One of the more provocative questions facing our country, I’m convinced, is what’s going to happen with the rednecks after Hillary Clinton crushes Donald Trump in the fall?
Will some migrate to ISIS?
Will they form a far-right Tea Party of sorts and carry flags bearing the image of Gov. George Wallace?
Will they return to their man caves and sulk in beer and hatred?
Any number of things could happen, but, for now, this group has found its collective, frightening and powerful (to a point) voice, primarily at and through Trump rallies.
It is something to behold. I haven’t seen one myself, to be sure, but, like everyone else, I’ve seen the clips. And now The New York Times has assembled a chilling, 3 minute, 11 second video called “Unfiltered Voices From Donald Trump’s Crowds” that captures some of the most nauseating, revolting moments from a year’s worth of Trump appearances and rallies. The reporters and editors simply gathered inside and outside rallies, mingled with those in attendance and let the cameras and microphones record.
Being a reasonable and open-minded person, I’ve wanted to give Trump supporters the benefit of the doubt, at least at arm’s length, but I can’t do it any more. This video shows who’s at the core of the Trump movement — angry white men who feel the political system they, or maybe their parents, were comfortable with has passed them by. Many still have trouble accepting the fact that Americans elected a black president, and they are apoplectic at the prospect of Hillary Clinton being elected president.
Here’s a sample of what you hear and see in the NYT video:
Voices inside a Trump rally: “Build the wall! Build the wall! Fuck those dirty beaners!”
A young man wearing a Trump T-shirt leaving a rally and walking by some Trump protesters says: “Fuck political correctness. Fuck political correctness.” Then, as he moves along, accelerates his step and appears to grab his crotch as an exclamation point.
Inside a Trump rally, a man in a “Make America Great Again” cap sports a T-shirt that says in large white letters, “Fuck Islam.” He’s being escorted out of the rally, apparently because of the T-shirt. Once outside, he lingers so he can greet other attendees who emerge later. He grins as a young man with a ball cap and a gray muscle shirt walks past and says, “Thanks for not taking the shirt off.”
At another rally, we hear a man yell at a protester being escorted out, “Get out of here, you fag.”
At another rally — one that has been widely viewed — a young black protester being led out is sucker punched by a white man in a cowboy hat, vest and long-sleeved red shirt. (The assailant looks like he came in straight from a cattle drive.)
At one rally, Trump proclaims, “Our president has divided this country so bad.” Then, the next words you hear — from an audience member near the NYT videographer — are “Fuck that nigger.”
You see and hear some terrible things being said about Hillary Clinton. At one rally, a voice clearly says, “Hang that bitch” after a reference to her.
Then, there’s a young man — looks like a teenager — holding up a homemade T-shirt, which says, “Trump that Bitch.”
…Another amazing thing about this video is that never, during the entire length of it, do we see a single Trump supporter admonishing any of the frothing-at-the-mouth, over-the-top lunatics. Maybe those standing nearby are afraid. There sure is a lot of angry machismo on display. But I think it’s more likely they simply agree with the sentiments being expressed and have no reason to object.
Coincidentally, New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who is black, has a piece today in which he manages to come up with the words that capture the frustration and anger at the root of his paper’s “unfiltered voices” video.
There is a portion of the population that feels threatened by unrelenting change — immigration, globalization, terrorism, multiculturalism — and those people want someone to, metaphorically at least, build a wall around their cultural heritage, which they conflate in equal measure with American heritage. In their minds, whether explicitly or implicitly, America is white, Christian, straight and male-dominated.
Blow goes on to allege that more restrained Trump supporters can be lumped in with those who scream vulgarities and engage in hateful displays.
“If you support Trump, you are on some level supporting his bigotry and racism,” Blow says.
“You don’t get to have a puppy and not pick up the poop.”