The ape in heels

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Garth A. Rat­tray is a med­i­cal doc­tor with a fam­ily prac­tice. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­ and garthrat­

THE RE­CENT Amer­i­can pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was never just about pol­i­tics for me. True, the Demo­cratic can­di­date rep­re­sented the typ­i­cal Estab­lish­ment politi­cian that many were rail­ing against. Added to that, she never melded with many com­mon cit­i­zens and their con­cerns. Plus, she had a lot of unan­swered ques­tions, un­re­solved is­sues, bla­tant eva­sions and un­clear ex­pla­na­tions.

How­ever, her op­po­nent demon­strated se­ri­ous per­son­al­ity flaws, child­ish­ness, is­sues with ethics, vari­able ve­rac­ity, se­lec­tive mem­ory lapses, misog­y­nis­tic traits, flip-flop­ping state­ments, a his­tory of ra­cial prej­u­dice, sig­nif­i­cant as­sis­tance from rene­gade com­puter hack­ers and at least one for­eign power, in­cite­ful, in­sult­ing rhetoric, fear-and hate­mon­ger­ing, and a very weak grasp on the re­al­ity of how the coun­try and the world work.

He earned the ad­mi­ra­tion of white su­prem­a­cists, and that does not bode well for the United States of Amer­ica. I found that his neg­a­tives were greater than hers. Nonethe­less, he tri­umphed in the Elec­toral Col­lege votes.

I feel strongly that Mr Trump can­not de­liver on most of his cam­paign prom­ises and we are al­ready see­ing him walk­ing back on sev­eral of them. He will face a very rude awak­en­ing when he tries to con­struct a wall be­tween the USA and Mex­ico and to dis­man­tle in­ter­na­tional agree­ments, treaties, trade deals and as­so­ci­a­tions.


For those who feel that ‘out­siders’ (like me) should not con­cern our­selves with Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, re­mem­ber that such a pow­er­ful coun­try has world­wide in­flu­ence. Don’t for­get the 2007 US sub­prime mort­gage cri­sis that led to the col­lapse of the hous­ing bub­ble, a re­ces­sion, and a global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

With Trump’s win came un­prece­dented protests against a pres­i­dent-elect and a slew of vile rhetoric, over­laid with brazen ra­cial epi­taphs from de­spi­ca­ble in­di­vid­u­als hith­erto cow­er­ing in their dark cor­ners, afraid to re­veal their ven­omous fangs – un­til now.

His ir­rev­er­ent his­tory and be­hav­iour have fa­cil­i­tated and en­cour­aged such things. And, re­cently, a cer­tain Pamela Ram­sey Tay­lor from Clay County posted this racist Face­book re­mark about First Lady Michelle Obama, “It will be re­fresh­ing to have a classy, beau­ti­ful, dig­ni­fied first lady in the White House. I’m tired of see­ing a Ape in heels ... . ” Tay­lor has griev­ously in­sulted ev­ery sin­gle per­son of African her­itage – dead, liv­ing and yet to be born.

This is ex­actly what I meant last week when I opined that Trump has un­masked Amer­ica. Ms Tay­lor’s English leaves much to be de­sired, but her mes­sage was nonethe­less very clear. She rep­re­sents a large, in­de­ter­mi­nate group of hate-filled and big­oted, racist air­heads em­bold­ened by their cham­pion, Don­ald Trump.


That ‘ape in heels’ is the 44th First Lady of the United States of Amer­ica. Ob­vi­ously, many can­not stand the thought of an in­tel­li­gent, very ed­u­cated, at­trac­tive, hard-work­ing, moral, af­fa­ble, elo­quent, so­phis­ti­cated, up­stand­ing, hon­est, squeaky­clean, in­spi­ra­tional lawyer and First Lady who just hap­pens to be African-Amer­i­can.

Me­la­nia Trump pla­gia­rised parts of a 2008 Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion speech made by that ‘ape in heels’, yet they re­duce her to the sta­tus of a mere pri­mate. I saw this com­ing when, dur­ing the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial de­bate, the topic of global warm­ing was raised and Trump blurted at Mrs. Clin­ton, “... YOUR pres­i­dent Obama ...”, cue di­vi­sive­ness, dis­re­spect and hate.

I am par­tic­u­larly dis­turbed by the ‘ape in heels’ state­ment be­cause, af­ter all that Mar­cus Mosiah Gar­vey, Rosetta Parks, Martin Luther King and many other civil-rights and eth­nic-pride lead­ers and lu­mi­nar­ies have achieved; af­ter all the in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to cul­ture, science and so­ci­ety that peo­ple of African de­scent have made; af­ter Barack Obama as­cended to the most pow­er­ful po­si­tion on the en­tire planet, car­i­ca­tures of the pres­i­dent and his wife as mon­keys have been cir­cu­lat­ing and many can only see the best of us as apes.

I be­lieve that if we had not strug­gled for our rights, given the op­por­tu­nity, back­ward-think­ing, dimwits (like Pamela Ram­sey Tay­lor) would have rel­e­gated our en­tire race to a bunch of un­der­ling ser­vants for eter­nity.

Ac­tions by peo­ple like her leave a nasty stain on that na­tion. The de­cent, eth­i­cal cit­i­zens who are free of the men­tal shack­les of hate and prej­u­dice don’t de­serve to hear from such in­di­vid­u­als. Pamela Ram­sey Tay­lor wants a classy, beau­ti­ful, dig­ni­fied First Lady. She ought to Google ‘Michelle Obama Bio’, then Google ‘Me­la­nia Trump Bio’, and com­pare for her­self.


Michelle Obama, Amer­ica’s first lady.

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