Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is Donald Trump Endangering the Oval Office?

In twenty-first century America, the stigma once attached to politicians, who preached racial hatred, has all but disappeared.  The social taboo currently in place penalizes the listener, instead.   That is, Americans are no longer allowed to identify an individual who "panders in ethnic hatred and bigotry" as a racist, no matter how raw, divisive and virulent the person's words.

Donald Trump launched a  run for the 2012 presidency by embracing the birther movement, whose racist platform denies President Obama's American citizenship.   Trump proclaimed in late March on NBC's The View: 
"I want him to show his birth certificate.  There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like."
GMA Host George Stephanopoulos unceremoniously cornered Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, another possible presidential contender, into backing down from her public embrace of birtherism.  On live television, Stephanopoulos stuck in Bachmann's face, a signed copy of the  President's certificate of live birth issued by the State of Hawaii. 

The Republican leadership seems to be growing weary of this birther nonsense.  It makes those in the Party who advocate such theories seem, well. . . unhinged.  As a consequence, Trump embarked this week on a new campaign, aimed at energizing the racist vote.  In an Associated Press interview on  Monday  he asserted that Obama got an Ivy League education although he was not qualified.  The real estate mogul declared:
"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?"
In truth, the president graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1983, and went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude  in 1991.  In this video clip, NBC's senior investigative corespondent, Lisa Myers, does some fact-checking in regard to Trump's more conspiratorial public pronouncements. 
American society may never rid itself of all racist elements within the population.  But it can certainly turn the page on this chapter in our history.  For it is one in which the nation's unwillingness to acknowledge politicians' racist pandering is fuelling the growing number of unfounded attacks on the legitimacy of the nation's first African-American president.  Even more dangerous is the fact that it sullies democracy and the electoral process, which put him in the Oval office.

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