Donald Trump was riling up the mob at his campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Tuesday night. He was talking about gangs of illegal immigrants when he said,
“And you've seen the stories about some of these animals. They don't want to use guns, because it's too fast and it's not painful enough. So they'll take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we've been protecting for so long.”
So let me ask us a question: If you could close your eyes and picture that “young, beautiful girl, age 16 or 15”-- what color was she? What race do you think the Trump mob imagined in their minds as they pictured someone being sliced and diced with a knife by illegal Mexican immigrants?
Dylann Roof walked into the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine brothers and sisters in Christ who happened to be black. Reportedly, before he killed Twanyza Sanders, he said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.”
I will allow you to say that there is a difference between a President at a political rally and a young terrorist at a massacre, but I will allow no difference in the frame that they have set, and the articulation of the Spirit of the Age. “They have got to go,” both say. Why? Because they are a threat to our women.
Sure, go ahead and scour the full transcript of Trump’s speech here, and you will be able to argue in a court of law that Trump was only referring to illegal gang members: “predators and criminal aliens.” You will be able to tell me, with textual evidence, that Trump was not calling all illegal immigrants “animals,” but only the “gang members.” You will win your point; but you will lose your humanity, or at least erode it. That’s what proto-fascism does: it chips away at our mitigating narratives. The Hutu of Rwanda recast the Tutsi as “cockroaches” (i.e. animals), and soon they could squash them beneath their heels. The segregationists of Jim Crow recast black males as sexually unrestrained stallions, and soon they could lasso them around the neck and hoist them up into lonely trees.
I am so weary of talking about the continuing outrage of this single man. He is our man. He is our outrage. He is us. We need to begin talking instead about the nation who elected him and that portion of the Church of Señor Jesucristo who continue to support him. We need to repent. We need to renounce the idolatry of race and security. We need to resist the Spirit of the Age.