Follow Me On
The Woman in White Marble

{Click Marble or visit Books in the main menu}

Dis-Ease: Living with Prostate Cancer

{Click or visit Books in the main menu}

« Three Bangkok Cafés I’ll Never See Again | Main | Fours Things You Can Do for an Author »

Time to Choose a Side ~ Charlottesville Made It Easy 

Did Charlottesville, Virginia change anything for you?

We got to see the two sides of Trump: the scripted and the spontaneous. We all know now that his first statement after the events in Charlottesville laid blame for the violence on “both sides.” This hint at moral equiveillance between white supremacists, Nazis, KKK, and fascists and all those who opposed them caused outrage among many, though not enough among members of the Republican Party in Congress for them to call Trump out by name. Unfortunately, his “both sides” comment was just the warmup act. The following day Trump read a scripted statement condemning supremacists, Nazis, KKK, and fascists and it should have ended there. However, Trump is like a stupid ill-behaved adolescent and the following day we saw and heard the spontaneous Trump. The issue of moral equiveillance was articulated clearly, washing away any ambiguity the words “both sides” might have had for some. And his anger while defending some of those “nice people” in the alt-right shouted volumes.

The contrast between the scripted Trump and the spontaneous Trump demand we make a decision. It is for all of us to decide which of the two Trumps on display is the real Trump, or at least as real as real can get with this man. Choose. It’s easy. The two sides are mutually exclusive.

In case you are still conflicted, I suggest you watch Trump's Phoenix rally speech. A lot of words are used to describe Trump’s speeches but one we hear quite often is “unhinged.” This speech was no exception. Regardless of your political persuasion or what party or movement you belong to, the Phoenix speech should worry you. His continued assault on the free press and the crowd’s response is unnerving. Journalists are fake, the enemy, people who don’t like the country. I’m surprised no journalist has been shot given the level of anger Trump generates towards the media. Also, his constant bold and unrepentant lying is breathtaking and dangerous. For example, he declared loudly (most of what he says he says loudly) that the television networks were turning off their cameras because they didn’t want people to hear what he would say live on TV. In fact, all the networks that were there televised his entire speech. He bragged about the massive crowd that had come out, while photographs showed the opposite. The Washington Post Fact Checker calculated that this truth-challenged man lies on average 4.6 times a day. 

We no longer have the luxury of ignoring Trump or remaining silent. He may be the most incompetent and dangerous president the United States has ever elected. His suggesting there is a moral equivalence between alt-right, KKK, Nazis, and white supremacists with those who oppose them, is unprecedented for a president. We cannot let it stand. If you doubt his affection for the extreme right, take a close look at Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona. I agree with Paul Krugman when he wrote in “Fascism, American Style” in the New York Times: 

Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.

If you’re not concerned about the Arpaio pardon, perhaps this will help. First, the pardon signals to other officers of the law who are loyal Trump supporters that if they choose to follow Arpaio’s lead, a presidential pardon may protect them. Second, the pardon signifies to judges that finding a loyal Trump supporter guilty before the law may be a waste of time. Third, the pardon is indicative of a man who disrespects the law while embracing authoritarianism. Is this a presidential precedence you want created? Hint before answering: things change.

Many of us use the word “fascism” and “fascist” when writing and talking about Trump. It’s not unreasonable to question the legitimacy of using those words. But given Trump’s attacks on the media, his attack on the judiciary, his attack on the electoral system, his speech to the Boy Scouts, his words and behavior at the press conference when responding to the Charlottesville crisis, his Phoenix rally speech, and his pardoning of Arpaio, if he is not a fascist he is perilously close to becoming one.

We need to shut down Trump and his followers hard for two basic reasons. First, Nazis, white supremacists, fascists, and KKK members have been emboldened by Trump and have crawled out from under their rocks. Societies, including the United States, will always have these hateful people. They need to be kept in place through legislation and cultural precepts. Trump has set them free. It has to be made perfectly clear that that is unacceptable. Second, though we might debate the legitimacy of calling Trump a fascist, many of his followers are and if we don’t assertively and definitively end Trump’s time in the White House, the white supremacist who may follow him into that house may be far worse. Democracies are always and only a few votes away from fascism and the United States is no exception.

Apparently people thought it unfair that white people marching in Charlottesville were called Nazis. They thought it unjust and wanted to know why it happened. I think I can help.

1. They were carrying Nazi flags.
2. They were giving Nazi salutes.
3. They were chanting Nazi slogans.
4. They were fucking Nazis!

Now, if you were one of the people outraged that Trump’s "good people" marching and shouting anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans were maligned, and in case you don’t know shit all about history, again, I think I can help. Nazism is anathema to our democratic and enlightenment values. We fought a war in which millions of people died to put them back under their rocks. This is not a grey area. So, I don't really care if your feelings are hurt. I am not moved by Nazis crying on YouTube because they lost their jobs or they felt put upon. It's time to choose a side. Do your sympathies lie with the Nazis or the anti-Nazis. Choose. It’s not hard.

To my Republican friends: I know many of you voted for Trump because you utterly hated Clinton and I suspect you've had some uneasy moments because, let's face it, Trump and his followers never hid who he was. We all knew. We all know. But if you did doubt he was really that bad, his appointment of Gorka, Miller, and Bannon should have relieved you of your doubts. These guys never hid who they are either and they were in your White House soiling the carpets – actually, one still is. Don’t make too much of the fact that two of them are now gone. They’re still with us and feeling strong.

Now, I'm guessing you are not white supremacists, fascists, or Nazis, so it's time we started hearing from you. It's time to hear whose side you're on, because I'm pretty damn sure Charlottesville was the beginning, not the end. I didn't vote for the bastard, you did, so I'm afraid it's more on you. Time to stand up, grab that metaphorical megaphone and shout. We could use your help. Don’t wait for Republicans in the House and the Senate. Their moral integrity went walk-about a long time ago. No, you’ll have to do this without their help.

So, American democracy or Trump and the Gang? It’s time to choose sides. It’s easy. There is no grey area here. There is no nuances to concern you. It’s time to choose a side. And remember, not choosing is in fact choosing. So, what will it be?

Copyright © 2017 Dale Rominger

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>