Emboldened by Trump’s electoral college victory, racists can now remove their white hoods and march in broad daylight, like they did yesterday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis staged a “Unite the Right” demonstration over the removal of a Confederate monument and were met with counter-protesters, estimated to have outnumbered the white supremacists, two-to-one. Movement leaders, racist superstars David Duke and Richard Spencer were on-hand to stoke the flames of hatred. The rally quickly exploded into taunting, shoving, fighting and carnage. Three deaths and scores of injuries were attributed to the event. The most horrifying and tragic episode – a 20-year-old avowed white supremacist, James Alex Fields Jr., intentionally drove his car into counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring 19 more.
Former Imperial Wizard (sounds like someone who’d teach at Hogwarts) of the KKK David Duke told reporters that the marchers “were going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump to take our country back.”
Trump took a break from his “working vacation” to condemn the violence, reciting words obviously written by someone with more than a third-grader’s understanding of vocabulary. But his words didn’t go far enough to call out the perpetrators of the violence. Several prominent GOP Senators took to social media to chastise Trump for his false equivalency condemning the hate and bigotry “on many sides,” while not directly calling out white supremacists by name.
But Trump has to parse his words. He was elected by an angry, white electorate who fumed for eight years while a black man occupied the White House. What most of us saw as progress: marriage equality, health care, low unemployment rate, trans military acceptance and more, they saw as an unfathomable betrayal of their “Christian” values. Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was as a thinly veiled promise to return the U. S. of A. to a mythical time (Eisenhower ‘50s? Reagan ‘80s?) before blacks, LGBTQ and immigrants could ever dream of equality.
Trump exploited America’s racial divide during his campaign and for years leading up to it. His race-baiting Tweets and statements delighted his base. Trump taunted Obama for five years with the birther lunacy. He often parroted comments from white supremacists Twitter accounts. When asked about his known support for David Duke, he denied knowing him. Years before the election cycle, he took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty for the five black youths convicted of, but later exonerated for the Central Park rape of a white woman. Trump’s wealth was partly inherited from a father who was repeatedly sued over his racially biased rental policies. And let’s face it, Trump’s cabinet is whiter than a pre-Labor Day sheet sale at a Walmart in rural Alabama.
Trump’s statement denouncing the violence didn’t go far enough for most of us, but some thought he’d gone TOO FAR. David Duke reminded Trump on his beloved social media platform Twitter, “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”