In the wake of the supremely awful badness that was the 2016 US elections (which saw the rise to power of a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, ableist rapist), think piece after think piece has been written about liberals needing to reach across the aisle and work with conservatives. We’ve heard that we need to break bread with Chitler supporters. That we need to sit down at the table with them and hear what they have to say. That it’s some sort of high moral calling to reach out to conservatives and empathize with them. The latest bout of the “shake hands and play nice with the bigots” nonsense comes from Anthony Bourdain, who recently said that Chitler’s rise to the presidency is the fault of Eastern liberals (content note for casual ableism):
That guy in the image to the right? That’s the so-called ‘King of Instagram’ and self-proclaimed playboy Dan Bilzerian. Before I go any further, I recommend you find a puke bag. Bilzerian recently showered presidential hopeful Donald Trump with praise. To his more than 1 million Twitter followers, Bilzerian said:
In an age of pussified political correctness, you have to respect the people who remain unfiltered @realDonaldTrump
When I first read this Tweet, I felt the exasperation swell within me. For months now, I’ve read who knows how many comments from people who say they like Donald Trump bc he is “unfiltered”, “speaks his mind”, isn’t “politically correct”, is “honest with his thoughts”, or some such bullshit. I’ve wondered for a while now why people think these are positive character traits. To be sure, they can be a good, depending on the situation, but it isn’t inherently a good thing that someone (for instance) speaks their mind. In the case of Donald Trump, speaking his mind often leads to some bigoted rhetoric. But I had an ‘AHA!’ moment while reading Bilzerian’s B.S.
By now, most USAmericans who pay attention to politics are probably aware of The Donald’s inane idea to build a wall between the U.S./Mexico border. Ya know, to keep out all those rapists, murderers, and drug dealers that he’s worried are pouring into this country (a belief he holds and has no qualms about sharing despite his failure to produce supporting evidence):
Donald Trump said he would force the people of Mexico to build his vowed border wall to keep immigrants out of the United States, warning that if his order was not fulfilled, he would do something “severe.”
When asked how he might force the country to build this wall, Trump said in an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, “you force them because we give them a fortune. Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to that. I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall.”
The 2016 presidential candidate added: “I’d build it. I’d build it very nicely. I’m very good at building things.”
I wonder-scale of 1 to 10…how big is his ego? Hell, it’s probably so big it breaks the scale. In any case, the idea has been called moronic, unrealistic and costly, and ridiculous. Trump has given no consideration to the difficulties in constructing a wall more than 1,900 miles long*, across a varied topography, and through a fair amount of private land. But that’s not what he’s concerned about. No, for him, the important thing is preserving the United States for “us” by keeping “them” out. Trump’s frothy mix of xenophobia and racism has found purchase with some of the brightest stars among the dregs of humanity including:
Donald Trump is still being raked over the coals for his recent racist comments (interestingly enough, the media has been very slow-like a tortoise-to refer to those comments as racist). Had the man’s ego been the size of most humans, perhaps he would have chosen not to make a name for himself as “the candidate with racist opinions of Mexicans“. After all, the United States has a sizable population of Mexican immigrants-both documented and undocumented (the latter being the preferred term over “illegal“)-so a savvy politician would have kept their racist opinions to themselves (and a decent politician would not have held such racist opinions to begin with). But the Donald? This man is not known for his political savvy (nor is he known for being a decent man). Of course, does he need to be savvy when he was merely telling the truth?
There I stood in sheer disbelief.
I was floored.
I almost wanted him to repeat what he said.
But no, I’d heard his words.
“You should run for mayor. I’d vote for you.” he said.
Early last year, at one of my previous bartending jobs, I had the pleasure of engaging in an extended conversation with a guest (call him J). His wife was out of town, and thus he was dining alone and it was a slow night so I was able to chat with him for some time. IIRC (If I Recall Correctly), this was around the time of the Sochi Winter Olympics (J’s wife was involved in some sort of security detail related to the Olympics). Anyway, we discussed a host of topics, from the possible danger his wife might face to the rumors of an increase in sex trafficking with the massive influx of people going to the Olympics. From there we branched off and discussed sexual assault statistics, Rape Culture, and more. I began to notice that J was more interested in learning about me, which was evident by the fact that he kept posing questions; questions that seemed quite genuine. I never got the impression that he was feigning interest or trying to lead our conversation in any particular direction. Over time, we came to discuss my worldview. J asked me what my religious beliefs were. I was hesitant to answer his question. After all, I live in the South, which is deeeeeeply religious. And there I was, a bartender, dependent upon the good graces of guests to make a living. If I said anything untoward or potentially offensive to a guest, I could risk losing a tip (or worse, since the state of Florida allows employees to be fired for anything).