No sooner was it clear that Donald Trump would be our next president then the “racist” and “sexist” charges started to fly.
According to CNN’s Van Jones, the vote for Trump was, in part, a “whitelash” against President Obama’s blackness.
According to MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, populist, white support for Trump today is not “Bernie Sanders populism” but rather “George Wallace populism.”
According to ABC’s Cokie Roberts, lots of men voted for Trump because there is “probably” a “strong sentiment about not having a woman president.”
In reality, millions of Americans were fed up with the direction of this country, not with the color of President Obama’s skin. And, these same frustrated Americans would have gladly voted for a strong conservative female against a weak liberal male. (Just imagine how they would have rallied around a Republican Margaret Thatcher had she been running against Democrat Bernie Sanders.)
That being said, I do not deny for a moment that racism and sexism exist in America, nor do I deny that Donald Trump helped deepened the divides among us.
We are a country of 340 million people, and we have more than enough racists and sexists among us.
But, percentage-wise, I suspect that there are just as many black racists as white racists (or Hispanic racists, etc.) and there are just as many men-hating feminists as there are women-degrading male chauvinists. And let’s not forget Hillary’s divisiveness either.
But rather than look at this statistically with regard to the Trump-Hillary vote (as David French has done when it comes to race and as exit poll analyses have broken down in greater detail), let’s apply a little logic and see if there might be some double standards.
Thinking back to the Hillary-Obama primary battle in 2008, which at times was quite intense, were Obama’s voters sexist for rejecting Hillary? Conversely, were Hillary’s voters racist for rejecting Obama?
Of course, questions like this would never be asked, since the voters in question were liberals and Democrats who, by default, cannot be guilty of racism or sexism. Obviously!
Interestingly, it was during the 2008 campaign that John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, yet the same “angry white males” who rejected Hillary in 2016 because of her gender embraced Sarah Palin despite hers. Or could it be that the issue was not gender but rather policies?
In my varied roles as a conservative leader, radio host, author, professor, minister, and public speaker, I have interacted with thousands of voters who could not vote for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. And not one of them ever brought up the color of his skin, while perhaps two or three brought up the fact that Hillary was a woman (and they believed that men should govern and lead).
On the flip side, a large percentage of these people (including me) really wanted to have the privilege of voting for the first black president, but we could not do so in good conscience. At the same time, I can tell you that I know countless women and men who would never vote for Hillary because of her policies and character, not her gender.
Unfortunately, because we are all conservatives who tend to vote Republican, we are, by default, sexists and racists. Of course!
But perhaps I’m missing the point and one of my progressive friends can enlighten me. Please help me understand.
When it comes to a black candidate vs. a white candidate, when blacks vote for the black candidate in overwhelming percentages, that's not racist, but when whites vote for the white candidate in fairly large percentages, that is racist. Can anyone explain how that works?
In the same way, when it comes to a female candidate vs. a male candidate, when women vote for the female candidate in overwhelming percentages, that’s not sexist, but when men vote for the male candidate in fairly large percentages, that is sexist.
Could it be that the problem is not with the racism and sexism of the right but rather with the racist and sexist projections of the left? Could it be that it is the racist and sexist lens through which some of them see the rest of the world?
Again, this is not to deny the existence of racism and sexism on the right. It is to dispute the pervasiveness of those ugly attitudes on the right and to ask if there is not as least as much of it on the left.
Ironically, in a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black, it was Al Sharpton who stated that Trump “knew exactly what he was doing, he was playing to the worst elements.” How extraordinary!
I personally believe that both Hillary and Trump ran very divisive campaigns and, as one who voted for Trump and urged others not to vote for Hillary, I will gladly hold him accountable for his divisiveness. And certainly, I hope to see a good amount of diversity in those he appoints to serve.
But since Trump has now pledged to be the president of all Americans, and since Hillary and Obama have urged their supporters to be give Trump a chance, the best we can do is drop the race-baiting, gender-baiting rhetoric and treat each other with grace and respect in the midst of our serious differences.
That applies to the left at least as much as it applies to the right.