether they may be socially, politically or religiously conservative) that the statements and values the Trump campaign has put forward have served as a rallying cry for white nationalists.
this is a matter of fact.
and just today, we had the spectacle of Trump’s lie-laden non-apology/admission that ‘President Barak Obama was born in the United States, period.’
nevermind the past eight years Trump has publicly questioned and at times outrightly denied the authenticity of the citizenship of our current commander-in-chief, in an attempt to de-legitimize the entire presidency of the first black man in the oval office by giving national voice to the absurd birther ‘controversy, calling into question his birthplace (in addition to his entrance into Harvard, his law degree and more recently, his love of this country) for years after official birth records had been established without a doubt.
this long-debunked movement has been designated as ‘racist’ not only by the congressional black caucus earlier today, but by even former secretary of state colin powell’s leaked emails earlier this week.
that’s sure to come up in those debates…as will Trump’s most recent comments that hillary’s guards should disarm and then, ‘Let’s see what happens to her.’
that’ll probably come up too. and whatever other outrageous and deplorable things he says between now and then.
another media ploy by Trump. another media circus. another distraction.
i believe we can do better. in coming days i’ve no doubt i’ll be glued to the television to watch and see what happens…in hope that i’m right about that.
i’ll be watching. will you?