This Video Puts Donald Trump's Love For The "Good Old Days" Into A Sickening Perspective
The new Netflix documentary 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay, provides a critical and unflinching look at racism in America, focusing largely on the ways the justice system can serve as a tool of racial subjugation. To promote the film, Netflix released an ingenious trailer that juxtaposes footage of Jim Crow-era oppression with recent footage and audio from Donald Trump rallies. In doing so, the trailer lends a revolting but important new perspective to Trump’s fond recollections of ‘the good old days.’
It’s a phrase he’s trotted out at various points in his campaign. While the words are innocuous enough on their own, Trump almost always uses them in an insidious context. For instance, look at how Trump responded in February when a peaceful protester interrupted his rally.
“I love the old days,” he said. "You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” Trump added that he’d “like to punch him in the face.”
Make no mistake: Trump was explicitly endorsing physical violence against his political opponents, and it wasn’t the first time. Two months earlier, Trump supporters beat a Black Lives Matter protester at a separate rally, and Trump replied that “maybe he should have been roughed up.” In March, a Trump supporter was charged with assault after sucker-punching a protester at a North Carolina rally, and before that, a group of Trump supporters, including one well-known white supremacist, forcibly shoved a protester out of a Trump rally.
In almost all of these incidents — and these aren’t the only ones — the protester was black. This sheds a sickening light on Trump's pining for “the good old days.” By some definitions, those days are the times in American history when white people could freely beat up black people they deemed "unruly" without facing any repercussions.
Netflix drove this comparison home with this brilliant trailer for 13th, which is worth a minute of your time even if you have no plans on watching the documentary in its entirety.
The trailer juxtaposes Trump’s words and the actions of his violent supporters with older footage, most likely from the mid-20th century, of black citizens and protesters being beaten up by mobs of angry white people (and in some cases, police). In doing so, it effectively makes two points: one broad and one specific.
In the broadest sense, this trailer reminds us that racial violence against minorities is not in any way a "thing of the past." More specifically, it reminds us that Trump has repeatedly encouraged his supporters to engage in this sort of violence. And while he hasn’t specifically directed his followers to assault minorities, the implication of the phrases he uses — “back in the good old days,” “make America great again,” “I’m the law and order candidate” — is clear to anybody who’s listening.