The problem with why and how this president got elected became all too real this weekend.
Like something out of a time warp, the streets of Charlottesville, Va. were filled with people wearing symbols of racism and hate. And the President of the United States seemed to be okay with that.
When the largest white supremacy rally in decades erupted in violence and took the life of an innocent 32-year-old woman, the President of the United States didn’t have the guts to fully and immediately denounce white supremacy and neo-Nazis. It was as if all the reasons this man is unfit for office was on full display. In a media statement, he said,
… We condemn in the strongest terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country… It has no place in America.
Donald Trump was widely criticized after his statement for not calling out Nazi’s, white supremacists, the KKK, and other hate groups in the same way he has singled-out groups like Mexicans and Muslims for criticism.
One reason, perhaps, is because so many of them are his voter base. Another, even more despicable reason, is because he agrees with them. This gives him a unique position in American history. Rather than attempting to represent all Americans as their president, this reality TV host-turned politician makes little effort to conceal his pandering to his relatively small, radical right-wing fascist, racist base.
By Monday, Trump felt the pressure from all sides and read a prepared statement that specifically condemned white supremacy. However, reading slightly different remarks from a teleprompter doesn’t mean he believed a word of it. Regardless, the damage was done.
The president’s unwillingness to understand the rise of the alt-right, overt racism, and street violence as anything other than a need for “both sides do it” head shaking and finger wagging isn’t just obtuse. It leads him to say things that, inadvertently or otherwise, end up signaling to the white supremacists that he is on their side.
The wider problem of having a president that only represents some of the people is pointed out in the New York Times piece, When the President Is Un-American.
Real Americans understand that our nation is built around values, not the “blood and soil” of the marchers’ chants; what makes you an American is your attempt to live up to those values, not the place or race your ancestors came from. And when we fall short in our effort to live up to our ideals, as we all too often do, at least we realize and acknowledge our failure.
But the man who began his political ascent by falsely questioning Barack Obama’s place of birth — a blood-and-soil argument if ever there was one — clearly cares nothing about the openness and inclusiveness that have always been essential parts of who we are as a nation.
Trump’s idea of America appears to be very different from what the majority of Americans believe in. Racism, hate, discrimination, and authoritarianism were not on the ballot last November, but they still made their way to the White House. Apart from his small but shrinking base, this president is viewed as an epic failure of unprecedented proportion.
There is no room in this country for neo-Nazis or white supremacists. Too bad this president seems to be their champion.
To call your Member of Congress:
US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
Featured image: CC BY ASA 3.o | Confederate ‘Til Death | Wikimedia Commons.
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