Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Hillary Clinton and her ‘Deplorables’

I confess to having a near-perfect loathing for everything about Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, his entire family, and for everyone who embraces his unbridled hatred for Black people, for Muslims, for Mexicans, for women.

If, for example, by some cruel twist of fate, Trump and some of his followers caught on fire at a barbecue in my backyard, I would not so much as urinate on any one of them to extinguish their flames. I’d just let them burn.

But I would not refer to them as a “basket of deplorables,” as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has done.

“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton said at a New York City fundraiser hosted by singer Barbra Streisand. “Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”

Yes and no.

Though I learned a few choice names down in the Mississippi Delta, for belligerent white race-haters like those who “love them some Donald Trump” I would refer to them publicly only using words they drape on themselves. Willie Robertson, a Trump supporter and the CEO of the Duck Dynasty TV empire, said at the GOP convention in Cleveland that he’s a “redneck” and proud. Another, author J.D. Vance, whose bestselling memoir of his family and culture in crisis after he escaped it via military service and education, calls himself a “hillbilly.”

So, calling them rednecks and hillbillies is OK by me, referring to them as deplorables, not so much.

Clinton said some of these people are “irredeemable” and “not America.” She added: “And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”

And she intends, she says, to bring America together in the face of that reality? That’s what they all say. But I digress.

Although she is draped in the rhetoric of the “beloved community,” and not the Trump hate campaign, Clinton strikes me now as a rank oligarch who believes that because of her long and faithful record of service it is now her duty to serve, as she alone can serve at this time. She’s a snob.

Ironically, Clinton hitched her own wagon 50 years ago to an Arkansas redneck named Bill, from the tiny town of Hope, and rode that wagon to the pinnacle of success. But were the Clintons ever deplorable when they emerged on the national scene? Remember when Mister rushed home to Arkansas to preside over the execution of a black inmate who was mentally unfit for execution. Deplorable, clearly “racist … you name it.”

So I wonder, have the Clintons always aspired to the oligarchy, to be like the Kennedys, like the Bushes, like the Romneys, the Roosevelts, a dynasty of political rulers? Why must Hillary Clinton be president (never mind Trump for a moment)?

There must be literally thousands of other “careerist” political couples just like the Clintons, on every level — principals and school board members, city council members and mayors, governors and senators — who aspire to rule or govern, and who see their supporters as angels and everyone else as deplorables. I don’t want to know them.

The sad part is that Trump and his Deplorables need to be schooled in 21st century civics. There is no magic wand which will bring back “Leave It to Beaver” America, which will “Make America Great Again,” as Trump envisions. The genie, which will bring an end to imperial world domination by Americans and Europeans, is out of the bottle, and cannot be put back.

Before it’s too late, some respected White person needs to teach these rednecks and hillbillies that their views are repugnant and, yes, deplorable, that they can no longer cling to the notion of “American exceptionalism” which gives them license to rule the world, and that their “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic” views mean endless wars the United States can never win.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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