Dear readers, you’ll pardon me if today I seem a little angrier than usual.
Over the last few days, a heinous act has been taking place that shakes me deeply. It is so multifaceted that I’m still having a hard time processing it all. In my four decades on the planet, I never thought what I have seen this weekend would come to pass after America’s dark and dangerous history of white supremacy.
But this country — our country — is now led by a man who not only got elected riding the tide of racism that swelled during the tenure of America’s first black president, but who actively took part in it.
In Virginia on Friday, white nationalists, KKK members, and the standard-bearers of the “alt-Right” took to the streets with torches. In 2017. There’s not a word for the kind of fury that raises inside me. But they weren’t content with a simple display of their hatred and ignorance. Protests were still happening into the next day, and a member of Vanguard America, a nationalist hate group bent on white supremacy, took matters into his own hands. James Alex Fields Jr, a soldier in (and a traitor to) the United States Army, drove his car through a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring dozens more.
If this scares you too, you’re not alone.
It was the culmination of a terrifying reawakening of racism in America. And it’s goddamn Donald Trump’s fault. Now the mayor of the Virginia city where the terrorist act occurred is saying it out loud. On CNN’s State of the Union, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer was pretty worked up:
Look at the campaign he ran. Look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand of all these white supremacist, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups. And then look on the other hand at the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed all those different efforts just like we saw yesterday. This is not hard.
Signer is right. Trump is not only to blame, but every day, he makes the problem worse by not condemning it in the strongest possible terms. He’s already directed his Department of Homeland Security to stop funding groups that fight white terrorism. He has yet to denounce the mosque bombing in Bloomington as a terrorist act. Even now, it was only after he’d called for the restoration of “law and order,” after he’d sent his condolences to police victims of an unrelated accident, that he even mentioned the murder victim in Virginia.
But Trump knows his base. They elected him for this.
Watch Signer’s exchange with Jake Tapper here:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 13, 2017
Featured image via Chet Strange/Getty Images