Time to get out of the water before Trump boils us all
Trump photo: Susan Walsh / AP | Frog: Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle via AP

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, on her show the other night, talked briefly about how Trump piles one daily outrage upon another. It’s only when you stop and take pause that you realize how deep is the hole we are all getting into. It’s like the cold-blooded frog sitting in water. Each day, if the temperature gradually increases, he may not notice anything is wrong until the whole pond is boiling.

That’s how it is with Trump’s continual racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions. If we stop today and take a look around, we will realize that we are in deep trouble. The “normal” stuff coming out daily from the president would have been almost unimaginable under any of our recent past presidents.

After the mowing down last month of hundreds, with more than 50 dead, in the Las Vegas terror attack, Trump condemned anyone who tried to bring up gun control during discussions following that mass murder. “This is the time to mourn,” he said, not to politicize the event.

But less than 24 hours after this week’s killing of eight by the driver of a truck in New York, he was tweeting out demands for the almost immediate imposition of the death penalty. He took advantage of justified public outrage over the attack and appealed to base emotions—all for his own political gain.

The alleged killer, a legal resident of the U.S., came here from Uzbekistan. He claims, according to reports, that he acted in the name of ISIS. He is reportedly an adherent of the Muslim faith.

So when a native-born white male citizen of the U.S. guns down all those people in Vegas, Trump tells us we have to maintain decorum and avoid politicizing things. It’s not the time, he says.

But when an Uzbek national is involved, we hear from our president not just immediate demands for his execution but a demand that Congress end the immigrant lottery system under which the individual entered the country. Trump tweeted out that he was ordering Homeland Security to “step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” The president said it was no time to be “politically correct,” in what amounted to a tacit admission of the racial profiling he was encouraging.

Here again, Trump is stooping as low as he can in order to appeal to base emotions—all for his own political gain.

That immigrant lottery he says should end has nothing to do with the problem of terror that reared its head in New York. People who come into the U.S. under that system are subject to the same vetting as anyone else. It has been one of the main routes into the U.S. for white European immigrants, as a matter of fact. Our crass, crude, and lying president does not care about the truth, however. He only cares about stirring up the pot for his divide-and-conquer approach to politics.

We must not be like the frog who ends up boiling. If we take pause and think for a moment, I believe most of us will choose to get out of this hot water before the temperature notches up even more.

We will realize that the day after the Las Vegas killing, white males across the country did not have to head to work worried about attacks against them based on their race or religion. We will understand that the day after the event in New York this week, however, millions of Muslim Americans went to work worrying about what repercussions those events would have for them and for their children and loved ones. We will realize that our president, on an almost daily basis, is putting out racist and anti-immigrant lies.

If we stay in this hot water, there might be nothing to stop our president from using a future incident to suspend habeas corpus and set up a virtual police state in America.

But if we get out of this hot water, we will understand that an unscrupulous billionaire business-mogul-turned-president, without a moral sense of right and wrong, will eventually turn on all of us.

We can get out by saying “no” to Trump’s racism and anti-immigrant fear mongering. We can escape by pressuring our elected officials on all levels to reject appeals to racism and anti-immigrant hysteria.

Finally, we will do so by turning out in 2018 in unprecedented numbers to take back the House and Senate from the Republicans and anyone else in those bodies propping up this dangerous president.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.