When Donald Trump was elected president, I was among those who were happy that he became president of the United States; especially since it meant Hillary Clinton would not be president. In him I saw potential change that the country needed and hoped that the fractured country would come together. When it came to the issues dealing with Israel, he said the right things and seemed to take actions to back up those words. (The fact that he has not come through on many of those statements is a post for another time.)
With dismay, I sat and watched as the country became more and more torn apart, and the moral compass of the USA was swinging from one pole to another. I saw otherwise rational people getting all bent out of shape and found any excuse to trash the new president. And still, I clung to the hope that he would change, be different and that eventually the country would unite.
I could not have been more wrong in my hopes for uniting the nation. It is more fractured than ever before. And while I dismissed many of the things that President Trump espoused as poor rhetoric, that too has now changed.
If there is any one moment in American history these past 150 years that can be called a turning point for a presidency, this may well indeed be it!
For those of you who have avoided the news this past week, Charlottesville\,VA was the site of a horrific public display of hate, Nazism, antisemitism, anti-everything when white supremacists marched on the city. At the same time, a counter demonstration took place that shouted down and railed against the Nazi-wannabes. This series of events led to the death of a woman who had worked against white supremacists for years, when a Nazi/white supremacist ran her over with his car.
If the newsreel had been in black and white and the words had been in German, you would be forgiven to think that you were looking at pre-WWII Nazi Germany, as you watched the demonstration on your TV. You would have been forgiven to think that these people spewing the vile hatred of “the Jews will not replace us” and other such epithets were from a newsreel from the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. But, you would be wrong. It was August 2017…in the United States of America–the land of the free and home of the brave.
Merely watching and listening to the horrific statements being spewed was enough to make a normal person sickened. And as if it could not get any worse…the president of the USA made things much worse.
At first, Trump made no pronouncement, no condemnation whatsoever of the terrible events in Charlottesville. Only after his own party urged him to do so, did he issue a vague, blah, pareve condemnation. He refused to condemn white supremacy specifically, prompting angry calls from Republican lawmakers and voters. By Monday, Trump had answered his party’s demands, once again, and condemned racist hate groups by name, and announced a Department of Justice investigation into the act of domestic terrorism. But it didn’t take long for him to walk back his stronger condemnation, yet again.
“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” he said. “Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
Instead, he argued that at both the Friday night tiki-torch rally on the University of Virginia’s campus and the white supremacy rally in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday, there were people there simply protesting taking down Confederate statues.
While the excuse for the rally was the removal of statues, crowds were chanting, “Sieg Heil,” and, “Blood and Soil” — strong neo-Nazi rallying cries.
And then came the most ridiculous comment of all by Mr. Trump: “You had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said. “You also had some very fine people on both sides.” (emphasis mine).
On the side of NEO-NAZIS you have some “very fine people”? Are you kidding me? These “fine people” who would throw your very own son-in-law into a gas chamber, who would shoot dead all blacks and Jews, who would make the entire USA Jew-, black-, gay-free if they could…THEY are “fine people.”
And that is where you lost me and millions of others, Mr President. You also made it appear that those who were protesting were just as much to blame for the violence, as the neo-Nazis. If a burglar breaks into your home and trashes it, and then you walk in on him and shoot him, is there equal blame to go around?
Your lack of moral clarity, your lack of ability to name the white supremacists, Nazis, KKK members and others for what they are–PURE EVIL–shows that you have no clue as what the meaning of good and evil; right and wrong. Would you have said of the Nazis that they were fine people, as well? Of course not! Yet, here you stand in front of millions of people attempting to make a moral equivalent of the two sides. Excuse me, my mistake. There are no “two sides”! There is moral, correct, ethical, just and proper. The others are merely footnotes in history with no morals, with hatred, blood-lust, racism and bigotry.
Mr. President, Charlottesville will prove to be your Wounded Knee, your Waterloo, your downfall. When the leader of the free world can not make a CLEAR differentiation between good and evil, he needs to step down.
PS–For the record, I have written strongly in the past against BLM and Linda Sarsour. This post addresses the lack of moral clarity regarding white supremacists, neo-Nazis, etc