The truth is never racist, and bigotry is never the truth. These are the lessons of the latest week in what is the march towards what will undoubtably be the most disgusting Presidential Election Race in modern history.
In a country that feels like it’s more polarized than ever, where the loudest, most extreme voices on each side suck all of the oxygen out of civil discourse, we got a taste this week of just how nasty and hateful people will be on the road to their team winning the White House.
We begin with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former leader of South Bend, Indiana, and openly gay co-front runner for the Democratic nomination for President. The knives were out for Mayor Pete from the far-right lunatic fringe this week and they cut ugly. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh was the less offensive of the two insulters when, in an attempt to make a reasonable point, he seemingly mocked and demeaned Buttigieg’s love and affection for his husband.
“A gay guy, 37-years-old, loves kissing his husband on debate stages,” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “Can you see Trump have fun with that?”
I am not a fan of taking Limbaugh’s quotes out of context, as his opponents do endlessly, but we can all agree that a sentence such as that is a bad look in America 2020. Civilized America, anyway. Limbaugh was trying to make a broader point about whether or not America is ready to vote for a gay man for President; this is a reasonable discussion to be had in a nation that has never elected a woman, and only recently elected its’ first African American President. Even within the Democratic Party, there are bigots emerging who support every one of Buttigieg’s positions, but the minute they find out he’s gay, switch allegiances. And yes, to Limbaugh’s point, President Donald Trump will skillfully dog whistle the unease of too many Americans at the prospect of a gay president if Mayor Pete is his opponent.
What was far more disgusting was uttered by a former member of President Trump’s advisory team in the White House, a man named Sebastian Gorka. I have no beef with Gorka and find many of positions, particularly on foreign policy, to be thoughtful and worth consideration. What is neither thoughtful nor worth consideration is a dogmatic and asinine serving of red meat to the far-right Christian Conservative nuts who applaud sentiments like this:
“Why is that homosexual man lecturing us about the sanctity of life in the womb? Just a little curious there, strange,” Gorka said on his nationally syndicated radio show.
The implication is beyond reprehensible. Buttigieg, a morally bankrupt human being (in the eyes of those who walk with Christ according to Gorka) for loving another man, has no place to have, let alone offer, an opinion on another issue of morality; that of abortion. In other words, since you’re a man in love with a man, you have no business telling us anything about…well…anything. It’s disgusting and it should have no place in American discourse but instead, the opposite is true; Gorka is a hero within the “Don’t Tread on Me,” lunatic fringe of the Republican Party that still basks in the greatness of 1950 America when “those people,” knew their place.
And then there’s the nauseating far left which eats, breathes, and sleeps identity politics. If you want to have “street cred,” on the far left you have to be as much of a minority as possible and/or apologize for not being such. The ideal Presidential Candidate for the troglodytes on the far left would be a gender fluid, non-binary, partially handicapped person of color who is also a gay vegan dwarf with Autism. Instead, they may get former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; a 78-year-old white billionaire with a “cancel culture past” just waiting to catch up to him, thanks to his questionable policies and behaviors as it relates to both women and people of color.
Bloomberg is no saint. That notwithstanding, telling the truth isn’t racist. Bloomberg is a lot of things, both positive and negative, but he certainly isn’t stupid, nor is he ignorant on the subject of finances and the economy. The man is a self-made success worth a reported $60 billion. You don’t get that rich by not understanding the American Economic System.
And yet, because he is gaining traction and emerging as a possible candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination (and since he’s not a gender fluid, non-binary, partially handicapped person of color who is also a gay vegan dwarf with Autism, he must be stopped), people are digging up every possibly questionable statement he has made that can be twisted to destroy him. To whit:
At a Georgetown University forum in September 2008, then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about the major economic story of the day: the roots of the exploding global financial crisis. What was behind the crisis?
Bloomberg’s answer: The implosion of the nation’s housing market was the result of the prohibition of redlining, the discriminatory practice by which lenders denied African-American homebuyers access to loans in the same neighborhoods where white homeowners lived.
On its’ face, to the ignorant and easily triggered, this is beyond problematic…it’s Defcon 1 racism. When in truth, while the way it was phrased was inartful to say the least, it is 100% accurate. “Redlining,” is a term with a very ugly history in America, attached, correctly, to racism. However, if you step back and analyze the totality of Bloomberg’s comments, you see that he was spot on in regards to the true cause of the 2008 recession. Bottom line; American presidents, beginning with Jimmy Carter and continuing through George W. Bush, essentially forced the banking industry to give home loans to Americans who couldn’t afford them. It is accurate to say that minorities “benefitted,” from this misguided policy in a lopsided way but to also claim that it was a way to “give those people of color homes,” is absurd. Like most problems in America, it was the fault of the majority and, in this case, that was middle and lower-middle-class white Americans who sought and bought way out of their financial comfort zone and were the beneficiaries of this dopey policy. Those of us in the greater Sacramento area can look no further than most of Placer County; which, in 2006 was infested with people buying homes they had no business trying to afford all for the appearances of success. Thus, in only a few years’ time, millions of Americans were inevitably incapable of paying mortgages they were never going to be able to afford in the first place. And the entire system collapsed. It wasn’t the function of “allowing” black people into white neighborhoods. It was the function of stupidly engaging in class warfare and giving in to the notion that it’s not fair that some people, regardless of color, can afford homes that others, regardless of color, cannot. And, oh, by the way; in a delicious twist of irony, every single candidate in the Democratic field endorses a return of these same very policies that created the greatest economic disaster in 50 years in this nation.
And so, as President’s week begins, we get to watch in awe as the mud is slung; which is a shame, because it clouds the truth and the real issues. Mayor Pete should be getting scrutinized for his policies on decriminalizing the border and all drugs, amongst other things. Bloomberg’s history is fair game, especially as it relates to countless claims of harassment against females in the workplace and his elitist attitudes towards seemingly everything, including farming:
Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg belittled both farmers and factory workers in 2016 at a university forum. Joining the Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, Bloomberg said, it was the inability of blue-collar workers to adapt to the information economy even if they have their education subsidized that would make it impossible to integrate middle and coastal America.
“The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years and we could teach processes. I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg said. “It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture, now it’s 2 percent in the United States.”
The dismissiveness of certain contributions to society is nothing new, but it still should be known and discussed. And speaking of disgust, we’re nine months from the election and three months from the campaign really heating up and it isn’t the Coronavirus that’s making people sick. It’s this.