Denying America’s Truth
America is confronted with its own ugly reality once more in Charlottesville. In response, many have said that the white supremacists and Neo Nazis are not representative of America or American values. This is a concerted effort to separate America and American ideals from the heinous act of a murderous Nazi on Saturday. Just a glance at American history, or even the American present means there is no denying that this is part of the very fabric of America. The fallout of Charlottesville is part of a long trend of obscuring the state of the country to maintain personal comfort. In the past two years alone, key events like the rise of Trump and Colin Kaepernick’s protest have caused mainstream Democrats and Republicans to deny the truth of America.
Racism is a fundamental American value. The country was built on slavery and the genocide of Native Americans. The fact America has never truly answered for those crimes means they will constantly be a fingerprint on American institutions. There should be no surprise Neo Nazis roam our streets when you look at the forces America has fostered in its history. The Republican Party began to appeal to white supremacists since Barry Goldwater, making subtle (and less so over time) appeals to white nationalism to further divide America and pass their far right, capitalist agenda. Today, Republicans have attempted to make strong statements decrying white supremacists to differentiate themselves from Trump, but this is the party that rode a wave on the back of birtherism for 8 years. Republicans lost it when the Department of Homeland Security reported on the rise of ring wing domestic terrorist groups in the country in 2009, forcing the DHS to withdraw the report and apologize. Senators stand in photos with College Republicans that (unknown to the Senator), went to the white supremacist rally. The Republican Party’s next generation is composed of alt right Nazi loving freaks. The same Republicans critical of Trump worship Ronald Reagan, who started his campaign dog whistling about states’ rights in a town where 3 civil rights workers were murdered. Reagan’s speech was a signal to white supremacists just like Trump’s “many sides” remark was a clear signal to them now.
Liberals have gone to their own lengths to put their heads into the sand. They have largely focused on trying to reclaim the pre-Trump status quo, but this ignores that these racists while emboldened by Trump were just as present in society before. They offer vapid statements and try to say this type of racism isn’t what America truly stands for. But while in power we were subjected to countless on camera murders of black people by police officers and not a single thing being done. Many have been consumed by their hatred of the left because they demand a more left-wing response to Trump and the forces behind him. There has been scorn and mockery in response to leftists, and pearl clutching at anti-fascist groups that have confronted white supremacists with force. But the people who have been on the front lines, risking themselves to protect their communities are leftists, radicals who have made a stand when few else have. Throughout this administration it has been the people, not politicians, who have gone to bat against Trump and the ghouls who follow him. Liberals have no room to criticize the left when it’s DSA, Black Lives Matter, IWW and other left-wing groups putting themselves at risk to combat this evil. Rosa Luxemburg famously said “In this hour, socialism is the only salvation for humanity. Socialism or barbarism!” Confronted with the violence of Charlottesville, liberals further try to clutch to a center that does not exist, and an America that never was.
Throughout America’s history it has been black radicals making the truth apparent and shoving the reality of America’s actions into the face of the American people, in hopes of preventing tragedies like Charlottesville. Colin Kaepernick is one of many continuing this tradition through his protests in the NFL and the community work he has done after. The NFL is the most popular sport in America, and it is filled with nationalist ceremonies meant to instill pride in our country. Over a decade of these ceremonies ingrains an image of America that is pristine and good into the minds of the people. Kaepernick’s protest shattered that fragile image. This cultivated nationalism has caused people to refuse to address the clear issues in front of them. Kaepernick seeks to break an illusion that people are embarrassed to have fallen for, and ridiculously attempt to deny that there is an issue with racism and police brutality. For them it is a pathetically traumatizing moment that centers their own feelings from far right to even center left. Their overreaction to such a quiet declaration is proof that they want to run from the reality in front of them. It is a ghost perpetually haunting them, and one they cannot escape. But as they try to run from Kaepernick’s message, they are confronted with the brutal reality they neglect in Charlottesville.
Like black leftists in the past, MLK, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Assata Shakur and more, Kaepernick has been alienated and driven out for daring to speak America’s truth. And even as they are vindicated by rampant police brutality, the election of Donald Trump, and the terrorist attack at Charlottesville, Americans try to pretend this is a temporary nightmare, rather than a long-standing reality of horror. Those in power, following the lead of other Americans, attempting to categorize these events as freak accidents rather than the natural conclusion of what American institutions have done to the country. From center left to the right wing, there is an abdication of responsibility, and no plan to address the root problems. Only a marginalized left is trying to do this, despite being equated with the very forces they’re trying to defeat.
The country has never been and is not great. That is the truth, and whether it is demonstrated peacefully or violently, America refuses to admit to its own reality.