Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Trump's legacy: Destruction of polite speech

A version was published in the Sky Hi News, January 30, 2019, on line edition:

Donald Trump has succeeded in one very important way.  He has given a permission slip to Americans to be openly and publicly  disrespectful of one another. Political correctness is a sin. Polite speech is a relic.   In fact, he has succeeded so well, that respect of others unlike himself or his core supporters is no longer required. He won the GOP because his anti-immigration rhetoric and policies resonated with so many in his party and he has continued his crusade against "others" in word and deed in his campaign rallies, evidenced in "build the wall" and "fine people" in the white Nationalist marchers in Charlottesville.  He painted  all Mexicans and Central American refugees as murders and rapists  and attempted to ban all Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists. He sneered at a rival calling her "Pocohantas" and his administration plowed under  Native American protests opposing  a pipeline damaging their water and tribal rights.

  The confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial the other day is a case in point.  Listening to the various You  Rube tapes of the event, and  also  reading a follow up  report by USA today of what they saw in the You tube videos,  clarified the situation. Three different marchers, demonstrators converge to make confrontation an ugly scene.  A a group of Black Hebrew  Israelites with their own specific agenda had hurled insults at Native Americans for not supporting their version of God. They then began damning Trump and Catholics shouting at young men from a Kentucky Catholic Highschool marching in support of their anti-choice beliefs , wearing MAGA caps. The Catholic highschoolers verbally   confronted the Black Hebrew Israelites. An Omaha elder beating his drum stepped in between the two groups to diffuse the situation..  The red capped highschoolers then turned their ire on the Native Americans, telling them to go back to the reservation, doing a tomahawk chop, and performing  their own  football  team chant drowning out  the drumbeats of the elder of the Omaha tribe. The glare of the MAGA youth's looking into the Omaha elder's face was the media picture worth a thousand words. However, who posted the twitter picture is mysterious and Democrats want  to look into it since it appeared to be an example of someone stoking hate and division in the US.   In any case, the Omaha elder felt threatened surrounded by what he saw to be the  mob mentality of the red MAGA hatted youth.

Certainly the black Israelites deserve a great deal of blame, but what I found dismaying  is that so many posting  in local social media could not understand what was wrong with those young  men in red MAGA hats acting as they did. . That  lack of understanding and respectful use of words  is the legacy with which Donald Trump will be  leaving our country and passing it on to the next generation.

Once upon a time, respect ot those other than those like  themselves was an ethic that had some resonance and in places still does.  I have had three grandchildren attend Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colorado, whose 2200 students draw from one of the most politically red suburban areas in the state.Their logo was a full feathered head of a  chief and their sports  teams were named  Warriors. In fear of being  disrespectful. Arapahoe High reached out to the Wind River Arapaho Reservation for their blessing to use the logo and team nickname and , began volunteering to help with the needs of the tribe. To this day, the respect is a two way street. At every Arapahoe High School graduation elders of the tribe in full dress speak to the attendees, inspiring them with their words of wisdom.  Now THAT is respect.

A footnote: Yes, there is an Omaha tribe.  Omaha is an anglicized version of their tribal name.
For more about the Omaha tribe see  a beautiful short award winning  documentary about their disappearing native speakers.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFK9Sj_Olx8







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