Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Donald Signifying

Donald Trump has at least accomplished one remarkable thing: He has finally got Charles M. Blow, who writes a statistics heavy, rather staid column for the New York Times, to, well blow a gasket. After Trump's most recent inanities, Blow finally could not cleave to  his Walter Cronkite esque reserve and impartiality any longer. Blow finally had to observe the accusations Obama is not American born (which 45% of Republicans believe) , is not a Christian (which 46% of Republicans believe) simply will never be proved or disproved because it is a matter of faith, i.e., religion among Republicans. It is something they want to believe, really have to believe because "Faith in 400 years of cemented assumptions about the character and capacity of the American Negro," depend on not believing an American Black, born in this country, could not possibly be as erudite and smart as Obama.

In point of fact, I noticed the same thing working in the inner city in Washington, DC, where American Blacks, who often had blue eyes, not uncommonly had very close to blond hair and certainly looked very little like the Nigerians and Liberians and  Rwandans I met there. 

The other thing about the African Blacks, just off the boat, so to speak is they had no doubts about their own intelligence, and they spoke with me, a white man, very differently from African Americans who had been born in Georgia or South Carolina--the African Africans had no difficulty making eye contact, used multi syllabic words, sentences with difference cadences and clauses. In short, if I closed my eyes, I wouldn't know I was talking to a Black person, although I would be charmed by some of the accents. 

To put it bluntly, my impression was these Black people from Africa, who had been taught in colonial schools or Nigerian post colonial schools, had never been taught they were stupid or suspect.  They did not act as if they were being interrogated by a cop who was trying to catch them in a lie.

From the point of view of a white guy, they were a pleasure to deal with. Very engaging, funny, extremely bright.

Very different from the Blacks from Georgia, the Carolinas and Mississippi, who met my eye only occasionally, who shrugged off every question and answered in monosyllables and who acted as if the less they said the better. No good could come of saying anything to me. After all, I was just some white doctor. What good would I do them?

These American born Southern Blacks had grown up with the comments like those of the chairman of the local Republican party in Virginia, David Bartholomew, who apparently sent a message to the Virginia welfare office saying his dog deserved a welfare check because he had all the usual qualifications: "He's black, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and has no clue who his Daddy is."

That's the Republican line, really, in essence. Those who need welfare, who are wrecking our state budgets with their demands on state treasuries are unworthy and undeserving.

This line goes way back. Even in the 1890's the conservative line was any man in America who wanted to be rich, could be. All that is required is hard work and a willingness to risk and to sacrifice. Of course, taking the risk works better if your daddy is a real estate magnate, so if you fail, you do not starve and your family is not thrown out on the street.

So, as Donald Trump and today's conservatives see it, it is just as conservatives saw it before the dawn of the 20th century: Those who are poor are lazy and ill bred and deserve to be poor. Those who are rich are hard working and deserve to be rich. America is a country were you get what you deserve.

And Obama does not deserve to be President, and he certainly did not deserve to be admitted to an Ivy League school because he got in on Affirmative action, not like Donald Trump, who got in because his daddy was rich and was expected to make Penn very happy. with a large contribution in cold hard cash.  And President Obama, Donald Trump says, did not deserve to get into Harvard Law, because, Donald says, "I heard" Obama did not get very good grades at Columbia. 

That's what the Donald learned in his two years in the Ivy League. You substantiate a point by saying, "I heard that was true." Obviously, an expensive Ivy League education was not lost on Donald. 

I do wonder about that magna cum laude thing Obama managed to achieve at Harvard. What does Donald hear about that? Does Harvard give out magna cum laude awards by Affirmative Action? 

Did Donald's father not buy the Donald a magna cum laude?

What I'd like to hear about is how they pump Donald up like a Michelin tire man?

And who told him he could do such a fine Mussolini impression? 

All Donald needs is the funny hat with the tassel.

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