Before I even had a chance turn on the news last night my social media feed was flooded with hysterical reactions to the latest Donald Trump debacle. It read something like this: “Trump wants to ban all Muslims from traveling the the U.S.– OMG”, “Trump is the new Hitler”, “Trump take off your white sheet!”, “Trump is spreading Ebola”, “Trump is building a new ISIS headquarters”….I have to say the outrage was somewhat amusing. While I am not a Donald Trump fan and I think him as a president would be a catastrophe for America and the world I think it is so interesting that nobody is asking the most obvious question: Why is he so freakin’ far ahead in the polls??? Somebody out there must like him!?!
I have no intention to defend Mr. Trump’s latest racist, blathering rant. But the fact of the matter is you can not listen to a single Donald Trump speech without hearing about how hard he is kicking the other candidates asses with his poll numbers. And he’s not making this stuff up either! That’s the funny part. These numbers coming from an outsider are pretty astounding. So where is the disconnect if he’s such a wildcard oh-so-hated by the media and the general population?
In my case (Gen Y, artsy type, solid upbringing, Jewish white female), even when I ask the most right wing person I know what they think of Trump the answer is “Well I would never vote for him, but I just love how he really speaks his mind and isn’t afraid of anyone” or “He says what other Americans think but are too afraid to say out loud”. Bingo. There you have it. In other words, while the rest of the Republican Party is busy playing “frenemies” and figuring out who to blame for all the world’s problems The Donald is giving a big resounding middle finger to all of them and Political Correctness, respectively. And the crowd is going wild! But shhhh…..because we’re not talking about it. Donald Trump is an idiot. We don’t like him, remember?
This idiot is winning (or at least it appears that way) because he is an entertainer and entertainers know how to figure out an audience and capitalize on them. What is the audience feeling? What do they want to see and hear? Should I tap dance or juggle? Should I build a wall to keep Mexicans out or blatantly insult women? His audience right now, a.k.a. the American people, is scared and confused. We’re scared of getting gunned down in a movie theater, scared to get in our car, scared a cop is going to have a bad day and shoot us sixteen times…the list continues. But you know what we’re even more scared of (amazingly!!!!)? Being a bully. Being a bigot. Being a racist. Being an anti-Semite. HURTING. SOMEONE’S. FEELINGS. Well guess what? In America, when you’re a mass murderer you don’t get the privilege of having your face covered on national TV because otherwise it’s offensive to your religion. Your religion will never matter more than those peoples lives that you took in California, especially not to the grieving families. Your “feelings” don’t matter if you are a terrorist and a murderer regardless of what religion, color or species you are. But heaven forbid we show a picture of Tashfeen Malik’s face on television. Heaven forbid we OFFEND SOMEONE.
Now is not a time for Political Correctness and Donald Trump knows that and is milking the crap out of it. People are being brutally murdered in America, in Syria, in Israel and in Paris in the name of a religion. Those murderers are not killing because they are Muslim, but yes, they are Muslim and yes, they are murderers. People are getting killed at the hands of police and yes, some are being targeted because they are black. Israelis are getting stabbed on the streets, in stores, in buses by Palestinian teenagers DAILY because the are in the wrong place at the wrong time and their attackers are being taught that death is more valuable than human life. Why can’t we just say this stuff out loud? Why can’t we have civilized conversations about it in mainstream media instead of hiding it away in the depths of the “comments section”? Why can’t we just call it like it is instead of being so worried about who we are offending? It should go without saying that not all cops are racist, Syrian refugees are not dangerous and not all Muslims and Palestinians are terrorists!!!! But some are and we can’t be afraid to say that in America anymore. We can’t have a president who won’t utter the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” in the same sentence. Not in 2015.
I have a very strong suspicion that more people agree with Trump than even the polls suggest (astoundingly). Not because he is a successful businessman, not because he is entertaining (although that’s my favorite thing about him — when he starts calling people ugly and fat — ridiculous!!!), not because he wants to deport Muslims or make Mexicans build a wall, but because he’s not afraid to voice the uncomfortable stuff, the stuff that makes us feel vulnerable and scared. This is what makes him seem like a big tough leader even though he’s not. He’s playing off of our collective fear and uncertainty by giving zero you-know-what’s. Make no mistake — he will not be the next American president (ahem: vote in 2016 to make sure!!!), but he sure is giving us a lot to talk about leading up to this election. Quite frankly it is about time these issues are being talked about, like REALLY face-palm, uncomfortably, shaking our heads talked about.
Today, on the news I saw a special about the vetting process of new immigrants to the United States. Immigrants have to go through three offices, countless hours of paperwork, fees, interviews, medical exams, etc before moving to America. I went through all of it with my husband so I’m quite familiar. And yet still there are people getting into this country with the sole intention to kill us. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate knowing how the immigration system works! I am thankful for that news segment! It’s important to be having that conversation just like it’s important to talk about gun control and climate change. But we have to also get comfortable asking what makes some Muslims law abiding, model citizens and others terrorists.
If people are afraid to look deep into themselves and ask each other those uncomfortable questions about uncomfortable issues then America is not ready for real change. We can just count on more cookie cutter politicians coming into office and saying what we want to hear, carefully not offending anyone. But I think people are sick and tired of being complacent as the world becomes scarier and scarier by the day. Like him or not, Trump’s pot-stirring along with peoples’ positive response is a testimony to that.
In conclusion, the Trump circus will eventually pack up and leave town. But when it does, I hope to continue to see real issues that Americans care about being brought to light in honest, non sugar-coated ways. I hope we can eventually throw the PC nonsense in the trash where it belongs. If we had done that all along then maybe we’d have a more appealing list of potential presidential candidates for 2016. But since we don’t, I suggest we enjoy the Trump show and learn from it what we can.