I waited a week for things to die down. I know, it’s always best to enter the fray while everyone is talking about it, but sometimes I’d rather sit and watch how things play out. These are some thoughts that came to me as I first heard, and then listened to the responses throughout the week.
First, I was shocked she chose 50%. Anyone older than 40 knows that since at least the 80s, if not earlier, associating non-liberals with these things has been par for the course. I was actually taken aback by the fact that people were taken aback. That’s like being shocked a KKK rally said nasty things about African Americans.
Does that mean she is wrong? No. At least not in basic content. I would dispute the mathematics, but I’ll concede there are some in that group of Trump supporters who fit the label. That’s because I’m a firm believer that where two or more are gathered, there will be deplorables also. That goes for conservatives, Republicans, Trump supporters, Hillary supporters, liberals, Democrats, religious, non-religious, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, delivery truck drivers, you name it. It’s part of the human condition. And it’s not based on party. After the great Sexist Smiles disaster, followed fast by the plague of racist frog supremacists, it might be worth remembering some cases of similar tactics used in the past.
Can we ever forget the wonderful words and phrases used against Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign? While I can’t speak to the trauma caused by asking women to smile, I’m convinced that calling a woman a slut, whore, milf and other words I won’t repeat, qualifies as sexist at best. And that’s not including the rather robust, albeit respectful, conversation Palin kicked off whereby opponents suggested she belonged home with her kids instead of gallivanting around Washington trying to bolster her career. Because we can all agree that one of the hallmarks of liberal feminism as embraced by the Democratic party has been that a woman should stay home and take care of her kids. We’ll skip the things said about Palin’s kids.
Of course there are other cases. Michelle Bachmann got a similar treatment in 2012, if not quite so intense. I’m sure we remember that Condoleeza Rice, Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas brought out some racially charged digs, insults and accusations. Can we ever forget the evening news in the early 90s contemplating the truth behind all of those porn stereotypes about black guys during the Thomas hearings? Can we imagine FOX News pursuing a story like that?
In 2006, CNN lamented the antisemitic attacks from Left-wing sources being made against Joe Lieberman when he left the Democrats and became independent. And it wasn’t just Joe. As the media rallied around the Occupy Wall Street movement, which was the Left’s version of the Tea Party, it didn’t take right wing activists long to find a growing number of video clips of Occupiers blaming, among other things, those rascally Jews on Wall Street. That was followed by Oliver Stone’s rather underplayed suggestion that Jewish influence in the media is the mischief.
This common sense idea that good and bad doesn’t follow party lines has been brought out, once again, thanks to Trump’s crazy-like-a-fox news conference in which he blamed Hillary for the Birther movement. She didn’t start it, as the press has been quick to demonstrate. The press has, however, been forced to rehash the racially tinged comments by Bill Clinton and some of Hillary’s staff in 2008. Moreover, journalists also have had to admit that there were Hillary supporters – not her campaign, or her, but her supporters – who engaged in this disgusting, racist conspiracy theory. In other words, Hillary supporters who deserve to be, by Hillary’s own standards, in that basket of deplorables. Since Hillary’s point was to make the worst of Trump’s supporters a campaign issue, and to draw a line between a vote for Hillary and a vote for Trump, I would say Trump has effectively neutralized that tactic for anyone but the partisan, and all thanks to the media.
In the end, we shouldn’t need to continue. The fact remains that some of Trump’s supporters no doubt deserve to be in the deplorable basket. Right along with some of Hillary’s supporters. Bernie supporters. Johnson supporters. Rubio supporters. And on and on. It’s politics that attempts to make it about my brave, righteous party versus their bad, evil party. As believers, we need to remember that little point in our tradition that reminds us all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That’s all have sinned. Not some. Not them. But all. Some might sin with more gusto, but seldom along party lines. If you heard Hillary’s statement and immediately joined in, trying to draw that same partisan line around who happens to be a deplorable, it might be time to take a deep breath and step back.