Finally all those minorities to whom he refused to rent apartments in the 70s, all those minorities he hated to see handle money at his casinos, all those minorities to whom he said during the campaign, “what have you got to lose?”—well now they’re learning exactly what they have to lose in a Trump regime: about fifty years worth of progress in civil rights. And what to gain? A Dickensian landscape of deprivation and want.
Trump was criticized during the campaign for his insistence on equating the lives of black Americans with ghettos, as if they couldn’t possibly live anywhere else. They were all unemployed, all victims of crime, all forlorn and impoverished beyond reckoning. At the time I thought it was just another example of Trumpian stupidity, but now I see he was prophesying—in the Trump universe minorities will indeed live in ghettos while the rich white people like him run the country—and keep those ghettos full. (I know I promised a while back not to conjure up Hitler every time Trump does something tyrannical, but when the tactics mirror that of the Nazi party in 1930s Germany, such comparisons are difficult to disregard.)
And by the way, for all the white people who deluded themselves into believing that Trump’s enmity toward Barack Obama was not racially motivated, and that the hatred spewed from conservative talk radio for eight years was merely political, you can stop the blathering. You elected the man you wanted, the man who teased you with some restoration of white America to its “rightful place” by whatever means necessary and is now following through.
Of course Trump, not satisfied with trying to undo the work of his predecessor, has gone after the work of that man’s predecessor, and that man’s predecessor, and his, and his…. No president, dead or alive, gets to retain a legacy with Trump at the helm. And anyone—politician or otherwise— who has tried to forward the movement of civil rights, well thanks for playing, but there’s a new halfwit in town and your work will now be neutralized by this intellectually limited bigot and the men who lead him about.
The unmitigated and shameless cynicism of using civil rights legislation to protect already-franchised citizens would be, under other circumstances, ironically amusing—another bow to the band of comedic white supremacists who patrol the west wing. (Who doesn’t see Steve Bannon’s fingerprints on this, and hear Jeff Sessions’s blessing?) But even though we all know that white supremacists inhabit this country in alarming numbers (cf. the 2016 Trump campaign), watching our nation’s purported leaders goose-stepping along so eagerly is not merely disheartening; it’s horrifying.