How Dad would have handled Trumpsters, including Kanye West

Jon-Stewart-Samantha-Bee
Former 'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart called out the cadres who yell "racist" at almost any decision they don't like.

When death came for Dad, it was mercifully fast. When we put him in the ground in December of 2014, he was at peace. As of 11/9/16, he no longer is.

Months before his death, he successfully campaigned for several local Democrats in South Florida. At 98, he had canvassed for them, registered new voters and distributed campaign materials.

Dad was a lifelong socialist - one generation ahead of Bernie Sanders, who knew my father. Dad's great gifts were having a heart for the downtrodden - and oratory. His ability to speak at length, sometimes too much length, came from his mastery of the subject matter.

Dad's default political affiliation was Democratic after his Socialist Party melted into nothingness, as the issues it had championed - ending child labor, a minimum wage, equality for women and minorities, access to health care and education - were achieved, largely riding on the broad back of organized labor.

Dad died just before the astonishing rise of Vermont senator Sanders, a declared democratic socialist, who was 74 years young and a hero of the millennials, among others.

I believe Dad was looking down from heaven and hoarsely cheering on the other Brooklynite. When I voted for Sanders in the primary, I was mostly casting the vote that Dad couldn't, but I loved Bernie's honesty and authenticity.

No one believed it when he rose like a rocket, just like no one believed Donald Trump catching lightning in a bottle.

So how would Dad be feeling about a Trump presidency? What will be the apocalyptic talk around America's Thanksgiving tables? Can you imagine the awkward jokes?

Dad didn't curse, but on Wednesday, Nov. 9, he would have split the heavens with a profane howl. He would be sick to his stomach, fearing hard-won gains for working people might be reversed.

What he would not have done is call most of Trump's supporters racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes.

He wouldn't be joining the coastal elites to scream names at the Trumpsters because most of them were Dad's people - the working class. A large chunk of them had previously voted for Barack Obama, a black man, before turning to an orange man.

The unremitting attacks by some of the dead-enders on the left are pulling us apart as much as Trump's campaign, which was often described as dark. His grimness resonated with millions of Americans who fear their children will do less well than they did. They are probably right, and that is dark.

None of this excuses the boorish, intemperate, and vile campaign run by Trump, who hurt some people intentionally and others through gross stupidity.

So how could anyone with a decent heart vote for him?

The anyones who feel they were royally screwed by both parties and are using Trump to flip a bird to the establishment, that's who.

Take a look at the national map. Democrats have been decimated. They knew they were losing state houses and governorships in recent decades but felt confident about the White House. Now that's gone, and too many Democrats are falling back on the worn-out tropes of racism and sexism. Their contempt for anyone who disagrees with them is so thick, you can cut it like salami.

Retired late-night liberal funnyman Jon Stewart, on the Charlie Rose show, called out the cadres who yell "racist" at almost any decision they don't like.

"But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric," Stewart said. "In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don't look as Muslims as a monolith. They are the individuals, and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist."

A couple of nights ago, Kanye West told a concert audience - to loud booing - that he didn't vote, but it would have been for Trump. Is the narcissist entertainer a racist? He keeps saying he will run for president in 2020, and anything's possible now that the bar has been set so low.

While giving his valedictory in Berlin, President Obama pointed to the loud voices on both sides that are tearing us apart.

"If people, whether they are conservative or liberal, left or right, are unwilling to compromise and engage in the democratic process and are taking absolutist views and demonizing opponents, then democracy will break down," the president said.

Each side is sincere but is causing damage.

Dad would not be demonizing the other side. He would be trying to educate them, and he would be quoting labor legend Joe Hill: "Don't mourn for me - organize."

I know anti-Trump resistance is coalescing and that seems a better tactic than - at the Thanksgiving table - calling Uncle Henry a racist or Aunt Betty a libtard.

stubyko@phillynews.com

215-854-5977 @StuBykofsky

Blog: ph.ly/Byko

Columns: ph.ly/StuBykofsky