A 75-year-old Asian woman walking home with her groceries is punched in the face by a young man in Queens.
Memphis Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant’s family receives racial epitaphs at a playoff game in Utah.
An Iowa woman was sentenced to prison for attempting to murder a Latina teenager and a 12-year old Black child by running them over with her car.
On Southwest Airlines, a flight attendant who asked a female passenger to keep her seat belt buckled is punched, losing two teeth and leaving her face bloodied.
A Nashville hat shop is selling yellow Stars of David, the kind Nazis forced Jews to wear, inscribed with “Not Vaccinated.”
These are all symptoms of a sick society, one where civility and respect for our fellow human beings has given way to racism and hostility. How and when did it come to this? It’s happened before, but I don’t recall it being an everyday occurrence.
Twenty-first century America is supposed to be a peaceful, law-abiding, racially tolerant society where we all try to behave rationally.
Why was that Asian lady punched? Why was Morant’s family subjected to racist abuse? Why did that Iowa woman feel entitled to kill kids of color? How is it the woman on the Southwest flight thought she could physically lash out? And doesn’t the owner of that shop know about the Holocaust in which six million Jews were murdered?
My theory is pretty simple. Ex-President Trump made such behavior permissible.
We have lives to lead and most of us don’t have the time or inclination to become politicians, so we look to our elected leaders to show us the way. And leadership, most of all, is about setting the example.
My Boy Scout leaders taught me how to be a decent person and my business leaders set me straight when I made mistakes. President Jimmy Carter, whose fundamental goodness was out of step in Washington, has since led an exemplary life we should all try to emulate.
Then Trump came along and set a reprehensible example, making indecency fashionable. While treating his political opponents and the media with utter contempt, he demanded their respect, often saying he was unfairly treated when he was justly criticized.
Gone was candidate Ronald Reagan’s famously polite but effective debate line, “There you go again, Mr. President,” replaced by “Crazy Nancy,” “Crooked Hilary,” and “Lyin’ Ted.” It was a sociopathic wink and nod to Trump’s supporters to express their own worst impulses. If it feels cathartic, no matter how far out of bounds, say it or, better yet, do it.
It was evident at his campaign rallies where Trump provoked violence. It continued with his administration’s assault on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so he could hold up a Bible he never reads in front of a church he never attended. And it continued, culminating on Jan. 6 when a vicious MAGA mob attempted the insurrection Trump incited and made no attempt to stop until it was too late.
In all honesty, do you want your children or grandchildren emulating Trump?
So here we are, five months into Joe Biden’s presidency. Calm is restored to the White House. No hysterical dramas, no self-pitying or nastygram tweets, no personal attacks by the president on those who oppose his policy-making or the reporters critically covering him.
But Trump’s disgraceful legacy lingers.
At a QAnon rally in Dallas Sunday, confessed felon, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was asked why a coup like the one in Myanmar (formerly Burma) can’t happen in the U.S. Unfamiliar with the Constitution he swore to defend, Flynn seditiously replied “No reason…it should happen.” Flynn now denies his remark, apparently realizing he could be recalled to active duty, charged with sedition and court-martialed.
Trump’s “China virus” begets a punch in the face to an Asian senior citizen. Black and brown people like Morant and those Iowa kids deserve nothing but hate. If you don’t like a flight attendant doing her job, knock her teeth out. Wearing a mask to protect yourself and others is the same as Nazis gassing Jews.
In Trumpworld, all this is fine…and all of it stinks to high heaven. What also stinks is the inexcusable violence in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere perpetrated by so-called antifa types who claim to be standing up for social justice when what they’re doing is making a mockery of the non-violent social justice movement Martin Luther King advocated.
You may not have heard of Lt. Col. Robert Risdon, who is white. He stopped at Taco Bell in Alabama for a late night dinner and encountered two young African-American boys selling sweets to raise money for their church. Risdon asked if the kids were hungry. They said they were, so he bought them tacos and Pepsis.
Thanks, Colonel, for reminding us of the decency we need today in America.