The Depths of Our Ignorance: This Has to be Spelled Out for Us

Donald Trump is not just okay with Joe Arpaio; he’s a big fan. Arpaio, in turn, seems to have similar prurient longings for his fellow reptiles in the KKK. In an interview some years ago with Lou Dobbs (the man who put the milque in milquetoast), Arpaio noted that he’d been called a member of the KKK and said, “I think it’s an honor.”

So Donald Trump might be six degrees removed from Kevin Bacon, but he’s just one hop away from the world’s most iniquitous lynch mob.

It’s worth remembering that Arpaio, as racist and xenophobic as the most committed bigot could be, didn’t catch his pinky in his zipper until he ran afoul of some trifling constitutional technicalities like due process of law and the entire Fourth Amendment — and then invited federal judges to pound sand when they pointed it out.

arpaio2So it wasn’t the bigotry that got Arpaio in trouble; it was the stew of vitriol, defiance, and lawlessness that finally proved too much for the fine folks of Maricopa County — not to mention the money he’d cost taxpayers by losing so many lawsuits on their behalf. Evil, injustice, illegality, waste — no wonder he’s become the avatar for the Trump Administration.

Never in my lifetime has the question had to be asked — because of the behavior and rantings of the president of the United States — whether the ideas promoted by the KKK were acceptable or even laudable. But in the Age of Trump, the question has had to be asked, and it turns out that 9% say white supremacist views are acceptable. And that’s just the percentage who would say that out loud from an easily identifiable telephone number. By one counting, that 9% represents 22 million Americans.

So it wasn’t just a cute TV stunt when commentator Nick Confessore held up a high-tech graphic this morning to explain something that one would have thought needed no explaining: Klan . . . bad.

Confessore seems to understand what right-wing messaging gurus have understood for decades: to get through to the rubes, one must fit it on a bumper sticker, keep it simple, and repeat it often. You know, something like this: “Build that wall!”

Rubes don’t do reasoning, so Confessore might be onto something here. If Trump’s legions of dolts can’t be persuaded with science, facts, and logic, maybe grunting will work.