No More Equivalencies. Are You American, or Are You A Nazi?
This article was originally planned as a series of bullet point takeaways from the recent events in Charlottesville, but I put off writing it, and thankfully so. The “Unite the Right” march has, over the course of several days, morphed from a simple fact of domestic terroristic violence into a debate over whether white supremacy in any mode can be tolerated in the United States.
It cannot. If it is, it will tear us apart.
If neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and all the other old and familiar forms of bigotry are allowed to become a mainstream facet of our national dialogue, this country will not survive it.
There are no graphs I can show you to back that claim, no studies or numbers or equations, but it is true. America has survived many things, but it will not withstand a Nazi party. We know what happens when bigoted fascism is allowed to fester and grow within a nation. Not even a century has passed since it last happened.
The fish rots from the head, so let’s work our way down.
We must look at what has brought these vile people to the surface this past weekend like tapeworms: President Donald Trump. In him, they saw a lynchpin, a green light at the highest level of government. To them, he may as well have been giving his iconic thumbs up in their direction. David Duke, former leader of the KKK, said as much. Trump brought them to the polls on election day from whichever sewers and basements they skulked, and his presidency is all the justification they need to inflict their warped mindset on the world around them.
Just below the President, however, is his party. The Republican establishment is as guilty as Trump himself in their tacit support of him during the election cycle. As he dog whistled and hate-mongered his way to the White House, the GOP made the decision to ride his coattails to an electoral victory. Once he was elected, once there was no more to be gained from his rhetoric, they still remained silent. He illegally banned Muslim travel, and still they were silent. He declared policy-by-Tweet against the transgender community, and still they were silent. This past weekend, he did not denounce violent domestic terrorists in the form of literal Nazis, and still they were silent.
If our democracy dies as from an infected wound, Trump is the shard of metal that wounded us, but the Republican Party pushed it deeper into our skin and rubbed dirt in the cut.
Republican self-interests, however, can only go so far. When election day came, sixty-five million Americans still had to push the lever marked “(R)”.
We must address the voters themselves. This election can no longer be written off as “economic insecurity.” This is not the rust belt bemoaning the death of factory work and mining. The unemployed miner is not the face of the Trump base. The face of the Trump base ran his car into innocent people because they had the audacity to stand up for equality and freedom.
This is the voice of hate making itself heard. We must silence it.
To my Republican friends, family members, and fellow citizens: there is no more room for debate or discourse. This is not about left versus right, small or large government, or fiscal responsibility, but about good versus evil. You can remain a Republican and condemn Nazis, condemn this administration. In fact, you must condemn evil. Look to your party’s greatest leaders, to Lincoln and Reagan, who did not back down against the evils of their times, be they slave owners or Soviet comminists. Trumpism threatens everything you hold dear, and it will rot this country until nothing is left for any of us, no matter our party.
We can no longer meander about the line of moral equivalencies. As an individual, you are either American, or you are a Nazi by association. Pick a side. We can sort the details out once the dust settles.