Jen Senko’s brilliant documentary, “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” examines the systematic popularizing of the raunchy racism, misogyny, and anti-Muslim bigotry that has come to dominate our political discourse through the lens of her father’s transformation from a normal guy into a mean-spirited nasty bigot. Her father’s “demise,” facilitated by right-wing talk radio, symbolizes what decades of race-baiting, dog whistle politics, misogyny, militarism, schools lacking a civilizing mission and the removal of civics from our classrooms have done to the country at large. How long did the Republican Party think it would take before a base was created that would likely not only vote for Donald Trump, but would rush to defend his many outrageous statements, actions, positions and attitudes?
When African Americans can openly be called scum, savages and worse; when people can be openly encouraged to murder their Muslim neighbors, when women can be commodified, objectified and pornified for years on end on public airways, what sort of language, behavior and attitudes do we expect to dominate our political discourse, and how long did we expect it would take for a demagogue like Donald Trump to emerge in that sewer? The fact that Trump is a viable option for so many Americans should make the political and educational establishments of this country take a long hard look at how they have been doing business. Furthermore, they should understand that Trump will not be the last chicken coming home to roost.
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