The Dog Whistle

We all know there are sounds that are of such a high frequency that the sound is above what human ears can hear. An example of something that produces a sound that can be heard, but not by human ears, would be a “dog whistle”. Now, whoever came up with the idea of marketing a whistle that blew at such a high frequency that only dogs could hear them, was either a genius, or a really, really good salesman.

I mean the true story might be that the Ajax Whistle Factory produced a run of one million whistles that nobody could hear. Imagine all of the board members of the Ajax Whistle Factory sitting around the conference table discussing their eminent bankruptcy when one member picks up the whistle and blows it to emphasize the nature of the problem. All of the members of the board turn and look quizzically at each other except, for Mrs. Schneider, whose lapdog Shotzee is going nuts. Mrs. Schneider gets Shotzee calmed down only to have him riled up again at the blowing of the broken whistle. The Ajax Whistle Factory marketing department jumps on the opportunity to market whistles that only dogs can hear. The rest, they say, is history.

So, how the heck does a dog whistle relate to anything else, anywhere, at anytime? It seems that there is a political term that I had never heard of before that is being used to describe the Donald’s lack of response to being allied with the Klan. It’s called a “dog whistle”. The concept here is that the people Trump wants to get his message to, can hear the message over what Trump is actually saying. Eventually, Trump whined, “I disavow, I disavow”, after he had been told he’d been endorsed by David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Klan. But the rebuttal was so weak, and took so long to hit the airwaves, that the feeling is that the Donald’s real message got across. It was like the Donald was saying, “I’m with you, Klan members, but you know I have to say I’m not, to get elected”. And like the “silent” dog whistle, the Klan heard the Donald’s message above the din.

I found an excellent example of the dog whistle in Wikipedia, so I’ll just quote directly from there: “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.”  Now this comes from former Republican strategist Lee Atwater. Ronald Reagan used,“Cadillac-driving ‘welfare queens’ and ‘strapping young bucks’ buying T-bone steaks with food stamps”, to let his constituents know which side he stood on of the racial divide. In 2012, President Obama was accused ‘of not loving America’ by a Tea Party nut, trying to portray Obama as a Muslim.

It seems like a lot of work to come up with a phrase that will let your target audience know you’re one of them, without alienating the sane rational voters. I guess that’s why these strategists get paid millions of dollars every election cycle to come up with these concepts. Rather than listening for a “dog whistle”, maybe folks could just look a little closer at the Donald’s family tree to reveal more about his true nature. It is reported that his daddy was arrested in a Klan brawl in 1927. In the 1970’s, when the Donald was in his twenties and taking over his father’s empire, the Trumps were sued by the Federal government for violating the Fair Housing Act. They behaved for a while, and then were later sued again by the Feds when they returned to their old ways.

I mean, it’s cool to get mentioned in a Woodie Guthrie song, but not so much for being a racist. Maybe the Donald should use Guthrie’s, “I Ain’t Got No Home” as his campaign song. The Donald wouldn’t have to worry about blowing his dog whistles any more.

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