A recent USA Today article, “White Supremacy Seeps into Public, Experts Warn,” raises concerns about the recent rise of the white-supremacy movement in the U.S. As a 66-year-old and an optimist at heart, it seemed that throughout my life, racism was becoming less of a problem, albeit very slowly.
Most people first noticed the backward slide in 2016, when Trump became president. However, the fuel that fed the racist fire began decades earlier, with the increase in hate speech on the radio and TV. The messiahs of intolerance – O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh – have been promoting racism and bigotry for several decades on Fox and other networks. When Trump ran for office, a significant segment of the public had already been trained to respond in a positive manner to Trump’s rantings about Mexican rapists and his assertion that Obama was not born in the U.S.
After the Charlottesville riot, Trump stated, “There were very fine people on both sides” and waited 48 hours to condemn the racists who had triggered the violence. This was his calculated method of letting America’s racists know that he had their back, and that if they re-elect him in 2020, he will continue to have their back.
Prior to WWII, both Germany and Japan promoted the idea that they were superior races, and every other race was not quite human. This justified the massacres of civilians carried out by both countries during the war. What we are seeing today with Trump and the Far Right is not that different. To Trump and his followers, anyone who is not white (or a sort of weird orange color) is not quite an American.
Trump is leading the U.S. in a very dangerous direction. When Hitler was first consolidating his power, very few Germans could have imagined that he would eventually order the extermination of 6 million Jews. Let’s not wait four more years to find out where Trump’s tolerance for racism will lead the country. The U.S. cannot afford to take the chance of letting Trump be re-elected.
Green Bay, Wisconsin