I’ve always admired David Conde for his straightforward arguments and plain-spoken approach to controversial topics. But I must take issue with David’s misleading characterization of presidential candidate Donald Trump in his May 18th editorial.
David mentions Trump’s well known declaration: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best, (but) people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
These clumsy, unartful remarks are broad generalizations and not a laundry list of crime statistics to be taken literally. Regardless of one’s ideology, no rational person (including Donald Trump, I’d wager) would accuse “all” Latinos of being rapists, drug pushers or, for that matter, “good” people.
We’re left with only two possible interpretations: Trump is either pandering to white racism (which, historically, has never been a signature of the Trump brand), or he relates to people with a very idiosyncratic and informal manner of speaking, which relies heavily on metaphor. In other words, you can’t always take everything he—or any other politician—says literally!
So here’s the rub for David and his attack on Republicans.
Before casting accusations at Trump, David should acknowledge that he also does a fair amount of pandering himself in this particular column: “The Latino community,” David says, “is being humiliated and demeaned” by Trump “in favor of a population that wants to justify their lording over people of color and reserve the promise of America for themselves.”
As a Caucasian, I find that remark offensive because it distorts the history of civil rights in this country, and stigmatizes the non-Hispanic community as unfairly as any ethnically insensitive comment that Trump has allegedly made.
David, your arguments—when factually based—are powerful enough to stand on their own. Your editorials are persuasive because they’re typically written with clarity, brevity and understatement. Like that extra serving of dessert, it’s the last part that gets most of us in trouble.
Mark David Travis is a former honorarium instructor of microeconomics at the University of Colorado at Denver, and currently works for the Federal Government.