I was born in Washington, D.C. and started public school in 1950. I went to a segregated school which was integrated in 1954 after the Supreme Court said that separate wasn’t. Even as a kid I didn’t understand why anyone thought there were differences between Whites and Blacks. Or differences between men and women, or differences between straight and gay, or differences between anyone at all. I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand it now.
Yesterday, the Mississippi state legislature voted to retire the current state flag and come up with a new design. The most potent symbol of the Confederacy seems to be on its way out. The Marine Corps has banned it from being displayed or even pasted onto the bumper of any car or truck that wants to enter a Marine Corps base. You can’t display the stars and bars at NASCAR events either. NASCAR?
All of a sudden, it seems we have gone from a country which tolerated and sometimes promoted the racism which was part and parcel of the country’s founding to a country which is finally saying enough is enough. Not only saying it, but backing up those words with physical removal of statutes and monuments that have graced public space in support of a history that we no longer want to memorialize in positive terms.
This totally unforeseen rejection of racism, of course, started with the murder of George Floyd. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the protests about police brutality were only focused on what happened to that poor man. The galvanizing of national anger was directed at Donald Trump, who took almost a week to say anything about Floyd’s death, and when he did, he made sure to mention the ‘fact’ that the protests were being exploited or led by Antifa and other left-wing groups.
Trump is simply unable and unwilling to say or do anything that might jeopardize his monopoly of the racist vote. He appeals to racism every chance he gets, something he has been doing for almost fifty years. And whenever he’s confronted with his long and obvious appeals to racism and hate, he turns around and brags that he’s the least racist person of all.
All of that being said, the question needs to be asked: What would have happened if George Floyd had been murdered and the White House was occupied by Hillary and Bill? What would have happened is that Hillary would have immediately gone on national television, given a heart-throbbing speech, and promised to do everything she could to deal with our national ‘pain.’ Then a commission would have been appointed to do a study of police brutality and submit a report. And if in the meantime some Black Lives Matter rallies took place, you can be sure that every, single member of the Democratic Party establishment – White and Black – would be out there calling for calm. And that would be the end of that.
Perhaps I am being too cynical by saying that liberalis would be just as uninterested in really solving the racism which has been used by Trump to galvanize and energize his political base. After all, when a shithead like Rush Limbaugh defends Trump by saying that all he’s trying to do is take America ‘back’ to its past greatness, he’s telling his audience that America should go back to the way things were before my school was integrated in 1954. And when it comes to Brown v. Board of Education, it was liberals, not conservatives, who helped paved the way.
On the other hand, we need to remember that there are still 126 days until November 3rd, and a lot could happen between now and then. So on November 3rd, vote early, vote often. But until that date, please do at least one thing every day to help get rid of Trump. A phone call, an email, a tweet, a blog – one conscious, public act every, single day.
If Trump takes the oath of office again next year, we have ourselves to blame.