A Racist President of the United States. Are We Really Better Than This?

“We want people in our country based on merit. Not based on a draw, where other countries put their absolute worst in a bin and they start drawing people. Do you think they’re going to put their good ones? They don’t put their good ones. They put their bad ones.” – Donald Trump

“We want people in our country based on merit. Not based on a draw, where other countries put their absolute worst in a bin and they start drawing people. Do you think they’re going to put their good ones? They don’t put their good ones. They put their bad ones.” – Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s quote demonstrates an astonishing lack of self-awareness and an abundance of self loathing.

He is the son of an immigrant and four of his children are children of immigrants.

What does it say to first generation Americans, when the president says they are the children of the ‘absolute worst,’ the ‘bad ones?’

What does it say to his own children?

These foreigners aren’t any good, but your mothers and grandmother, with limited education and no marketable skills, are okay?”

Trump doesn’t send coded dog whistles to the racists; his words are actual messages to other racists. Like other racists, he sees all foreigners and emigrants as attacks against a country’s culture. He and racists like him see no difference between gang members, children, terrorists, and refugees seeking asylum.

Racism makes it easy to ban Muslim emigrants fleeing countries plunged into chaos by U.S. foreign policy or occupied by the U.S. military.

The current political climate dismisses suffering with racist generalities and anti-Muslim bigotry, while children die. Syrian and other refugees risk everything for a better life and the U.S. continues to ignore the suffering of children. Racist policies along the nation’s borders separate families and treat innocent babies as criminals.

The President of the United States bans Muslims, oppresses Spanish speaking refugees, praises Nazis, excuses white nationalist racists, and pardons other racist criminals.

Trump’s wealth was accumulated in part by discriminating against minorities. His entire public life is filled with examples of racism.

Only racists or foolish, treacherous wretches can justify or excuse Trump’s behavior.

And yet this is were we find ourselves. The Republican Party has hooked its wagon to the political fortunes of a pathological liar with a clearly questionable relationship with Russian Oligarchs.

Are Americans better than this?

American history has bigotry as the foundation— from Jamestown, when the first African slaves were introduced in 1619, to this moment— brutally oppressing and marginalizing minorities has been public policy or public pronouncements by leaders across all parties.

It’s easy to forget that women in the United States have had the right to vote for fewer than 100 years, less than one quarter of the nation’s history.

From violence against indigenous people to slavery and segregation, from the Alien and Sedition Acts and Chinese Exclusion Acts to to internment of Japanese Americans, the United States is a racist, discriminatory society and the odds have always been, and remain, stacked against everyone who isn’t white and male.

When Trump tweets attacks against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he’s addressing his base of other white, male racists. Racists will continue to support him, no matter what he says or does, no matter how many lies he tells, no matter how he contradicts himself or radically changes positions.

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it." -- Mahatma Gandhi

American xenophobia and racism has always been driven by fear of others.

The anti-immigration sentiment has always existed and it has always been wrong. There has always been room on the economic ladder for more.

The grandson of a German emigrant became president.

The great-grandchild of an Irishman became president.

A first generation Spanish-speaking American became a U.S. Senator, with hopes to become the presidential nominee of the anti-immigration party.

Racism is American and nationalist but it’s not the best we can be and it’s certainly not Christian.

The Bible is filled with stories that can be taken out of context to justify bigotry and avoiding others, but there are many, many more examples of God’s plan that we be closer together, not further apart.

All of us, Jew, Gentile, Samaritan, Ethiopian, Greek, and Roman, are made in the image of God.

Each of us carries the breath of God within us.

Made in the image of God, each of us has the opportunity each day to be better than bigotry, better than living a life of fear.

Jesus calls us closer to God, not deeper into nationalism.

Jesus calls us to be better than we were, to be more than our past.

Each of us is capable of rising to the occasion, to grow into the fullness of God. We can be the best person we can be. As God intended.

Thanks be to God.

About Jim Meisner Jr.
Jim wrote the history book, American Revolutionaries and Founders of the Nation. A former pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jim earned an M.Div. from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. You can read more about the author here.
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  • JJ Smith

    I take part of your basic premise as being Trump is a xenophobe, and for that he is a hypocrite with a lack of self-awareness due to his being a product of immigrants; and having wives who are immigrants, so also are his children products of immigrants. Therefore saying immigrants are bad people, he doesn’t realize he’s talking about himself and his family.
    I think there’s a flaw in that premise, based on the point of there not really being hypocrisy or lack of self-awareness in his stance since his xenophobia/racism is only toward immigrants of countries with darker skin.
    German, Scottish, French, even Russian, Slav and Polish (those of his and his wives’ lineages) are fine, as long as they’re Caucasian. However, Middle Eastern, African, Hispanic – now that’s a problem for him. He isn’t clueless, just a bigot.

  • JoeEngr

    “We want people in our country based on merit” = racism?? That is a funny interpretation. I would interpret has statement as meaning he wants people in the country based on merit.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    How about Muslim countries where the people have too many children and there’s a lot of corruption in their governments?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    The Canadians and Australians and Swiss and Scandinavians all have such systems.

  • chickadee

    Trump’s pimp grandfather lied to get in to avoid jail time in his native Germany and his lying wife #3 got in illegally on a “genius” visa. Lock them up.

  • chickadee

    How about fascist sons of immigrants with five children by three women, two of them immigrants, one of whom got into the US illegally, on a genius visa? How about them?

  • Mr. James Parson

    I am half Mexican. I wonder what I deserve just for that?

    BTW, I am blue eyed and I really can’t speak Spanish.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    OK-what about them? Why do you suppose I have to defend myself about anything?
    And I didn’t vote for him-so spare me the “prophetic ministry”!

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Sure, ok. And tax the churches!

  • Nimblewill

    Proof that anyone who disagrees with you must be a racist! I had a person tell me that accepting good blacks and not accepting bad blacks was racist. So not accepting anything bad has to be racist.

  • Curtis Pullin

    “We want people in our country based on merit” is a racist dog whistle. It’s called a dog whistle–a high pitched whistle that dogs but not humans can hear–because there are those who cannot (or will not) understand the underlying message. Taken at its face value, the statement does not sound racist, but when understood in the context of a racist president messaging his racist supporters, the meaning is clear. That meaning is that Trump and his administration wishes to pick and choose with a preference for people with white skin.

  • Nimblewill

    I wish I knew the absolute motivations of our government!