The Mexicans are [S]pectacular, spectacular, hard-working people. I have such great respect for them and their strong values of family, faith and community.”
And this is how simple-minded people see the world—take an entire nation, or religion, or ethnicity, and declare them great, or lazy, or shrewd, or cheap, or generous, or industrious, or criminal, or in the case of Donald-Goes-To-Mexico, spectacular and hard-working.
His is by far the simplest way to view things—it saves the trouble of actually recognizing differences in people. And there’s a word for this, and it’s a word that’s maybe bandied about too much amidst all the name-calling and finger-pointing of the current political campaign season, but it’s bigotry.
Donald Trump can deny that he’s a bigot—most bigots do—but when he stands up on a stage in Mexico City and declares Mexicans to be spectacular and hard-working, he is showing his inability to deal with people as individuals and sees them instead as a herd. There’s no difference between an effusive statement like yesterday’s and his original murderers and rapists assessment of a year ago.
No offense, but the Mexicans are not spectacular, hard-working people. Neither are the Irish, or the Chinese, or the Jews, or the Methodists, or for that matter the Martians or Venusians—or any other racial, ethnic, religious, or extraterrestrial group. It’s not that simple. Some Mexicans are criminals and rapists, just as some Americans are. Millions of people sharing the one commonality of location cannot be categorized in such a facile manner; otherwise, what do we say about a country like ours that produces Thomas Edison and Charles Manson, Toni Morrison and Benedict Arnold, Katie Ledecky and Adam Lanza. Americans are, then…what? Bigots have trouble with questions like that.
Donald Trump has trouble with questions like that, just as he has trouble with all questions involving complexities and gradations. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza joins a book club but can’t make himself read a book. Finally Jerry points out the obvious:
JERRY: You’re not very bright, are you?
GEORGE: No, I’m not. I would like to be, but I’m not.
Insert DONALD for GEORGE and even after twenty-two years, the line works just fine.