Before I say anything else, I want to thank Heather Heyer for being strong enough, brave enough and committed enough to attend the counter demonstration against the racists in Charlottesville who gathered under the guise of protesting the removal of a Confederate statue last weekend. All of us here at Boulder Weekly are so sorry she was murdered by and because of these people. I’d also like to thank and send our condolences to Susan Bro, Heather’s mother. We can not imagine your loss and pain. Your ability to raise an extraordinary daughter, forgive her killer and even manage to thank the president for his eventual short-lived condemnation of the various racist hate groups responsible for Heather’s death is a powerful lesson for all of us. I for one fear I would not have your strength of heart if I found myself in your current circumstance.
Mostly, I just feel angry and confused. I do not understand how we got here.
Oh I get the frustrated electorate, the disenfranchised workers whose jobs went overseas, the white backlash to the Democratic Party’s disingenuous and divisive use of identity politics, the generally accepted political position that rural America doesn’t matter and the electoral college. I understand how Trump got elected, but I don’t understand how we got here, in the midst of a full-fledged race war with a white nationalist, neo-Nazi, white supremacist sympathizer as the leader of the free world. Make that the leader of the United States because the rest of the free world has nothing but disgust for Donald Trump and does not see him as the leader of anything except the radical racist fringe of American society.
On Tuesday, Aug. 15, I believe we moved past the point of no return. I really do. Trump’s third, and most honest, response to the violence in Charlottesville left no path forward to heal a nation and avoid future violence so long as he remains in office.
Sure it was already going pretty badly: Trump/Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, mass deportations, a White House infested with racist pseudo intellectuals whose defense for everything is “fake news.” But even with that backdrop, the events of the last week crossed a new and irreversible line.
For nearly eight months we have waited for our political system to self-correct. We have waited for establishment Democrats to understand that the protesting crowds in the streets are as angry at them as they are the Republicans. For eight months we have waited for Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham or any other supposed leader in the Republican Party to acknowledge that Donald Trump is a nearly illiterate, narcissistic, racist, money launderer clearly being influenced by the foreign mobsters and oligarchs who have been propping up his flailing businesses for decades. And for eight months these Republican “leaders” have left him in power in hopes that his pen would eventually sign Republican legislation that would give still more tax breaks to the rich at the expense of the poor before the inevitable impeachment comes.
Sure, some of them have been mildly critical of Trump, but mostly he has been treated as nothing more than a controversial, outside-the-mainstream political figure.
Well that’s not good enough. Not now. Not after he finally showed his true colors. Make that color. White is all that matters to this man. Like his Klan-marching father before him, Donald Trump is a white supremacist and we now know with certainty what he means when he says “make America great again.”
I am a lesser person than Heather Heyer’s mom. I do not accept Donald Trump’s belated, half-hearted condemnation of the racists groups who participated at Charlottesville. He has been encouraging and pushing these same racists towards violence and hatred for many years. Think about it.
As far back as 1973, Trump was sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination for refusing to rent apartments in one of his developments to African Americans. And then there was his self-funded ad campaign calling for the death of the Central Park five — five young black men who were eventually exonerated of a notorious 1989 rape of a white woman. Even after being found innocent thanks to DNA testing, Trump was still insisting that they were guilty as late as 2016 while running for president, a wink to the racist right in this country that also refused to accept the DNA results. Then there was the “birther” movement. Trump became the most ardent supporter of this conspiracy theory put forward by the racist right, which sought to delegitimize the first black president of our country. In the past two years he has refused to denounce or strategically delayed denouncing the support he has been publically given by figures associated with the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists and the alt-right.
When he does denounce their support due to political pressure, he always makes sure they understand his criticism is not real.
Consider his ever-shifting positions on Charlottesville. His initial response to the violence was to blame both the alt-right rally attendees and the counter protestors, without mentioning Heather Heyer’s name or her death, or calling out the KKK and neo-Nazis by name. And when he did finally acknowledge Heyer’s death, he refused to call it an act of terrorism. Then two days later, under extreme pressure from his own party and advisers, Trump finally criticized the KKK and Neo-Nazis as bad people who did a terrible thing. As a result, he was immediately criticized by the likes of Klan leader David Duke who reminded the president via Twitter he was elected by white America. So the very next day, to the astonishment of many in his own administration, Trump reverted to blaming the “alt-left” for the violence in Charlottesville and again claimed that both sides played a role in the tragedy that ensued. His flip-flop obviously worked with his racist base, as evidenced by the immediate praise heaped upon him for his brave honesty by Duke and infamous white supremacist Richard Spencer.
In addition, within hours of his Monday wink-wink criticism of the KKK and neo-Nazis, Trump was busy retweeting the words of a right-wing conspiracy theorist whose crazed theories help fuel the violence and hatred of the radical right. The very same guy who caused an idiot to show up with a semiautomatic rifle to a pizza parlor in 2016 because he thought Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of the restaurant.
And then… then the president of the United States — a man completely embroiled in controversy over his sick lack of compassion and wrong-headed handling of the death of a young, innocent woman who was mowed down by a car driven by a neo-Nazi — retweeted a cartoon of a train with his name on it mowing down and killing a person labeled “CNN.”
This doesn’t anger me because I’m overly sensitive to journalists getting picked on by the president. Nor am I so naive as to believe that the president was just being funny with a mistimed joke — although he has shown himself capable of such stupidity.
I am angry and frustrated because the president of our country is a sick, deranged, racist who must, and I believe will, be removed from office. And if it doesn’t happen really soon, the streets of our country will be filled with far more blood than that of Heather Heyer. Charlottesville is spreading like a cancer and next time the victims are likely to be on both sides… in no small way thanks to the ignorant hate-filled rhetoric of the president. Did I mention he equates Confederate leaders Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee — who tried to destroy the United States in order to preserve slavery — to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington?
There are a lot of people who have to share the blame for the existence of a President Trump. Two-out-of-three white men voted for Trump as did the majority of all white women. Evangelicals overwhelmingly supported Trump, presumably more for his impact on the makeup of the Supreme Court than his sexual assaults on women, support of racism and claim that he has never asked for forgiveness because he has never done anything wrong. And establishment Democrats put forward the only candidate so flawed and unpopular that she could actually lose to Donald Trump, and they had to rig the DNC against her rival just to get her onto the final ballot. There is plenty of blame to go around, but pointing fingers doesn’t help anyone at this point.
Voting for Trump can be forgiven. Washington needed a wake up call, and by golly it was sent. But if you still support Donald Trump after Tuesday, you may need to look in the mirror and consider the hard fact that you may be a racist by way of enabling racism. I don’t like using such a broad brush, but it seems unavoidable when speaking to those who are still supporting this clearly racist president.
This is no time for pride and insecurity. A lot of good people voted for Trump for a variety of reasons that seemed justified at the time. But now it’s time for those who voted for Donald Trump to stop supporting and enabling him.
We do not have a year or two to wait for Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation to conclude. At this point, such a lengthy timetable is simply irresponsible governing by Republicans. They must be made to understand that their belief that they still have a small window of time to exploit Trump as their useful idiot before he’s removed from office is simply no longer true. The longer they wait, the more blood that will be on their hands.
This is not a political game. Our nation isn’t heading for a cliff that we can suddenly steer away from at the last minute. We have gone over the cliff and are in freefall, and the only parachute that can prevent our deadly impact is the swift removal of Trump from office.
The revolution is underway and it is being televised. With the exception of those who rely solely on Fox News for information, we are all seeing it everyday. From the protests at Standing Rock to the Women’s March to the shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria to the deadly riots in Charlottesville, the one thing that is crystal clear is this: Time is up on the Trump presidency and things are getting more violent by the day.
Congress has every right to impeach Trump tomorrow based on his obvious incompetence and clear inability to fulfill the duties of the office, which though not specifically written down anywhere, include not dividing the nation by race and starting a civil war by giving support to neo-Nazis, the KKK and alt-right, including the racists he has actually given jobs to in his administration.
Leaving Trump in power — a twisted, self-centered man, willing to do anything to stay in office for even a few more months — will result in more blood in the streets; maybe a nuclear war; the further destruction of our democratic processes byway of the interference from his mobster, oligarch pals from the former Soviet Block; the further and possibly irreversible degradation of the planet via global warming; and possibly a full-scale revolution, including a race war like we have not seen since the 1960s.
All of this can be avoided if just a few hundred elected officials in Washington D.C. can be persuaded to find their spine and think about our country as opposed to their own political fortunes and those of their corporate donors. I have no doubt they will be persuaded sooner rather than later. It’s just a matter of how many more people have to die before they are scared enough to do the right thing. And as for those wealthy corporate donors, in case our elected friends in Washington haven’t noticed, they are already running from this president as if he were the plague because they understand that being associated with him could be the end for their businesses. There is a lesson there for Congress: It’s time to start running.
Remove this president before it’s too late.