These people who voted for him or who defend almost every statement and action are not bad people at all, they are well intended and want the best for our nation.
But, somehow I believe we’re at a watershed moment in America and with the Trump presidency that makes me wonder how long I will feel this same way.
A little history: I worked feverishly and exhaustively to help defeat David Duke when he was running for elective office last century. I broke my then good relationship with Rusty Cantelli who somehow decided to become Duke’s media person. I found his actions inexcusable and was against everything I stood for.
Around that time period, a good friend of mine a business office supplier sold my first Fax Machine to me. When he told me that he would never hire an African American, I told him to take his machine back. I never talked with him after that any more.
I have engaged in numerous disagreements with friends and acquaintances over Trump in the past few years. Our relations have become frayed. Yet, I refused to sever my communications and associations with them and always hoped they would feel the same.
Despite the many months of extreme anti-Muslim comments, insensitivity to my own fear as a Jewish person, anti-Hispanic statements, behaviors that found me gasping for normalcy, pre-juvenile conduct coming from then-candidate and now President Trump, I hoped that something would change. I continued to hold my dear friends--who advocate for Trump non-stop--no matter the circumstance, with the highest of regards.
But something has happened this week beginning Friday night. Based upon what I see on television and on the Internet, it appears others are also jaw-struck and uncertain by the latest developments from Charlottesville and Trump’s bizarre reactions.
I get it.
Donald Trump absolutely is correct, there was violence on both sides and there are no clean hands. He never should be criticized for those statements because on the face of the facts, they are correct.
He is also right that there have been certain groups that don’t have the best of conducts, regardless of their purpose. Some Black Lives Matters members have engaged in repugnant exclusionary language at times, there have been isolated acts of unlawfulness. Antifa, regardless of its good motives--trying to defeat what it believes is fascism—is not serving its goals when it engages in violence as it did on Saturday. There simply is no excuse for this type of unlawful hostile engagements, no matter the anger.
The recent activities of removing Confederate monuments is to me, unacceptable. When you try to remove ideas artificially, you get a real adverse response. I am disgusted when I see a Confederate flag. I don’t think Robert E. Lee or any of those generals are heroes, I consider them to be traitors to the nation. However, their stone presence is history. The wise would learn a way to teach from the symbols they represent so that we learn the lessons from our past.
So, I get the frustration and the anger from my friends who are Trump loyalists or who basically defend him at every turn. I know they see him as a new economic development catalyst who wants all of us to achieve greater health, happiness and prosperity.
The developments surrounding Charlottesville is not about economics or healthcare or Confederate monuments. They are not about the frustrations of losing jobs, of losing identities or of taking back America.
While violence absolutely matters, the real message coming from Charlottesville is not violence.
No. The real and sustaining symbol underlying that horrific event is what really matters and burns to our country’s soul. That message and symbol is the matter of hate, blame and need for superiority.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump does not get this, nor do his loyalists who are angered at what they see to be double standards.
What matters is not who would be found at fault for the violence this weekend. What matters is not whether Donald Trump is sending out dog whistles to his base.
What matters are the basic question we must all ask ourselves—what type of country do we want for our children and is Donald Trump the voice to take us where we need to go?
Sadly, and regrettably, the answer is resoundingly NO. And the problem we have at this juncture, in our guts, so many of us know these basic questions are at the very center of our concerns. This is the root of the debate, no matter what side one stands on the daily controversies involving his outrageous temperament, bombastic statements and dangerous impulses.
Donald Trump seems not to get it.
He seems not to know that this week post Charlottesville, by focusing upon the issue of comparative fault related to violence, he is obscuring the real quandary at hand: Do we trust this President to understand right from wrong.
Trump’s statements over the past couple of days has shown without any doubt that he does not feel the pain for many of those who are hurt and who are fearful. He cannot understand that his failure to forcefully speak out against the evils of Nazism only perpetuates the very real concerns so many of us have had that this country could move towards the dark moments of the fascist past, of which thousands of Americans died while trying to defeat it.
He seems not to understand that his failure to once again forcefully speak out against the presence of the Ku Klux Klan or the growing movement of White Supremacists and separatists making up the alt right is only verifying to tens of millions of Americans, that he would ignore the victims of the most vicious moments of world history.
I suggest that Donald Trump and those who support him regardless of his personal failures take a look at this video. This is what angry Americans fear. They fear that our President, for some strange reason, is callous to our very real trepidations, that he has unleashed the voices and the forces that have in the past destroyed so much worldwide.
The momeht is less about policy than it is about tenor. Our anger is not that we lost an election but the morality we are about to lose.
Donald Trump has not and apparently will never speak out honestly, openly and convincingly against those who are ruled by their own sense of hostility towards the differences that people share.
As a result, I hearken back to the moments when I decided to protest against those whose own view of the world scared me that I felt compelled to send them a message of utter disgust.
I don’t want to go there again. I know millions probably feel the same as I do.
Yet, at some point, in considering our relationships with others, all of us must ask, what would be the point of no return and how do we prevent it? I have often wondered, if I were living in Germany in the 1930’s, at what point would I say, enough is enough, I must speak out, must act, must look at my good neighbors and decide my future with those with whom I fear.
I'm not referring to those people who voted for Trump because they believed or they felt they were stuck between two bad choices. I'm referring to those who make excuses for his every act; Those who revere him like a cult figure; Those who insist that mainstream media is fake news, yet, never blame the fakeries and falsehoods coming from Trump. Those people who populate the Internet, who always speak out in angry tones, always blaming others, yet, refusing to blame themselves and their own; These are people who say they detest Nazism and Fascism and racial bigotry, yet, they always forgive Trump and others like him, no matter the circumstance. These are the people whose embedded sympathies to the Trump and extreme right wing causes are the ones I fear the most. At least, those wearing swatstikas or hoods are obvious and are openly willing to admit their hatred. The others remain in the closet, enable Trump and the extremists and in the long run, will do the most harm.
Thus, I am anguished that at some point soon, I might have to part with them out of frustration and protest.
At some point, it will be time to say goodbye.