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Dionne Jr. writes: "It should not have taken the death and injury of innocents to move our nation toward moral clarity. It should not have taken President Trump’s disgraceful refusal to condemn white supremacy, bigotry and Nazism to make clear to all who he is and which dark impulses he is willing to exploit to maintain his hold on power."

Donald Trump.  (photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump. (photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)


ALSO SEE: These Are Donald Trump’s Racist Troops

After Charlottesville: End the Denial About Trump

By E.J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post

14 August 17

 

t should not have taken the death and injury of innocents to move our nation toward moral clarity. It should not have taken President Trump’s disgraceful refusal to condemn white supremacy, bigotry and Nazism to make clear to all who he is and which dark impulses he is willing to exploit to maintain his hold on power.

Those of us who are white regularly insist that the racists and bigots are a minority of us and that the white-power movement is a marginal and demented faction.

This is true, and the mayhem in Charlottesville called forth passionate condemnations of blood-and-soil nationalism across the spectrum of ideology. These forms of witness were a necessary defense of the American idea and underscored the shamefulness of Trump’s embrace of moral equivalence. There are not, as Trump insisted Saturday, “many sides” to questions that were settled long ago: Racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination and white supremacy are unequivocally wrong.

A president who cannot bring himself to say this immediately and unequivocally squanders any claim to moral leadership.

Advisers to the president tried to clean up after this moral failure, putting out a statement Sunday morning — attributed to no one — declaring that “of course” his condemnation of violence “includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.” But if that “of course” is sincere, why didn’t Trump say these things in the first place? And why hang on to the president’s inexcusable moral equivalence by adding that phrase “and all extremist groups”? This was simply a weak philosophical coverup for a politician who has shown us his real instincts throughout his public life, from his birtherism to his reluctance to turn away 2016 endorsements from Klansmen and other racists.

More Republicans than usual broke with Trump after his anemic response, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was especially poignant in offering historical perspective on this episode: “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

But that so many others in the party preferred to keep their discomfort on background was itself a scandal. “I can’t tell you how sick & tired I am of the ‘privately wincing’ Republicans,” Peter Wehner, a veteran of three Republican administrations, tweeted. “It’s a self-incriminating silence.” Yes, it is.

The proper response is for Democrats and Republicans willing to take a stand to force a vote in Congress condemning the president for his opportunistic obtuseness and making clear where the vast majority of Americans stand on white supremacy. This is important for many reasons, but especially to send a message to America’s minorities that whites are willing to do more than offer rote condemnations of racism.

For make no mistake: No matter how accurate it is to say that neo-Nazis and Klansmen represent a repugnant fringe, the fact that our president has consistently and successfully exploited white racial resentment cannot help but be taken by citizens of color as a sign of racism’s stubborn durability.

The backlash to racial progress is an old American story, from the end of Reconstruction forward. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words from 1967 speak to us still: “Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro, there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.” This is what we saw this weekend.

The battles over Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville and elsewhere, reflect our difficulty in acknowledging that these memorials are less historical markers than political statements. Many were erected explicitly in support of Jim Crow and implicitly to deny the truth that the Southern cause in the Civil War was built around a defense of slavery. Taking them down is an acknowledgment of what history teaches, not an eradication of the past.

But history is also being made now. As is always true with Trump, self-interest is the most efficient explanation for his actions: Under pressure from the Russia investigation, he is reluctant to alienate backlash voters, who are among his most loyal supporters.

The rest of us, however, have a larger obligation to our country and to racial justice. As the late civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer might suggest, it is time to ask about Trump: When will we become sick and tired of being sick and tired?


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+14 # REDPILLED 2017-08-14 10:09
Trump MUST resign.

Please sign my petition:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/president-trump-must-2?source=c.em.cp&r_by=216570
 
 
+13 # bubbiesue 2017-08-14 10:09
I'm sick and tired now.
 
 
+31 # diamondmarge7 2017-08-14 10:13
In reply to your question, Mr. Dionne, I am already "sick and tired."
As a Jew, I always knew that "but for the grace of God," had I been born in Europe rather than here in the US, I and my family would have probably gone up in the flames of Auschwitz.
As an FDR Democrat, I listened w/awe to Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats; later, I saw my strong father reduced to tears @ the news of the passing of that principled President.
We have no such President now.
I am sick and tired of the Republicans in South Carolina and across our beautiful land, hiding from the truth that has been staring us all in the face for months now. It appears that their cushy healthcare, pensions, and other perks of Congressional pinnacles insulate them from ordinary humanity. Greed, money, and power are their values. Nothing else.
How long before neo-Nazis come to round up Jews once more?
How long shall we endure this cancer on our democracy?
How shall we manage to extract this pusillanimous, puerile, despicable excuse of a human being from his powerful and horribly disgraced office?
And take the cowardly, greed& power-mad Republicans with him?
 
 
+20 # Concerned Citizen 2017-08-14 10:45
Trump as president represents a clear and present danger to our democracy and should be removed from office as soon as possible. But in a long term sense he is no more than a symptom of the reluctance of the American people to reconcile a public face that welcomes "tired, hungry" everybody with the harsh reality that immigrants and minorities can be threatened, abused, or cheated at will by politicians and business people adept at leveraging racist code. Until that work is complete, this country will continue to deal with the likes of crazy-lyin'-che atin'-corrupt DJT and worse in the future.
 
 
+18 # Wise woman 2017-08-14 11:13
I think the time has come when the majority in this country is sick and tired. This administration has given us more angst in six months than others did in six years. If this is what it takes to get us up off the couch and start to heal these wounds, so be it. We have much work to do. Perhaps we needed someone like trump in our face to get us motivated. So far, nothing else has worked.
 
 
+15 # Barbell 2017-08-14 11:39
Trump is unbelievably stupid, lazy and corrupt but even he recognizes that if he speaks out against the Klan and the Nazis, he will alienate the few supporters he has left.
 
 
-2 # Depressionborn 2017-08-15 06:25
Quoting Barbell:
Trump is unbelievably stupid, lazy and corrupt but even he recognizes that if he speaks out against the Klan and the Nazis, he will alienate the few supporters he has left.


Trump will kill Americans because he refuses to save Obamacare; Trump will kill Americans and Koreans because he's threatening repercussions if Kim Jong-Un engages in an overtly aggressive act against the US or its territories; and Trump will kill the entire world because he withdrew from the (meaningless, but expensive) Paris Accords. How in the world could Americans elect the racist, bigoted, dangerous Trump?
 
 
0 # NAVYVET 2017-08-14 12:30
Thank you. Many of us understood Drumpf's weakness while this con-man was campaigning for president(?) or a new TV show(?) or whatever, preening and spouting lie after lie to crowds of scared laid-off workers and truly fanatic paranoids like Dylan Roof and James Fields. Some of the laid-off workers are beginning to back away from their idolatry. The fanatics see that, and not just singleton killers but whole mobs have ratcheted up their paranoid responses from slobbish insult and injury to death threats and murder. Fascist mob violence has happened thousands of times in US history, but not when a dumdum Unpresidented Unpresident was desperate for their bootlicking adoration--at least not since Andrew Johnson was impeached.

We must stop the ignoramus white supremacists, our slavery legacy's lumpenproletari at, while we still can. LEAN ON OUR FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATORS! LEAN ON THOSE IN THE MEDIA WHO GIVE THEM AIR OR PRINT TIME. (Like the rag MAD used to call the NATIONAL PERSPIRER (INQUIRER), whose headlines since Trumps are propaganda for the worst criminals. I am grateful that THE STORMER has been removed from the internet.

Let's keep it off. Boycott all advertisers who support the paranoia. Our boycotts made many big ugly voices diminish from Father Coughlin and Liberty Bell Lemke, then Joe Pyne, to Rush Limbaugh. We cab shut these guys up by refusing to buy anything from their advertisers.
 
 
+1 # LionMousePudding 2017-08-14 13:11
No, it shouldn't take a slaughter like this to turn the tide against him.

Not only that, but won't. This will make a few Republicans come out against him but the next transgression will be again ignored.

The racists and secret racist enablers will not have their minds changed by this. It would take the slaughter of a school full of children (not just 20) to change racist minds-- and then, only if there had been white kids in the body count.

Cont. when they let me...
 
 
0 # LionMousePudding 2017-08-14 13:16
cont. from above.

This isn't to say there will be no net positive effect on our abhorrent situation in this country.

This will have the effect that if the legislatures which are planning to pass current legislation to legalize driving cars into protesters, are noticed by the public, it will be far harder for a politician to vote for it.

And this will galvanize action on the part of the country actively opposing Trump and his policies.
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-08-14 18:06
"No matter how accurate it is to say that neo-Nazis and Klansmen represent a repugnant fringe, the fact that our president has consistently and successfully exploited white racial resentment cannot help but be taken by citizens of color as a sign of racism’s stubborn durability. "


All republican presidents since Nixon have exploited the famous "southern strategy." Let's not forget that Reagan launched his campaign for the presidency in Philadephia, Mississippi, the site where the KKK tortured and murdered three civil rights workers.

Trump is no worse than the standard republicans of the post-civil rights era. Remember the Willie Horton adverts by G.H.W. Bush?

The truth is also that the "third way democrats" led by the Clintons adopted many of the strategies of the republicans. Remember Hillary saying she would bring Black "super predators to heel."

This is just American politics. Nothing is new. Trump is just stupider than most politicians.
 
 
+6 # ericlipps 2017-08-15 04:45
Sadly, resignation (or removal from office via impeachment) won't end the matter. The entire chain of succession has been poisoned, from Mike Pence on down.
 
 
0 # LeDeux Art 2017-08-16 13:50
Quoting ericlipps:
Sadly, resignation (or removal from office via impeachment) won't end the matter. The entire chain of succession has been poisoned, from Mike Pence on down.

Are you not thankful HR CLINTON wasn't elected, she cheated us from a fair election by burning Sanders
 
 
0 # MikeAF48 2017-08-16 13:42
The man with little hands.
 
 
0 # LeDeux Art 2017-08-16 13:47
This is a propaganda piece that ignores Virginias governor ordered the National Guard and state troopers to stand down
 

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