Tragedy struck Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, and once again, hatred is at the center of the conversation in America. White supremacists marched in the middle of the night showing their anger for the impending removal of the Robert E. Lee confederate statue. The following day, they marched again and clashed with counter protesters resulting in violence, death and Virginia governor Terry Mcauliffe issuing a state of emergency in the city.
It is time to be honest and say that the latest round of ugliness, racism and bigotry that occurred in Charlottesville happened because a majority of white Americans expected it to happen. Remember, 63% of white males and 53% of white females voted for Donald Trump.
A majority of white Americans knew Donald Trump ran on America’s lengthy history of white supremacy with his rhetoric about law and order and taking the country back from fictitious enemies. His speeches and rallies were a reflection of intolerance and misplaced anger. Trump often told his largely white audiences that American cities (where a lot of black and brown people live) and immigrants are bringing unrest to the nation. Trump’s fear mongering was effective because large numbers of white voters across economic and class lines showed their support.
The high percentage of white Americans who voted for Donald Trump casted their ballot for a white supremacist, plain and simple. Trump has a personal and family history that indicates white supremacist beliefs combined with action to implement it. Trump has surrounded himself with white supremacists as his chief political advisors. This is not an accident. White supremacist groups and former KKK grand wizard David Duke have expressed pure joy that Donald Trump is in the white house. Initially, Donald Trump did not specifically condemn the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists in his half-hearted presidential response to the violence in Charlottesville, because in doing so, he would be condemning himself and those who give him counsel every day. Due to public and political pressure, Trump reluctantly made a statement 48 hours later condemning the actions and it was as insincere as one would expect from him. Within his opening statement, he told Americans where his priorities were: with himself. Trump embarrassingly spent the first few minutes talking about trade deals, tax cuts and the economy before he spoke about the events in Virginia.
The plurality of white Americans who voted for Donald Trump had to have anticipated his administration would continue its widespread white supremacist tactics of massive voter suppression in local, state and national elections. These same Americans knew full well that Donald Trump would eventually nominate a white supremacist to be his Attorney General because he promised to use the government to carry out parts of his white supremacist agenda.
Trump nominated Jeff Sessions, a man coincidentally named after a hero of the white supremacist confederate cause during the civil war to lead the Department of Justice. Sessions is delivering Trump’s agenda with razor sharp focus during his short tenure as Attorney General. He has pushed for harsh sentencing, aims to severely weaken affirmative action and has plans to strip voting rights (mostly from minorities).
A majority of white Americans knowingly voted for a man who consistently presented himself as a vulgar, ignorant advocate of institutional violence. It should come as no surprise that Trump actually encouraged police brutality against American citizens. He has pushed for blatant discrimination against Muslims and immigrants, insulted black Americans and abused women. Trump has not been impeached even though he’s consistently violated the constitution and engaged in obstruction of justice in the Russian investigation. This is only possible because the Republican Party is afraid to alienate their large constituency of white supremacists.
The United States was built on greed, lies and racist ideology that maintained white supremacy. The horrific crime of enslavement and the bloodiest war in American history occurred because of white supremacy. Lynching, racial discrimination and segregation were done in the name of white supremacy. Trump came into power appealing to white nostalgia and the fear that fuels its survival. We can’t escape this history. And Trump made sure white Americans were reminded of it.
It is the vast number of white Americans who own this presidential catastrophe and puts us all at risk. We have a president tacitly promoting a race war within the United States, methodically weakening American institutions and threatening military force that could potentially result in nuclear war. This president has aligned himself with an adversarial foreign power over his own government agencies such as the FBI and CIA. The Robert Mueller special counsel investigation may formally present evidence indicating Donald Trump and his allies colluded with Russia, engaged in treason and extensive obstruction of justice.
Now, the question we must ask is this: When will a majority of white Americans begin to admit that their racism and unwillingness to dismantle white supremacy is ruining the country? Will epic humiliation at the presidential level be the turning point for white Americans? Or something else that causes great harm to many?
When large numbers of white Americans finally begin to see that the national interest requires the eradication of white supremacy, then, only then, will America finally begin the road of living up to its best ideals for generations to come.