Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Monday, November 21, 2016

Slurs Not Working Anymore

Racist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynist — all these epithets now aimed at Donald Trump and his supporters used to be directed my way. Why? Because I was a teacher who taught students to think critically. I was “poisoning young minds,” said leftists who believed they knew better how issues should be covered in public school — their way and no other. I didn’t just offer “both sides,” because seldom are there only two. I offered multiple viewpoints on controversial issues, encouraged each student to pick what sounded best and defend it. I fostered the kinds of diversity that genuinely improve education: diversity of thought and opinion. To many on the left — and it may now be accurate to say most — the only kinds of diversity that count are those of skin color, sex, or ethnicity. However, Those don't help if everyone thinks alike, and that’s how it is throughout academia now, kindergarten through graduate school.
About once a month, I wrote up classroom Socratic dialogues and published them, maybe two hundred or so. Most of my other columns expressed my own opinions on the issues of the day and after about 1993 or ’94 those opinions were increasingly conservative. Many readers on the left assumed I was pushing my opinions on students and tried to have me disciplined, silenced, fired, or have my teaching license pulled. All along the way, letters to the editor appeared with the slurs listed above. I read them in class and students were surprised.
“But you don’t tell us what to believe,” they responded.

“Evidently they don’t know that,” I’d answer.

“We should all write letters back and tell them,” some suggested.

“You can if you want,” I’d say, “but not in class. You have to do it on your own.” Several did.

There were classroom dialogues on affirmative action in which I’d explain how racial quotas worked in college admissions, hiring, and awarding public contracts. After publishing those, I was “racist.” There were discussions about jihad and Koranic verses encouraging Muslims to kill infidels, etc. After them came “Islamophobic” slurs. We discussed illegal immigration and I described what I saw after flying down to the Mexican border. After those came out, I was “xenophobic.” We discussed referendum questions on Maine’s ballot about gay rights, gay marriage, partial-birth abortion, Indian casinos, and others. After writing up them up, I was “homophobic”; “misogynist” ; “racist”; and so forth.
When I read those letters aloud in class, students asked: “Don’t they bother you?”

“They did at first,” I responded, “but they don’t anymore. Calling me ‘racist’ or ‘misogynist’ doesn’t make it so. Name-calling indicates the writers have run out of arguments, and slurs are all they have.”
I enjoyed playing devil’s advocate with students. It was easy to parrot arguments from left, right, or middle because I held them over the years. Like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I had been an Alinskyite radical. Then I moved right to become a liberal before finally emerging as a genuine conservative in my forties. My evolution, as described first by either Georges Clemenceau or Winston Churchill, went thus: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re twenty, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re forty, you have no brains.” Unless they read my column regularly, students didn’t know what I really thought.
Efforts by leftists to have me silenced or removed from teaching flared up sporadically for ten or twelve years and I kept a file throughout. After retiring, I wrote it up and tried to shop the manuscript around to various agents with no success. Times are a-changin’ however, as witnessed by the evening and morning of November 8 and 9. Liberals controlling media were shocked to discover that, like me, there are millions out here who have become inured to their ubiquitous slurs. They shot everything they had at Donald Trump and others who didn’t march in lockstep, then sat back expecting their favored candidates to win as they always had, and were shocked when they didn’t.
From 9:00 pm Tuesday night and 1:00 am Wednesday, I flipped through the liberal news channels: NBC, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, and ABC. Pundits were all lined up but gone were the smug expressions of election nights past. They were ashen — all of them. How could we have been so wrong? they asked each other. Why did all those “working class” white guys switch to Trump? Did they not listen to us? Well no, they didn’t. They heard you cry wolf for decades and they’re not listening anymore.
Maybe it’s time to shop my manuscript around again. I had been calling it “Poisoning Young Minds,” but maybe it’s time to call it something else. “Teaching While Deplorable” perhaps? “Irredeemable Instructor”? "Privileged Pedagogue”? I have to think about this.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a liberal that did not vote for Hillary in this election, I am also appalled by the labeling of all opponents as racist by the Left. This election was about so many more things than race alone.

11/21/16, 12:43 PM  
Blogger Mike Corthell said...

It was certainly a bizarre campaign. Seemed and seems supernatural in many respects. I do not know what God has in store for President Trump, America and the world but I'm betting it is a major shift in the geo-political make-up that we've grown accustomed to.

Romans 13:1 says it all to this Christian man, ''Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.'' And this verse especially,Daniel 2:21-22,''He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

I will leave with a piece from one of my opinion pieces concerning Mr. Trump, ''This writer remembers the psychology and sociology of the original 'Star Trek' very well. There is one episode concerning the engagement of Mr. Spock and his promised bride. She has no interest in Spock. He's out gallivanting across the galaxy with Kirk & Co. Spock goes to Vulcan to fulfill his duty to his betrothed and discovers his future wife's infidelity. His simple remark? ''After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true...Donald J. Trump may well find this to be true as well...''

Yes, it maybe a difficult time for Mr. Trump because God will use him and use him well. But things are seldom as they seem and we shall just have to see. Being ever-hopeful, I will as always remain optimistic.

Thanks once again for your fine wordsmithing.

Keep in touch!

Mike

11/21/16, 3:25 PM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

Whenever I speak to groups about the threat of Islam, the first thing I do is ask a member of the audience to call me a racist, bigot, homophobe, Islamophobe, xenophobe and fear monger. It breaks the ice and sets the tone that I don't care what they call me if I'm telling them the truth.

11/21/16, 5:40 PM  
OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 said...

Racist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynist.

But did you ever give the little darlings a written grammar test...
"What do these words you've learned, and call other people, MEAN?"
Did you ever have to explain why "Wikipedia is NOT a viable source!"
Did you ever explain why Nestle, mined water from Fryeburg, put it in plastic bottles with a deposit, and sold it by calling it Poland Spring water?
Did they understand the terms Cognitive dissonance, or Gell-Mann amnesia bias, or Dunning-Kreuger Effect, by the time they graduated?
(Personally, I favor Aesop's Fables references to those.)
CaptDMO

11/21/16, 6:41 PM  
Anonymous scenario said...


This is one of those posts that I half agree with and half disagree with. I agree with the fact that people are way to quick to label people. There is too much automatic labeling on both sides. How many times did I hear Bush called Hitler by the left and Obama called Hitler by the right. Neither was a despot by any definition of the word.

The left tends to scream racist and sexist at the drop of a hat. On the other side of the isle, the Right has had a non stop campaign of lies against President Obama from the start, he's a secret Muslim, he was not born in America, etc. I don't like either of these behaviors.

How many times does someone have to exhibit a behavior before you can label it as such? Trump is still talking about forcing Muslims to register. It's difficult to hear something like that without having an image of Muslims being forced to walk around with yellow stars (or yellow crescents) sewed onto their clothing.

There are literally hundreds of examples of Donald Trump saying racist, and sexist things. At what point is it okay to label someone a racist. If someone is a leader of a KKK group and makes racist posts on a daily basis, is it okay to label them a racist?

There have been more Christian terrorist attacks in the United States than Muslim terrorists attacks by a wide margin but you never hear people saying that they want to register all of the Christians in the U.S. As an example of a Christian terrorist attack, look at any attack on an abortion clinic.

Not all sides of an argument are equally valid. I am a firm believer in science and in the scientific method. Some issues really have only one side. If 99.9999% of the people who are trained and worked in a field believe in something because there is overwhelming evidence to support that side, the other side should not be taught in a high school environment. Effectively there is no other side.

Issues like global warming and evolution have overwhelming scientific evidence on their side. Arguing against evolution is like telling students that scientists really aren't sure if ice floats in water or sinks. Yes, you can probably find some really odd situation where ice sinks but it is a rare exception, not a valid argument.

11/21/16, 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

First of all, Tom complaining about name-calling is one of the biggest examples of the pot calling the kettle black that I can think of. Second, as scenario mentions, sometimes these words are simply accurate descriptions, and not slurs. Surely even Tom would admit to that.

Also, that goofy quote is not even Churchill's. But it is a shame that Tom no longer has a heart. And I believe he is way beyond 40, so the brains part is moot too. Maybe he will come around once again, as did my grandfather, admittedly a bit of a racist. A Republican almost his whole life, he started voting Democrat with Obama when he was in his 80's.

As for the very idea of placing brains before heart, there are many examples of mass murderers with high IQ's, but none with good hearts. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

11/22/16, 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Tom actually believes that there are not many, many people who think blacks and Mexicans are inferior to whites. Surely his denial does not run that deep. Does he have a problem with calling those people racists? Or would that just be "insulting" them with a slur?

11/22/16, 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Oh, those hard working white guys (and every other poor to middle class person) will switch back in droves after they see how he Trump does nothing to help them, and how they got screwed by swallowing King Con's load of crap. As was stated last thread, this is a mere speed bump that will work out for liberals in the long run.

Now, I know Tom does not respond whenever his statements get torn apart, but I wonder as to what "radical" actions Obama took as President.

Tom: "Like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I had been an Alinskyite radical."


Tom: "They shot everything they had at Donald Trump"

Do you mean "shooting stuff" like broadcasting things he said and did? What possible bigger ammo could they have used?

Let's look at the bright side though. 4 years of great SNL skits lampooning our sexually assaulting, handicap-mocking president!!

11/22/16, 1:04 PM  
Blogger Mike Corthell said...

What would really be refreshing is if people used their real names.

11/22/16, 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Alias said...

It makes sense that a fan of the bible would also be a fan of other wild and fantastical fiction like Star Trek.

11/22/16, 3:23 PM  
Anonymous scenario said...

Is Trump a racist?

The definition of racist according to the Oxford dictionary:

“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”

Definition of Race:

1) Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics:
‘people of all races, colours, and creeds

1.2)  A group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group:
‘we Scots were a bloodthirsty race then’

Racism is not just a white man who hates blacks. Some examples include someone who believes that black people are better athletes than white people or all Irish people are drunks.

So what evidence do we have that Donald Trump is a racist or sexist:

From Fortune magazine: http://fortune.com/2016/06/07/donald-trump-racism-quotes/

1) Trump called Mexicans racists.
2) Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States
3)He said that the judge who presided over the Trump University class-action suit was biased against him because he is a Mexican.
4) In his speeches, he regularly points out the few or only black people in the audience and calls them "My African American."
5) In 1973 the US Department of Justice went to court with a discrimination complaint against Trump. Four different employees confirmed under oath that applicants for leases were screened by race. Three doorman stated that they had been instructed to deflect black people who to rent.
6) Trump complained in the press of "reverse discrimination" and alleged a "nationwide drive" to force landlords to "rent to welfare recipients."
7) In 1989, he told Bryant Gumble "A well educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well educated white in terms of the job market....if I was starting off today, I would love to be a well educated black, because I really do believe they have the actual advantage today."
8) Trump called for the execution of the Central Park 5 even though DNA evidence had proven them innocent. "These young men do not exactly have the past of angels."
9) In a 1991 book by John O'Donnell, Trump was quoted as saying, "Black guys counting my money! i hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes...Those are the only kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else... Besides that, I tell you something else. I think that's guy's lazy. And its probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks." In 1997 he was interviewed for Playboy author Mark Bowden and he confirmed that the O'Donnell book was "probably true."
10) In 1993, Trump said in front of congress that tribal gaming operators were somehow tied to organized crime.
11) In the 1980's black employees were hidden from Trumps view whenever Trump and his wife Ivana were around.
12) No black or Hispanic executive has ever played a prominent public role in the Trump business organization. However there is one black woman Lynn Patton who is described as a "senior assistant" to Donald Trumps three older adult children.
13) Donald Trump was the most recognized proponent of the birther idea.

While none of these by themselves proves that Trump is a racist or a sexist, the fact that these types of comments have been going on for more than 30 years shows that they were not just a one time slip of the tongue. These were the racist things I found about Trump on just the first google page. I had a longer list but I went over the 4,096 character limit.

11/22/16, 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Everybody who is not a racist knows that Trump is a racist. And knows he is somebody that almost surely sexually assaulted women (and definitely bragged about it.). And knows he is somebody that mocked a persons handicap. Be proud, America!

11/22/16, 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

USA = Unabashed Sexual Assault? After all, a minority of Americans did just elect somebody who brags about it.

11/22/16, 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that Trump's election is already paying off. Literally. Contributions to the ACLU have gone up 500% since the election. Also way up are donations to the Conservation Law Foundation, Muslim Advocates, Immigration Centers, Planned Parenthood, etc. The sleeping masses (many of whom are protesting despite, idiotically, not voting) have been awakened. The Progressive movement was getting much too complacent. Bernie started turning them on before getting chopped out by the Democratic Party's machine, but it is nice to see this jolt to action.

11/22/16, 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Question: Would an example of these "ad Hominem" attacks to which you are opposed to be, when arguing against women fighting for equal rights, calling them "fat feminists"?

Gosh, it sure is fun asking questions that make you dig deeper into your cowardly hiding place.

11/22/16, 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Oh, and would an example of “refusing to acknowledge reasonable positions between two extremes” be not acknowledging the overwhelming scientifically evidence behind human caused global warming”?

11/22/16, 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

"Scientifically evidence"? I must have no brains. Well, at least I have a heart.

11/22/16, 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Mike, could you tell that Capt DMO guy again how you would like him to use his real name?

11/22/16, 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

It is looking like there is hope for Trump yet. Look at all the campaign promises he has already backed away from. The wall (eh, maybe just some more fencing in parts), trying to prosecute Hillary, deporting all illegals and banning Muslims from entering, totally getting rid of Obamacare, waterboarding and other torture...even keeping an open mind on climate change. Maybe he won't be a total disaster, except in the minds of his hard core supporters.

11/23/16, 12:37 PM  
OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 said...

That CaptDMO "guy" (pretty assumptive don't you think?) uses ONE name for posting,
EVERYWHERE. I (usually) behave.
Other than DOXING purposes, why does it bother anyone?
Feel free to opine on the content of ANYTHING I post, (many anonymous folk do.)
Unlike several "anonymous" posts, all know the one,"recurring" source.
I've offered up my ID to our host, any time he wants.
I have a respectable purpose for a nom de plume. I won't bother 'splaining, in detail, AGAIN, in THIS forum.
Savvy folks, in the geographical sphere of influence I share with our host, know
EXACTLY who CaptDMO is. I cannot risk damage to the non-profit orgs. I'm associated
with, as seen by vengeful prog decorum in the news, and local paper, recently.
CaptDMO-(with ZERO allusion to military/law enforcement/Salvation Army service)

11/23/16, 5:43 PM  
Anonymous scenario said...

I have to agree with bc64 that there's nothing wrong with using a screen name as long as you consistently use the same one. The problem comes in where people use multiple sock puppets to try to make it look like more people support their position than really do.

11/23/16, 6:28 PM  
OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 said...

And for the record...*sigh* AGAIN:
The bc64...blah blah blah is simply gobbeldy gook that is interjected when certain folks don't use the average, convenient, Social Media ISP servers.
THAT'S why I ALWAYS "sign" CaptDMO on the end everything I post. (Except when I forget)
CaptDMO

11/25/16, 12:19 PM  
Anonymous scenario said...

We're beginning to see Trumps view of the world by the people that he's selected to be his advisers.

His choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has given thousands of dollars to the non profit group, The Acton Institute. She was on its board of directors for 10 years. One of the things that the Acton Institute has publicly advocated for is encouraging poor children to work long hours. It did stop short of advocating elimination of child labor laws, but I have read of conservative groups that do have this as a goal.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/betsy-devos-child-labor-acton_us_5836eb7fe4b000af95edf12e

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/think-tank-funded-by-trumps-education-secretary-pick-advocated-bringing-back-child-labor/

11/25/16, 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Big Baby Trump clearly stated that he would not accept the results of the election if he did not win. So he obviously would have demanded recounts in close states. But now he whines and tantrums about a recount? And not only does he throw his tantrum, but he throws out completely unfounded accusations about voter fraud because he hates the idea that millions more people in this country wanted the other candidate. But even though he thinks there is fraud he doesn't want a recount?!? What a spoiled brat.

11/28/16, 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Sami Gay said...

The fact that you took the time to write this crappy piece shows that slurs are indeed still working. What a creepy whiner.

11/30/16, 7:44 AM  

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