I have a very good friend named Steve with whom I have been carrying on a debate, and I suspect that his views are similar to many of my readers both on Medium and on my own blog. He’s a respected and accomplished attorney, a totally committed liberal and a very smart and decent guy.
What concerns him is what he believes to be the avalanche of bigotry that has been released by the public presence of Donald Trump. And he is shocked and saddened by the degree to which this angry racism seems to be so common and continuous on the political Right. He puts his unease like this: “I don’t like living in a world full of people who use their freedom of thought ‘rights’ to be white-supremacist bigots.”
Where he and I have a fundamental difference is my belief that the world isn’t ‘full’ of such people and, if anything, the racists and bigots are slowly but surely going to disappear, much in the same way that Trump is going to disappear.
I am convinced that racism and bigotry will become over the next twenty years what pay telephones became over the last twenty years – a memory at best, if only for those of us who came of age when pay telephones were still being used.
If you don’t know what a pay telephone is, you were born sometime after 1964. Why 1964? Because that was the first time that you could use a touch-tone phone.
There are two reasons why I believe that racism will fade away in American life, the first reason being that the country’s population and culture is just becoming too diverse, a process that you can’t stop or try to prevent by pretending to build Mexican wall.
In 1987, when Nancy Pelosi arrived for her first term in the House, there were 14 women in the Democrat(ic) caucus. The current Democrat(ic) caucus of the 114th Congress has 78 women holding House seats, and in Nancy’s farewell address she claimed that three-quarters of the House caucus in the 115th Congress will be women, minorities, or open members of the LGBTQ.
The second reason I don’t believe that folks like my friend Steve are surrounded by all those bigots is because the way in which the Fake News reacted to Trump’s claims about having created a virtual nation of social media followers is, like everything else Trump claimed, just total bunk.
At some point back in 2017 or 2018, when the Democrats still hadn’t begun cracking the social media whip on themselves, I decided to do a little research to determine just how much Twitter was being accessed by supporters of Trump. On two successive nights, I looked at the most hateful and racist tweets posted that day by Trump on Twitter, and then I took the trouble to read comments for those tweets, comment by comment, line by line.
I looked at roughly 150 responses to the tweets put up by Trump each day, and the ratio of negative to positive responses was – ready? – roughly ten to one! That’s right. For every Twitter subscriber who agreed with what Trump had said, there were ten subscribers who took the trouble to write what was usually a ferocious and nasty put-down of Trump.
Granted, my so-called ‘research’ shouldn’t be taken as having been evidence-based or scientific in any way. But the bottom line is that I never read one, single commentary on any Fake News media which attempts to dispute what Trump is always bragging about the ‘millions’ of Americans who are now all supporting the MAGA movement to ‘take America back.’
Are there people out there who feel threatened when anything changes? Of course. Are there people out there who feel they’re not getting what they deserve? Yep. Are there people out there who know for a fact that they’ve been screwed just because they’re White? Just remember that 50 percent of the human species just isn’t all that bright.
The other day I was listening to two women who were commiserating with each other over the high price of gasoline. And what bothered them about the price at the pump was that it now cost them more money to drive up to New Hampshire to buy their tax-free cigarettes.
Trump made a conscious effort to appeal to such folks but what held his supporters together wasn’t so much how bigoted all these people are, but the degree to which things really have changed. And things like gender and race and culture will continue to change no matter how many times the GOP tries to play the ‘cultural war’ card.
My suggestion to Steve and like-minded people is they should spend their time thinking about how they are really surrounded not by the bigots promoted by Fake News, and instead relax and enjoy the fact that this country is becoming more diverse and more liberal every, single day.