Racism, A Factor in the Election of a President
Fr. Shay Cullen
18 November 2016
The election of a president in a free democracy is one of the most important political exercises that can be done by the electorate. What has motivated the electorate of the United States to put into the most powerful position a man who has spoken openly, repeatedly and disparagingly of women, mimicked disabled people, criticized journalists calling them corrupt and has shown himself to be thuggish, racist, and Islamophobic?
As a self-admitted women-groping candidate, now president-elect Donald Trump, real estate developer, plans to build walls and fences to shut out migrants and to deport hundreds of thousands from the United States.
Why and how could they elect a billionaire who pays no taxes, as alleged, and has never been elected to any post , even as a dog catcher, and says he will save America? Filipinos, Irish, Mexicans, British and other undocumented migrants in America will be deported, he says. America is for Americans. He will pull out of the Paris climate agreement on controlling global warming. He will not support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fully and will cancel or renegotiate free trade agreements seen to be unfavorable to the United States.
He has fomented hate and division in America. Thousands have taken to the streets across America protesting his election crying, “Not My President.” It has never happened before. He says he will overhaul the historic health care legislation known as Obamacare that has given another 20 million Americans health insurance. He and his advisors will undo much of the good that President Barack Obama has done during the last eight years. He succeeded in many things despite a hostile congress and a vitriolic opposition to bring him down and prove that the first black man to be elected President to be a failure. He has been one of the best.
The election of Trump shocked the world and himself, too. The appointment by Trump of Steve Bannon, 62, an avowed white supremacist, accused of anti-Semitism and of being racist, women-hating and xenophobic, to the most powerful position has caused unrest. The job as chief strategist and counsel to Trump has caused outrage in America and concern across the world. John Weaver, the consultant to the Republican Party sent a “tweet” message, “The racist, fascist extreme right is represented, footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant America.”
Why is this man, Steve Bannon, more dangerous that the unpredictable, malleable and ignorant president-elect Trump, you may ask. It is because he is smart, manipulative and predictable in his extremist right-wing views. He helped manage the nationalistic Breitbart News Network and expressed white supremacy nationalist views and then became the chief operating officer of the Trump election campaign.
Behind Bannon is big money of the extreme right. Another billionaire financial investor is Robert Mercer whose daughter Rebekah is a member of the Trump transition team. These are powers behind the throne and will steer the views and policies of the know-nothing President-elect Trump. Is this the way to make “America Great Again” as Trump declared in his campaign slogan? He meant, “Make White America Great Again.”
To answer the question why such a man was elected, we have to admit that America is a divided nation along racial lines. Trump favored white supremacy and welcomed the support of the head of the white supremacy clan leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Since the days when blacks were hanged on a whim or suspicion, laws have given much equality to Americans of color- African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians including Filipinos and overall they have prospered. They will outnumber white people by 2050. This has created fear, envy and hatred among poor whites. That’s why deporting millions is the plan of Trump, they have big families.
These racist sentiments stoked by racist radio and right wing TV and social media including Facebook promoted the lie that people of color were taking the jobs of white people.
Fifty-three percent of women who voted voted for Trump and that was because they sought power and security from those who had a chance to get it, a white man, Donald Trump. Not a woman, Hillary Clinton. The majority of women that supported Trump were non-college educated women. Likewise the white male voters were 72 percent of the electorate and without college degree.
As one commentator, Clare Malone said, “The pattern of white women choosing white men over women of color underscores some of the more insidious machinations of patriarchy and the racism ingrained in the feminist movement. Four out of five white evangelical Christians voted for Trump. They compromised their faith and beliefs closed their eyes and ears to the racist language and other violations of Christian principles, ignored his disregard for respect and the dignity of non-white people.
As the writers Ed Stetzer and Laurie Nichols said in Christianity Today, “Our biblical mandate is to care for the marginalized, to walk alongside those who have been victims of prejudice and abuse, to embrace those who are different than us in background and belief.” Yet four out five evangelicals voted for Trump.
On a national scale 79 percent of Latinos voted for Clinton while 18 percent voted for Trump. The 18 percent may have been deceived by the promises of “greatness” and more jobs and a false sense of what great meant.
But whatever the future will hold, it’s not looking good for the people of color in America and in the world as a whole.