“The problem is, there’s a new group… I’m talking about this tiny slice of people that have gotten way too fired up about this Trump thing for the wrong reasons. I’m talking about those people where as soon as Trump won, they were like, ‘We don’t have to pretend like we’re not racist anymore!’ No! No! If you’re one of these people, please go back to pretending. You gotta go back to pretending. We’re sorry we never thanked you for your service, we never realized how much effort you were putting into the pretending, but you gotta go back to the pretending.” – Aziz Ansari
In 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise which designated Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. During the Civil War, Missouri was populated by both Union and Confederate sympathizers. Armies, generals, and supplies were sent to both sides, dual governments were maintained, and Missouri endured bloody neighbor-against-neighbor internal wars within the larger national war.
That was Missouri’s past, and today this overwhelmingly white state, 83% and growing, and one that Donald Trump won in a landslide taking all 10 of its electoral votes is facing its divided past once again.
The NAACP has issued an advisory to people of color traveling through Missouri. The warning, go at your own risk. Rod Chapel Jr., President of the Missouri NAACP State Conference stated “People should tell their relatives if they have to travel through the state, they need to be aware. They should have bail money, you never know.” This advisory stems from several recent events of racist actions, attitudes and patterns of activity. Cheryl Clay, Springfield Missouri NAACP president further detailed the advisory is a response to “ongoing issues of racial profiling, discrimination, harassment and excess violence towards people of color”.
I will not go so far as to blame Trump personally for the recent rise in racism and hate crimes but as Aziz Ansari pointed out it seems that the Trump presidency has given people the “courage” that they “don’t have to pretend like we’re not racist anymore!”
Tonight, Trump will hold another one of his ego fueled MAGA rallies in Huntington, West Virginia. What would you guess the racial diversity is like in Huntington? Almost 90% white. To date the Trump presidency has been a dismal failure although his golf game has never been better. He will tell his Trumpets, and sadly they will believe him, that he has accomplished more than any other President. And all of the so-called “failures” are the fault of pick one, the Democrats, Obama, Hillary, Congress, “Fake News” or all of the above.
The people who will be attending this rally tonight see a different Trump than I do. They hear a different message and most importantly, their expectations of a President are different from mine. Trump supporters and I don’t share the same definition of “Presidential” and that is what has divided this country.
The latest Quinnipiac University Poll has Trump’s approval rating falling to 33 percent, and here is the but, among Republicans though his approval rating is still strong, 77 percent. For me this disconnect is striking and certainly the reason Trump is such a polarizing figure for so many Americans. I see Trump through a different filter than his supporters and I can only make assumptions about what they see.
If you are so inclined to watch his rally in Huntington tonight you won’t see any diversity. The crowd will be white, mostly middle age to older, working to middle class and Protestant. Are they racist? They wouldn’t describe themselves as such but their lack of diversity and tolerance make them easy targets for the racist label. They reside in an isolated and colorless world. Their point of view and base of knowledge is simple to figure out, God, country, and white. It’s all they know, it’s who they are and Donald Trump plays to their sweet spot, telling them what they want to hear and how he wants them to hear it. How long can this honeymoon last? Don’t ask me, I voted for Hillary.
“I am very happy with the president’s performance so far. He has set the exact tone I was looking for, although I’ll be honest, I wish he didn’t tweet all of the time, but that is hardly anything to complain.” – Trump supporter Youngstown, Ohio