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A year later, many still don’t understand why America voted Trump E-mail
Opinion
Friday, 10 November 2017 12:55

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L&T Publisher Earl Watt



This past week, several news outlets have been replaying election night from a year ago when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

At the time, I didn’t realize how somber much of the coverage was because the reporters simply couldn’t understand how Trump won.

To this day, it seems the road to the White House for Trump still eludes many of them. They continue to make the same claims that Trump is a xenophobic, mysogynistic racist, and that those who voted for Trump joined in his hate in what CNN commentator Van Jones referred to as a “white lash.”

I have spent some time analyzing these reports from election night, and their attempts to explain how Trump was winning despite a full-court press effort by the media to refer to him as a hater.

They called Trump a xenophobe even though his wife was an immigrant.

They called him a mysogynist despite multiple women that worked for him sharing how he helped advance their careers and provided fair compensation.

They called him a racist because he wanted a secure border.

The credibility of the media was already stretched thin, but there was a bigger point that they missed, and it probably led to more support for Trump than virtually anything else.

They missed a point of history that was happening right under our noses that we didn’t even catch, and it was a reaction to how we perceive race.

Those of us who attended school in the 1980s had very different ideas of race.

After decades of institutionalized racism, where schools were “separate but equal,” where African Americans were not allowed to shop in some stores or buy homes in certain neighborhoods because of their race, we went to school together, played on teams together, lived on the same block, and our parents worked together.

We experienced a much better race relationship than any generation before.

We saw the relationships only getting better, and the social stigmas of interracial couples were starting to disappear.

We never thought that a person of color was anything but the same as we were.

Did that mean that everyone felt that way? Of course not. There is always someone who believes themselves to be better than someone else for a variety of reasons, albeit their bank account, their vanity or even the color of their skin.

But by far, society as a whole had overcome the greatest injustices of racism.

As this trend continued, a new trajectory headed the conversation down a negative path.

Since the vast majority of institutionalized racism was eradicated, where we would no longer accept schools to be separated by race or that someone could be denied eating in a restaurant based on the color of their skin, it seemed America was close to putting an end to racism as an acceptable social choice.

But new terms and battles were introduced into the discussion. Now, anyone born white was automatically a racist. Anyone who grew up “white” was experiencing “white privilege.”

For the first time, all caucasians were being classified as racists not by their actions but because of the color of their skin.

The battle for civil rights graduated to a new level of backlash as a punishment for historic racism.

And anyone who was not a person of color became a de facto racist, and the media ran with it, swallowing this new concept hook, line and sinker, and tied it to the social liberal movement, making anyone who associated with anything conservative to also be a de facto racist.

Good-hearted people felt like they weren’t doing enough to simply support civil rights and equality. Now, you had to actually condemn anything traditional or historically American and embrace all things liberal, or you were a racist.

People who loved their grandparents and parents, who saw the advancements made being completely ignored, now felt like they were under attack.

Of course they believed in equality. Of course they believed in civil rights.

But the narrative became, “Label all things American as racist, or you will be labeled a racist yourself.”

These good-hearted people, who believed we were on the right path to racial harmony, would not turn on their own country. While America is always on a jurney to form a more perfect union, there was a love of country, and a belief that no other nation provided a better opportunity for people of all races than America.

With one candidate taking pride in America and the other calling anyone who believed in America “deplorable,” the outcome in the battleground states became simple — are we all racists simply because we are white, or do we believe in America as the best hope for civil rights including whites?

The silent majority made its way to the polls a year ago, and they chose an America for all people, including themselves.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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