Thursday, March 3, 2016

The real harm of Trump is that his nonsense spreads way too quickly

It would be nice if we could just dismiss the obnoxious, xenophobic rants of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump as just the vapid verbalizations of a buffoon.

TRUMP: Now he inspires sports chants?
But the sad part is that there are those people who hear Trump in campaign mode go off on Mexicans, Muslims, some women and just about anyone else who isn’t exactly like himself (which is 99.9999 percent of the population) and think he actually has a clue!

THE FACT THAT there are people whose perception of the political process is being created now and influenced by Trump rants makes me realize this trash talk is the kind of stuff we’re going to have to deal with for years to come.

Which is a shame, because some people want to believe that our current younger generation is different from those who passed before them – in that they allegedly do not share a lot of the hang-ups and bigotry of the past.

As though much of that racism is on its way out. Unless people like Trump (who admittedly is more a political opportunist than a bigot) manage to keep it alive to serve their purposes.

To me, that is the significance of an incident at a pair of Indiana-based Catholic high schools in which – when the two played against each other recently on the basketball court – one side (with a 58 percent white enrollment back in the 2013-14 academic year) used Trump’s image and anti-Mexican “cheers” as a way of taunting the other school.

ONE WHICH HAS a fairly significant Latino share (42.1 percent in 2013-14, with 30.9 percent white) of its enrollment.

When I say they used Trump’s image, I mean they literally brought a giant picture of Trump’s face (bad hair and all) with them to the game, and engaged in cheers of “Build a Wall!”

Even though Mexican officials, including former President Vicente Fox, have made it clear that fortifying the U.S./Mexico border would be an expense the United States would have to bear all by itself.

POPE: Many misunderstand what's a Christian
What gets to me is to wonder “What kind of person brings a Donald Trump picture to a sports event?” It’s not something that would occur to me to bring if I were attending a game.

IT MOST LIKELY is someone who hears all the rants being spewed during this campaign season, yet has no idea of the greater context of the issue. They probably think it’s funny – which is the real harm caused by the nonsense campaign cycle we’re enduring these days.

For what it’s worth, this incident has received more than its share of attention in sports-related media. It also seems that the two Catholic schools in question are working together to try to teach their students that such ethnic-inspired taunts are hardly Christian.

Then again, those students at a Catholic school probably saw the way Trump was touted as “da winnah” in his recent verbal spat with Pope Francis over whether Trump’s campaign behavior was worthy of someone who considered himself to be a Christian.

I’d argue the pope had a point that trying to play off such xenophobic rants is un-Christian, but there are those who really seem to have no concept of what being a Christian is all about.

IT WILL BE interesting to see just how much of this sticks with those particular young people. Will they come to realize the teachings they’re now receiving about their trash-talk?

Whatever happened to foam fingers at a ballgame?
Or will they wind up believing that those priests are somehow telling them what to think, and that it is their own personal freedom of expression that is being threatened?

It always was my belief that people have a “right” to be “wrong,” and they can say whatever they want – so long as they realize that everybody else has a right to call them out on their nonsense. Nowhere does freedom of speech guarantee the last word for anybody.

What lesson will those young people who think a border barricade is worthy of a sports chant gain from the experience?


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