Racist Face­book post no de­fense of Trump

Cit­i­zens show de­cency still mat­ters. Even now.

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Al­fred P. Doblin

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.