A few days ago there was a social maelstrom when the President of the United States posted a tweet that said, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Multitudes of pundits, talking heads, commentators, so-called journalists, Hollywood celebrities, sports figures and, of course, minority “leaders”, condemned the President’s tweet as a call to violence and a racist dog whistle calling his base to action.
Say what? ¿Dice qué? ¿Cómo?
What makes that remark racial? What makes it an incitement to violence? It appears to be an observation, maybe a statement of the obvious, and perhaps a warning to everybody. If he had said, “When the looting starts, it’ll be the minorities doing it and they should be shot” or if he had said, “When the looting starts, people should start shooting black protesters” then they’d have a valid point.
Maybe he could have said, “If looting starts, people could get shot, and we certainly don’t want that to happen.” No doubt they’d infer something sinister in that, as well. They’d say, “It’s Trump! It’s code to his base! We know what he meant!”
That’s a big part of how we got a divided country; talking heads who have the public believing that they have such insight that they can tell us what a person meant even though what they said or did pretty well spoke for itself, to anyone with common sense.
Bandolero lays his sombrero on the grass in the cool shade of a cyprus tree where he’s settled for a rest after several hours in the saddle. He lights a cigar, leans back against the tree trunk, gazes across the landscape, and wonders, “¿Es el público realmente tan estúpido?” Receiving no answer after several minutes, he stands and walks to the edge of a nearby canyon. His keen eyes spot an eagle soaring easily in the updrafts, gliding gracefully in wide circles searching for truth. Bandolero cups his hands to his mouth and shouts, “¿Es el público realmente tan estúpido?” He waits anxiously and, after a few seconds, the answer echoes back to his breathless ears.
¡Claro que si!