Our faithful readers know we like to stick to the local. There’s so much going on in these here parts that we don’t usually stray beyond our borders. However, we feel the need to expand our net in order to help explain something that happened in our fine county yesterday.
We’ve heard that a group of fellas took to their truck, finely decorated with that symbol of Southern lost causes, and yelled obscenities at people of color who were walking down Market Street. We are smart enough to know that this could happen for a variety of reasons: drunkenness, stupidity, feeling they are entitled to their hateful opinions because someone running for our highest political office gives them the cover to do so.
It’s the latter we are going to focus on.
When Donald Trump first ran for office, it seemed like a gimmick. Some rich, bored, former reality show star just trying to get attention. It has evolved, over the last few months, into something decidedly less optimistic. Mr. Trump’s “politically incorrect” campaign has given license to those with awful viewpoints to sing them loud and unashamed. By saying the truly awful things that he does, Trump is taking us on a backwards train towards bigotry.
I am sure most of us have lamented the term “political correctness” at one time or another. One thing that we seem to forget are the reasons why we changed the way we talk. For one, we cleaned up our act so one group of people would not be made to feel inferior to another. Let’s not kid ourselves. Language matters. A lot. For a moment stop and think of all of the horrible words used to describe and address African Americans, Women, Asians and Latinos over the course of the 20th century. Pretty terrible aren’t they? There are good reasons as to why its not okay to speak that way anymore. Then along comes Donald Trump who tells people that its okay to express their bigotry. More than that really, he’s made people feel as though they are the ones who are oppressed when they can’t “tell it like it is.”
Where has this shift led us? Well so far: increased attacks on Muslims, 3rd graders taunting their classmate, high school students chanting, “Build the wall” and a myriad of other unfortunate cultural changes.
We get that people feel insecure when economic and educational opportunities are scarce. It’s scary that we live in a unpredictable world where people can shoot or blow you up because of their extreme religious viewpoints. And like the old plantation owners of the failed Confederate republic, Trump feeds into those insecurities and prejudices by turning attention and blame away from where it really belongs…people just like him. Trump, and other greedy fear mongers, are responsible for middle class jobs being shipped overseas. They are responsible for driving people of different backgrounds further apart. All Mr. Trump has offered us is a blame game and false solutions that will only tear this country further apart.
Now back to the local. Frederick, like anywhere else, has always had its racists. And only those people in the truck yesterday can attest to their motivations. One thing is clear though; Trump has paved the way for these kinds of people to feel comfortable in spewing their truly disgusting thoughts. There’s still time to stop this trend. Who is with us?