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We’re better together

Close on the heels of Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about a federal judge of Mexican-American heritage, which even Paul Ryan has condemned as "racist," The New York Times speculated that Trump could conceivably win the presidency on the strength of the white vote alone (Nate Cohn, June 8).

While it’s true that many national campaigns target various ethnic groups, Trump courts disgruntled white voters in a calculated appeal to their fear of the ongoing demographic shift in the United States that will eventually leave Caucasians in the minority.

The oft-heard tropes of "Take back our country" and "Make America great again" recall in coded language a bygone era of uncontested white dominance and privilege.

We know that in the past eight years, coinciding with the presidency of Barack Obama, racism has returned with shocking speed to claim its place as one of our most corrosive social ills. Hate crimes have risen dramatically with the election of our first African-American president.

Right-wing demagoguery stokes the fires of fear and xenophobia for their own gain. In pitting ethnic groups against each other, they do incalculable damage to the fabric of civil society and our political system.

As an American, I find it especially sad to see Trump and his ilk leading so many worried and angry white people to reject rather than celebrate the diversity that could enrich us all were we to seek common cause with those different from us rather than feel threatened by them.

Instead we seem to be careening toward an election in which a de facto "white" party registers its resistance to sharing the blessings of America with those of other colors, creeds and sexual orientations.

Does our country really have to go down this road? Aren’t we better than this?