Hey, remember Ronald Reagan?
Sure you do. He was the devil.
Woops, I meant to say that he was the 40th president of the United States whom many people consider the last great Republican leader. Well, it turns out that he was also an unrepentant bigot.
Hey, remember the Tea Party?
Yeah, they were the band of rabid racists who freaked out because America elected a black man.
Sorry, I meant to say they were the highly principled patriots who protested rampant government spending. Well, it turns out that they were actually hate-filled hypocrites who latched onto a convenient excuse to spew irrational, prejudicial nonsense.
In both cases, present-day conservatives shrug and say, “Who could have known?”
Yet all the clues were there, and even at the time, lots of progressives said Reagan was a racist and the Tea Party were lunatics who hated ethnic minorities.
But today’s GOP insists it’s a left-wing lie that racism has had a cozy home within its party’s confines for, oh, the past 50 years or so. Just ignore the Southern Strategy and Nixon’s anti-Semitism and people hanging Obama in effigy and hard data that shows Trump’s win was fueled by xenophobia more than any other factor and… well, what do you have?
But besides that, what do you have?
Yes, I’ll give you the fact that Trump has hurled racial slurs at members of Congress — insults that would get him fired at any normal job. And it’s true that racial resentment correlates with voting Republican. And yeah, hate crimes have increased since Trump was elected, especially in places where he held campaign rallies. And Fox News spotlights white men who demean immigrants and praise white homogeneity. And more than half of all Americans say the president is flat-out racist.
But really, isn’t all that just coincidence?
No? Not even a little bit?
It is clear to everyone in America that plausible deniability is gone. You simply can’t say that you don’t know.
At this point, if you support Trump, there are only four possibilities:
- You are a racist
- You are supportive of a racist in exchange for a bigger tax refund or the achievement of some vague conservative goal (like Supreme Court justices who still think it’s 1959)
- You put up with a racist because you’re in too deep, and to admit your error in voting for this corrupt fraud opens yourself up to a flurry of “told ya so” by those damn liberals
- You have suffered a grievous brain injury and don’t know what the fuck is going on
But to say the president is not a bigot, or to dispute the cancer of racism that has a chokehold on the modern Republican Party, is to indulge in fantastical thinking that can only lead to more chaos and, eventually, to a searing rendering of the American nation itself.
Because you know the truth. Let’s all stop denying it.
Featured image: Donald Trump at CPAC 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)