As the United States stands at the brink of choice, it’s disturbing to note that we as a nation have not made as much progress as I once believed. Donald Trump’s campaign has made a fashion statement out of bigotry, and White America is once again dressing to the nines.
Ten days ago, I wrote about unfriending Trump supporters on Facebook, a process that is swift, easy and virtually painless. I know because I purged yet another one just yesterday morning.
But let’s be honest, clicking that unfriend button is nothing like real life, and the sad truth is, despite any actions we take on social media, Trump supporters will continue to walk among us.
Distasteful as it is, a lot of decent Americans will break bread with racist relatives on Thanksgiving Day. We’ll fold our hands and pray together after being admonished to not talk politics at the table with Aunt Charlene and Uncle Billy. And thus the sanctioning of racism for the greater good will go on in 2016, just as it has every day since . . . well, since forever.
It’s not easy because life ain’t Facebook. I think about my own situation. Both of my parents are dead, but if they were still living, there’s a better than even chance that they’d both be Trump supporters. What could I have done about it? Unfriend them? My own parents?
Of course a lot of Trump supporters fell by the wayside after his vile and disgusting comments about women came to light, and maybe my parents would have been among them. But what does that say about people who weren’t phased by the racist tenor of Trump’s campaign, and only jumped ship when they were offended by his talk of “pussy grabbing?”
I’m not excusing it, but my parents were a product of their time, and despite their own failings, they still raised two children who didn’t turn out to be racists, so they must have been doing something right. People today have less excuse, and although I’m convinced that most of them would never dream of donning a white hood or burning a cross on somebody’s lawn, at best it must be said of Trump supporters that they must be kinda okay with racism, and identify with other people who would do exactly that.
I don’t pretend to know what we can do about it.
No matter which way the election turns on Nov. 8, we’ll still have to live with these people, work with these people, pray with these people, and maybe, for the sake of a little peace around the dinner table, pretend that none of the ugliness exists.
It’s not our fault, not really. We can’t be expected to make our houses into armed camps.
Or can we?
For until the day comes when we are able to tell our mothers and fathers, our Aunt Charlenes and Uncle Billys, our friends and neighbors, that their support of racist ideals comes with the price of separation, then I fear the stain of racism will never go away.
* Images from a random Google search on Trump rallies