Racist Facebook post no defense of Trump
Citizens show decency still matters. Even now.
By Tuesday morning, Rick Blood was no longer the deputy mayor of Mendham Township, N.J. I must confess, I am surprised by the swiftness of his resignation within days of a self-created firestorm. After all, a councilman in nearby Wayne who went on a sexually explicit and profane rant against a female Republican volunteer in a campaign office last spring, all of it caught on video, is still in office. These are strange times, indeed. Perhaps that is what emboldened Blood to post on Facebook an offensive rationalization for the Donald Trump presidency. Ironically, this defense of Trump is a strong reason to fear that America has not only crossed the line of decency, it has erased it. Over the weekend, Blood said he had copied and pasted a lengthy post sent to him by a Facebook friend. The author was having a hard time understanding Trump’s followers, acknowledging that Trump is “a bit of an ass.” But this writer found a way of coming to terms with Trump. He (or she) asked readers to imagine they went on vacation and returned to find that their basement was “infested with raccoons” — “rabid, messy, mean raccoons.” “You want them gone immediately,” said the post on Blood’s page. Four kinds of exterminators failed to do the job, it continued, so you eventually go with the smelly, profane guy who will rid you of the raccoons. It becomes clear in the post that raccoons are a substitute for “illegals” or, as thoughtful people might say, undocumented human beings living in the U.S. This writer claims the high ground by saying all political parties are to blame because we are “becoming a nation of victims where every Tom, Ricardo and Hasid is a special group with special rights to a point where we don’t even recognize the country we were born and raised in.” Wow. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
That’s Tom Jefferson — no Rick Blood or Facebook contributor, to be sure, but the very founding principle of America is that all people, because they are people, are indeed special.
Not surprisingly, there has been a backlash to Blood’s post. He went back on Facebook to say it was “intended to be thought-provoking and provocative.” And he said it “exceeded expectations.” That’s like an arsonist who intended to burn down only one building and when it took down an entire block, he said the fire exceeded expectations.
There is no “I’m sorry” for copying and pasting a diatribe comparing human beings to raccoons. It is not an analogy that can be justified as anything other than racist. Yet there are individuals who defend the indefensible, who can, like Trump, respond to a violent gathering of racists in Charlottesville, Va., by saying there were “some very fine people on both sides.”
The two sides are not morally equal. Not even close. And to equate human beings with “rabid, messy, mean” animals is repugnant. There was a Township Committee meeting Monday evening and the public turned out in force. Blood did not intend to resign, but after hours of listening to people say what they thought of a public official posting racist opinions on Facebook, the committee went into closed session and emerged with Blood’s resignation.
Americans need to understand the difference between an angry citizenry and a mob. The former will show up at a town hall and demand answers, and sometimes resignations. The latter shows up with torches and is not interested in answers, only vengeance.
Reading Blood’s Facebook mea culpa, it’s clear he still doesn’t get it. Equating undocumented immigrants with raccoons. Referring to extermination as a justifiable means to an end. Saying America is a place where “every Tom, Ricardo and Hasid is a special group.” This is all despicable.
Blood concludes, “Again apologize for fanning the flames.” Better not to light a burning cross in the first place.
Alfred P. Doblin is the editorial page editor of New Jersey’s The Record, where this column first appeared.