The Blame for the Shame

Gilbert Schramm on Sun, 10/30/2016

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Many people are saying the election is over—relax, Trump can’t win—end of problem.  Actually, the problem has hardly begun. How do we deal with the fact that some 40% of Americans will vote for a dangerously ignorant, intemperate sexual predator that lacks the most basic experience, character, or qualifications for the job?

Hillary recently claimed that about half of Trump’s supporters were “deplorable.” She was referring to the demonstrated xenophobes, homophobes, bigots, racists, misogynists, and white supremacist conspiracy theorists that make up the core of Trump’s following. She is right. These “deplorables” are about 20% of the electorate. The uproar from the right about her use of the word is laughable. Their phony outrage is rooted in the same “political correctness” they claim to deplore. Their reaction when Hillary “tells it like it is” shows how pricelessly hypocritical they are.

Dictionary.com defines the word “deplorable” as: 1. Causing or being a subject for grief or regret; lamentable: 2. Causing or being a subject for censure, reproach, or disapproval; wretched; very bad. By any standard, Hillary was right when in calling Trump supporters deplorable. Even if you are not a white supremacist or a sexual predator, giving support to one (even if such support is rooted in ignorance, not malice)—is deplorable too.

Trump supporters go further and further every day to excuse the inexcusable, to rationalize the irrational, to make incompetence seem just a clever campaign technique. The paid flunkies who serve as his surrogates rush to excuse his every transgression epitomize the “banality of evil.”

Hitler made his plans for Jews, gays, gypsies and other such “mongrels” very explicit. Some of his supporters approved, others merely went along—both were complicit. So it is with something approaching nausea that I watch Trump’s spokespeople defending his every outrageous remark.

My immigrant parents survived Nazi Germany. I often asked them how and why Hitler came to power. They told me Germans were angry and frustrated with gridlock in Weimar Democracy, so Hitler was elected and he built big things and put people to work. People didn’t think he meant the crazier things he said—they heard what they wanted to hear.  Above all, Germans wanted Germany to be great again. We all know how the story ended…

Trump’s candidacy fills the rest of the world with horror. America has already lost enormous international prestige. But loss of prestige is one thing—for us to lose respect for 40% of our fellow Americans threatens our union in a way that hasn’t happened since the Civil War.

The bottom line on Trump is simply this. His business success was paid for by his father (and countless other victims). His prowess as a businessman (virtually his sole claim to readiness for the Presidency) is unverifiable without the tax returns he refuses to release. His grasp of foreign policy is childish in terms of diplomacy and trade, and sheer gibberish when it comes to the Middle East, Russia, or nuclear weapons. Details of his “signature” immigration policy remain unclear. His ability to solve other domestic problems or to unite the country can be judged by the way he has run his campaign and divided his own party. He has run the most fact free campaign in history.

Like most Americans, I want change—but I care about the kind of change we get. Change under Hillary might be incremental, but it will be change for the better. Trump’s changes will be catastrophic. His verbal outrages occur almost daily. That certainly won’t change, and our country simply can’t survive four years of it. America won’t become any greater than his campaign has been —in other words, Trump will cover our country in shame.

The blame for that shame will not rest solely with Trump, but will be shared by his supporters. E-mail issues or not, my enthusiastic vote for Hillary is rooted in the knowledge that when I vote for her I am standing with women, minorities, and working people and standing for the sane foreign and domestic policies that will best serve our country.

Reprinted from the Lincoln County Democratic Central Committee webpage:  http://www.lcdcc.org/blog/63

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