A grave threat to America’s security is the deep-seated anger of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. His road rage personality erupted at a Florida campaign stop, where, in “an off-script aside,” he was quoted: “‘With Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats, and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,’ Trump said to loud cheers,” with “rally-goers . . . heard shouting ‘shoot them’ as Trump wound up.” (“Trump: I would shoot confrontational Iranian ships,” By Ben Kamisar, The Hill, Sept. 9, 2016) With Trump’s road rage, making a “gesture” at America is punishable by death. As president, how many wars would he start at the slightest perceived gesture that any country “should not be allowed to make against America?”
A few days later, at a Canton, Ohio campaign stop, Donald Trump’s road rage exploded again. Like in Florida, “diverting from his prepared speech,” as reported, he referred to small Iranian gunboats in the Persian Gulf harassing U. S. war ships: “They have their little boats circling our beautiful, big destroyers – and our great men are sitting there watching, saying, ‘Oh, would I like to give it to them.’ ” His projection continues: “ ‘I know those captains and I know those people on those boats, and boy, would they like to give it to them.’ “ (“Trump: Our sailors ‘would like to give it to’ Iran,” By Harper Neidig, The Hill, Sept. 14, 2016)
First of all, if “our great men” on “our beautiful, big destroyers” felt as Donald Trump said they did, they would be saying, “Oh, would we like to give it to them.” Trump’s use of the word “I” is a giveaway, revealing that he is attributing to the American sailors his desire “to give it to” the Iranians. Second, it is doubtful that Trump knows any of “our great men” (and possibly women) on those destroyers as he claims. Third, the U.S. warships are in Iranian waters, rather than the Iranian gunboats in America’s Gulf Coastal waters. This reality raises the question of why “our beautiful, big destroyers” are so far from home. A question farthest from the mind of a road rage presidential candidate consumed with. “Oh, would I like to give it to them.” Fourth, in an interview, Ambassador James Jeffrey provides a reality check for Trump’s sea rage: “To throw out those general threats is inherently dangerous because if you become president, it’s hard to back down from them.” (“Foreign Policy Experts Push Back On Trump’s Iranian Ships Comments,” by Mary Louise Kelly, NPR, wbur, Sept. 13, 2016) Nevertheless, Trump’s audiences greeted his promised warmongering with “loud cheers” and calls of “shoot them.”
Donald Trump’s route to the White House is strewn with wreckage from his road rage. Mexican immigrants, Muslims, women, black people, disabled persons and even reporters, all have been thrown under his presidential bus, to the delight of many of his white passengers. He is about building a wall to keep Mexicans out, banning Muslims from entering the country, and, now proposing a national “stop-and-frisk” policing measure in African American communities to keep black people in their place – which is the agenda of this wannabe “law and order” president. This latest stop-and-frisk proposal led a reported “largely white audience [to] erupt with applause.” (“Trump Backs Stop-and Frisk Across the U.S.,” By Michael Barbaro, Maggie Haberman and Yamiche Alcindor, The New York Times, Sept. 22, 2016)
Donald Trump basks in violent rhetoric. Early on, he demonstrated his violent personality tendencies. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Trump said at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa as the audience laughed. ‘It’s, like, incredible.’ “ (“Trump Says He Could ‘Shoot Somebody’ and Still Maintain Support,” By Ali Vitali, nbcnews.com, Jan. 23, 2016)
Donald Trump’s preoccupation with violence is seen at a Pensacola, Florida rally. Supporters are described as “zealously greeting Trump’s arrival on stage with raucous chants, shrieks and cries.” In his speech, he criticized federal authorities for not prosecuting Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of “classified” emails. Supporters “cheered as he accused Clinton of being a corrupt criminal who could shoot someone with impunity.” He became specific: “ ‘She is being so protected. She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching.” He acted it out: “mimicking a gun with his hand, ‘right smack in the middle of the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted, OK?’ ” In response, “his crowd of supporters erupted in chants of ‘Lock her up! Lock her up!.’ “ (“Trump: Clinton could shoot somebody and not be arrested,” By Jeremy Diamond, CNNPolitics, Sept. 9, 2016)
The Republican presidential candidate’s violence-prone tendencies surfaced while he was falsely accusing his Democratic rival of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment right to own a gun. At a Miami rally, Trump is quoted as saying “to loud applause . . . ‘I think her bodyguards should drop all weapons . . . I think they should disarm. Immediately. . . . Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away. O.K. It’ll be very dangerous.’ “ (“Donald Trump Says Hillary Clinton’s Bodyguards Should Disarm to ‘See What Happens to Her,’ ” By Nick Corasaniti, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Barbaro, The New York Times, Sept. 16, 2016)
Donald Trump’s obsession with violence was on display during an earlier campaign rally, at which he was reported to have “airily suggested that gun rights supporters should rise up against Mrs. Clinton if she were elected to stop her from appointing judges who might favor stricter gun regulation. ‘If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,’ Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added, ‘Although the Second Amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.’ “ (Ibid)
Donald Trump is popular among military personnel, in spite his avoidance of military service and statement that, unlike Sen. John McCain who was a prisoner of war for five years in Vietnam, he “likes people that weren’t captured.” A reported “May Military Times survey of active-duty troops showed Trump beating Clinton by better than a 2-to-1 margin.” (“Veterans for Trump: The military supports Trump for the same reasons civilians support him,” By Michael T. McPhearson, BillMoyers.com, Salon, July 12, 2016)
Veterans obviously do not support Donald Trump because of his military service. As reported, his parents sent him to “the New York Academy, an expensive prep school . . . to correct bad behavior.” He said that experience “gave him ‘more training militarily than a lot of guys that go into the military.’ ” The greatest danger Trump is quoted as facing in prep school – and during four deferments after that – was not being shot by the Viet Cong, but being infected with venereal disease from “sleeping with multiple women,” which he referred to as “his own ‘personal Vietnam.’ “ (“Draft Dodger Trump Said Sleeping Around Was My ‘Personal Vietnam,’ “ By Tim Mah, The Daily Beast, Feb. 16, 2016)
Military service is not what attracts veterans to Donald Trump. At heart, he is actually cowardly. Looking for a photo op with black persons, Trump went to Flint, Michigan, a predominately black-populated city suffering major water-contamination. Rev. Faith Green Timmons, pastor of Flint’s Bethel United Methodist Church, invited him to speak at her church. When Trump veered from the agreed upon topic and began berating Hillary Clinton’s “failed policies,” Timmons strode over to the pulpit, interrupted Trump and said, “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we have done in Flint. Not to give a political speech.” A startled Trump acquiesced: “Okay. That’s good. I’m going to go back into Flint.” (“Stop politicking, minister tells Trump,” Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Sept. 15, 2016)
The next day, in an interview with “Fox & Friends,” Donald Trump said about the pastor of Bethel Church, “Something was up because I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me . . . She was like a nervous mess.” Trump’s characterization was contradicted by an NPR reporter who was present. In a post, Scott Detrow wrote, “Pastor Faith Green Timmons introduced Trump to the predominately African-American crowd of about 50 people, and she didn’t appear nervous at all . . . That isn’t true. In fact,” Detrow, continued, “several audience members began to heckle trump, asking pointed questions about whether he racially discriminated against black tenants as a landlord.” (“Trump on Flint pastor: ‘She was like a nervous mess,’” By Nick Gass, POLITICO, Sept. 15, 2016) On television, Pastor Timmons could also be heard telling hecklers “to knock it off” – which in no way sounded like someone who became a “nervous mess” in the presence of the “one and only” Donald Trump.
Confronted by a strong woman, an emotionally fragile Donald Trump was “politically correct.” His political incorrectness depends on the applause and war hoops of “raucous” white supporters cheering him on.
Donald Trump’s narcissistic road rage, seen in his defensive distortion of reality with Rev. Timmons, reveals that he cannot be trusted to assess reality inside a church, never mind from inside a White House. The fact that “Fox and Friends” would air his distortion of his Flint visit without question, and then fail to interview Rev. Timmons, speaks volumes about the distortion tendencies of Fox News.
It is not Donald Trump telling it like it is that appeals to veterans – or to his other supporters. The biggest plank in his presidential platform is building a wall to keep Mexicans out — “a giant wall!” that Mexico will pay for — he repeatedly tells cheering, mostly white rally-goers. Yet, after he went to Mexico and met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, in another photo op, a television reporter asked him, “Who pays for the wall?” Trump replied, “We didn’t discuss it.” President Pena Nieto contradicted him, saying, “At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear Mexico will not pay for the wall.” (“Mexican president: I told Trump we wouldn’t pay for the wall,” By Ben Schreckinger, POLITICO, Aug. 31, 2016) Rather than confronting the Mexican president with the way it is going to be, an evasive Trump was “politically correct.” But Trump’s supporters see no contradiction here, as his appeal runs much deeper than reality.
Along with veterans, white evangelical Christians are quite attracted to President Trump. And it is not because of shared religious values. According to a Pew Research Center survey, “Trump leads Clinton 55 percent among all Protestants, including 78 percent to 17 percent among white evangelicals and 50 percent to 39 percent among white mainline congregants.” (“Pew survey: Trump gains with white evangelicals,” By Nick Gass, Politico, July 13, 2016)
What is there about Donald Trump that appeals to White evangelical Christians? It certainly is not shared Christian beliefs and behavior. Trump promises to build walls, not bridges of diplomatic understanding and cooperation. He plans to ban strangers, not welcome them as Jesus taught in Matthew 25: 31-46. He is a warmonger who wants to kill the children of his enemies, not become a peacemaking “child of God” himself as Jesus urged in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 9).
A President Trump would create widows and orphans, not “learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless“ and “plead the widow’s cause,” as the prophet Isaiah exhorts. (1: 17) He would his “bomb the SHIT out of” America’s enemies, when not torturing them, or blowing them out of the water when “they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make.” And his narcissistic self-adulation gives the finger to Jesus’ warning, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before people in order to be seen by them.” (Matthew 6: 1-34)
Donald Trump’s road rage temperament encourages supporters to act out violently. A New York Times story states that hate crimes against American Muslims is the highest since 9/11, and “some tie attacks to Trump’s statements.” The story reports, “A number of experts in hate crimes said they were concerned that Mr. Trump’s vitriol may have legitimized threatening or even violent conduct by a small fringe of his supporters.” (“Level of Hate Crimes Against U.S. Muslims Highest Since After 9/11,” By Eric Lichtblau, New York Times, Sept. 18, 2016)
That “small fringe of his supporters” could well include police officers. Presenting himself as the “law and order” presidential candidate is actually a racist appeal to police officers and white voters. There could well be a connection between Donald Trump’s depreciation of black lives and the continuing epidemic of killings of black persons by police. A “law and order” drum-beating President Trump would license more such killings.
Road Rage Trump said to rally attendees about a disrupting protester being escorted from a rally, “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher.” He added, “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.” (“Donald Trump on Protester: ‘I’d Like to Punch Him in the Face,’ “ By Nick Corasaniti and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2016)
Trump is about punching people, not pitying them. He is about mocking, not being merciful. About belittling not understanding. About creating enmity, not empathy. About seeing the speck in everyone else’s eye, and not the log in his own eye. He is about secrecy, not transparency. About winning, not sharing. He is about “greatness,” not goodness. He is filled with road rage, not love. He embodies the very opposite of the qualities that Jesus taught.
So why are a majority of white Christian evangelicals supporting Donald Trump’s road rage to the White House? It is his racism, seen especially in his hatred of America’s first black president, Barack Hussein Obama! For years, Donald Trump led the birther movement, falsely accusing Obama of not being born in the U. S., and therefore, not a legitimate president. He continued fanning the flames of this racist rant, at one point saying, in an NBC interview, that he sent investigators to Hawaii to investigate whether Obama was actually born there, “and they cannot believe what they are finding.” (“Trump sends investigators to Hawaii to look into Obama,” Posted by CNN Political Producer Alexander Mooney, politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com, Apr. 7, 2011)
When President Obama did not use the words “radical Islamic terror” in referring to the killings at the Orlando gay nightclub, Donald Trump called on him to resign, saying on “Fox and Friends” talk show, Obama “doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands. . . . . We’re led by a man who is . . . not smart, or he’s got something else on his mind. And the something else in mind, you know people can’t believe it. . . . There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable.” (“Donald Trump Suggests Obama May Be Losing the War on Terror on Purpose,” By Eric Levitz, nymag.com, June 13, 2016)
Such sinister racist innuendos about America’s first black president have had their effect. A poll last year found that “20% of Americans believe Obama was born outside the United States . . . with 29% of American’s saying they think the president is a Muslim, including 43% of Republicans.” (“One in Five Americans Still Think Obama is Foreign-Born, According to Poll,” By Sam Frizell, time.com, Sept. 14, 2015)
Having gotten considerable political mileage out of the birther movement, Donald Trump recently called a press conference and finally said, “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.” These magic words make disappear Trump’s long, racist birther road rage. It has served its purpose in helping to birth his presidential campaign.
Donald Trump’s political campaign has benefited greatly from his racist hatred of President Obama. Many white evangelical Christians and veterans jumped on his campaign bus, because their racism is stronger than their belief in God and country. Their racism runs much deeper than Trump’s obvious lies and violent personality tendencies. Rationality is no match for the irrationality of racism. Thus many of Trump’s supporters love his political incorrectness in leading a birther movement that has been a politically correct way of calling America’s first black president illegitimate – and other black people as well.
It does not matter to many white veterans and evangelical Christians that President Obama became like President Bush. He continued Bush’s imperialistic “global war on terrorism,” maintaining the criminal wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama even developed a “kill list” of designated enemies, including Americans, to be assassinated. And he ramped up Bush’s drone warfare that violates other countries national sovereignty and kills countless children and women and men. Why even Michelle Obama is seen in a recent photo affectionately hugging Bush. But no matter how hard Barack Obama tries, he is no George W. Bush.
What threatens many of Donald Trump’s white supporters more than anything else? America’s white-controlled hierarchy of access to political, economic, legal and religious power was turned upside down by a black president in The White House. President Obama’s election — and re-election — threatened the very foundation of the unconscious white supremacist-conditioning of many Americans. That existentially-felt threat is believed to be a primary reason so many white evangelical Christians and veterans are drawn to Donald Trump.
Poet and Retired United Methodist minister Theodore L. “Ted” Lockhart — who last week received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University School of Theology for his leadership in promoting racial and sexual orientation equality – gives incisive voice to the threat “Number 44” represents to many white Americans, which Donald Trump has exploited in his road rage to The White House:
”It is good politics
To oppose the black guy
In the White house.”
It’s an open secret in our neighborhood:
White folks of power and privilege go stone freaking crazy
Black folks step out of the role
Miztah Charlie and Miz Ann created just for their Negroes.
Once they whipped to scarifying ends Africans
Refusing to submit
Many hundreds gone are the unforgotten lynched Negroes
Who behaved oh-so-wrong in White eyes.
You have to remember children
It’s an open secret in our neighborhood:
White folks in power and privilege go stone freaking crazy
Black folks step out of the role
Miztah Charlie and Miz Ann created just for their Negroes. . . .
And now comes 44
Sweet Jesus, have mercy!
He wasn’t even born here, some say.
So he’s not eligible to be President
He’s a Black foreign Muslim, Indonesian, African tribal chief.
He was born in Kenya and he’s just not eligible to be President
And it ain’t right no kind of way on any day.
He’s Black and has no business exercising power over White
And that’s an ontological truth, a metaphysical reality.
Where is his authentic true red, white & blue birth certificate?
He lies, shouts a Congressman during the State of the Union
He does not understand America or the Constitution or
How Americans think or
What Americans value or
The American way.
He committed voter fraud in 2012.
Many think “he’s hiding important information
about his background
And early life.”
And we refuse to cooperate with him;
We’ll blowup to downgrade our federal government credit
All because of him.
We refuse to govern because of him.
We’ll vote again and again and again against
His passed Supreme Court upheld Affordable Health Care Act.
We gonna impeach him for sure.
And get him out of there.
For what? We’ll think of something, invent something, dig up
This ain’t racial.
It’s politics. And
“It is good politics
To oppose the black guy
In the White House.”
It’s an open secret in our neighborhood
White folks losing dominating power and privilege
go stone! freaking! crazy!
When Black folks step out of the role
Miztah Charlie and Miz Ann created just for their Negroes.
They just might destroy the whole country
Cause they are plumb out of their minds.
Bent on destroying the President, Congress & even the
Sweet Jesus, please have mercy on us
Miserable proud sinners all.
In Our Good Name, Poems for Reflection By Theodore Lockhart.