Somebody save us from 2016

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In Donald Trump, we have a presidential candidate who's gone off the rails, between casual dismissal of his own remarks about sexual assault and  offensive characterizations of Mexicans, Muslims, women, and plenty of other people and groups.

Locally, a white supremacist group is tossing fliers saying that we need to make Rochester greater by making it whiter into Pittsford and Brighton driveways in the middle of the night.

And now, we have Republican State Assembly candidate Joe Errigo impugning the City of Rochester with racially insensitive remarks made in a matter-of-fact manner on a local radio program. During that same broadcast, he declared that President Barack Obama is telling black people to “kill the whites.”

Perhaps worse, nobody from Errigo's party is publicly condemning him or his remarks.

At one point, 2016 was a raging dumpster fire, but it’s now something worse: it’s a tire fire that was started by that dumpster fire. No matter how hard anyone tries to smother this putrid, smoldering disaster, the piles of garbage burst back into flames, sickening us all.

What’s there to say that hasn’t been said? These awful, sad, infuriating, destructive, and exhausting things keep happening. They set us back as neighbors, communities, and a country.  Collectively, we've lost our minds.

Here’s what Errigo said on WXXI’s Connections on Thursday afternoon regarding the City of Rochester. He started by telling host Evan Dawson that he grew up on Carter Street near Hudson Avenue, and rapidly shifted into a trope that could have been hyperbole, but sure didn't sound like it.

“It was a beautiful area when I was growing up, however, like I say, I wouldn’t go down there in a bulletproof car," Errigo said.

Suddenly it's OK to say any damned thing you want and the people who call you out on it are the ones who are wrong. Errigo owes Rochester an apology.

And here’s what Errigo said about Obama, after Dawson asked him whether non-whites are treated differently:

No. I think they take that attitude because it’s given to them. When you hear the president’s minister say, instead of God Bless America, ‘God damn America,' let them feel the pain, now you’re bringing this back to slavery and I was not part of that, my parents weren’t part of it. We lost a lot of people over to that fight.

But I think the president has done a disservice and I don’t condone [sic]. I hear the way he talks sometimes that just , they’re telling the black people "Get out there, kill them, kill the whites." So he’s to blame.

In a later interview with the Democrat and Chronicle, Errigo tried to clarify that he was talking about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor in Chicago. Obama has since disavowed him.

Whatever.

Errigo has an opponent, Democrat Barbara Baer, so voters in the 133rd Assembly District have a choice. The district covers the towns of Rush, Wheatland, Mendon, and Pittsford; the villages of Pittsford and  Scottsville; all of Livingston County; and several communities in Steuben County.

His potential constituents could send a message that they think he’s wrong and that they won't stand for these kind of antiquated, boorish remarks. If they vote him into office, they’re tacitly agreeing with him.

But the district is a Republican stronghold and history says that Errigo will probably win. The whole world has gone mad.


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