Trump presidency

The white right has claimed that Confederate statues are nothing more than cultural symbols. That to tear them down is to deny history or at least revise it. They maintain the fiction that the civil war was a fight for states rights  – and not to preserve slavery. A claim the southern states themselves repudiated in their secession documents.

But tearing down statues neither necessarily changes history nor hides it.

Germany eradicated its Nazi symbols. It made Hitler iconography illegal. It even banned the publication of ‘Mein Kampf’. What Germany didn’t do was revise its history. Nor did it deny the full violence and inhumanity of the Holocaust’s genocide. To strip a nation of celebrations of evil is not to forget its past.

To that end, let’s teach American history thoroughly, openly, honestly. Let’s tell America’s youth that once a group of white men determined that black men could legally be enslaved – and beaten, whipped, and spat upon. That their women could be abused and raped; that families could be ripped apart; that children be stripped from their mothers and sold to whoever had their price in gold.

Imagine looking your child in the eye as brutal men ripped her away and knocked you to the ground and kicked you as you desperately clutched at her.

That is what these men in the statutes fought for. Not honor, not country, not humanity or decency – but for money, for grubby profits wrested from the soil with the blood of human beings.

And bearing that in mind, don’t tell me that the people who march to resurrect this awful history are morally equivalent to the people protesting their vile philosophy. The anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville didn’t wave swastikas, scream ‘blood and soil’ or offer stiff armed salutes.

And now the American President is making common cause with the hateful racists. He sees many ‘fine people’ in the ranks of the bigots. He mourns the loss of “beautiful statues and monuments”. And he repeats nonsense about an attack on the South’s culture and history.

In this assault on decency, he finds allies only among the neo-Nazis, the KKK, the white supremacists – and the pestilent pundits on Fox News and the right-wing media. Not one Congressional Republican has embraced his abdication of the moral high-ground. At best there is silence – while many condemned his grunting clutch of injustice.

The business community has turned its back on him. The joint chiefs are unanimous in cleaving to a nobler course. And even the saner heads of conservative media think Trump is an immature jerk in an adult’s body.

The far right has been emboldened by a President who has made common cause with their beliefs. But they have hitched their wagon to a falling star. Trump approval rating is already an embarrassment – and it won’t soon rise. The Nazis think their standing has never been higher. But they have been exposed and will be seen for the ignoble brutes they are.

 

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