It’s not funny anymore.
I’ve laughed at Donald Trump. I’ve said he would give the Republican Party a well-deserved shake-up. I’ve said that his brash, anti-immigration, isolationist, “Make-America-Great-Again” speeches would hopefully entice a thoughtful but misguided American populace hold a mirror up to its own racist, xenophobic tendencies.
My family is not laughing anymore.
I was hoping that, as a first-generation naturalized immigrant, my family and I could look towards a future when we weren’t only “Indian-Americans” or “Indian-born”, but just “American”. I’m proud of my Indian heritage, but I like to fantasize that politicians that I have the power to elect don’t seek to curtail the rights of people who aren’t “natives”.
Maybe I was just naïve. Or maybe Donald Trump is just trolling for votes.
In either case, I laughed along with my friends and nodded satirically when someone would say that Donald Trump would win. I found his brilliant insults, slapstick carnival-barker comedy to be hilarious.
Our generation is trained to always “get” the joke and applaud contrarians like The Donald instead of seeing him for what he is.
It’s not entertaining anymore.
“He’s obviously not politically correct, but don’t you wish a politician told you just honestly, for once, what was on their heart?” a friend gushed to me recently. “Look at Hillary, she talks a big game, but she’s paid by those Wall Street guys.”
Authenticity is a very important trait in a candidate.
Mussolini made it very clear that “when dealing with such a race as Slavic — inferior and barbarian — we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy.” Hitler was unabashedly clear in blaming the Jews for Germany’s ills. It’s a Hitler cliché! Godwin’s Law, for God’s sake.
But Trump refers to immigrants as rapists and accuses them of “not giving America their best people”. He has implied that white supremacy, deportation of non-whites, sexism, and racism are the cornerstone towards a “Great” America. He has shown that he is willing to do anything to win more votes, even bend the truth until it shatters into a million pieces.
It was all a great show. Good entertainment in a depressing political climate full of radicalization, increased racism, socioeconomic stagnation, and jingoism. I’m almost sad to see the joke end for me.
But all it takes for something really bad to happen is for someone, or something, to make it OK to be racist again. All it takes is someone to create an “other” class and discriminate against them. All it takes is a scapegoating, populist, nativist leader. They all laughed at Hitler too.
And all it takes is a moderate majority, like you, to do nothing, and just laugh.
I’m not laughing anymore.