Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by friend Kelly. Her visceral reaction to the events in Charlottesville is worth sharing.
I want to say something about Charlottesville. I don’t know what, exactly, because my thoughts are all swirling and falling over themselves in a mess of cynicism and disbelief.
Of course this happened in Trump’s America.
How could this happen in 2017?
The remarkable thing is that it’s taken as long as 8 months.
I thought racists and homophobes at least had the decency to know that they’re the bad guys, like in that Mitchell and Webb bit.
A literal-torch-bearing-mob of white men and women descended on Charlottesville because of some controversy regarding the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, one of the most famous traitors in American history. As a Confederate general, he actively fought against the United States, which is treason. And yet, there was controversy over removing his statue. Mississippi still incorporates the Confederate battle flag, the Stars and Bars, into its own state flag as a proud symbol of its treason, and is only the last of several states to remove it. Any attempt to remove a symbol of the Confederacy from literally anything has been met with intense opposition. Again, it is a symbol of treason. I know of no other nation that does so much to coddle the feelings of treasonous rebels than the US has done for what remains of the Confederacy. Other white supremacist fucks in Charlottesville and elsewhere put on swastika armbands and flew Nazi flags. The swastika, in addition to being a symbol of hate and murder, was the emblem of a hostile foreign power. The fact that the people who fly a confederate flag, admire Lee, and wear swastikas consider themselves true patriots is just fucking mind-boggling. The irony of a bunch of Stars-and-Bars-wielding assholes shouting, “You lost! Get over it!” at anyone is both delicious and revolting. But I digress.
The divisions in this country run so much deeper than I ever realized or wanted to admit. I got to live this delusion because I’m white and grew up in a nice boring suburb. I imagine that a lot of the white supremacist fucks in Charlottesville and elsewhere grew up in the same kinds of places I did. Hell, some of those fucks might be people I knew in high school, or from the church I grew up in, or my dentist or optometrist or orthodontist or neighbors or kids I babysat. This is a fact I have to reckon with: as abhorrent, disgusting, and inhumane as I believe these people are, I have to own up to them. Hashtags like “this is not us” are not helpful, because it distances us from our responsibility as white people to actively resist white supremacy. We can’t do that if we comfort ourselves by saying that those fucks are just “that other, bad kind of white person.” I feel shame and guilt every time I see one of those fucks on the news, but shame and guilt are useless if they’re not followed by action. It’s hard, it’s exhausting, and too many times, it’s fruitless, but at least I have the privilege of getting to take a break once in a while. Well, kind of, I’m still a woman and a Jew, so sometimes these white supremacist fucks hate me too, but people of color, transfolk, women who wear hijabs, and so many more don’t just get hate sometimes and don’t ever get to take a break.
Donald Trump pandered to white supremacist fucks all the way into the White House. No shit he didn’t condemn them*. He’s been employing them. If anyone thought he was going to speak out against the group that is most devoted to him, they haven’t been paying attention. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump believes in all the shit white supremacist fucks say or if he’s just using them to stay in office for now. To paraphrase Kanye, Donald Trump doesn’t care about black people. Or liberal people. Or female people. Or brown, or Muslim, or queer, or Jewish** people. Donald Trump doesn’t care about anyone except himself and the people who love him. Those are the people who make him feel important and powerful and yes, loved, and he only cares about being important, powerful, and loved. He doesn’t give a shit who’s chanting his name in worship, so long as he gets to hear it. Anyone who doesn’t buy into his cult of personality does not get his consideration. I haven’t been a big fan of the “not my president” chant because yes, unfortunately, he is, but today, I think I can finally embrace it. Donald Trump is not my president because he doesn’t want to be.
But her emails, though.
*Since writing this†, Donald Trump has released a statement condemning the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist fucks. On Monday. The president of the United States waited two days before issuing a statement in opposition to white supremacy. The man takes to twitter within moments of being the butt of a joke, but it took nearly 48 hours for him to specifically tell the nation he thinks Nazis are bad. And not to split hairs here, but I notice that his statement lacked the passion he had in railing against Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka’s clothing line, or against Congressional Republicans for failing to repeal Obamacare.
However sincerely Donald Trump may have meant his statement Monday morning†, it’s far too little much too late. His campaign and sick excuse for a presidency have been spurring American white nationalism for a year and a half. All the forthright condemnations in the world won’t undo the damage his dog-whistling has already done. The Daily Stormer already posted their certainty that Trump still loves them because of his failure to condemn them right away. I would bet all I owe in student loans that they are still just as sure now as they ever were.
**Trump cares about Jared, Ivanka, their kids, and Bibi. They are six individual Jewish people. He, along with the rest of the right, has fetishized Israel, but that is not the same as caring about Jews. By endorsing white supremacist fucks with his failure to condemn them, he has made life for American Jews more dangerous. This was one of the posters used to advertise the event ( ⚠️ because duh). I don’t want to hear anyone say a fucking thing to suggest Trump cares about Jews.
†Because this news cycle has been BATSHIT CRAZYCAKES, I have to include the following: since writing that addendum, Trump has held one of the most chaotic, disturbing, nonsensical press conferences in US, possibly world, history. In short, all suspicion that his previous condemnation of white supremacist/nationalist/Nazi fucks was utterly insincere. It undoes any possible hint of good that could, maybe, with generous interpretations, have come from his statement on Monday morning. The transcript is linked because it must be seen to be believed.