Let’s get something straight right off the bat. If you are siding with Nazis, you are wrong. Full stop.
In Charlottesville, VA this past weekend Nazis and other Nazi-like groups took to the streets to protest the removal of confederate civil war memorials. The protesters were met by counter-protesters, and fights broke out. A Nazi drove a car into a crowded street and killed one woman and wounded nineteen others. A helicopter crashed and killed two policemen. In 1945 the US and allied nations defeated the Nazis and the Axis powers after millions of soldiers died and millions more civilians lost there lives or were murdered. Millions of people, overwhealmingly Jews, were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis. Now that horrifying flag is being waved on American soil, accompanied by armed militia. There are no “many sides” to this, there are the Nazis, and those who stand against them.
- In 2011, Trump repeatedly called for President Obama to produce a birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. Obama does release the certificate, and Trump spends the next several years attacking the validity and authenticity of the certificate.
- In December, 2015, Trump goes on the conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones’ show, and praises him for his “amazing reputation”.
- In February 2016 Trump fails to immediately denounce the endorsement of former KKK leader David Duke, claiming not to know who David Duke or the KKK was.
- Throughout Trump’s campaign, he repeatedly calls for a ban on Muslims traveling to the United States.
- Throughout Trump’s campaign, he repeatedly calls Mexican illegal immigrants “rapists” and drug dealers.
- Throughout Trump’s campaign, he repeatedly calls for violence at his rallies.
For years, Trump has been pandering to the far right, and the Nazi and Nazi-like groups have been listening. They supported Trump during the election, and were overjoyed when he won.
What happened in Charlottesville is not the direct fault of Trump, but it is his indirect fault. It’s his fault for inciting violence and appealing to the racist far right. It’s his fault for appointing Steve Bannon, who headed up the platform for the alt-right, to a position in the White House. It’s his fault for appointing Jeff Sessions, who was too racist to be appointed a judge in 1986, as the US Attorney General. In all of this and more, Trump has told the Nazis and Nazi-like groups that it’s now OK to crawl out of whatever slimy rock they were under and march in the streets. They’ve got a friend in the White House, and they know it.
After the chaos in Charlottesville, Trump gave a press conference where he condemned hatred and bigotry “on many sides, many sides”, equating the counter protesters with Nazis. Again, the Nazis were very happy with what they heard. Again, there were armed militias and people carrying Nazi swastika flags in the streets. There are no “many sides”.
It’s time for us to take a good long look in the mirror and ask ourselves if our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents would be proud of who we’ve become. How many of us have relatives who fought, or even died, to defeat the evil of the Nazis, only to see them giving the straight-armed salute to each other on American soil. Trump supporters, this is on you. No matter how you deny it, or how you try to appease your conscience, no matter how you try to excuse it by “voting for the platform, not the party”, these Nazis in the street are your fault.
Racism has always been a problem in America, but progressives have been fighting, and sometimes dying, to eradicate it for decades. When I was younger I thought that the fight had been won, and the racial tensions were a thing of the past. I was obviously very wrong. I believed, and still believe, in a society where all colors, all beliefs, all ethnic groups, can peacefully coexist. Whatever you believe is fine, up to the point that your belief is that someone else needs to move, convert, or die.
If the Nazis want that statue to stay, it’s time for it to go. Tear it down and destroy it.
I can’t believe I had to write this.