Anyone who still denies the clarion call of racism inherent in “Make America Great Again” can pretty much shut up now. Events of the past week have reiterated that the door to America has been closed to all but the palest-complexioned Europeans. Welcome Nordics. Black and brown (to cite a phrase instituted against Irish immigrants a century ago) need not apply.
And we must give Trump credit: not even his almighty wall would have accomplished what a couple of border patrol lackeys have done. As a punitive measure, a wall has nothing on separating children from their parents. We learned that centuries ago; in fact, of all the heinous aspects of slavery, none was so cruel as the systematic splintering of families. For removing identity and self-worth, nothing even comes close.
Sessions, Nielsen, Sanders, Trump himself can talk about laws—civil and moral—but we all know what this is: it’s the racist’s last stand—the last big push to whiten America the way it was when it was great. Remember then? When it was great?
- You could make fun of gay people—it was their problem if they wanted to be that way.
- You could to a little groping with impunity and not have to worry about “harassment.”
- You could toss trash out the window—maybe somebody would pick it up.
- You didn’t have to tolerate Spanish on road signs or in product direcciones. Learn English or get the hell out!
- Black people knew their place. Women too. And Hispanics? well they could arrive in the spring and play baseball, wasn’t that enough?
- And the hooded men with torches, well they were good people too.
- Lake Erie burned, deadly smog regularly enveloped L.A, DDT killed birds and poisoned people, rivers were fouled with sewage and waste, and cancer was a death sentence.
This is the America Trump is dragging us back to, one excruciating transgression after another.
And if you voted for him and still think you did the right thing, then this is the America YOU want. You can no longer claim you like his policies but not him. He is his policies, from misogyny to islamophobia with a million iniquities in between. He is the racist antiquarian you yearned for.
But as you grow nearer to the America you want, all I ask is that you shut up about it. Because when America was great, educated people spoke out and the ignorant pulled their red hats down over their eyes and listened—or just made fun of gay people, groped women, tossed trash out the window—that sort of thing.