There’s plenty to lament in the world these days, but the worst of the worst is how so many people once coy about their bigotry now just shamelessly flaunt it.
Hate is hot.
Long gone are the days when prejudice, homophobia and racism were relegated to shady “jokes” and winky-nudges at the office to be shared discretely among “friends.”
Now, political leaders and everyday folk alike no longer just whisper obscenely insensitive, mean, racist and bigoted things. Hell no, out of the closet, these people are emboldened to write about their bigotry, post their bigotry on social media, even blurt it into the camera.
Just this week, GOP state Sen. Vicki Marble gave a masterful performance of a white nationalist on the Colorado Senate floor as she spoke to oppose a bill that demands equal pay to women for equal work.
She said it was an affront to white males. She really said that.
“I can’t take part in something that is so focused against the white man,” Marble said during publicly televised debate. “Frankly I feel white men have done a lot for this country.”
Is the casualness of the bigotry that’s so unnerving right now. People are as apologetic about being bigots as they are about being procrastinators or fans of wearing dad jeans.
In my neighborhood, the current consternation is about porch pirates. It’s a shocking phenomenon where people brazenly walk right up to your front door and swipe whatever the UPS or FedEx dude left there for you.
It’s shocking that there are so many people who spend their time collecting your deliveries like some kind of sordid hobby or profession.
The wildest part of this trend is how so many people have doorbell cameras that record the piracy and then post it. Effortlessly, you can stroll through myriad video clips of someone’s stuff being snagged as their doorbell patiently, and apparently uselessly, records it.
One recent vid on NextDoor.com showed some average-looking guy walking along, and suddenly, purposefully, stealing a package on a porch. Immediately, neighbors began chiming in on how awful this and other worrisome have become.
“Welcome to a Sanctuary city,” Bonnie chirped in on the thread.
It stopped me cold.
The NextDoor conversation was just a rant about how horrible and callous thieves are, and Bonnie threw in immigration. The recorded thief was clearly a young, white male, hardly the cliche immigrant that bigots like to toss out in their conversation.
Her neighbors called her out, but she defended it.
Bonnie’s photo, address and life on NextDoor.com is out there for everyone to see, and she proudly made it clear that a “sanctuary city,” which is a load of crap, means we have to live with illegal immigrants who steal from our front porches.
Almost endlessly on the SentinelColorado,com website, on our Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, in letters to the editor and even phone calls to the newsroom, crowds of people brazenly spew all kinds of bigotry and hatred.
Days after the recent horrific gun slaughter in a New Zealand mosque, we wrote stories about a local Aurora mosque coincidentally having an open house. The mosque invited anyone from the area to come in, check them out, eat some ethnic goodies, try on a hijab and discover how much our Muslim neighbors are like everyone else in the community.
A woman called the next day to complain, saying that the Sentinel gave coverage to the New Zealand massacre and local Muslims but ignored a recent mass shooting of African Christians. It’s a recurring, far-right, fake-news story debunked by countless legit news sources.
The conversation went further south and included allegations of a Muslim doc refusing to treat her because she was Christian.
That same theme arose in Congress on Tuesday. Republican Congressman Ken Buck, who this weekend was chosen as chairman of the state GOP, publicly slammed two gay women testifying in Congress about religious-based discrimination by medical professionals.
Buck paralleled a “Christian” doctor’s discrimination against the two gay women to that of a theoretical “orthodox Jewish doctor,” whose family was killed in “a holocaust,” being forced to treat a Nazi.
The leader of the Colorado Republican Party publicly equates medically treating a gay woman in labor to Ilse Koch? Jeez.
It’s been much worse than that during the last few months. We allow for public comments on our on-line stories, which have for some time been a magnet for people who casually use pejoratives like the n-word, gay slurs and endless dog whistles for those who hate brown immigrants.
“The negro, Obama, ‘borrowed and spent’ $9 TRILLION, added to our national debt,” wrote one of SentinelColorado.com comment section stalwart, who calls himself GoFastGo, countering a story about President Donald Trump.
On a story about an unidentified black suspect sexually assaulting women in parking lots in Aurora last year, he posted this:
“This is what you have today with minorities, ‘entitled’ ‘demanding’ ‘celebrated’ ‘advanced’ bunch, with no curtails standing in their way.”
It’s easy to blame Trump, who is regularly criticized for his own outrageously racist remarks or allusions. But the post-Trump era has only amplified a disturbing trend that predates him.
It’s damned scary.
It’s scary because it used to be enough to call someone on their bigotry. Not any more. Whether it’s fear or ignorance, the country has moved back to the days when public racism and bigotry was just accepted, or least tolerated.
It’s time to push back. As a community, as a nation, we have to underscore that bigotry is wrong and intolerable. And we have to point that out just as often and just as publicly as do the bigots toss it out there.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]