Trump’s affinity for white supremacists and his desire to please them should come as no surprise to anyone. From the beginning of his campaign, his message was one of hate and separation. He attacked Mexicans and focused his rhetoric on creating the narrative of the “other.” Make America Great Again was nothing but a dog whistle for “make America white again.”
His rallies were attended by people waving Confederate flags, he was endorsed by former Klansman David Duke whom he wouldn’t disavow. His final campaign manager and now White House Strategic Advisor Steve Bannon is a Former Executive Chairman of noted white nationalist site Breitbart News. In the 70’s, his real estate company was sued by the Justice Department for deliberately not renting to Black people.
None of this was a secret. It was in full view and covered by the news media.
It wasn’t the only egregious and awful thing that 60 million Americans chose to ignore, it was one of the several truths that were conveniently buried in their white privilege.
You see their grand bargain was that his evil wasn’t going to impact them. They knew that people of color would bear the brunt of his rhetoric and policies regarding immigration and justice. The disparaging of women wasn’t important enough to weigh in on their consciousness. And as for Muslims, well they were expendable.
Supposedly they voted for “change” yet knew full well that they were counting on his proclivity to embrace all things and positions that would benefit white people.
Those who had voted for Obama felt their conscience was clear, they couldn’t be racist and they had proven it by their vote. Voting for a smart Black man made them feel good, voting for an incomprehensible white man with no experience governing but who promised to make being white again important, well that they could do too because he was going to look out for them. They were confident that this man, a misogynist, who grabbed women’s pussies, chortled about fucking a married woman, who constantly demonstrably lied, who wouldn’t release his tax returns, who championed the murderous Vladimir Putin, who advocated violence at his rallies was a better choice than the most qualified person to run for president in our history.
Now, all of a sudden they are outraged at Trump’s behavior in light of what happened in Charlottesville. The evil and hate and the consequence of their vote were on display in this weekend as he refused to call out the Nazis in our midst. He suggested that the KKK and the alt-right had a “side.” Over 400,000 Americans died fighting the Nazis in World War II, yet in Trump’s mind because they support him they are worthy of a seat at the table and a voice to be counted. They have made it clear that they expect the same.
The national anger over the death of Heather Heyer is growing and even some Republicans have called Trump out for his lack of leadership and his failure to call out the white supremacists for their role in this tragedy. But let us pause and think about what would their response be if she had been Black. Would this nation have reacted the same way? Or would she have been described as a thug that deserved it? Would so many have risen up and said this is not okay in this nation that we love? If we are to change we need to ask and answer these hard questions.
In this conversation, it is also important to understand that when anyone says Black Lives Matter they are not saying that yours don’t.
They are responding to our history that has constantly shown us that Black people’s lives are not as valuable as white people’s lives. Those that advocate for Black Lives Matter do not support or call for violence. They are looking to bring about peaceful change. Don’t let the alt-right or conservatives make a false equivalency. White nationalists are absolutely willing to use violence to bring about a new world order, one where white men are king.
It is time for all of us, especially white people to do our part to expose hate and counter it with love. There are times when must remember what we as a nation have fought against and what so many American soldiers have died for. They didn’t die so that one group could have a greater right to life and safety. They didn’t die for a “white” America. They died protecting the freedom of all Americans to enjoy our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.