Sunday, November 13, 2016

Can Trump put the racist, misogynistic genie back into the bottle?

In his successful run for the presidency Donald Trump activated several demographics that don’t normally play a significant role in national politics. He tapped into their anger and frustration, and ultimately won just enough Electoral College votes to be declared the winner.
I’m not happy with the election’s outcome, but I’m willing to honor it because that’s the way our system works. The candidate who wins the Electoral College gets the job.
The problem, though, is that among those Trump spoke to, there are those for whom his signature phrase, ‘Make American Great Again,’ means make it Anglo-Saxon again; those who aren’t satisfied that women in the workplace still make less than 90 cents for every dollar a man makes, but would, I fear, rather see them back in the situation where a woman needed her husband’s signature to get a loan or buy a car—or, even worse, when a woman was considered a minor and a ward of her father or husband.
The problem with having activated this group, if Trump is to truly be the President for all Americans, he will have to find a way to curb their baser instincts, and prevent the violence and instability they can bring to society. This will be easier said than done I’m afraid. Already, there are signs that the cage has been opened and these feral beasts are roaming free. At the University of Pennsylvania, black students were enrolled, without their consent, in a frankly racist, and scary, Web site. There was an unverified incident where a young black woman was accosted at a gas station by four white men; called vile names, and threatened with a weapon. This might not be true, but the fact that such a story would arise is troubling enough.
I wish I could say that these are isolated incidents, outliers that won’t be repeated. Unfortunately, this type of behavior has a stimulus effect. Just hearing about it, even if the incident was fabricated, is likely to inspire copycats.

Trump has let this genie out of its bottle. Now, we’ll have to wait and see if he is able—or willing—to do what’s necessary to put it back in.