I can’t bring myself to be thankful for the election of a President who has horrified and revolted me for the better part of a decade, but I am thankful that some troubling trends and attitudes in our society and culture have received the metaphorical slap in the face that Trump’s victory delivered. The Ethics Alarms tag “This will help elect Donald Trump” is about to be retired, but when mourning progressives ask you today, while passing the gravy, “Why? Why?”, you should direct them to this link, and this post. If they don’t help, they are are beyond helping.
Three awful stories surfaced after the election, two of them yesterday, that illustrate the kinds of social dysfunction that have been nurtured in the Obama years, and if a Trump administration can erase them and their ilk, returning some sanity to the national landscape, no one will be able to say the Trump experiment was a total bust…
1. First, and most unforgivable, we have this recent quote from Bernie Sanders’ former spokeswoman, Symone Sanders (no relation). Appearing on CNN yesterday and talking about the future of the shell-shocked Democratic Party, she said in part…
“In my opinion we don’t need white people leading the Democratic party right now.”
On April 6, 1987, Dodger executive Al Campanis appeared on the ABC News show “Nightline,” and infamously said that black people couldn’t be major league baseball managers. The statement caused an uproar, and Campanis, whom nobody who knew him regarded as a racist, lost his job and career. Symone Sanders’ comment, which like that of Campanis equates the ability to do a job with race, is no less offensive than what Campanis said, but similar sentiments are broadcast frequently from black public figures without widespread obfection or consequence. ( Sanders also said sarcastically this month, after the election, when shown a video of a mob beating up a Trump supporter, “Oh my goodness, poor white people!”)
Acceptable anti-white racism and a bigotry double standard both defy American values, including basic decency, respect and fairness, but there are seldom consequences for shameless bigots like Sanders, except the cumulative one of having the people she and others denigrate for their color and ancestry sticking the human thumb named Donald Trump in their eyes.
It is no more racially biased for white Americans to take offense at the broad negative stereotyping endorsed by Sanders than for black Americans to oppose white supremacists…or clueless passive bigots like Al Campanis. Their anger at being told their skin disqualifies them for any job is justified, and the fact that news media talking heads nod respectfully at racist bile like the comments of Symone Sanders is further justification. ( Ted Koppel’s reaction to Campanis’s jaw-dropping statement 30 years ago can be fairly summarized as, “Wait…what?“ ) Not happily voting for a political party that embraces individuals who want to marginalize you because of race or gender isn’t bigotry, as the current Bitter Hillary Fan narrative now styles it. It is common sense.
Promoting racial division and bias is unhealthy and un-American no matter what direction it comes from. Until everyone can be certain that the Democratic Party is on board with that concept, and until proud and arrogant racists like Symone Sanders are shown the same level of tolerance Al Campanis received—that is, none—distrust of progressives and the news media will grow, and should.
2. The freakout over Trump’s election continues to bear rotten fruit, but one of the worst examples of the unhinged backlash (that is, one of the worst that didn’t involve Democratic supporters rioting, looting, and beating up “poor white people”) occurred election week. Heidi Bradley Smith had been invited by SMU to handle an honorary serve at a university volleyball game, to honor her late father, a police officer who had been shot and killed in July. The day after the election, she was sent an e-mail retracting the invitation, explaining that “in light of recent events and diversity within the SMU community, the demonstration could be deemed insensitive.” They did apologize for the late notice, especially in regards to “the sensitivity of this matter.”
You read it right: in light of the nation’s democratic election, a young woman serving a volleyball to honor her policeman father, killed in the line of duty, might bother a some police-hating, Black Lives Matter jerks whose basic humanity is AWOL, and so the university prefers to mistreat and insult that young woman rather than teach said jerks to wise up.
Heidi shared the dis-invitation on social media—sometimes I’m grateful for social media—and the spineless cowards who are the college administrators at SMU–but I repeat myself—flipped again, sending Heidi a re-invitation and apology:
I can’t seem to find out what Heidi’s response to this was. I hope her response was similar to what mine would have been, which would be to say that now that she has learned what kinds of values SMU stands for and what kinds of biased, vicious students call the tune at their pathetic school, her late father would be better honored by almost anything else at a different locale and institution, and that the SMU idiots should stick their volleyball where it belongs, and she would be happy to assist.
3. At Salem State University in Salem, Mass., where the tradition of witch hunts is apparently alive and still poisoning minds, the campus’s Winfisky Gallery was pressured to close an art exhibit that included a digital print of some Ku Klux Klansmen called “State of the Union.” The students did not object to the artwork because the artist’s implication that the election of Donald Trump has any relationship to the Klan is insulting, ignorant and stupid, which it is. No, the offense was that minority students found a drawing of Klansmen so viscerally upsetting to their weak and fragile psyches that they felt unsafe, or something. One protester uttered this immortal bit of Authentic Frontier Gibberish:
“They need to understand that intention does not negate consequence, and it does not negate what I or my peers personally felt when we walked in and we saw that image.”
It’s called art, you foolish, pampered, children. It is supposed to provoke an emotional response. If it’s too much for you, leave, or better yet, see a psychiatrist, and by all means, don’t you dare view “Rape of the Sabine Women” by Picasso, or “The Beheading of John the Baptist” by Caravaggio. By all means run from exhibits of this classic photograph…
or this one…
and make absolutely certain that you never have to deal with the implications of this image…
…because education is all about avoiding uncomfortable ideas, opinions and realities, not having to confront and learn from them.
Did the administrators explain what is wrong with the students’ call for censorship and an embargo on expression? Did they reassert their duty, and the obligation of all educational institutions, to present a wide variety of challenging images, positions, ideologies, theories and concepts to those seeking open minds and the ability to engage in critical thought? Of course not! The university’s “diversity officer” praised the protest, and the school apologized for the exhibit, saying,
“We would like to apologize to those in the campus community who have experienced distress resulting from this exhibit. We are sorry. Yesterday’s conversation made clear the strong emotions this exhibit has caused.”
I have the gravest doubts thatDonald Trump has the skill, focus or ethical bearings to try to cure the dangerous cultural diseases these episodes and many, many others reveal. I absolutely know, however, that another four years of Democratic messaging from the White House would have made them worse.