On Wednesday, the white officer who shot and killed Philando Castile was charged with second-degree manslaughter. The day before that, the Deputy Director of the Shelby County Corrections Center in Memphis, Tennessee, resigned after he posted racist comments on Facebook. On the same day, a technician was fired from Missoula Nissan Hyundai for refusing to work on a car with a Hillary bumper sticker and posting a picture of his middle finger aimed at the car.
While there has been much reporting on the over 400 incidents of hate inspired by Donald Trump just in the last week, not as much has been said about the continuing push back against that hate. There’s a mistaken belief that hate is the new normal and we on the left will just have to get used to it.
Good luck with that.
During the campaign, the right railed against the evils of “political correctness.” In this context, “political correctness” meant “consequences for being a racist asshole out in the open.” Trump told his followers that it was not only OK for them to be racist but that it was OK for them to be loud and proud about it. For this reason, millions of white people abandoned their principles, their morality, their sanity and the future of the country just so they could say “nigger” out loud and not be censured for it.
And now that they’ve won, they really do believe they can breathe a sigh of relief and verbally and physically attack Latinos, blacks, Jews, women, homosexuals, Asians, etc. just like they’ve always wanted to do. They really do believe there won’t be any consequences.
Over the next several months, a slow dread and simmering rage is going to build on the right as they realize that there are still consequences for being a loud and proud bigot.
They’re still going to be forced to resign, like Beverly Whaling, the mayor of Clay, WV and Pamela Taylor, a county employee who had a good laugh over a Facebook post calling First Lady Michelle Obama an “ape in heels.”
They’re still going to be immediately fired like the Los Angeles teacher who mocked his Latino students, telling them that Trump would deport their parents. Or the employee at Mighty Fine Burgers in Austin, Texas who told a black co-worker that restaurants should be allowed to put up “Whites Only” signs because blacks are criminals.
They’re still going to be investigated like Bruce Ringaman, a teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota who told his class that he voted for Trump because “Africans should go back to Africa.”
Their businesses are still going to pay the price for their loud and proud racism like Larry Heafner’s “The Coffee Tavern” in Billings, Montana, which has had to delay its grand opening indefinitely after Heafner’s Facebook posts about “fucking monkeys” and raping women with a baseball came to light.
Their Twitter accounts are going to continue to be suspended when they attack people online. Other social media platforms will likely follow as Trump’s rabidly racist supporters become more bold in their hate and pressure on those platforms increases to do something about it.
Normally, the right can find succor in the arms of Big Business but as Elizabeth Warren reminded Corporate America just a few days ago, bigotry is bad for business; a lesson they’ve learned over the last several years as right wing boycotts failed to make a lasting impression but left wing ones cut sharply into the bottom line.
All of this adds up to the same thing: There are still consequences for being a racist in America. The euphoria of being “free” from being penalized will last exactly as long as it takes for racist white bigots to realize the overwhelming majority of the country still opposes them.
At some point in the near future, one or more of Trump’s deplorables will shoot up a roomful of Latinos or lynch a black man or beat a gay couple to death. They will feel it’s their “god-given” right as a white Christian men to murder “The Other” in the name of Jesus and Donald Trump and that’s when millions of Trump less-insane voters will realize they made an awful mistake; that racism is not something to be cherished. After that, the reality will come crashing down that the deplorables are still, and always will be, a minority in this country.
Of course, Trump could refuse to allow the Department of Justice to investigate or prosecute hate crimes. He might even try to disband the Civil Rights division all together. His new Minister of Propaganda, Steve Bannon, will try very hard to mainstream white supremacy and in an overwhelmingly white country like France or Britain that might work. But America is just a few years away from becoming a minority majority country where white people are less than 50% of the population. And of the current white majority, too many of them are not willing to ignore overt racism. Trump and Bannon’s mission to make America white again is doomed to fail.
There’s going to be a lot of hate and violence in the coming years as Trump voters revel in their imaginary freedom, but all they’re doing is teaching the younger generations what America looks like when its worst instincts are left unchecked by a strong progressive movement. Just like always, the inability of the right to control its hate will be its downfall. And just like always, we’ll be there to pick up the pieces and brush them into the dustbin of history.