Donald Trump: A racist for the 21st century

The Los Angeles Times headline read, “Donald Trump says Obama should stop playing basketball and lower gas prices.”

This from the real estate mogul whose sole contribution to American politics has been to send private investigators to Hawaii in search of Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Get serious.

But so many Americans have bought into the birther movement malarky that Barack Obama felt compelled yesterday to release his long-form birth certificate.  Writes The New York Times in an editorial:

More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life….It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious ‘other’ would have been conducted against a white president

But it’s apparently not debasing enough to Mr. Trump, whom the Times refers to as a “cartoon candidate.”  First he announced that he is “really honored” to be the one who pressured the president, after two-plus years of absurdity, to release the long form of a birth certificate that the State of Hawaii released many months ago.

Then, the Los Angeles Times reports, “He advised that Obama ‘gets on the phone or gets off his basketball court or whatever he is doing at the time’ and pressure OPEC to lower gas prices.”

Sometime yesterday he also suggested that the president release his college records, Slate reports.

“The word is, according to what I’ve read, that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental,” Trump told Slate. “He then gets to Columbia; he then gets to Harvard. … How do you get into Harvard if you’re not a good student? Now, maybe that’s right, or maybe it’s wrong. But I don’t know why he doesn’t release his records.”

The sleaze and innuendo campaign continues. First off, how many times have you heard Democrats demanding that Andover and Yale release George W. Bush’s records to determine whether he got in only because of his family’s legacy and wealth?  Secondly, how can a vaudeville clown with the limited intellect of a Donald Trump question the intelligence of a president so articulate that even his enemies concede his eloquence as they criticize his ideas?

Every time American politics sinks to what seems like rock bottom, someone comes along to drive it lower.   The 20th century brought us vitriolic segregationists like George Wallace. And though no one would like to return to those bad old days, at least that era’s hate mongers wore their racism on their sleeves.  There was no mistaking who or what they were or stood for.

Contemporary racists, like Donald Trump, choose instead to use the culture of celebrity, and all the stupidity surrounding it, to bait and nick and bully, giving the panting media hours of — pardon me — make-believe bullshit to report on.  It’s not pretty.

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About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at www.jerrylanson.com. My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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