Basket of Deplorables: The Death of Empathy

19 Sep

deplorable-basketI have been doing a lot of reflecting on Hillary Clinton’s reference to “half of Trump supporters” as a “basket of deplorables.” Initially, I would have preferred she framed it as: I am overwhelmingly concerned with those people supporting Trump, as he stands for all that is deplorable in our country. However, upon further reflection, I must admit, she is simply calling out bad behavior. Note picture of above–peddlers of hate for profit!

When Trump said: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” is that not deplorable? Is it not deplorable that people support and encourage that bullying behavior? When Trump made fun of a reporter with a disability, is that not deplorable? Is that not the worst part of our country? When Trump, referring to Mexican-Americans says, “They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people.” Is this type of racism not deplorable? Trump’s treatment of Khizr Khan and his family was nothing less than deplorable and is a signature moment for Trump, showing his disdain for veterans and those currently serving in the military.When Trump calls for both a mandated registration of Muslim-Americans and a national ban of Muslim immigrants, is this type of racism and Islamophobia not the worst of our country? How awful must this man prove to be? I am nonplussed to say the least.

For all of those people who support Trump’s brand of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and bullying behavior, is this indeed not deplorable? And while I do find it deplorable, I am also exceedingly disturbed and troubled: how do we then reach a population that seems to have zero capacity for empathy or reflection? How do we reach a population full of so much hate towards women, African-Americans, the Latino Community, the LGBTQ community, and the Muslim community?

Sadly, I am able to provide you a map and numbers of people of color harassed by Trump supporters here. I will also provide more disturbing facts from Public Policy Polling: 65% of Trump supporters believe that President Obama is Muslim — this is so troubling in so many ways, I have not the time to fully unpack how awful it is.  59% of Trump supporters believe that President Obama was not born in the United States. Again, this is so very troubling and tells me that there is a certain population that will not be bothered with facts, rather they are fueled by hate. According to Reuters over half of Trump supporters describe African-Americans as more violent than whites and the same percentage of supporters describe African-Americans as more criminal than whites. I’m not sure how to expose racism more blatantly. All of this should be, legitimately, labelled deplorable.

Trump famously shouted at voters of color, “What have you got to lose?” The media gave him a pass, when the answer is clear. We all stand to lose our dignity, self-respect, and shared humanity. Giving in to that would be deplorable.

While it would be quite easy for me to yield to a misanthropic abyss during this election year, I must work hard to reach people and communities and engage in conversations that demonstrate that our country is so much better than Trump and his supporters — that we have so much more potential — that our strength is in our diversity. There is no strength in the politics of rage and separation that works to oppress women, LGBT people, people of color, people with disabilities, and all of the intersecting identities there in. Calling that out, and asking us to be our better selves, well that’s not deplorable at all. Now is the time for us to stand in solidarity against hate!


29 Responses to “Basket of Deplorables: The Death of Empathy”

  1. September 19, 2016 at 6:01 am #

    I absolutely agree with your statements!! I have never seen so much hatefulness as Trump has uttered over these long months and the media has done little to call him or his surrogates out on his vile comments while giving him a pass time after time. So I say the media has had a part to play in the deplorable behaviors!!

    Sent from Windows Mail

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 6:08 am #

      Yes, sadly the media are culpable here as well. Let us unite our voices with love, compassion, and empathy. Peace, Michael.

  2. David McCullough September 19, 2016 at 6:19 am #

    There is a huge difference between being intolerant of someone’s behavior, and being intolerant of someone because of who they are… how they were born.

    All of this anti-PC bullshit, which we used to call common decency and respect for others…it is just that, bullshit. It really is the only “Great Again” thing that we should aspire to…
    This, in response to Trump supporters calling liberals hypocritically intolerant.

    People who put other people in a basket, should not complain when they find themselves put into a basket.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 6:23 am #

      Well said, David! I can only hope we can create change through modeling empathy and creating resistance around hate. Peace, Michael.

  3. bevanyardleigh September 19, 2016 at 6:19 am #

    Sec. Clinton’s point is quite solid and deadly serious. Nonetheless, I find myself giggling inappropriately at the turn of phrase, especially given the (lack of) character of Herr Drumpf. Are you familiar with the film “The Bad Seed”?
    Picture the strings swelling as Trump and David Duke embrace…
    “What will you give me for a basket of deplorables?” asks the candidate.
    “A basket full of hate crimes,” replies the Grand Wizard.
    …and, scene.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 6:24 am #

      Oh goodness! Your comment made me laugh so hard! I almost made a reference to “The Bad Seed” and that Trump is Rhoda, but I was worried no one would get it! Peace, Michael.

  4. Central Oregon Coast NOW September 19, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  5. Jim Smith September 19, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    While I wholeheartedly agree with the theme of your post Michael, I was quite disappointed in Hillary’s statement. Yes, there are “deplorables” supporting Trump but how does her comment improve the tone of the conversation or come close to taking the high road ? I realize that most Trump supporters (generalization coming at you…) don’t want to engage in a serious discussion of the facts but does outrage at being screwed by the system and then gullible enough to believe a bad showman equate to being deporable ?

    Nobody every got elected by demonizing folks like that and I frankly thought it showed a disturbing tonality similar to Trump’s outrageous statements.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 7:54 am #

      Jim, I appreciate your comments here, and I think I shared my own complex feelings around her statement. However, I have to say it is a seriously false equivalency comparing Trump’s hate speech and HRC’s calling out bad behavior. I think this is a place where we all have to hold some tension. Much love and peace, Michael.

      • Jim Smith September 19, 2016 at 8:15 am #

        I wasn’t equating. Of course they weren’t equivalent statements. But if neither candidate for the highest office in the land can speak civilly and just about the issues without resorting to childish name-calling, we’ve got some serious problems.

  6. penguinlad September 19, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    Jim, I had similar problems with Hillary’s statement at first. However, after she smartly walked back the “half” portion, I think her point is important, and more signficantly, not “childish name-calling”. Some behaviors ARE deplorable and need to be called out. Trump’s campaign has emboldened — and with the help of the press somewhat normalized — ugly currents and hateful people. Forcing the Trump campaign to declare whether or not David Duke’s actions, for example, are deplorable is a reasonable part of the political discussion.
    FWIW, I would also point out that your “tonality similar to” phrase definitely could be read as “equating”.

    • Jim Smith September 19, 2016 at 8:57 am #

      I fully agree that the press has given Trump a pass on far too many horrible things that he has said and done and not called him and his more egregious supporters out. I was just sad to hear that phrase from Hillary, whether intended just to energize her base or whatever. Guess I’m just being pollyannish about what it takes to win an election these days.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 9:26 am #

        Jim and Penguin, I think it is messy. I’m not certain HRC is name calling, as much as I think she is calling out bad behavior.

  7. Dr. Rex September 19, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Do not miss the message behind the “deplorable” label, please!! What happened to EMPATHY?
    “For all of those people who support Trump’s brand of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and bullying behavior, is this indeed not deplorable? And while I do find it deplorable, I am also exceedingly disturbed and troubled: how do we then reach a population that seems to have zero capacity for empathy or reflection?”

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 9:26 am #

      Thank you for reblogging this, Dr. Rex! Love and Peace, Michael.

      • Dr. Rex September 19, 2016 at 9:29 am #

        Most welcome. Same here, dear friend … excellent post.
        I’m getting a bit ‘antsy’ about this election. I can’t fathom a DT prez …. I sure hope America is smart enough to chose the best of two …. 😦

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 9:56 am #

        I’m rather anxious as well! I hear he is not far from you today. Stay safe! 🙂

      • Dr. Rex September 19, 2016 at 10:33 am #

        Oh, he’s down here again?? Didn’t know …. Arggh!! No wonder I was feeling ‘icky’!!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

        Yes, I am sending you lots of love and good energy to help protect you!

      • Dr. Rex September 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

        I’ll need it. He’s in Ft. Myers … quite a drive from here. Seems he’s going to exploit this weekend’s attacks!! Arrghhh .. He’s already started his tweets!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

        Sadly, I suspect he may have some serious support in Ft. Meyers.

      • Dr. Rex September 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

        I agree!

      • Dr. Rex September 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

        Thank you!!

  8. Kingston Estates September 19, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Very well written article; meanwhile, I would not change a word of what Hillary said because I think as mean as it sounded, it was correct and very appropriate just as you pointed out. Thank you for that well written article.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Thank you for your comment here. Let us hope we stand united as we try to build a more empathic nation. Peace, Michael.

  9. Gronda Morin September 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Dear Michael. I love this post. I had described HRCs “basket of deplorables” as politically incorrect statement, but nonetheless true. When almost 60% of DT’s supporters believe that President Obama was born in Kenya and is not an American citizen, despite overwhelming credible evidence to the contrary, then these peoples are by definition, racists. In my mind a racist person equals someone who is deplorable. Thus over 1/2 of DTs followers are in the basket of deplorables.

    I am just praying that the deplorables do not prevail. Gronda

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 19, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

      Gronda, I always so appreciate your comments. I am hoping once the election is over (let us hope HRC is our next President) that our country will do some necessary healing and that we will look at how to address racism and all systems of oppression! Love and peace, Michael.

  10. Cathy September 20, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    Hi Michael – My biggest worry is that as a bully without an agenda or a center to ground him, Trump himself is vulnerable to being bullied, coerced, influenced, and seduced by Republicans, his family, foreign powers, and others. If this is true and he is elected, the result could be massive chaos. Thanks

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