Archive for Sunday, November 13, 2016

Opinion: It’s mourning in America

November 13, 2016

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It’s not that America has never been a disappointment before. It’s not that America has never been an embarrassment.

But nowhere in modern memory — not at Abu Ghraib, not in the 2000 election debacle, not in the Monica Lewinsky scandal — has it been as much of a disappointment and embarrassment as it is right now. Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States. God help us all.

Earlier this year, when Trump became the de facto nominee of the Republican Party, I said in this space that if we were truly the kind of nation that would elect such a manifestly unfit man to the presidency, we might as well know it. “Any country,” I wrote, “that would elect Donald Trump as president deserves Donald Trump as president. But the question is: Are we that country?”

I was hoping for an emphatic no, a no that would raise a mushroom cloud over the nativism, coarseness and know-nothingism Trump represents. But America just said yes. And let there be no confusion over what that yes says about us.

Put aside for a moment Trump’s myriad failings. Pretend he isn’t a schoolyard bully. Pretend he isn’t a preening narcissist. Pretend he isn’t ignorant. Pretend he doesn’t lie. Just consider his treatment of the vulnerable among us.

Trump insulted women in the coarsest and most vulgar language imaginable, even bragging about sexual assault. And we refused to let that bother us.

He branded Mexican immigrants as rapists and proposed to bar Muslims from these shores. And we chose to be OK with it.

He enjoys the support of David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan and other professional white supremacists. And we decided that wasn’t a deal breaker.

What do you suppose that tells vulnerable people about our commitment to them?

If you came here looking for silver linings, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong column. We Americans do that reflexively. Optimism is in our DNA. So people will try to find ways to make this something other than the disaster it is.

But let’s get real. You could raid all the warehouses of Revlon, Maybelline and Estee Lauder and still not find enough lipstick to beautify this pig.

There will be time soon enough for pep talks. There will be time to remind ourselves of history’s long arc, time to come out fighting.

But first, I must give grief its due. The state of the Union is not good — not just because Trump was elected, but because so many of us looked past — or embraced — his bigotry and misogyny to do so.

As a TV analyst observed on election night, his victory represents a “primal scream” from the undereducated underclass of white Americans that feels ignored by both parties. Agreed. But let’s be clear on what they are primarily screaming about.

It isn’t the economy. It isn’t poverty or trade. It is, rather, the coming America in which white people no longer bear the stamp of demographic primacy, in which they will find themselves reduced from lead actor to member of the ensemble.

That America is still coming. But notice was just served that it will be resisted every step of the way.

Although I’m disappointed and embarrassed, I am not shocked. This country has always been loath to come to terms with — or even admit — the depths of its biases. Witness the pundits who spoke of white “economic anxiety” while Trump supporters were beating up Mexicans and chanting “Jew-S-A.”

Still, I wanted to believe that in 2016, demeaning women or being applauded by the KKK would be a bar to high office; I wanted to believe my country was finally better than that.

And it was not.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him via email at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Comments

Maddy Griffin 1 year, 5 months ago

This what happens when only half of the eligible voters show up. I thought 'Murica was smarter than this.

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

If Obama's profoundly transformed America is so bad Pitts, move to Canada with your Liberal brothers and sisters.

Pitts is Liberal. He is a bigoted racist hater. Simple as that. If Trump was Black, he would be singing a different tune.

What a deplorable human Pitts is for supporting the riots. He and his Liberal brothers and sisters, Obama and Clinton, do not say a word about stopping their supporters from rioting in city after city. Why is that?

Why is that?

Does their Liberal condition preclude them from being decent human beings?

Evidently.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 5 months ago

First, it is not the answer for those who want equality for all to leave the nation when they are set back. It is their right and responsibility to stay and fight for what they believe is right.

Second, it is NOT a negative to be a hater of racists or misogynists, as hating anyone's racist actions does not equate to being a bigot.

Decent human beings? What are those? People who care not a whit for others' well being? People who support racial divides? People who taunt those who want everyone, including you, to have a shot at living comfortably, a good job with opportunity to receive training, education, and all that means being an American?

Riots? I don't think even Pitts wants to see destruction or violence, but railing against an American's right to protest wrong is wrong, too. All people have the right, in our country, to protest anything they want. The have the right to highlight their disappointment, disgust, or stupidity as you have. That, in case you've forgotten, is our way, and the way in which this great nation was founded. Perhaps history escapes you, Bob.

If those things mean being a decent human being, then, yes, that's what they want.

And Mr. Trump, who won the election on the backs of those of you who want to deny those things to them (as well as, I might add, the backs of those who did not vote or take part in the great privilege they have of voting, of using their ballots to make a choice), is the wrong choice.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

Pitts is funny when he's being extra bitter. He's even funnier when he's all sad and stuff.

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

Smart, loyal, conservatives such as yourselves should consider acknowledging that the white nationalists that have been called to action by the Donald before it outweighs any positives he hopes to accomplish. If you allow him to be defined as a racist, everything will change.

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

Sew buttons.

People with the Liberal condition are defining Trump as being the Liberal code word racist.

btw. There are no "loyal" conservatives. People either have the Liberal condition, or, they do not.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Appointing a white supremacist as his chief strategist didn't exactly help define him as a not-racist.

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

I would define racist with groups like "white genocide", whom trump frequently has retweeted. Clever banter will not redefine his call.

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

I would define racist with groups like "white genocide",

Exactly.

Liberal code word. Created and defined by a Liberal.

Thanks

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

You won't win an argument with "Bob" here. He's been repeatedly banned for his racist remarks. Eventually, he'll ramp it up enough to get himself disappeared by the moderators.

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

Lol, your position on the issue is very clear. Thankfully you don't know me personally. This issue will undo the Donald if it continues to be reinforced. The majority of our nation does not support groups such as "white genocide"

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

It's the disappointed progressives that keep bleating their code words and seeking to delegitimize the result of the 2016 Presidential election.

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

The only code words being used are the bleating, tweeting words of the legitimately elected candidate. Racist is not a code word. Failure to acknowledge this will undo any conservative gains. Unless of course, . . .

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

"Racist" is progressive code for anyone who doesn't agree with them.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Or, you know, an actual word that means something. You're just uncomfortable because it frequently applies to you.

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

Why would our legitimately elected candidate retweet information from white supremacy propaganda?

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

Donald used a sophisticated, hi- tech group that analyzed and manipulated social media data. He has proven that absolutely everything he says may, or may not be true. By his own admission, he said things only to get elected,(a politician!!). Getting fox "news" to announce Clinton's indictment is far different from "aligning" himself with white supremists. Anyone who thinks they know what Donald stands for is misinformed. We can look at his past for clues, which would lean towards a anti- regulation, pro- immigration, social liberal??

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

Jonathan Gruber was correct when he said, Americans are stupid. Little does Gruber know or comprehend, his circle of cafeteria friends are Liberal. Not all Americans.

The Liberal ones are so easily emotionally manipulated into a frenzy with innuendo they create.

What did you buy with your $2500?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 5 months ago

"Pitts is Liberal. He is a bigoted racist hater. " Bob has presented himself as the main problem. In what universe is being of a "liberal" position illegal? Bob thinks so. Mr. Pitts is a very competent observer of the political situation, and Bob stinging from this fact cannot do anything but let his fascist attitudes spew hatred and bigotry,

Trump has said he would change the laws to restrict the press. I clear violation of the First Amendment. Trump has said he will prosecute his political opponent. Hitler did the very same thing. (Get your flags folks!!)

Where have we heard this in history. Oh yeah..........In the Third Reich!! (Get your flags folks)

Hitler arrested and killed journalists that disagreed with him. He rounded up individuals of a religious group and put them in extermination camps. He rounded up people of an opposition political group and put them in concentration camps.

Hitler ran for president in Germany in 1933. He lost. He was ordained as Chancellor by a weak and old President Hindenberg.

Go get your history books. If you dare.

Trump is advocating very similar tactics. He is now in control of the largest military organization in the world.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

Deceased equines continue to be pummeled.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

I suggest putting away your whip, Mr Smith. You've flogged them enough.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 5 months ago

So, the truth offends you? Says volumes about you that you'll never acknowledge.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

Fred's hyperbole leaps over the truth and charges off into the woods.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Says the man who refers to the current president of the United states as the "dog-eating tyrant." LOL. I'm going to start calling the president-elect F Von Clownstick. It's his real name. I don't know why he's not proud of his heritage. https://www.facebook.com/ffacevonclow...

Greg Cooper 1 year, 5 months ago

Which part of Fred's "hyperbole" is not truth, Bob? The fact that you don't want to agree with what really happened in history doesn't magically make it disappear.

So, purveyor of regressive wisdom, tell me just what part of what Fred said is not true. I challenge you to a bout of intellectual honesty.

Will those things happen here? We have to hope not but we have always been able to stop those who support such things in our country. But with folks such as you that might not be a good thing. Maybe you want to see the press squashed. Maybe you want to see non-"Christian" religious practitioners relegated to concentration camps. Maybe opposing political views should be made illegal and punishable by death. Is that what you're saying, Bob?

Those things happened, Bob, and don't you get on your high horse about hyperbole, because the new normal could be the present hyperbole.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 5 months ago

Do I believe that all Trump supporters are racists. No. But they need to distance themselves from the Trump supporters who are. Trump was willing to take anyone's support regardless of their bigotry. If you are not a racist Trump supporter, then let's see you condemn the ones who are. Let's see you stand up to the hatred that I see coming from many of them. Then you and I can talk about solutions to problems in our country that are workable and will be good for all. But first reject hate.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

When did the dog-eating tyrant condemn his political godfather, Bill Ayers? Ayers, you may recall, was and is a domestic terrorist. But for the fact that his buddies were lousy bomb makers, they'd have killed dozens of Americans. Hate has proven very useful to Democrats over the years.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Did you mean Obama? Perhaps when he referred to him as "somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8." He certainly didn't appoint him has campaign manager or chief strategist.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

A certain political career began with a meeting in Ayer's house. Do some research.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

You asked when he was condemned. I answered. So when is Von Clownstick going to condemn his chief strategist?

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

Doing a hand-wave and telling a lie about Ayer's influence isn't good enough. Here, Barb, have some more sour grapes.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

You asked. I answered. Now you're demanding more proof. Goal post was over there.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

You know that was just before Comey made his Hatch Act violating "I got something! No wait, nevermind" announcement and her polling numbers tanked. The pollsters still thought she was going to win, but not by a landslide. You'd be more credible if you cited the many sources that had her ahead on election day. But I don't think your aim was credibility.

Justin Hoffman 1 year, 5 months ago

Like Mr. Smith, I too thoroughly enjoy reading Pitt's columns when he is bitter and whiny. Looking forward to his columns for the next four years with the sore loser, whiny undertones.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 5 months ago

As I get down on my knees and implore all the powers that be and everything that is holy and sacred, can I PLEASE beg you all to just stop with the flamethrowing for a few months and just get behind the President and wish for success? Haven't we all had enough of this?

When Obama became President, even I gave him a chance, with no hysterics. It's time to do the same thing here. Seriously. This violence in the streets, this visceral speech between us, it NEEDS TO STOP.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Just because he won the election doesn't mean that he now has a clean slate. We knew who he was before he was elected. We know how he behaved during the campaign.

I gave Bush a chance. I disagreed with him ideologically and he proved that he was far worse than I thought he'd be, but I gave him a chance. You and I know he was nothing like this. Neither was Obama. This is something very different. Trump is a loose cannon who campaigned on a wave of bigotry and autocratic rhetoric and promised to roll back constitutional rights. A loose cannon who gained an unprecedented amount of power.

I won't give up my right to free speech in the name of patriotism. That doesn't mean I endorse the actions of anarchist vandals.

I do wish for the country's success, and that means I wish for him to either change his mind about parts of his agenda or fail to implement it. I will not be complacent to the wholesale rolling back of civil rights and neither should you.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

"...I will not be complacent to the wholesale rolling back of civil rights and neither should you..." Good thing nobody is planning to do that.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

I honestly do not believe you're that naive. We'll ignore the threats to the civil liberties of LBGQT, brown people, and women because you did when you voted for him, but Trump has proposed reinstating the Patriot act and resuming warrant-less eavesdropping. He's said he errs on the side of "security" rather than liberty. That should give you some pause.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 5 months ago

And I gave Obama a chance, despite his connections to Bill Ayers, an America-hating preacher, and his announced plans for the country.

You can't have it both ways. Trump won the election because he was running against Clinton. And if Clinton won? I would say she would have won because she ran against Trump. So if you have ire you want to focus point it at the DNC that was working to anoint her as President for the last four years.

Until then, AND from someone who was opposed to Trump and didn't vote for him, enough is enough. These hysterics, comparison to 1933 Germany, and white supremacist accusations are not helpful.

Say whatever you want, but by continuously feeding this fire, your efforts are counterproductive to the end result you seek. that's just the truth of the matter. I didn't say you had to dress up in an outfit and swing your pom poms in all Trump's glory. I just said it's time to put aside the rhetoric and unify.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

He didn't appoint Bill Ayers to be his chief strategy adviser. He didn't appoint his former preacher to that position. Neither of those men were as central to his campaign as Bannon was to Trump's. This is different, and you know it.

You're the one trying to have it both ways. Sure. You could claim that's why he won. If Clinton won, I wouldn't disagree that she won because she was running against Trump, the most unqualified man to run for president in our entire nation's history. And if she appointed a white supremacist to her chief of strategy, I'd be upset and say something about it. That doesn't change the fact that he's the most unqualified president in history and just appointed a white supremacist to guide his strategy.

The new defense I guess is to claim that he's not a white supremacist himself. He's just running a newspaper that he deliberately pivoted to pander to racists and misogynists. That's not actually much of a distinction, is it?

This isn't normal. It isn't OK. And it isn't hysterics to say so. It is, however, especially as someone who felt too embarrassed to vote for either candidate, shameful of you NOT to say so, too. By not speaking up, you're giving consent.

I realize that as a civilian, I have a little more freedom than you do on this. I will not unify under that banner. Staying angry is actually very productive, btw. Just ask the alt-right if they ever got anything out of eight years of feeding that fire. Oh yeah, they got the presidency.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

You keep hashing over the same stuff, Barb. It's gonna be a long time until 2024 unless you come up with some new material.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Don't worry. I'm sure I'll have some new thoughts about the democratic president's reelection campaign.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 5 months ago

I really don't know why I try to reason w/you. OBTW, the all-right didn't get the candidate they wanted. And I've spoken up plenty about Trump and you know it. That's a flat out lie.

I have to learn my lesson here, there's people out there who are interested in intelligent dialogue, and I need to converse w/them. Trying to speak to you is an exercise in futility.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Well, you could try using reason and not flouncing every time you're challenged. The ALT-right did get the candidate they wanted. The rest of the right did not. You and I have many disagreements, but you don't strike me as either racist or a troll.

You told us you didn't like Trump "either" when he campaigned, while trying over and over to get everyone else to hate Clinton, too. Essentially, you were making over racism and boastful suggestions that he violate international law an equivalent sin to email mismanagement, but whatever.

That's different from when he actually takes power. He didn't get elected with a mandate, and he claims he's going to be a president for all Americans. I'm saying the time to speak up about it is now. While he's making those early cabinet choices and setting the tone for the next four years. Or not. I mean, it will be a wave election the next time people show up to vote, and they usually show up to vote when they're pissed, so...

But by not saying anything, you are condoning his behavior.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 5 months ago

What do you want me to do, put a loudspeaker in front of my house and put it on repeat? How many times do I have to say that Trump made offensive and disgusting remarks before you finally acknowledge that I have spoken up? This must make at least a dozen times I have posted on these boards alone, yet for some reason you still think I'm an apologist for him.

The President is the President for all Americans, just like both GWB and Obama were/are ours. Trump made offensive and disgusting comments, Clinton has a proven record of lies, corruption, and failure as our nation's chief diplomat. Of course there's no equivalence, the latter was much worse, but both unworthy of election, but that's what happens when the country continues to polarize.

And it's going to continue to happen and get worse with these protests, the continued wussification of young students, the hysterics, the backlash, the backlash to the backlash and so on. And until everyone of us says enough is enough, and we all just stop slamming each other in a fruitless attempt to be right all the time, let's just hope for success, unity, and prosperity.

Everyone, left, right, center, can we please put down our swords for just one second and move forward?

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