My dear mother used to say, “When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, for the trap you set just may be for you.” Mahalia Jackson also shared this sentiment. I bet she got it from my mother. (Smile). Some powerful leaders dug a ditch. It was dug with veiled attacks on females, African Americans, Hispanics, the poor, the left out, the locked out and those with handicaps. It was a deep, wide ditch. But when you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
These powerful leaders understood the power of isms – racism, sexism, religionism, classism, xenophoism, etc. And they were willing to use every ism. Our country has a long history with isms. It took women 144 years after the founding of this country to get the universal right to vote (sexism). It took African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and other minorities 189 years to get the right to vote (racism). It took a half century for White men without real property to get the right to vote (classism). It took even longer for white Catholics and Jews who owned real property (religionism). Certain immigrants faced great obstacles for hundreds of years (xenophobism). Isms are not limited to voting and politics but infect every institution of our society. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
Over time, these powerful leaders dug a deep, wide ditch based on isms. However, the ditch had to be hid for maximum effectiveness. So they camouflaged the ditch with code words: take the country back; inner cities; illegal aliens; states’ rights; welfare; 47 percenters; entitlements; food stamps; etc.
President Barack Obama, the first African American President, became a powerful target for all those digging the ditch of isms. He also became a symbol. In 2010, they used the isms symbolized by President Obama to capture the U.S. House of Representatives and increase the number of Republican-controlled legislatures and governorships. The ditch was deep, wide, and well camouflaged. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
With the U. S. Supreme Court already in their grasp, the last big prize was the presidency of the United States. These powerful leaders were certain that the ditch was deep enough and wide enough and camouflaged enough to trap the presidency in 2012. The trap failed miserably with President Obama winning re-election by an Electoral College vote of 332-206. But they did not give up. They kept digging the ditch wider and deeper while carefully camouflaging it. In 2014, Republicans used the deeply dug ditch of isms to capture the U.S. Senate and additional state legislatures and governorships. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
These powerful leaders were certain that the deep, wide and well camouflaged ditch would trap the presidency in 2016. Then along came Donald Trump. He understood the power of ism. He refused to camouflage the isms. He started well before his announcement for the presidency in 2016. In 2011, he boldly declared that President Obama, the first African American president, was not a citizen of the United States because he was not born here and was not legally the president. It was a direct racial attack. I don’t know of any Republican who spoke up against this birther attack. This attack was launched while Trump was considering a run for the presidency in 2012. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
When Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, he boldly stated that Mexican immigrants were drug dealers, criminals, rapists, etc. He declared that he would build a 2,000 mile wall along the southern U.S. border and make Mexico pay for it. It was not long before he retweeted a completely false statement that most Whites were killed by Blacks. He had called women pigs, dogs, disgusting animals, bimbos, bitches, ugly, etc. and repeatedly attacked a female reporter just for asking him about these sexist statements. He even talked about “blood coming from her whatever.” He mocked a reporter who had a handicap. He declared that all Muslims should be prohibited from coming into the country. He said Muslim Mosques should be under surveillance. He initially refused to disavow the Ku Klux Klan. There were no camouflages, no code words. He was up front and out front with his isms. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
Trump was not what the ditch diggers had in mind. He was too out in the open with his racism, sexism, religionism, classism, xenophoisms, etc. There was no camouflage. However, many primary voters supported his candidacy precisely because he was so open with his isms. His supporters said that he was just saying what they say in private. As a result, he bulldozed sixteen Republican primary opponents and became the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. The strategy was so successful he could not stop, even after he won the nomination.
Last week, he said that a federal judge of Hispanic heritage was ruling against him in a case alleging massive civil fraud because he was “Mexican.” He repeated this statement over and over even though the federal judge was a U.S. citizen born in Indiana and had fought Mexican drug cartels as an assistant United States Attorney. Trump fell into the ditch. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.
Now we will see if those who originally dug the ditch of isms will also fall in. If my dear deceased mother is right, Donald Trump will pull the ditch diggers smack into the middle of this ditch of sexism, racism, classism, religionism, xenophoism, etc. When you dig one ditch, you better dig two, because the trap you set just may be for you.