Friday, December 11, 2015

Trump Is Symptom Of A Bigger Problem

GOUVEIA: The fault is not in The Donald

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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 9:52 pm | Updated: 10:55 pm, Thu Dec 10, 2015.
Donald Trump is not the problem. He’s merely the most visible byproduct of it.
We have freedom of speech here in America, and that’s great. We have the right to express our opinions, no matter how outrageous or controversial they may be. That’s also a good thing.
As someone who publicly states opinions here on a regular basis, I am grateful. And I have often taken full advantage of those very important rights, sometimes to the chagrin of others. So I get that it’s OK to be controversial and differ from prevailing public sentiment.
It’s not a new phenomenon. This country was built by those who challenged authority, who dared to say things previously only whispered in back rooms and small groups.
No, it is not the number of people who say ridiculous and ignorant things that has changed today, but rather the way we — the general public — react and respond to them. And that is a very serious problem.
Today we elevate stupidity, ignorance and arrogance to unprecedented and undeserved heights. We confuse bigotry with courage, bluster with bravery, and outspokenness with intelligence. We rate the style in which remarks are given more critically and carefully than we do their content.
We often seem to extend more respect to those who appeal to our frustration than those who tell us the truth. We are too easily swayed by those who give us someone to blame for our fears and our problems. And while that may be understandable, given the state of politics today, it is also dangerous.
Donald Trump has yet to voice an original thought during his comical and frightening presidential campaign. He has not come up with any intelligent plan to do anything. What he has done is directly appeal to the fears and frustrations of Americans, and made it acceptable to voice prejudices and discriminatory thoughts that are generally considered immoral and wrong.
Too much crime and not enough jobs in this country? Blame Mexicans. They are nearby, they are convenient, and most importantly — they weren’t going to vote for him anyway.
Propose to build a wall along the border. Forget that it sounds more like old Berlin than modern America. Disregard the fact immigration from Mexico — legal and otherwise — has slowed to almost nothing over the last decade or so. What you say doesn’t have to be true or make sense. It just has to strike a chord, and tap into the reservoir of anger simmering just below the surface here.
So, Trump can propose a ban on people based upon nothing more than their religion, and actually be cheered by many.
He doesn’t concern himself with the constitutionality of such matters, or the legality of them. Just by being outrageous he somehow earns respect from some for being a “straight-shooter” or someone unafraid of “speaking his mind”.
And when the inevitable criticism comes flying back at him, when he is accused of using racism and bigotry for political advantage, Trump plays the victim card. He arrogantly says he is being blamed for avoiding the political correctness that he claims has gripped this country.
Political correctness. That is such a phony term.
The phrase was made up to excuse bad behavior and make it seem more socially acceptable.
We make it easier for our public officials to be like Trump than more rational leaders. That is, until we really need them to act.
Then, the shallowness and superficiality of their arguments and reasoning leave us wondering how we ever gave them credence in the first place. Not because they aren’t smart, mind you. But because they think it is OK to elevate themselves at the expense of others.
Whether it is Donald Trump seeking to use Muslims as a political steppingstone, or North Attleboro’s Bob Nerz using immigrants in neighboring Attleboro to fight governmental change in his town, this type of behavior has become too popular and prevalent.
But it is society that has to change. We have to stop rewarding this type of behavior. It should be recognized for what it is — wrong and opportunistic.
We need to demand more from our politicians and leaders than loud and controversial speech. If we don’t — that’s our fault.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.


dan said...

The moment Donald Trump uttered the words about a temporary halt to immigration from Muslim countries two things came to mind. The first was that is a great idea, although it should be for everywhere and the second thing was giving Bill Gouveia about 3 days to come up with some whiny column complaining about it."

I am right about both issues. First and foremost, while Donald Trump got all of the press, which is something that continues to confound media types and establishment politicians who by all means are both on the same team, is that the experts working for our government has publically stated that there are known problems with the current system and they know they cannot stop potential terror suspects from entering the country with the current administration’s open borders arrangement.

Secondly, I’d like for Mr. Bill to name one candidate not already holding office who has been able to enact any legislation or policy from the campaign trail? I’ll wait patiently…….

Bill likes to harp not help anyone but serves to further annoy people who are lectured to enough by leaders who are supposed to be representing them. The cry of “this is not who we are” is enough to make me puke. Who are we? Are we people consumed with importing people who are quite vocal about hurting us to come live with us? Being suicidal is nothing to be proud of.

As far as Liberal’s go, I understand why Donald Trump “frightens” you and quite frankly, it’s fun to watch. Liberals tend to be so easily offended; it’s not hard to upset them to begin with.

With regards to the Mexican border, it has become a joke down there and while Mr. Trump may have singled out Mexicans, it’s Mexico and the border that is the problem and people from many countries can enter there rather easily. Where ever they come from, they somehow get through via that border, so I am thinking that Mexico does little if anything to prevent this from happening and by that logic are at fault.
Additionally, when did it become an issue to protect the citizens of our country from those who would hurt us and why is it such a big problem for Liberals to grasp that concept? As for Constitutional rights, people coming here illegally have no constitutional rights. Those rights are reserved for citizens. Another point some tend to gloss over along with the deliberate omission of the word “illegal”, which is different from people who follow our laws when applying to become American Citizens.

Sadly for Mr. Gouveia, Mr. Trump has tapped into the very raw nerve of people who believe that our government works for itself and no longer works for our citizens and that anger against our government might just put him into office and I personally cannot wait. On the other hand, that will give Bill and others plenty to complain about.

Maybe, just maybe our government and their media allies are the bigger problem?

Bill Gouveia said...

And the bigots unite...

Dan, my column said Trump has not offered an original idea. It said nothing about legislation or policy. Try reading before giving us the same tired defense of racist thinking.

You are a living example of the problem. Keep speaking up - it's the only way we can truly highlight the seriousness of this problem.

dan said...

What are all of the original ideas of any of the other candidates? What's Hillary's original idea? Telling the truth? That would be original for her.

Here's one sure thing about Liberals. If they disagree with you they label you a racist, a bigot or both. Get over yourself.

Bill Gouveia said...

You can agree with me on anything you want Dan. But your comments continue to show your own bigotry. You don't need me to point it out.