“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
—-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a fundraiser—just as Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” comment in 2012 was made at a fundraiser!—the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City on Sept. 9, 2016.
One of the consistent features of both Clintons is that they engage in so much problematic conduct that often one incident worthy of serious criticism will be knocked out of the headlines by another.
Hillary’s 9/11 “over-heating, well, dehydration, well, ok, since it’s on video, she has pneumonia” fiasco, demonstrating that suspicions that she and her campaign aren’t being truthful about the state of her health are not “conspiracy theories,” effectively muted discussion about her “basket of deplorables” classic, complete with an imaginary word, “generalistic,” that if it had been uttered by George W. Bush would have been mocked far and wide.
I categorize this as an ethics quote rather than an unethical quote, because it is both ethical and unethical simultaneously. (The Clinton’\s seldom say things that aren’t adaptable to multiple interpretations; this allows them to leap from one to the other, like they are ice floes, when one meaning is justly condemned or found to be false.)
On the ethical side, it is completely fair and accurate to diagnose Trump supporters as deplorable, defined as “lamentable, or deserving censure or contempt.” This doesn’t apply to those conflicted potential voters who have reluctantly decided that in the terrible binary choice Americans have had shoved down their civic gullets by the two incompetent political parties, Donald Trump is preferable to Hillary Clinton. That is not the most responsible choice—it can’t ever be responsible to give such power to an unstable and ignorant boor—but it is an excusable mistake, given the horrible dilemma.
Supporting Trump, however, as in actively wanting him to become President, is as good a definition of “deplorable” as I can imagine. In this respect, Hillary was too generous. 100%, not merely 50%, of Trump’s supporters are deplorable. They lack the values, civic responsibility, understanding of their own nation and its history, or sufficient intelligence to be competent voters.
You know: deplorable.
That isn’t what Hillary meant to convey by “deplorables,” however, because she knows that the meanings of the labels she used are far broader to her fervent progressive supporters than what reasonable definitions suggest. ( Note: Hillary supporters are deplorable for the same reasons Trump’s supporters are: if one really wants a woman this corrupt and dishonest to become President, that’s inexcusable.) The intent of her statement was to reaffirm that Americans holding particular views that Democrats and progressives refuse to consider or tolerate are not worthy of being Americans at all, and should be treated as “the other,” or exactly as Clinton claims that they are treating Muslims, blacks, immigrants, women and gays.
Here is the insidious message Clinton’s carefully crafted wedge was meant to convey…
“Offensive rhetoric “ is politically incorrect rhetoric, or whatever leftist cant says should offend the good, real Americans,
“Hateful rhetoric” is any position or opinion that opposes the Democratic agenda and the agendas of their favored interest groups.
“Mean-spirited” is to opposes massive wealth transfer from the wealthy, near-wealthy, self-sufficient, industrious and successful to everyone else.
“Islamophobic” means citizens who accept, unlike the Obama administration, the fact that ISIS is a radical Islamic terrorist organization, and that accepting unvetted hundreds of thousands of assimilation-resistant refugees and migrants from area where radical Islam thrives is dangerous and irresponsible.
“Xenophobic” means those who understand that open-borders and illegal immigration without deterrents is an insane and existentially irresponsible national policy.
“Homophobic” citizens are, to the LGBT for Hillary crowd, anyone who has been slow to fall in line with the fastest major cultural shift within memory, the understanding that gay people deserve all the rights of citizens including the right to marry. T%he description also attaches to those who do not believe it makes sense to mandate that any gender, pseudo-gender, self-identified gender or imaginary gender can use whatever locker room or restroom they feel like using regardless of who else may be using it.
“Sexist” includes principled opponents of abortion, who believe that a fetus is a human life that deserves human rights. It includes anyone who believes that a woman saying she was harassed, assaulted,or raped requires evidence, and she does not have a “right to be believed” when that means that the men accused are stigmatized, demonized , punished and harassed themselves in the absence of evidence beyond a woman’s word. “Sexist” also includes anyone who has the courage and integrity to call foul on the continually circulated lie—yes, the current Amy Shumer-Josh Rogan commercial makes me want to leap through the screen— that women are not payed the same salaries when they do the same job, with the same credentials, experience, seniority, demonstrable accomplishments and ability as men in that same job. “Sexist” also includes anyone who points out how corrupt Hillary Clinton is.
Finally, “racist” means critics of Barack Obama. It means anyone who doesn’t approve of airbrushing away history by removing the names of Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, Lee and others from monuments and institutions. It covers those who do not believe that the United States systematically oppresses blacks, or that police departments shoot unarmed African-Americans with joyful abandon. Racists, to Hillary’s audience, also means citizens who object to racial quotas, the use of “disparate impact” to invalidate legitimate and color blind laws, affirmative action, and who believe that voters should be able to prove who they are on election day.
Nobody disagrees that real racists are “deplorable,” because they believe in denigrating and subjugating blacks based on their race. True xenophobes, not those tarred with the label to suppress criticism of policies that reward illegal immigration, but those who are prejudiced toward legal immigrants and foreign visitors, are un-American to the core. Genuine sexists, who don’t support the rights of women to achieve success on their merits unencumbered by their gender, deserve all the opprobrium the culture can muster, are archaic remnants of 19th century ignorance. Fairly labeled homophobes continue to oppress gay Americans as perverts and threats to civilization based on ignorant beliefs thousands of years old, and they do not deserve respect. Actual Islamophobes are religious bigots who would withhold from followers of one of the world’s great religions the right of freedom of worship that the Constitution ensures the rest of us.
These aren’t the definitions Clinton was evoking however. Her goal was to use the vilest and most damaging labels possible to declare vast numbers of American citizens who do not embrace progressive ideology as less than decent, less than tolerable, less than American.
This divisive strategy has been the hallmark of the hyper-partisan Obama Administration, and it is clear that Hillary Clinton intends to continue it, long after Donald Trump is but an unpleasant memory.
That is deplorable.