Friday, October 27, 2017

America, here is a Mirror. Is this You?

By now, most informed people have heard about this: The flap over a botched condolence phone call made by Trump to the widow of La David Johnson, one of four US soldiers recently killed in Niger.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who happened to be present when Trump called, proceeded to accuse the president of insensitivity. Thereupon, White House chief of staff John Kelly attacked the black congresswoman viciously, fabricating accusations which were promptly shown to be lies. Wilson then demanded an apology from Kelly for character assassination. The following day, lynching threats against her began to appear on the internet.

The facts are clearly on congresswoman Wilson’s side: Fact #1: She was NOT eavesdropping on Trump’s phone call. The call was picked up on Bluetooth in the car in which she and the Johnson family - close friends for many years - were driving together. Fact #2: General Kelly spewed all sorts of lies about Wilson. One of his fabrications was that she had been angling - inappropriately - for some government handout back in a 2015 speech, when in fact she did no such thing, but instead expressed deep patriotism and support for the military and the FBI. Fact #3: Kelly also took a swipe at President Obama, accusing him of NOT calling him after his son had died in combat, conveniently omitting that the former president (later) had him over for dinner at the White House. Kelly’s entire performance was a sharply biased defense of his boss. It was Trump and Kelley who politicized the death of La David Johnson, not Wilson. Fact #4: Wilson is a 74-year old black woman, and she wears a colorful cowboy hat. Her appearance is “unconventional.”

As a sociologist, I am always interested in aggregate numbers, in generalized public opinion, more than individual sensational events. So I clicked on several of the “articles of the hour” about this issue, which appear in large numbers on portals and browsers such as Yahoo, AOL and Internet Explorer. I went looking NOT for the articles themselves, but for the thousands of comments following the articles.

My report to you: American public opinion is catastrophic. The tragedy revealed by this brouhaha is not that Donald Trump and his minions are bad. We have known this from the get-go. No, the tragedy is that the deep-seated diseases of venomous racism and hatred are far more widespread than we can imagine.

Among the thousands of comments following these articles, I found NONE supporting Wilson. None! Here are just a few representative examples:


● it will be a cold day in hell when General Kelly apologies to this political hack! F^U^C^K this b^tch!

● The rodeo clown rock star demands an apology? Yee Haw, you ignorant racist.

● "Character Assassination" are your serious??? You have to HAVE character before it can be assassinated! Fred is a..... pathetic imitation of a human being.

● LOL, good luck with that you rodeo clown beast thing

● The yippie yi Oh cowgirl wants an apology??? She owes everyone in the country an apology for showing up.....dressed like a rodeo clown.

● O look another story written by and for the Politically Correct Socialist (Communist if Atheist) Progressive Democrats you know, like Stallion, Moa, Hitler, Pol-Pot, Castro, Sanders, Jane Fonda, Hillary, and Obama...

● I demand an apology from all racist blacks for trying to ruin this country. Get out.

The saddest thing is not what Frederica Wilson, John Kelly and Donald Trump said or didn’t say. The saddest thing is what dozens of millions of Americans think, feel and now say. The vicious and racist comments are a Tsunami, a litany of knee-jerk insults and deliberate disregard of facts.

I posted a lone comment reminding some of these trolls of some of the facts which I outlined above, reminding them that Wilson’s race and her flamboyant cowboy hat were no grounds for misjudging her motives and ignoring the facts. But I was whistling into a hurricane. I couldn’t find any comments in support of Wilson. Not one!

 * * * * *

The next day, things got worse. There were lynching threats against Wilson on the Internet. Once again I clicked on some articles about this, in order to peruse some of the thousands of comments. Things were even uglier. Some examples: 


● NO, NO don't lynch her... We want to keep her alive... That clown is hurting the Democrats and helping us Republicans...

● Who cares. She's a liar and a racist.

● She probably made the threat herself, or a black person did it to create controversy. These are almost always false-flags.

● This country cannot survive the hatred of America by black people. We are doomed to failure and when blacks no longer get free stuff from the rest of us there will be a war. A much needed war...

● Toilet Breath Wilson ............... an American disgrace .

● They need to investigate her racist behavior. When you talk like a racist, act. Like a racist and dress like a moron you are a racist. Go away Congress woman

● Until Maxine Waters is arrested for her "Take Trump Out" comment, I think anyone should be able to make threats against this horrible woman.

● America will soon be a brown majority country. Imagine our fate when Congress is full of clowns like Frederica Wilson.

● She can degrade a general, the president and the liberal left is ok. Now someone expresses their freedom of speech and the left goes crazy.

● Well , when you are that ugly , and with no whit or intelligence , I guess that you should need a sequenced cowboy hat, sunglasses, and a bad attitude. Oh well , at least she's black. That alone should get her another term... 

Am I selective in my examples, so as to support my liberal bias? I swear to you, I am not. I found almost ZERO comments either supporting Wilson, or condemning statements such as these or the lynching threat.

Or: Are these sites unrepresentative of general public opinion? I was trained in sampling methodology, and I know the importance of good, scientific polling techniques.

But let me tell you something: The websites and articles I sampled are not a fringe phenomenon. . I know of no “other side” to counterbalance this horror. This stuff is real, and it is much larger than we like to admit. We cannot bury our heads in the sand.
© Tom Kando 2017;All Rights Reserved
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