Clear thinkers on both ends of the political spectrum unite to condemn white supremacy and a president who hypocritically condemns white bigots and those protesting bigotry. Trump’s morally spineless response just feeds the white supremacist’s rhetoric and allows, if not condones, their violence.
From the left: Michael Eric Dyson, in the NY Times, addresses Charlottesville and the Bigotocracy (h/t Sherry Moreau). Here are highlights.
… when white bigots come out of their closets, emboldened by the tacit cover they’re given by our president. We cannot pretend that the ugly bigotry unleashed in the streets of Charlottesville, Va., this weekend has nothing to do with the election of Donald Trump … Mr. Trump responded by offering false equivalencies between white bigots and their protesters. His soft denunciations of hate ring hollow when he has white nationalist advisers like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller whispering in his ear.
… President Lyndon Baines Johnson once argued, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
We have a bigoted billionaire-cum-president who has done precious little for the white working class whose resentment fueled his rise. They have emptied their ethical and economic pockets in support of him even though he turned his back on them the moment he entered the Oval Office. The only remnant of his leadership they have to hold on to is the folklore of white nationalist sentiment, and xenophobic passion, that offer them psychic comfort if little financial stability.
This bigotocracy overlooks fundamental facts about slavery in this country: that blacks were stolen from their African homeland to toil for no wages in American dirt. When black folk and others point that out, white bigots are aggrieved. They are especially offended when it is argued that slavery changed clothes during Reconstruction and got dressed up as freedom, only to keep menacing black folk as it did during Jim Crow. The bigotocracy is angry that slavery is seen as this nation’s original sin. And yet they remain depressingly and purposefully ignorant of what slavery was, how it happened, what it did to us, how it shaped race and the air and space between white and black folk, and the life and arc of white and black cultures.
It is disheartening for black folk to see such a vile and despicable replay of history. Facing this unadorned hate tears open wounds from atrocities that we have confronted throughout our history. It is depressing to explain to our children that what we confronted as children may be the legacy they bequeath to their children as well.
It is more dispiriting still to realize that the government of our land, at least in the present administration, has shown little empathy toward victims of white bigotry, and indeed, has helped to spread the paralyzing virus of hatred, by turning a blind eye to what is done in their name.
Now is the time for every decent white American to prove he or she loves this country by actively speaking out against the scourge this bigotocracy represents. If such heinous behavior is met by white silence, it will only cement the perception that as long as most white folk are not immediately at risk, then all is relatively well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could more clearly declare the moral bankruptcy of our country.
From the right: Erick-Woods Erickson explains What Trump Got Wrong on Charlottesville. Snippets follow.
As a conservative, I see both the social justice warrior alt-left and the white supremacist alt-right as two sides of the same coin. Both would punish others for wrongthink. Both see the other side not as opponents, but as evil that can justifiably be silenced. Both have risen in recent years as a response to the crumbling of Western civilization’s certainties.
But white supremacists, not social justice warriors, were the ones marching with citronella-filled tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va. this weekend.
That is why it is perplexing that President Trump condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.” …
The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, noted of President Trump’s post-Charlottesville news conference that, “When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” Silence and obfuscation in the face of evil only feeds evil. Naming and exposing evil forces it back into the shadows. The president who wanted Barack Obama to name radical Islam should take his own advice and be forceful. On a day that saw one person killed during the Charlottesville violence, the president did not need to play the “both sides are culpable” game. No side would be protesting in Charlottesville had not the white supremacists decided to march.
The idea of white supremacy also has no place in science. We may be of different skin colors, ethnicities, heights, widths, eye colors and genders, but we are all part of the same human race. Out of the womb we are all equal, and equally in need of care. Theologically too, the idea of a superior race is anathema to our Judeo-Christian heritage. Genesis 1 makes clear that all of us are created in God’s image and likeness. To claim one race is superior to others is a sin against God, and Christians in the United States must forcefully condemn this.
This president is our president. He is the president of the United States. But as we become less united as a nation, he seems unwilling or unable to speak with conviction and moral clarity. We will all be worse off for it.