His supporters find his appeal in his debilitating honesty. Trump bypasses political jargon in an age when constituents are weary over empty promises and political rhetoric. He appeals to a growing anti-immigrant sentiment, one that claims that people crossing the border are the reason for all of America’s problems.
It has been easy for people to laugh at Trump’s preposterous reasons for why America is not great. But it is also easy for people to use this scapegoating as a justification for violence. Two men in Boston recently beat up a Hispanic homeless man, allegedly claiming that “Donald Trump was right.” Publications like Rolling Stone have harnessed this to condemn Donald Trump’s words. Racism is never funny — it is, in fact, dangerous.
Trump dismissed the assault by saying his followers “are passionate.” Instead of reprimanding the assault, Trump essentially established an excuse for any crimes his constituents can commit — their passion, patriotism and red-white-and-blue blood are too strong for them to not beat anyone up!
Donald Trump’s racism, compounded with Ben Carson’s perplexing ignorance, Hillary Clinton’s ambiguous past and Bernie Sander’s unrealistic democratic-socialism, have all made this election both interesting and frustrating. Perhaps, that is why Jon Favreau’s opinion on Donald Trump is important.
On Nov. 2, Jon Favreau spoke at Fordham about politics and rhetoric. I inquired on Favreau’s feelings toward Donald Trump, and whether he is funny or a legitimate danger to this country.
He replied that Trump’s unethical views force his opposition to extrapolate on why they are unethical. In this sense, Trump is not a moral compass. He is an immoral compass, one whose immorality is so offensive that he forces Bernie Sanders to establish why he believes a wall like the one in Israel should not be erected on our nation’s border, and Carly Fiorina to explain why it is inappropriate for Trump to call her either ugly or beautiful in a political context.
We cannot deny that Trump is a danger. He has invested into an already existing culture of anti-immigration, misogyny and racism, and his popular and successful face normalizes these societal blemishes. This normalization is why we cannot be surprised when there are assaults of homeless Hispanic men. We can be disgusted, yes, but when there is already a growing anger toward Hispanics, who many claim occupy jobs that un-aboriginal people who live here legally can occupy, violence is symptomatic.
Trump’s everlasting spot in the headlines is a reflection of where society is today. We give attention not to the brightest minds, but the loudest mouths; we give the spotlight not to the marginalized and voiceless, but to those who are already represented by the overwhelmingly rich white men that occupy politics today. Donald Trump is not funny in the traditional sense, despite what his “Saturday Night Live” spoof of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” might tell you. His popularity is depressingly funny, in that a man arguably so unqualified for president is not only popular, but has maintained his popularity.
We cannot deny that Trump is a danger, but this is not to say that he is entirely useless. His unorthodox speech juxtaposes the rest of the field of candidates who, by and large, are honestly trying to combine their ideals and their policies. This juxtaposition humanizes a political era in which politicians are more like robots programmed to win votes and less like people who care to create a nation conducive of opportunity and the pursuit of happiness.
Theresa Schliep, FCRH ’19, is undecided in her major from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.