09.18.2016 ________________________________________

A former New Hampshire state representative not long ago bemoaned the fact that “Dixie” was no longer played at football games in the South.

Earlier this year a Rye resident forwarded a comment purporting that Marco Polo reported in Book of the Marvels of the World that “the militant Muslim is the person who beheads the infidel, while the moderate Muslim holds the feet of the victim.”

Neither of these citizens, I’m sure – both of whom are Donald Trump supporters – would self-describe as racist or bigot yet the conscious choices they make, the messages they communicate and the candidate they support, place them squarely amid voters I’d place in the basket of deplorables.

While it’s deplorable that the false Marco Polo story – which is totally fabricated and appears nowhere before 2008 – was believed by the person who sent it, it’s more deplorable that such people don’t have the common sense to check out the truth of comments before they embrace them.

That’s why Trump loves what he calls the “poorly educated.”

Being “poorly educated” and being singularly uncurious about the new diverse world around them are attributes common to many Trumpistas.

As Colin Powell emailed, Trump “appeals to the worst angels of the GOP nature and poor white folks.”

So desperate are such followers – they who yearn for a mythic America where everyone’s the same – for conformational bias to support their ignorance and prejudices that they latch on to any myth, misrepresentation or lie to reinforce their bigotry.

They believe, for example, as New Hampshire primary exit polls revealed, that 66 percent of Republican voters back a “ban on Muslims from entering the U.S.” That more than 50 percent of them still believe President Obama’s a Muslim and that he was born in Kenya; indeed, only 13 percent believe he’s Christian.

That’s deplorable.

Trumpistas don’t find it deplorable that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, one of Trump’s closest advisers, believes that “Islam is a political ideology. … It definitely hides behind being a religion.”

I do.

Perhaps Flynn’s admirers should listen to Colin Powell, who wrote “(Flynn’s) abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc. . . . He has been and was right-wing nutty every (sic) since.”

Right-wing nutty.

It’s deplorable, too, that vice presidential candidate Mike Pence refuses to call former Klansman and white supremacist David Duke “deplorable.”

It’s deplorable that in Sutherlin, Ore., Billy Pitner hung an effigy of Hillary Clinton alongside Interstate 5 along with a sign, “Vote Trump.”

Right-wing nutty: Alt-right is not all-right.

Last week the New Hampshire Union Leader, for the first time in over a century, refused to endorse the Republican candidate for president. It said, “(Trump) is a liar, a bully, a buffoon. He denigrates any individual or group that displeases him. He has dishonored military veterans and their families, made fun of the physically frail and changed political views almost as often as he has changed wives.”

Trump’s company was successfully sued for housing discrimination against African-Americans. In 2011 he was the cheerleader for a hysterical “Birther” movement and lied when he said that his investigators had found evidence supporting that claim.

He lied when he claimed that he saw thousands of Muslims in America celebrating the 9/11 attacks and he lies when he claims he opposed invading Iraq and attacking Libya.

His vision of America is vulgar, corrupting and insulting to the memory of anyone who has ever made a sacrifice in defense of this nation – and it overwhelms and drowns out any legitimate grievances some of his followers may harbor.

Be warned: A narcissist is loyal only to his own delusions.

Alt-right is not all-right, is not all-American.

Recently, Marine Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller, in response to an incident in which a Muslim recruit committed suicide after being harassed for his faith, said, “When America’s men and women commit to becoming Marines, we make a promise to them. . . . We pledge to train them with firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion.”

That’s the pledge that America has always made (although at times fulfilled it imperfectly) to its citizens: to treat all equally with “firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion.”

I believe those who support Trump aren’t committed to “firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion” for all Americans.

Last week New Hampshire Rep. Peter Varney wrote, “If Donald Trump wasn’t the best choice to keep our country safe . . . 88 retired generals and admirals would never have endorsed him.”

While it’s true that 88 retired generals and admirals endorsed Trump, more than 500 endorsed Romney in 2012 and so far 110 have endorsed Clinton.

Hmmm . . . maybe Varney should reconsider.

It’s deplorable that there’re voters who still believe that Benghazi was Clinton’s fault, that believe bigots like Jerry Delemus and Ken Weyler are legitimate agents of democracy, and who believe that in New Hampshire our veterans should be represented by Daniel Tamburello and Al Baldasaro.

Tamburello, who posted on Facebook, “I believe (Clinton) has pneumonia cause (sic) by Parkinsons (sic) disease,” and Baldasaro, who accused Clinton of treason and called for her to be shot by firing squad.

Deplorable. Un-American.

For all her flaws, Clinton is not an existential threat to America.

Trump is such a threat – as much for all he doesn’t know as for all the things he has said and done for his lies, deceptions, manipulations and character assaults on all who have the temerity to challenge his narcissistic ego, from Pope Francis to Pastor Faith Green Timmons in Flint, Mich.

At some point serious Americans must realize that it’s necessary to separate personal biases, prejudices and commitment to political parties from the needs, security requirements and aspirational goodness of America.

There are, prominent among New Hampshire’s Republicans and conservatives, as across the nation, descendants of Lebanese, Palestinian, Italian, French-Canadian, Irish, Polish, Japanese and other, all of whom have either witnessed or know stories of persistent prejudice, harassment and disenfranchisement of minority communities.

That many of them are willing to stand quiet is more deplorable, in the end, than being one of the big-mouthed bigots and Islamophobes. For all the risks our immigrant forebears took in coming here their silence is deafening.

That’s truly deplorable.

At week’s end, we witnessed a deliciously ironic moment when Trump chose to discuss his health and medical issues with a reality TV star on daytime television.

Together we witnessed a con-man who’s made central to his campaign the marginalization of Muslims – who shamelessly attacked Muslim Humayun Khan’s Gold Star parents – turn for legitimacy to equally controversial, and fellow celebrity, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Legitimacy and dispensation from Mehmet Oz – a Muslim!

That wasn’t deplorable.

That was really funny.