In a political climate already heated with racial tension, Governor of Maine Paul LePage threw his two cents into the boiling pot of bigotry with his latest remarks.
Last week, LePage told attendees of a town hall held in North Berwick that the majority of drug dealers arrested in Maine were Black or Hispanic, according to The Guardian.
The conversation went public when the Portland Press Herald published video of the governor revealing his deep-seeded bias against people of color.
“I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison,” he said, “but they come. And I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ring binder, are Black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. I didn’t make the rules — I’m just telling you what’s happening.”
LePage continued his racist rant, using inflammatory language such as “shoot at the enemy” to drive his point home.
“Look, the bad guy is the bad guy. I don’t care what color he is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy and the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, then you shoot at red,” the governor said.
He even pulled the state’s Republican house minority leader, Ken Fredette, into the conversation, using a military metaphor to justify his statements:
“Don’t you? Ken, you’ve been in uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”
This moment is triggering as the shadow of Donald Trump‘s potential presidency looms over America. The presidential candidate recently made headlines after he crassly pandered to African-American voters after the death of NBA star Dwyane Wade‘s cousin in Chicago. Throughout his campaign, Trump has used scare tactics similar to LePage, pointing to Blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans as the source of crime and disorder in this country.
As governor, LePage makes the idea of an elected official with inherent racial bias a disturbing reality.
The news outlet that leaked the video, apologized on behalf of the state of Maine for managing to “elect and re-elect a governor who is unfit for high office.”
Hopefully, America won’t have to issue a similar apology to the world, if somehow another candidate, who exhibits signs of the same inherent bias, rises to be leader of our nation.