Donald Trump is opening wide the doors America has so intently tried to keep shut: those which hide her rabid and vicious racism.
Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal blamed President Obama for the emergence of Donald Trump, saying that Obama is weak and has been too cool; Trump, Jindal says, is showing strength, and that's what this nation needs. While Jindal has little influence in the scheme of things, his blaming Obama is not a new sentiment. For the GOP, Obama is the cause of all of America's woes, especially the racial divide.
Regardless of who is to blame, the fact is that Trump has opened the door and invited in the voices of people who have long blamed black people for the problems of America. They are "angry" because they have been forced into silence because it is politically incorrect to be so obviously and blatantly racist, but Trump has lifted the cover off the pot, and those who feel marginalized because they have been forced to remain silent are coming out in droves.
Like it or not, they and their voices are a part of America.
My friend, Fr. Mike Kinman, the Dean at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri, reminded me that these people are 'not evil." In trying to understand what is going on, and watching these people shout and scream at black people, call black people horrible names, and desecrate black lives - now more openly than usual - that reminder is crucial
They are not evil, those who espouse racial hatred. They are the products of their upbringing and of white supremacy and its attendant white privilege.
The United States Constitution may be blamed for supporting the premise of black inferiority. Its relegating black people to being only "three-fifths" of a person sent the message that white politicians and clerics alike latched onto as justification for their racially oppressive policies and practices.
Silent state governments have allowed law enforcement for decades to treat black people as though they were objects and not human beings, and there has been too little intervention from the federal government to interfere with those law enforcement agencies, in spite of the complaint that the federal government is "too big."
If the truth be told, white people have gotten angry whenever it has seemed that black people have attained too many rights and too much power. The backlash against black progress allowed during Reconstruction resulted in Jim Crow laws, and voter suppression is part of the backlash from anger that a large turnout of black voters was largely responsible for Barack Obama getting into office.
Should Trump or Cruz get into office, it is highly likely that laws and measures to stem the progress and forward movement of black and brown people will continue.
But that's political. What is more troubling than the political shenanigans going on is the moral decadence in the area of race that is coming front and center. Trump is teaching America that it is all right to be racist, it is all right to denigrate others on the basis of the color of their skin and/or their religion, and that it is all right to say what you feel about them.
Trump has placed the anger of whites for feeling marginalized for having their views silenced before the moral imperative of doing what the Gospel says to do. Trump has basically replaced the Gospel of Jesus with the Gospel of Trump. His campaign phrase, "Make America Great Again" begs the question of what "again" means and what was so great that is now gone?
"Good Christians" have cheered Trump's plan to get all of the Muslims out of America. They have cheered his plan to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out of America. He has made them forget that we are supposed to be a pluralistic nation, and that that very pluralism is what helped make America great. Or did I get it wrong?
By virtue of the fact that Trump has so many followers is testament to the truth of the existence of racial hatred held by many. Obama is not to blame for this. No, this illness has been a part of America since its inception, since white people coming in got rid of Native Americans. White people have for the longest time, here and around the world, believed in and cherished their self-proclaimed superiority, a presumption which in this country was bolstered and supported by our very Constitution. Truth be told, Obama has done and said very little to help race relations in this country. He has worked hard to be "the president of all of the people," not just for black people.
Trump is just being a good American - according to the Constitution. He has opened the doors behind which have stood for the longest time racists wanting to be heard and to act with impunity. They are voting with enthusiasm and hope...hope that "their" America, where they are back on top, will be ushered in by a man who "gets them."
White supremacy, it seems, is the "American way."