The odious display of racism and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville, Virginia is tragically just another stain on our country’s history of institutional racism. A stain so recalcitrant, that you wonder whether it can ever be eradicated.
Witnessing an angry mob of hundreds of armed white men carrying torches, yelling out racist and anti-Semitic epithets, was bone chilling. Listening to former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke, wax poetically about how white America needed to take back their country, while praising The Don for finally giving America the president it needs, nauseated me to my bones.
Watching in horror as a hate filled 20 year old took a page out of ISIS and drove his car in to a crowd, killing a 32 year old woman and injuring many others: this is nothing less than a terrorist act!
The police response to such a threatening group of Neo-Nazis, K.K.K., Skinheads and White Supremacists, many who were armed, was distressing. Can you imagine what would have happened if those angry white faces were black? Just close your eyes and visualize the militarized police in Ferguson, Missouri, armored tanks and all.
The country waited for The Don to weigh in. This was his chance to be presidential, a uniter not the divider. Then came his disingenuous statement of denunciation, which turned out to be a wink to the Alt-Right. His “many sides” comment about the hateful event that transpired clearly showed which side he is on. And if it wasn’t reprehensible enough, he doubled down and in defense of the protesters, many who were wearing his signature “Make America Great Again” red hats, stating: “not all protesters were Neo-Nazis,” and proceeded to dissemble in to a disturbing defense of the Alt-Right, insisting on a moral equivalency between the Neo-Nazis and K.K.K. and those who were protesting against racism in this country. So what do you call someone who is not a Neo-Nazi who marches with them? According to The Don: “a nice guy!”
But why should we be surprised by that: the only thing surprising about the Don’s statement is that anyone was surprised!
Anyone who still believed that The Don was anything but what he is, or could be anything else than a vile race baiting, divisive opportunist, who has not one ounce of interest in the plight of African Americans or for that matter any people of color, has been deluding themselves.
The idea, that as president, he would rise to the occasion, lead with his “best self”, has been a fantasy perpetrated by the belief that our country is not capable of electing someone like him to be president. Get over because we did!
His entire campaign was filled with the rhetoric of hate and divisiveness. In an act of nefarious political symbiosis, he and the Alt-Right fed off each other until they were so engorged that it was only a matter of time that that all hell broke loose. And what better symbol for white rage then the tearing down of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the general who led an army determined to preserve slavery.
But there have been many egregious events prior to this moment that speak to The Don’s repugnant support of White Nationalism. His attack on Mexicans and Muslims, Judge Curiel and Mr. Kahn, specific individuals he turned his hate filled rhetoric on. The increase in crimes perpetrated against Muslims, sowing fear in young Latinas, who were afraid to go to school for fear of harassment or violence, the defilement and vandalism of synagogues, the devaluing of cities with African American majorities describing them as ghettos and “more dangerous than some of the war zones”; and just last week, his stifling silence about a bombing of a Mosque in Minnesota.
Let’s be honest: America has an outright racist as president. Let’s face it: America as a country is deeply stained and fundamentally morally flawed because of this racism. Remember: 63 million people voted for The Don. They voted for him despite all he said or did. Does that mean everyone one of them is racist? Perhaps not, but if you vote for someone who espouses hate and racist ideology, you need to take responsibility for that as you are in essence colluding with it.
The Don had excellent training for his racist ways. Don Sr. was at minimum, a sympathizer of the K.K.K. In fact, he was arrested in a K.K.K., rally back in the 1920’s. And despite his name appearing in the newspaper as one of the people arrested, The Don still denies this ever happened. Good old dad-just a nice guy.
He schooled the Don in his cut -throat racist real estate philosophy where they systematically denied African Americans the right to live in their properties. The Trumps were actually sued, not once, but twice by the federal government for these practices and to this day The Don claims that they were innocent.
During the time of the Central Park Five incident, where five black men were imprisoned falsely for the rape and murder of a white female jogger, The Don spent $85,000 taking out full page ads in all four major New York newspapers decrying the need for the death penalty, clearly referencing the five men accused of the crime.
And then we had the birther obsession,, an attempt to deny the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, which resonated with large swathes of white America, who couldn’t accept that there was a black man in the White House.
And now welcome to the White House: Steve Bannon, Steve Miller, Jeff Sessions, Breitbart News, Fox News, Alex Jones and a host of other right wing, racists.
And then we have the morally reprehensible and bankrupt Republican Party which has stood by The Don all the way. Yes, some have denounced what happened in Charlottesville and the Don’s tepid response. Big deal! If you noticed few of them specifically called him out as they are still scared of the political backlash waiting for them if they condemn him.
Where were the Republicans during the campaign when he was spewing his hate mongering and racist ideology? Where are your condemnations of his many racist actions and policies during his presidency? Your silence is deafening. But why should we expect any more from you?
A brief history of the Republican Party over the past 50 years sheds some light. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, LBJ made the famous statement “there goes the south,” implying that southern whites would leave the Democratic Party in droves. Why: because African Americans would have the same rights as them?
Then we had Nixon’s Southern Strategy and Law and Order and Reagan’s States Rights, veiled racist strategies to solidify support of white voters. In fact, Reagan chose to launch his general campaign at the Neshoba County Fair, which was seven miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, where White Supremacists murdered three civil rights workers in 1964.*
The Republicans have been building their coalition and sowing the seeds of divisiveness and promulgating racist ideology for over 50 years. All you have to do is look at the systematic incarceration of African Americans (Read Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow) and the egregious and successful attempts at voter suppression of African Americans, to see this abhorrent ideology writ large on the American landscape.
The Don’s ascendance is not possible without them. He is the creation of their virulence. Since we can’t depend on the Republicans to stop the monster, the thing we can hope for is that the monster will eat his own; and from the wreckage will grow a new decency in which the color of one’s skin doesn’t divide, but enriches us. Given what is going on and how The Don has emboldened the Far White, it is clear we are a long way from making this right.
*On July 26th, after his daddy became the official nominee of the Republican Party Don Jr., decided to show his solidarity to Reagan and the White Supremacists by making an appearance at the Neshoba County Fair.