Trump Unlocked a Pandora’s Box of Racism

By on December 5, 2016

Take a look at these stories of incidents happening even before Donald Trump begins his term (I’ve resigned myself to accepting his two terms, assuming he lives that long and this country hasn’t been blown of the map because of his ignorance and recklessness).  I have yet to hear Trump denounce any of these acts.  Tweeting, blocking Twitter users and bragging about his early “successes” clearly take precedence.

The guys in the first two articles are just cowardly:  Two adult males harassing a woman and her young son and a man pushing a woman down stairs from behind.

The person in this story is a doctor and has no excuse.  She actually thinks she’s superior to an intelligent, articulate, positive Harvard-educated lawyer who is our nation’s first black First Lady, simply because she’s white.

And she’s NOT alone in that thinking.  Case in point:

Race is not part of this story but it’s still an example of how Trump supporters have become emboldened and belligerent:

(I added these three links 12/7/2016)


I was watching a news story on terrorism.  An expert mentioned the concept of “threshold”, meaning that terrorists set the bar higher and higher for each other and, when a significant attack is successful, someone else will be inspired to perform a similar violent act.  The more these Trump-inspired hateful acts happen here, the more they will inspire copycats.

Trump is catapulting us back to the 1950’s.  The midwest and east coast only begrudgingly have been relatively tolerant (compared to, say, the pre-Civil War south) of minorities up to this point as a result of civil rights legislation.  Now racists feel empowered to act out, basically emulating Trump.  And there’s a LOT of bottled-up and misdirected hate in this country.  Way too many people think “American” means “white.”  It’s even worse with the minorities that buy into that mindset (or that whites are superior).  I had to correct a college-educated white guy who was a close friend from PA on the subject after he implied I wasn’t American.  He also has the east coast trait of thinking whoever says the most offensive thing first wins, regardless of how irrational or unprovoked.  That mindset was the foundation of Trump’s campaign.  We’ve stayed friends but my opinion of him changed significantly after that incident and I really understood how limited and provincial his thinking is and will always be.  Being American (and a good person anywhere) should mean constantly making yourself more knowledgeable, broadening your perspective, and being more understanding and less judgmental.  It is NOT about clinging to ignorance, closed-mindedness and bigotry.

As a minority-within-minorities and someone who ˗ in rural upstate New York ˗­ is surrounded by uneducated whites who only know other uneducated whites, I’d be naive to not be concerned for my well-being.  I really stand out here, both physically and when I speak.  For a good percentage of people here, an articulate, confident, socially assertive minority is shocking and offensive.  People actually physically recoil when I speak to them.  It’s upsetting and threatening to them that I’m educated.  You have to witness that reaction to understand it.  I think the word racists used to have for intelligent minorities is “uppity.”

I’m not fearful, but it’s open season for racists to act out.  Hatefulness is all they have to offer.  Like the KKK, racists don’t consider themselves racist so they see nothing wrong with their hatefulness, especially after this election.

It’s bad enough we have this many uneducated, straight white people who voted for Trump but there’s really something wrong with whites, minorities, gays and women that voted for him.  Any college-educated person that voted for Trump should ask for a refund from their school, at least for their Critical Thinking class.

For all the times people have been compared to Adolf Hitler, the comparison is more apt now than anytime in my lifetime.  If you don’t see the parallels between Trump and Hitler, you’re not paying attention.  I’ll help:

– Target poor, disenfranchised, angry whites who respond to stimuli emotionally rather than rationally

– Solidify your connection to your target audience by making everything you say about “national pride” and do it in the most vile, hateful way.  Anyone that criticizes you will be seen as anti-American by the people that buy into your rhetoric.

– Yell at the top of your lungs anything and everything that will advantage of their ignorance and fuel their hate and paranoia.

– Unite them by giving them a common enemy/scapegoat and make institutional racism a significant part of your platform.  For Hitler, it was Jews and blacks.  For Trump, it’s Mexicans and Muslims.

– The entire world watched Hitler’s rise to power and must have figured “It’s the 1930’s and we’re in modern times.  How bad can he get?”  He definitely got their attention and, up to a point, no one outside Germany fully understood what was happening.  By the time they did, it was almost too late.  Did you know he was Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938?1,9171,760539,00.html

Even though I've known this almost 30 years, I dind't realize his picture was not on the cover and the headline was so small.

I didn’t realize Hitler’s picture was not on the cover and the headline was so small.

According to this Vanity Fair article, Trump “kept a volume of Hitler speeches by his bedside”, which is neither news nor a surprise to anyone who witnessed his bizarre campaign but that doesn’t take away from its underlying message:  Trump sees Hitler as an inspiration.

How many times have you heard the question, “Why didn’t someone stop Hitler sooner?”  Here are some answers:

Now take into account the size, mindless fanaticism, blind loyalty, ignorance and bigoted hatefulness of Trump’s followers.  He’s given them something to live for.  Sound familiar?  Donald Trump:  messiah of the angry bigot.

Breaking the Versailles Treaty was a huge priority for Hitler.  Already, Trump has taken “breaking treaties” from Hitler’s book with his phone call with Taiwan (while not a treaty, still a significant 40-year policy).  Then there’s the phone call to highly unstable Pakistan.

Trump’s delusions and still-shocking lack of any depth have dictated his campaign from the beginning and it looks like his Presidency will be pretty much the same.  We’ve already found that out with the Taiwan/Pakistan phone calls and his counterintuitive cabinet choices.  I don’t even know how to categorize his compulsive need to tweet and his new obsession with blocking people on Twitter who are critical of him.  I don’t remember such a high-profile figure being this hyper-sensitive to criticism.  Maybe Stalin, Putin and Fidel Castro.  And Hitler.  Not only is Trump sensitive to criticism, he actually criticizes the press for reporting what he does and says.  Insane.

Since absolutely anything can happen now, I’m betting on WW III (only people that voted for Trump or support him should be forced to fight) or that Putin will try to get Trump to join him in taking over the world.  All Putin has to do is offer to let Trump put his brand on it.  They may as well also invite the leaders of Syria and North Korea. During Trump’s campaign against logic, reason, truth, reality, fact, ethics, compassion and decency, what would have been missteps under normal conditions actually helped him.   If he makes a misstep internationally, he takes this entire country down with him.

We’ve entered bizarro world and should be braced for anything to happen.  Trump may even quit if the realization that he’s in way over his head finally hits him (the guy already skipped several of the first security meetings he was to take part in).  Maybe someone will devise an unprecedented and legitimate way of kicking him out of office, like passing a Constitutional amendment that requires Presidential candidates TO BE QUALIFIED FOR THE OFFICE.  Then making it retroactive so Trump no longer can hold this country hostage and the rest of the world can stop laughing at us and take us seriously again.  Similarly, citizens should be required to be able to apply comprehension, logic, reason and ethics to thought before they can vote.  Trump is doing the things a dumb, unstable, lying, spoiled, spiteful child put in the same position would do, although I’m sure there are countless children that could do a better job.

This is all so incomprehensibly fouled up.  Don’t bother hoping it’s a bad dream you’ll wake up from, I’ve tried that.  I don’t mean to trivialize 9/11, but my emotional response to the election is somewhat similar to that tragedy, the difference being this one is self-inflicted and this is just the beginning.

One thing’s for sure; Trump has us all on our toes.   And checking to make sure our passports are current.  In the meantime, we all need to brush up on the lyrics to “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”  Here’s a refresher:


December 4, 2016


1 I first came across this bit of trivia, appropriately enough, while playing Trivial Pursuit.  We played it at a company (Wang Labs, so it must have been about 1989) picnic and I was teamed with a female finance manager originally from Boston, which no one doubted when they heard her thick accent and loud voice.  We were about to win the game when we were given the question “Who was Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938?.”  I quickly thought about who the most significant person at the time was and said, “Hitler”, to which the woman I was partnered with went into a tirade about how that couldn’t be the answer, and her overreaction surprised us all.  When the answer was given, I didn’t have to make her eat crow, the entire rest of the office did and it was brutal.  That was the first (and I think only) game of Trivial Pursuit I lost.  The finance manager was conscientious and hard-working and a friendly person I had a good relationship with.  She’d good-naturedly bring up the incident from time to time and we’d laugh about it.

I don’t think I’m using the 1950’s analogy loosely at all.  Having worked at the most progressive companies (at the time) in Silicon then Hollywood, my 2003 move to New York City — and especially working in financial services — felt like I had gone back in time and I used the 50’s analogy even back then.  Our 72 year-old widowed neighbor, who is originally from Queens and has lived out here in the country for 35 years, only listens to music from the 50’s and early 60’s.  In other words, before music became really creative.  When I’d visit before her husband passed away last year, they almost always had that music playing and I couldn’t wait to get out of there or for them to turn it of.  I dare you to listen to doo-wop music for an hour.  There was absolutely nothing about them that told you they were awake for the late 60’s and 70’s, which was a time of massive change socially and in terms of music, movies and TV.  They could easily have played Archie Bunker’s neighbors on TV.  If we were watching the evening news and a Black Lives Matter protest story came on, she’d talk to the TV saying, “Go back to where you came from!”, while the husband made no comment.  And that didn’t happen just once.  Imagine how hard it was for me to be a polite guest.  Before he passed away last year, her husband controlled their side of the conversation and he’d often shut her down if she said something inaccurate or dumb, so I really didn’t engage her in conversation until his passing.  Now I don’t have him as a buffer and my conversations with her can’t end soon enough.

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2016 will be announced December 7.  Because Trump’s name, comments and actions have dominated headlines — literally ad nauseum — for more than a year, he seems a shoo-in.  They could penalize him for his intelligence-insulting and reality-defying campaign and give it to Hillary.  Here’s the short list of nominees:

If you haven’t seen Mike Judge’s 2006 “Idiocracy” , you should.  It directly relates to what the presidential election revealed about this country.

The basic story line is that current-day Army slacker Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is chosen by the Army for a hibernation experiment because of his “averageness.”  For a variety of reasons, Joe wakes up 5000 years later to find the planet has become so dumb he’s the smartest person alive.  When he addresses the crowds, it’s like watching a Trump rally.  It’s supposed to be satire but the portrayal of thought-challenged Americans plays true now.  The idea is better than the movie but it’s still worth watching, especially if you like Judge (Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill, Silicon Valley, “Office Space”).  The reasoning for how the world became so dumb is really brilliant.  And scary because of how relevant it is to what’s happening now.  It’s similar to the way Pixar’s imaginative 2008 “Wall-E” depicts a future where everyone is obese and can only get around on scooters because they can’t support their own body weight, like what you see at Walmart or Disney World now.

Added January 23, 2017:

This subject of this article is exactly the premise of “Idiocracy”; that educated, career-oriented couples would wait and plan before having children to the point they couldn’t have them and uneducated yahoos would continue making babies without regard to whether they should have them or not.

The film presents the story line as satire but it’s actually accurate and timely commentary.

About Dan Walker

As part of an Air Force family, I went to elementary school in Great Falls, MT, junior high in Cheyenne, WY and high school and college in the San Francisco Bay Area, graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in business. I was fortunate to have worked for great companies in Silicon Valley (Oracle Corp) and Hollywood (Miramax Films). I also lived and worked (primarily in financial services, which has no great companies) for eight years in Manhattan, New York City. I now reside in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley.

2 comments on “Trump Unlocked a Pandora’s Box of Racism

  1. Jeremy Walker on said:

    Wow, this was so heavy in so many aspects. I don’t know where to begin. One of your best Dan.

  2. Thanks, Jeremy. The whole past year has been so mind-bending it’s really hard to tell if I’m being objective.

    Several criteria I have for people when I meet them are how sincere they are, how comfortable they are in their skin, if they laugh easily without overdoing it, and if they display wit. Have you ever seen Donald Trump give off an easy laugh or say anything remotely witty or that would give the impression he had a sense of humor? Sure, he’s hosted SNL several times but it was always more about putting himself in the spotlight than making fun of himself or being funny. It was clear the writers of those episodes were constricted by the limitations Trump gave them because his sketches were never funny.

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