Forum

Trump’s aggressive hate reveals problems with whole GOP

Credit: Anna Boyle/ Credit: Anna Boyle/
Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

This is not an article about Donald Trump.

It will not focus solely on Trump, because that man does not need any more attention in the media. At this point, his notoriety may be the only thing keeping him afloat, to the frustration of many.

His most recent antics do, however, set the scene.

Trump made news again last weekend for a recently unearthed recording that featured his derogatory comments about women. In those comments, he essentially asserted — amid a torrent of lewd and sexual language — that he had the right to make unwanted advances on women simply because of his social status.

It’s unfortunate that his words did make the news, really, because they weren’t exactly new. They were perfectly horrible, yes, degrading toward women and helping to perpetrate rape culture in America. Yet they were pretty much on par with a lot of the other things he’s said throughout the presidential race as well as in the past.

So if you were shocked, shame on you. If you were appropriately horrified, join the club. And if you were one of many overwhelmed Republicans, apparently you’re putting your foot down, because Trump has just now crossed a sacred line.

Many people suddenly decided that his wild, uncensored rhetoric had become too much. Public outcry revealed the necessity for an apology. Many stouthearted Republicans have even begun calling for Trump to step down from the race, allowing his Vice Presidential candidate, Mike Pence, to take over.

Maybe at first that sounds like a positive thing. But really, it’s not. Because if the line is drawn just in time to hastily defend straight white women, there are a lot of minorities Trump has already targeted that those rejecting him now have basically admitted they don’t care about.
Since the beginning, one of Trump’s main talking points has been his rejection of Mexicans and Hispanics — mostly illegal immigrants, but on occasion anyone who he decided he distrusted because they could be “rapists” or “criminals” or “drug dealers.”

Some people, both those targeted by his hateful rhetoric and those who decided that such generalizations are nonsense, raised their voices in opposition.

Yet many sat twiddling their thumbs, because when it comes down to it, they honestly probably agree with him.

He called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration to the United States, spreading a culture of terror and, as a result, essentially doing the terrorists’ work for them. He even personally attacked the parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died serving in the Iraq War, for their culture.

Did Americans jump to their feet to defend people of Islamic faith? Not nearly as many as one would hope, especially not among conservatives.

His businesses are known for their discrimination, and he has refused to rent to black people — even after being sued — and used his positions to spread harmful racial stereotypes. Yet where were the dismayed citizens calling for his removal when these details came to light? Or when he mocked a disabled reporter at a rally? Or when he alluded that a popular actress must be mentally handicapped because she is deaf? Or when he abused his privileges at Miss Universe pageants?

Because of course, he has treated women poorly before this latest blunder. Just during the election process he insulted Heidi Cruz based on her appearance and ridiculed Hillary Clinton for her tone of voice, her supposed lack of stamina, and her husband’s behavior during his presidency.

It’s great that more of his party has finally decided that this behavior is unacceptable, but they should have denounced it far earlier. It’s certainly been going on long enough.

The fact that Republican politicians like Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz felt the need to mitigate their dismay by contextualizing their empathy through their own female family members is appalling in its own right. They seem unaware that the assault of any woman is wrong, even if they do not happen to be your own personal relative.

Another shockingly widespread — and largely unchallenged — example of hatred against an entire group of people is the current Republican campaign against the LGBT community — Trump or Pence, or both, have at some point opposed laws that would end discrimination against gay people, opposed marriage equality, opposed marriage equality, supported military policy that would not allow soldiers to openly identify as gay, and opposed the Obama administration’s efforts to protect the rights of transgender students in schools.

(On that note, by stepping into place as the presidential candidate, Pence himself could also become an unmitigated catastrophe — he seems to stand more firmly against gay people — and women, based on his position on health care — than even his hate-spewing co-conspirator.)

But is the Republican party speaking out against these unconstitutional attacks? For the most part, no. There are probably people who are actually celebrating it. And the scariest part is, since this particular hatred isn’t repeatedly trumpeted by Trump himself, it’s probably far easier for a lot of more moderate people to get behind.

In fact, that’s why the closed-mindedness and prejudice and utterly unregulated hatred that surfaced in Trump’s mad bid for further fame will outlive his popularity. They survive, while somewhat less explosively, within those who gave him a prominent voice in the first place.

Yes, Trump’s comments regarding women are horrible. They go a long way in revealing the true feelings of a man with little respect for most people different from himself. But they are just the most recent in a long line of racist, hateful, and downright wrong generalizations and lies that he has built his campaign on. And unfortunately, many of those opinions are still common enough in this country that they aren’t met with the outrage from the public that they deserve.
That is why, in the end, this article is not about Trump alone. While he may be the current face of this devastatingly un-American movement of division rather than solidarity, he is not the root of it. And because of this, it will take more than his defeat to make it go away.

This article is truly about the shame of the Americans who allowed his rise, and how we cannot in clear conscience allow the bigotry interwoven among us to go unchallenged for any longer.