LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trump’s response to Charlottesville unacceptable

On Aug. 12, 2017, The President of the United States removed all doubt regarding his beliefs about racism, white supremacy and Nazi-like fascism.

The KKK and other white supremacist groups obtained city permission to stage a march in Charlottesville, Va. Based upon video taken by many networks and people’s cell phones, these people came armed with weapons; firearms and other types of weapons. Some wore body armor, masks, and carried racist signs and Nazi symbols. Regardless of their stated goal, they were prepared to provoke violence.

During the night of Aug. 11, these groups held a torchlight march a la the KKK and Nazis through the University of Virginia campus.

A small group of counter-protestors surrounded a statue of Thomas Jefferson and these were surrounded by this alt-right group. The alt-right group then began attacking with the torches, lighter fluid, pepper spray and more. These racists initiated the violence, not those who surrounded the statue. After this confrontation, these white supremacists encountered people leaving a prayer service conducted by several clergy. As people were leaving this service they were harassed to the extent that some of the clergy were assaulted. Why is this happening in the U.S. in the 21st century?

Early on in his campaign, the president used nasty “coded” rhetoric to characterize those at his rallies who disagreed with his speeches. He shouted to supporters “Get him out of here.” about a protester and “I’ll pay for your lawyer.” to supporters who assaulted protesters. This language set the stage for violence against “others” e.g. non-whites or immigrant citizens and undocumented alike. Starting with his campaign there has been an increase in violence against non-Christians, non-whites, and immigrants that has not been seen in this country since the Civil Rights protests in the sixties.

The president’s words regarding Charlottesville tried to blame the “hatred, bigotry, and violence…” on “many sides.” These were his “harshest terms.” This man seems to condone the actions of the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the like by not condemning them by name and action.

David Duke tweeted the President “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was White Americans who put you in the Presidency, not radical leftists.”

With Steve Bannon, Steve Miller and other like-minded people in the White House, it’s no wonder that these people feel motivated and entitled to act as they did in Charlottesville and to plan similar actions in the future.

It’s not enough that some Republicans (and Democrats) in Congress have sharply criticized the president’s remarks as not going far enough. It is up to the vast majority of us Americans, who believe that …”all men (people) are created equal…,” to rise up and demonstrate that we condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms. We cannot just sit by and thus condone the actions of these violent white-supremacists; the alt-right, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and others.

Late in the day, almost as a post script, a “White House official” tried to clarify the president’s remarks about Charlottesville by stating that the President condemns hatred, bigotry, and violence and “of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis, and all extremist groups.”

On Sunday, his daughter Ivanka tweeted similar sentiments. Finally, on Monday afternoon, the president addressed the nation. He began with self-aggrandizement about the economy. After that he spoke about Charlottesville mentioning and condemning the aforementioned hate groups and the death and injuries caused by the car. He refused to call these actions “terrorism.”

Different from past presidents’ responses, I detected little sincerity in his comments that were too little and too late.

Alan Gaddis
Dover

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