Call A Spade A … Bloody Shovel?

I had no intention of addressing this issue again, thought it was a no-brainer, thought everyone got the memo a few days ago and we could move on.  But, I keep hearing people either deny or defend the fact that Donald Trump is a racist.  As my friend Mary from the UK says, “Call a spade a bloody shovel!”  I’ve heard the “yeah, well, whadabout ___________________?” (fill in the blank with any of the 20 or so republican stock excuses).  I’ve heard that the democrats are just trying to discredit him, making a mountain out of a molehill.  I’m tired of having to re-visit this, but … it is important that everyone understand that this ‘man’ is a racist, since he is in a position of so much unchecked power.  He believes that he, because of his pale skin, because of his Caucasian ethnicity, is better than the rest of us who do not match him.  Largely because of this, he represents less than half of the people in this country, and as he recently said, the rest of us, if we don’t like it, can leave!

Okay, so in my inbox today was an OpEd in the New York Times by one of my favourite journalists, Nicholas Kristof, on this very topic, and I would like to share his words with you.

Trump Is Racist to the Bone

Trump’s hate is evident from his jawbones down to his thumbs and little toes.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist

July 17, 2019

After instructing four women of color in the House of Representatives to “go back” where they came from, President Trump now claims, “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

That appears incorrect. I have identified the following racist bones in Trump’s body:

Phalanges and metacarpals: These are bones of the fingers and hands that Trump has used to tweet tirades against black and brown people and to retweet Nazi sympathizers, including, twice, an account called @WhiteGenocideTM with a photo of the founder of the American Nazi Party.

Mandible and maxilla: These are the jawbones that Trump has used to denounce Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” not to mention to refuse to criticize the Ku Klux Klan.

Femurs, fibulas, tibias, metatarsals: These foot and leg bones carried Trump into his casinos, where black staff members would be rushed off the floor so he couldn’t see them, according to a former employee, Kip Brown.

Virtually every remaining bone was implicated in Trump’s early refusal to rent apartments in his buildings to blacks, leading the Nixon administration Justice Department (not exactly a pillar of liberalism) to sue him for housing discrimination in the 1970s. A former building superintendent working for Trump explained that any rent application from a black person was coded “C,” for “colored,” apparently so that the office would know to reject it.

“Racist” is an explosive term that should never be lightly flung as an epithet, and it is more likely to end a conversation than clarify it. For a single tweet or action there is a possibility of misunderstanding or ambiguity.

Yet for more than 45 years, since that housing discrimination, Trump has engaged in a consistent pattern of racist behavior and speech. His latest controversial tweets are not an aberration but a culmination. This isn’t a matter of a single tweet; it’s a lifetime with a narrative arc of bigotry.

America’s history is a tapestry of innumerable threads, many of them triumphant and inspiring that we should be deeply proud of, but Trump goes out of his way to weave together two of the most shameful strands.

One is the racism and nativism that go back to the 18th and 19th centuries, to the Philadelphia speaker who in 1844 denounced Irish immigrants as “scum unloaded on American wharves” and helped provoke anti-Catholic riots, to the waves of hysteria against African-Americans, Italians, Chinese, Jews, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and other immigrants. There is another strain of American hospitality highlighted by the Statue of Liberty and the admission of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees beginning in the 1970s, but the nativism is real — it’s why Trump’s family, alarmed by anti-German bigotry, pretended to be Swedish.

The other thread that Trump pulls is more political: what we now call McCarthyism, although it, too, goes back to our nation’s earliest days. It vilifies opponents as enemies of the state.

More than two centuries ago, opponents of Thomas Jefferson warned that he was a Jacobin who if elected would unleash a French-style reign of terror upon America. As one commentator put it, “The Bible would be cast into a bonfire, our holy worship changed into a dance of Jacobin phrensy, our wives and daughters dishonored.” Senator Joseph McCarthy updated that in the 20th century with reckless accusations that leftists were Communists — and now Trump picks up that mantle by suggesting that his four progressive targets in Congress “might be” Communists, not to mention that they “hate our Country” and are “pro Al-Qaeda.”

I’m not sure whether this new McCarthyism is instinctive and unthinking, or these bilious rants represent a shrewd effort to manipulate voters into seeing the 2020 presidential campaign through the prism not of issues but of racial identity, in hopes of winning Trump an edge with white voters.

I do know that Trump has taken two of the most ignominious threads in American history — nativism and McCarthyism — and woven them together in an outburst that is an affront to democratic norms.

If anyone doubts that Trump’s statements were despicable, note that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifically bars employers from using “ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from.’”

Frankly, I’m even more troubled by Trump’s policies than by his tweets, and I wish the reaction to Trump focused more on practical initiatives to reduce child poverty, treat drug addiction or end mass incarceration. But the question put to Congress this week was a resolution properly condemning the presidential tirade. It was grotesque to see Republicans who had been mute at presidential bigotry suddenly protest that the backers of the resolution violated rules of decorum.

Really? We’re left again with the question: How can members of the party of Lincoln today protest the label of racism, but not the racism itself — in a man who for 45 years has shown himself to be a racist from his mandible to his metatarsals?

And lastly … another well-respected journalist speaks.  Typically, we expect a bit of humour from Don Lemon, but on this topic, he is dead serious.  If you want to skip the back-and-forth between Lemon and Chris Cuomo, fast forward to about the 5:17 mark and start there.  It is well worth watching.

And now, I hope the matter is laid to rest and that we can all agree to call a spade a bloody shovel, and to call Donald Trump by what he is: a racist extraordinaire.

40 thoughts on “Call A Spade A … Bloody Shovel?

  1. If one were to take Trump’s words literally, Native Americans could tell all the rest of us, including him, to go back where we came from….and be infinitely more justified in telling us so. Trump is beyond racist — he is SICK.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, all of you go back where you came from. We had our lives figured out quite well before people from “out-there” started coming to our shores. I know we look violent, but really we were just keeping our DNA well mixed up. We might not have known “what” we were doing in today’s words, but we knew we had to continually bring new genes into our nations or they would not survive. For the most part we did not fight wars of genocide, but battles for genetic survival. We knew how to live with nature, not against it, and we were quite happy without horses and guns, OR ALCOHOL!
      No, we cannot go back to our old way of life, but I’m pretty sure we can find a happy and peaceful way of life. As long as “you” are here, that will never happen.

      Thanks for the suggestion, mistermuse, it felt good to say it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I really cannot argue with a single thing you say. As I told mistermuse, had the indigenous people known 400 years ago what a pain in the patootie those settlers were gonna be, they likely would have sent them packing! Probably should have!

        Liked by 1 person

      • When I was a kid back in pre-enlightenment days, I remember the prevailing historical way of thinking of Native Americans was that there were “good Indians” (those who cooperated with the white man) and “bad Indians” (those who didn’t). Oddly enough, the white man who took over and settled America didn’t think in such terms (excluding outlaws) about himself, and that self-righteous arrogance remains alive and sick today in the person of “Make America great again” and “decider” Donald Trump.

        Liked by 2 people

    • You should check out what a couple of his biographers have had to say about him! No, a leopard doesn’t change its spots, and people rarely change, unless they are affected by some catastrophic event. Trump’s never so much as had a blip on his screen, let alone a catastrophe! Life for him has been a bed of roses. Sigh. I do wish he would just self-destruct.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Mary! That was an awesome post … educational, enlightening, and chilling at parts in light of what we see in this country today. I am now following that blog, and have asked for her permission to re-blog that post. Thanks much for sharing that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, Nicholas Kristof said it well. I did notice Meghan McCain challenged the younger Trumps to call the racist and xenophobic comments on the carpet as “dystopian” and bad for America and the GOP. I agree. Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel added her criticism of Trump’s remarks to those of leaders in Canada, Scotland, UK and EU. Again, this needs to be clarion call to Republican leaders who are not condemning the words and the author.

    I wrote the attached post, we I kept seeing defenders say “Trump is not a racist.” I will include a link below.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Like you, I thought Kristof hit the nail squarely on the head, and yet, people are still saying “Prove it”. Sigh. I think it’s not a matter of they don’t believe it as they refuse to acknowledge it, for they understand that in acknowledging it while continuing to support him, they are also showing themselves to be racist.

      Thanks for the link! I’m way behind on reading yours and others’ blogs, but I did go check it out and left a comment there. I may yet re-blog it, for this is too important not to keep it in the limelight. You said it every bit as well as Nicholas Kristof did!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. I did notice Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith were condemning of the remarks and the lies to say he did not like the chanting. David Brooks said on NPR this is simply a moral outrage with he and EJ Dionne commenting on the attempts by McConnell and others to paint this as an argument against socialism. It is not as it was four women of color that were told to go back. We must remember a bully will keep bullying until he is directly confronted. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think this bully will keep bullying until he departs this earth, for he knows no other way. I don’t know about you, but this whole thing is simply exhausting me. Perhaps that is the intent … to wear us down? Every day it’s some new abomination. Sigh.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Jill, I sent this letter to my local news and hometown papers:

            If someone is having a hard time seeing the racism in Trump’s “send her back” theme he is now perpetuating, here is an easy question to demonstrate. Has he ever said “send him back” with critics like Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders? A follow-up is to ask why he perpetuated for years that Barack Obama was not born here? No, the color of someone’s skin and name matter. These are not isolated mistakes for which he apologized for – they are racist dog whistles.

            Liked by 1 person

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