It seems like the nation is having a collective freak-out about the rise of Donald Trump. Even my Republican friends are panicked about it. And it’s not just the fact that Trump is an idiot. There are plenty of those around. It’s the fact that so many of them are rallying behind this guy, with so little discernment for the xenophobia, racism, and misogyny he is spewing.
For better or for worse, Donald Trump is turning over the rock that our country’s white supremacists were hiding under. Suddenly, they are coming out, feeling emboldened and entitled and unashamed. He’s giving the nation’s racists permission to say what they think, and to externalize that racism into hateful behavior. He’s spurring it on, and refusing to denounce both the violence at his rallies and the hate groups who publicly support him.
Trunp is a literal shit-stirrer. It’s kind of like our nation is a dirty swimming pool. For a long time, the sediment had settled to the bottom. Sure, we knew it was there. Some people chose to ignore, and some people actively tried to talk about the dirt and remove it. The dirt was clearer to some than to others. But by and large, most people would swimming at the top of the pool because the dirt wasn’t directly affecting them. But then Trump came along, and took a big paddle to the pool. He stirred everything around, and the dirt is now clouding all of the water. The whole pool looks like a murky brown mess, and the shit at the bottom can no longer be ignored. By anyone.
I supposed one upshot of Trump’s candidacy, if there is one, is the fact that he has so clearly exposed the white supremacy of our nation. It’s no longer at the bottom of the pool. And while we can vote for another candidate and hope all that dirt settles at the bottom again, this might be a wake-up call that we need to deal with the dirt instead of just the candidate. Making Trump go away won’t make white supremacy go away.