There is a woman who sings at our church. She has a fine voice and is obviously an accomplished vocalist. Included in her repertoire is a vibrato which when used to highlight a note or passage adds significantly to the music. However, when used on every note, as she does, it is just plain annoying.
The same can be said of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Unlike his milquetoast predecessor nominees (Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney) who cowered irrationally in the face of political correctness – they could not find the courage to criticize President Barack Obama with regard to either his policies or his background affiliation with American hating radicals like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers or his refusal to release his academic records at Occidental, Columbia, or Harvard for fear of being labeled “racist” – Mr. Trump has ventured fearlessly into the political thicket dismissing “political correctness” as ridiculous and dangerous. But sometimes his rhetoric is just annoying.
Mr. Trump is a New Yorker. I have known people from New York and Chicago who are just like Mr. Trump – blunt, in your face, and caustic. Words, phrases and insults that they toss at each other slide off with less offense taken than offered. For those of us born and raised in the West where civility and courteousness are taught and obeyed, their interchanges would be fighting words – but not to them. It’s a form of “snaps.” (If you don’t know what snaps are then you are so stupid that if you spoke your mind, you’d probably be speechless.) Mr. Trump uses them as props – he referred to Gov. Jeb Bush as “low energy”, Sen. Marco Rubio as “Li’l Marco”, and Sen. Ted Cruz as “Lyin Ted.”
But he also steps out of bounds as when he scoffed at Carly Fiorina’s appearance and suggested Megyn Kelly’s questions were prompted by her menstrual cycle – both being the type of stereotypical references that are critical of a whole category of people. That’s entirely different than referring to Rosie O’Donnell as a “fat, loser” which is simply a personal statement rather than a broad classification – well, that and it is also accurate. Rosie O’Donnell is hard pressed to criticize since she herself has made a living off of personal attacks and outrageous accusations. And that also puts the lie to this outrageous notion that an attack on one woman is an attack on all women. (Mssrs. McCain and Romney should have well understood that an attack on one person of color – Mr. Obama – was not an attack on all people of color.) Who would subscribe to such an irrational notion? I mean besides all of the weak kneed Republicans serving in the United States Congress.
So when Mr. Trump declared a year ago:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
He wasn’t branding all Mexicans as drug dealers, criminals and rapists. His blowtorch rhetoric was accurate albeit a bit overblown. There are countless incidents where murderers, drug dealers, rapists, pimps and human traffickers have entered the United States illegally from Mexico. That doesn’t mean all illegal immigrants fit that description it just means that some do and they create a significant problem.
On the other hand when he suggests that a federal judge of Mexican descent should recuse himself from a lawsuit involving Mr. Trump because he is Mexican, he is just wrong – wrong on the facts, wrong on the law and wrong on the logic. If, on the other hand, he were to demonstrate that because of the judge’s membership in Latino advocacy groups, contributions to his political opponent, statements that the judge has made about Mr. Trump or about similar situations, the judge could be bias, he would be entirely justified regardless of the judge’s ethnic origins.
And Mr. Trump has called for a suspension of Muslim immigration until such time that the United States can adequately vet the identity, country of origin, possible terrorist ties, and intent of each immigrant. That is hardly an unreasonable response to a series of terrorist attacks in the United States by Muslims who claimed fealty to jihadi terrorist organizations or orthodoxy.
Do any of these things make Mr. Trump a racist, a misogynist, or an Islamaphobe? That all depends on whether you are comfortable with the rough and tumble of New York street rhetoric or you are one those who spend their lives waiting to be offended on behalf of someone else – one of those noblesse oblige liberals who feel compelled to highlight every slight, real or imagined. (Recently we have seen this play out with regard to the name of the Washington Redskins football team. A recent Washington Post poll determined that ninety percent of Native Americans were not offended by the use of the name Washington Redskins. A similar poll of white liberals would probably have determined that ninety percent of them were offended.)
More importantly liberals willingness to overlook similar conduct of their own would suggest this has more to do with politics than reality. If Mr. Trump is a racist because of his comments about Mexicans, does that make Mr. Obama a racist because of his comments about white policemen, or former President Bill Clinton a racist for his suggestion that Mr. Obama’s rise in politics was “fairy tale” and that Mr. Obama’s win in South Carolina against Hillary Clinton was because he was Black? If Mr. Trump is a misogynist because of his comments about Ms. Fiorina and Ms. Kelly, does that make Mr. Clinton a misogynist for his serial abuse of women? Or make Ms. Clinton equally guilty for savaging the women who were Mr. Clinton’s victims? If Mr. Trump an Islamaphobe for suggesting a pause in the immigration process for Muslims until they can be properly vetted, does that make liberal icon President Jimmy Carter an Islamaphobe for actually banning Iranian immigration?
Look, I doubt that Mr. Trump is a racist, or a sexist, or an Islamaphobe. In fact his history of negotiations, hiring, promoting, and building suggests quite the opposite – when it comes to commerce Mr. Trump has demonstrated that he is gender, race, and ethnically neutral. But Mr. Trump IS a lout with a big mouth and a tin ear. And even at that I will take him every day over a money grubbing, serial liar who has played fast and lose with public office as a means to accumulate over a $150 Million in personal wealth and a $3 Billion slush fund (The Clinton Family Foundation) to be used at her whim and caprice while accomplishing nothing in the high offices she has held.
So, you don’t like the Donald? – whatever, fugetaboutit!