asshats unleashed

I don’t recall the first time I came across the term ‘Trump Effect’. I do recall being irritated by it, though. The ‘Trump Effect’ — it seems much too polite. On the other hand, I have to admit it’s an incredibly efficient use of language. You can say the ‘Trump Effect’ or you can say ‘the pernicious, aggressively belligerent, multifarious forms of bigotry and hatred and bullying that have been unleashed by the campaign and election of Donald Trump’.

As far as that goes, even the phrase ‘multifarious forms of bigotry and hatred’ is an efficient shorthand for ‘misogynistic, Islamophobic, racist, anti-intellectual, homophobic, anti-poor and working class, trans-hating, xenophobic, anti-science, climate-denying, white supremacist, social venom’. So basically, it’s either this:

The ‘Trump Effect’

or it’s this:

The pernicious, aggressively belligerent, misogynistic, Islamophobic, racist, anti-intellectual, homophobic, anti-poor and working class, trans-hating, xenophobic, anti-science, climate-denying, white supremacist, social venom and bullying that has been unleashed by the campaign and election of Donald Trump.

As somebody who makes a living with words, I’ve got to go with the Trump Effect. But whatever you call it, it’s real. It’s easy to dismiss asshats like the guy below as a sort of aberration — something outrageous you see on Facebook or YouTube but don’t expect to encounter in real life.

But you’d be making a mistake if you dismissed these fuckwits. I live in a mostly white neighborhood, in a mostly white city, in a mostly white state. I know this shit happens, but I almost never witness blatant racism in my mostly white daily life.

Then a few days before Thanksgiving I found myself in a small specialty shop that sells batteries. There were two other customers when I entered the shop: a young Latina getting a battery for her phone and a young white guy buying a battery for something or other. The white guy needed to give the clerk some information in order to get a lifetime guarantee for his battery. When asked for his name, the guy spelled out his surname.

“Busch. Like the beer. The American beer. I’m as American as the beer. Voted for Trump too.”

He looked the Latina when he said he was American as the beer. After saying he’d voted for Trump, he said “Whoops!”, made a mocking face like a boy who’d said something naughty, then laughed. The Latina just ignored him and paid for her battery. I was still standing there thinking ‘What the fuck? Did that actually just happen?‘ when she left the shop. Nobody said anything about it — not me, not the clerks. We just all stood there blinking.

trump-angry

Then it happened again, the Trump Effect. On Thanksgiving. Everything was prepared and timed to be on the table a short while after the guests arrived. One of the guests, a woman I’ve known for three or four years, was the first to show up. She looked around the kitchen, smiled, and said “You must have worked like a little nigger getting this ready.” Again, I did that blinking in disbelief thing. Then I said, “What did you just say?” And she laughed, sort of embarrassed. I said, “Don’t ever say that again.” And she sort of laughed again. Other guests arrived and I let it go.

I like this woman. She’s a friend. I’ve seen her take time off her job to care for a sick friend. I’ve shopped at the Planned Parenthood Book Sale with her. I’ve seen her be kind and thoughtful and giving. Now I’ve heard her say nigger and our friendship is tainted, possibly ruined. Trump didn’t make her a racist; she must have held those views before Trump arrived on the political scene. But I do believe Trump’s election allowed her to think it was okay to say nigger in the company of friends. I do believe the Trump Effect gave her tacit permission to voice views that she’d held in check before.

I suspect this is going to happen more often, but now I’m prepared for it. At least I hope I am. It’s a shame, but I have to be prepared for it. I can’t allow people I think of as friends to make racist or hateful comments around me. I can’t stay quiet when I see sexist, homophobic, or hateful behavior taking place in public places. I cannot allow this shit to be seen as acceptable or normal.

I absolutely hate that it’s become necessary for me to do this.

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6 thoughts on “asshats unleashed

  1. The irony, of course, is that you (or whoever) worked like “a little nigger.” My guess is that most people who might have spouted those words also wouldn’t give African Americans the credit for that industriousness.

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  2. Have they always been there? Have they always felt this way? Why are they ‘poor winners’? Why so much anger and hate?

    There’s an interesting opinion piece on Raw Story re ‘fly over country’ and the MSM’s declaration that the ‘coastal liberals’ are out of touch with ‘them’. You know, the Rust Belt: its called that, according to Trump, because its all broken down and rusted. Not to detract from your own OP- its worth a look, and the conclusion is that ‘white middle america’ is out of touch with the rest of the nation (where the majority of folk live).

    I had one in-law who, like your female friend, shows great benevolence towards others. But he festers in an ~old white view of the US. I think … I’ve now rewrote this part 4 times…

    I don’t think there’s a simple answer. I think people (some segment of white folk) want complacency. They want folk to know their place- how dare a black man vie for POTUS, or even a woman! How dare migrant workers want something better than to be grateful for a temporary job in the fields.

    They forget to ask- how dare our WHITE overlords- the corporate titans who have the power & money, the control of businesses and wealth- how dare they line their own pockets at the loss of 100s or even 1000s of jobs. How dare they spend millions in lobbying fees to assure high-value work visas remain intact. How dare they work the tax system to pay no federal taxes for decades, and then blame ‘the government’ for broken down infrastructure.

    They fail to look within- decades of austerity at the state level championed by ever expanding list of Republican governors. They go cross-eyed when they shout out that liberal states like California and NY are the failures… yet their poster children- OK, KS, even Texas, lately, are the states that rank the lowest on most every single factor (aside from gun ownership).

    I really am not sure there is a solution. We have a new generation of folk who support Trump and/or failed to vote. We have a broken 2 party system. We will have a federal education system supervised by a billionaire who promotes creationism, dominionism and religion-based charter schools. A billionaire whose brother was the founder of Blackwater and whose husband, for all intents & purposes, is a giant ponzi / multi-level sales scheme.

    Only in America… or, i guess, only in Americas…

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    • I was born in Iowa, which is near the center of ‘flyover country’. I spent a big chunk of my childhood in the Deep South. And although much of my adult life was spent on the East coast (including a few years in NYC and DC), I’ve returned to Iowa, and live here now..

      I mention that because I’ve heard for years how ‘coastal liberals’ are out of touch with ‘them’ — ‘them’ being folks in the Midwest. It’s true, of course. But why should we expect coastal liberals to be IN touch with Midwestern folks any more than we expect Midwestern folks to be in touch with coastal liberals? Why is it always the burden of liberals to understand conservatives?

      I’m of the opinion that anybody running for national political office has a duty to understand as many perspectives as possible — but I’ve grown weary of hearing that liberals don’t understand devout Christians, or don’t understand gun culture, or don’t understand farmers, or don’t understand Christian farmers who like guns.

      Why doesn’t anybody ever ask why conservatives fail to understand liberal values?

      On the rare occasion I’ve asked that question, the answer I invariably get is this: coastal liberals (and it’s almost always East coast liberals) have all the power. Which is nonsense. If coastal liberals have the power, then we wouldn’t have a Republican Congress.

      I know that you were speaking of an article from Raw Story about ‘flyover country’, not expressing that opinion yourself. But for some reason, just hearing that question put me in rant mode.

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      • And that’s the crux of the article as well, Greg- that the Midwest / Heartland / bible belt / rust belt / flyover- part of the country is removed from the rest of the nation. Its not just (or only) that they may not have a grasp of ‘liberal’ views, its that they have failed to even grasp why they are in financial and social despair!

        They latched on to Trump as the latest / greatest (YUGEST?) champion of their cause- but they fail to recognize that it has been their selection of earlier local & state champs who have failed them. Austerity measures in OK & KS; enticing manufacturers by giant subsidies, tax incentives and regressive / punitive govt policies. Sure, they may see a rallying call around having the 10 Commandments at the Courthouse, but hardly anyone who actually respects the Golden Rule within.

        IF- IF the ‘coastal elites’ were so terrible, and noble govt policies were practiced in Middle America, then we should expect to see poverty in CA and flourishing wealth in KS and the like. Instead, its just the opposite. Texas, especially with the YUGE increase in fracking and natural gas production, along with increase vehicle fuel efficiencies- struggles with terrible record of workplace (and community) safety, education, health…

        The Middle America folk latched on to a reality tv actor who claims he will bring jobs back: up until now, We the People would look at the individual’s voting record, legislation and bills that he (or she) would have promoted at the state and federal levels in Congress or as a governor. Trump had no public record. But we all DID KNOW that when faced with the options of cheap import goods vs “Made in America”, he ALWAYS looked at his own wealth instead of what’s good for his fellow citizens.

        They also latched on to the Walmart Disconnect Syndrome- lust for cheaper prices to the detriment of their own community businesses’ sustainability. But- its not their fault. Its the lib’ruls. Its the coastal mix of immigrants and gays and heathens. Good thing Trump will put blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus back in X… er Christmas. And this year, he’ll have a flowing white robe, hood included.

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  3. All of this seems true. Well, to a point.

    But it is also not entirely accurate to call out “white people,” nor even the apparently uniformly terrible “white men,” in such stark relief. I have not had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents since that year in the 90s when my then girlfriend and her sister joined me there, only to hear my parents and their friend (yes, in his case, an old white guy) tell “nigger jokes” that my parents ate up and laughed about. We got up and left then and had turkey sandwiches at a jewish deli, and I haven’t been back for any holiday since.

    Mom was killed a few years ago in a traffic accident, but I still don’t have any intention of ruining my holidays by hearing my dad (or his pals) talk about the god damned Mexicans (we are Mexican!), Arabs (who may be anyone from the middle east in his reckoning), faggots, or anyone else. Mom was just as bad when she was alive.

    For these reasons, I continue to give money and other support to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I encourage anyone else who is concerned about the Trump Effect to do the same.

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