As much as we don’t want to admit it, more than 60 years after the Supreme Court said that separate wasn’t equal, a Presidential election appears to be turning on the issues of religion and race. More than any previous Republican candidate, Trump-o injects religion and racism into just about everything he says, from leading the birther movement, to calling for the deportation of all ‘illegals,’ (read: non-whites) to ‘joking’ about ejecting non-Evangelicals, this guy’s campaign rallies sound and look like an advertisement for the Klan.
While his supporters as well as media kibitzers continue to imbibe the Kool-Aid that Shlump’s success is based on something known as ‘anger about the present course of government,’ the truth is that the anger is all about religion and race, specifically, the feeling held by many Evangelical whites that their days of being in a majority of the population are coming to an end; i.e., today’s New York Times article profiling an Evangelical couple in Iowa who got some media attention three years ago when they refused to rent out a chapel on their property for a marriage ceremony involving two gay men. They ended up being used as stage props by Ted Cruz before the Iowa primary and now feel betrayed and abandoned as the age of ‘Christian values’ appears to be coming to an end.
And why this loss of enthusiasm for a presidential candidate who is going out of his way to pander to the Evangelical vote? “It all flipped so fast,” says Dick Odgaard. “Suddenly we were in the minority.” The article goes on to say: “One day they felt comfortably situated in the American majority, as Christians with shared beliefs in God, family and the Bible. Overnight, it seemed, they discovered that even in small-town Iowa they were outnumbered, isolated and unpopular.”
As the grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, I find it a little difficult to sympathize with the Odgaards and their Evangelical compatriots because I knew from the gitgo that I wasn’t in the majority; I also knew from the gitgo that it made no difference at all. Which is why my grandparents came to the United States from a pogrom-torn zone in Russia rather than going somewhere else. So I really have no idea how it feels to lose one’s ‘majority’ status, but perhaps my experience as a member of Gun-nut Nation might provide a lesson for how people who feel racially and culturally dispossessed should respond.
Want to know what it’s like to be a member of a minority group? Buy a gun. After all, according to the latest survey, only one out of five American adults owns a gun. This happens to be about the same percentage who describe themselves as Evangelical Christians, according to a recent Pew poll. And even though gun ownership is protected by the 2nd Amendment, there’s also something in the Constitution known as the 1st Amendment which guarantees all those ‘minority’ Evangelicals the right to practice their religious beliefs as they see fit.
Meanwhile, talk to most members of Gun-nut Nation and they’ll tell you, 2nd Amendment notwithstanding, they are not only members of a minority, but a ‘persecuted’ minority at that. And what’s the proof of this persecution? Well, for beginners, we know that Hillary is hell-bent on taking away all the guns. Now in fact she’s never said that, but decoding what she really means no matter what she says is a special technique used by members of persecuted minorities to identify and protect themselves from enemies both without and within.
When Fox News decided to produce a new show called Trump for President it was no accident that they asked the NRA to develop (and pay for) an advertising campaign. After all, America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ has developed messaging for the persecuted minority of gun owners that is second to none. Persecuted or not, Hillary better hope that Shlump-o’s Evangelicals and gun owners are still in a minority on November 8th.