Tag Archives: bigotry

Alt-right = white supremacists

This well might be the final time I’ll refer to the term “alt-right” in a manner other than to quote someone else’s statement about it.

You may count me, therefore, as one who wants to cease euphemizing what I believe the term really means: white supremacists, racist, bigots.

It has emerged in recent years as a term to define those on the far-right fringe of the political/ideological spectrum. As the events in Charlottesville, Va. — not to mention other communities that have been victimized by spasms of race-related violence — have shown us, the term “alt-right” has focused on a specific brand of political protest.

It has come to represent the views of those who support racist, bigoted ideologies. The term “far right” has taken on an ugly, evil identity. Perhaps it’s because what we used to know as the “conservative movement” has itself moved far past the midway point. To be called a conservative these days seems to mean something different than it did during the day of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Donald J. Trump used the term “alt-right” to turn on what he called the “alt-left,” the counter protesters who clashed in Charlottesville with the neo-Nazis and KKK members who gathered to protest the taking down of that statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Here again, we saw the president seek to place the hate groups on equal footing with those who protested against them.

As for the term “alt-right,” consider me to be among those who no longer prefers to see it used other than to make sure we know what it represents.

It represents hatred and bigotry.

There. I’m done with that word.

‘Alt-right’ becomes euphemism for something ugly

‘Free’ speech gets drowned out … good!

They called themselves the “Free Speech Movement.” They planned to stage a big rally in Boston, but got drowned out by others who were having none of what this movement had to say.

The “Free Speech” folks said they disavowed the hate speech that’s become the talk of the nation. But thousands of counter protesters showed up to swallow up the “Free Speech” crowd.

It appears that advance knowledge of some of the speakers slated to talk alarmed community residents, which triggered the big counter protest. They were concerned about what they considered to be “veiled bigotry.” One big difference between this gathering and the one that erupted in Charlottesville this past weekend is that no one got hurt; there was no riot.

This all sounds familiar to yours truly.

In 2006, the Ku Klux Klan came to Amarillo to have a rally in front of City Hall. The city granted the KKK the permit they needed. The police came out in force. Amarillo PD deployed many officers, as did the Potter County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The police set up an effective barrier that kept the crowd of onlookers away from the Klansmen.

At the moment the Klan leaders were set to start addressing the gathering in front of City Hall, a parade of counter protesters came marching onto the parking lot. They were loud, man! They were banging cymbals, blowing horns, beating drums, yelling at the top of their lungs.

I don’t recall, 11 years later, what the Klan’s message was on that warm summer day. The haters couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

I couldn’t have been prouder of the way our community reacted to the Klan’s presence in our midst.

The most fascinating encounter I witnessed occurred right next to me. It involved then-Amarillo Police Chief Jerry Neal and a Klan member. Neal was there in full cop regalia: dress blues and all the hardware that beat cops wear when they’re on patrol … if you get my drift. The Klansman asked the chief, “Can I ask you something?”

Neal’s response was brusque and right to the point: “No. You can’t. Now, get away from me.”

What happened today in Boston had plenty of precedent. It should continue for as long as hate groups — or those aligned with them — believe they have license to spread their bigoted message.

This is how we remember traitors?

I want to discuss briefly a subject that makes me a bit uncomfortable: Confederate memorials and statues.

It’s been in the news of late. Communities across the land are pondering whether to remove statues commemorating leaders of the movement that ignited the Civil War, tearing the nation in half, killing roughly 600,000 Americans on both sides of that terrible struggle.

And for what purpose? The Confederate states wanted to continue to enslave human beings.

It’s news these days, of course, because of what transpired this weekend in Charlottesville (which has become a form of shorthand for “racism,” “bigotry” and “intolerance”).

I join others who are asking: What other country “honors” those who betray their nation, secede from it and then start the bloodiest war in that nation’s history? Slavery is undoubtedly this nation’s most visible scar. We cannot hide it, push it aside, ignore it. It’s part of our past.

In that context, Confederate descendants say that individuals such as Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis and a whole host of others also are part of our nation’s history. Oh, sure they are. Do we honor them? Do we revere their memory or their legacy? I think not.

My wife and I visited Germany this past September. We stayed with friends in Nuremberg, which has a special place in world history: It was the city where Nazi leaders were put on trial for their crimes against humanity.

One of our friends, a journalist and a highly educated man, told us that Germany has come to grips with Nazis’ role in plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict in its history. There’s a place called the Documentation Center in Nuremberg. It tells the story of the Holocaust and the unthinkable misery that the Nazis brought to Europe and sought to inflict on the rest of the world.

“We don’t hide from it,” our friend said. “We are ashamed of that time.”

But the Germans damn sure don’t honor anyone associated with that period of their nation’s otherwise glorious past. One doesn’t see statues of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering or Himmler in public places.

Perhaps we ought to ponder whether these Confederate “heroes” deserve the same level of scorn.

Presidents make powerful statement, but it needs more

There you go. A powerful statement from the two most recent Republican presidents of the United States, father and son, George H.W. and George W. Bush.

Their reaction to the Charlottesville riot and the tragic death of Heather Heyer speaks volumes about their decency and compassion.

However …

There’s an element missing from this statement. What is missing is a specific condemnation of their successor, Donald John Trump.

It’s the kind of rebuke and denunciation that must come from members of the president’s own party. They must condemn not just the acts of hate that transpired in Charlottesville, but also the president who — in a stunning display of ignorance and arrogance on Tuesday — equated the hate merchants with those who oppose them.

Indeed, the silence from the GOP political high command has been deafening in its own right. House and Senate leaders have spoken eloquently about their loathing of intolerance, bigotry and racism. Good for them!

But the rest of the condemnation also must single out the president of the United States who tossed aside the proverbial “dog whistle” he has used to incite his political base and replaced it with a bullhorn. We all heard what he meant when he said “both sides” are to blame for the tragedy that unfolded in Charlottesville.

No, Mr. President. There is no “both sides do it” moral equivalence here. The riot was provoked by the presence of white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis who protested the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. They marched under the lights of tiki torches, which symbolize the terror tactics used by the Klan and, yes, by the Nazis in Europe prior to World War II.

And yet the president drew a moral equivalence between the hate groups and the counter protesters. It was disgraceful in the extreme for Trump to do such a thing.

I’m glad the two former presidents have spoken out. They both have been quiet since leaving the presidency in 1993 and 2009.

I just wish they would have taken the final step and called out Donald Trump by name. Maybe that moment will arrive in due course. Let us hope.

Call out the president by name, GOP leaders

We’ve heard a lot of chatter about the responsibility of leaders to name their adversaries by name, to call out those who act irresponsibly or reprehensibly.

Republicans implored Democratic President Barack Obama to label international terrorists as “radical Muslims.” Obama declined during his time in the White House, saying we must not suggest the terrorists are associated with a great religion.

Just recently, we heard others say that a Republican president must call out the instigators in the Charlottesville riot by their names: white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen. Donald Trump at first declined to do so, then he did.

Today, though, he reverted back to his initial response to the violence in Virginia, blaming it on “both sides.” He sought to attach some sort of moral equivalency between the racists who were protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with the counter protesters.

The president put on a shameful display today at Trump Tower.

So it now falls on Republicans across the land to call out the president — a fellow Republican — by name. There’s been a lot of social media chatter from GOP leaders about how we must not tolerate hate groups, racists, bigotry, anti-Semitism. It’s no longer enough to denounce these hideous groups. It’s time to denounce the president who today demonstrated what he truly believes about these hate mongers.

They now need to take the next step. These Republican leaders — including members of Congress — need to say: Donald Trump, you are consorting with hate groups and we will not tolerate such disgraceful behavior from the president of the United States.

I mean, c’mon. Are they going to seriously tolerate a word of good cheer for the president’s performance today from David Duke … of all people?

Trump finally says what he should’ve said the first time

That wasn’t so painful, was it, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump returned to the White House — aka “a real dump” — to sign an executive order and then deliver some remarks about the “criminals and thugs” who instigated the deadly race riot in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. He had been facing immense pressure from, um, “many sides” as a result of his initial response to the violence.

The president said what he needed to say at the outset. The Klan, neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacist groups provoked a riot while protesting the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went bad bigly.

Trump has condemned racism and bigotry and called out the white supremacists and Nazis as “criminals and thugs.” He called them what they are. Trump said “racism is evil” and said hate groups such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists “are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

How far will his remarks go in healing the damage that already has been done by his initial remarks in which he blamed “many sides” for the violence that erupted? Time will tell.

If he had asked for my opinion, I would have preferred that the president atone more directly for his error of omission. He should have acknowledged publicly in the White House that he erred in failing to respond appropriately.

Moreover, he could have said categorically that he does not welcome the overt political support of individuals such as one-time Ku Klux Klan grand dragon/lizard David Duke, who over the weekend invoked Trump’s name. Duke said he wants to “take our country back” and said “that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

He didn’t do those things. The president did say the right words — today! I still have to ask: Did they come from his heart, his soul?

Please demonstrate that they did, Mr. President.

Not all Trumps are as clueless as POTUS

What do you know about this?

First daughter Ivanka Trump has said something Dad couldn’t bring himself to say, which is to condemn white nationalists, and neo-Nazis.

Ivanka fired off a tweet that said: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

The young woman just took several giant steps beyond what her father, the president of the United States, said rather meekly about the Charlottesville, Va., riot that resulted in the death of a counter protester.

It all started when a group of white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers protested the decision to take down a state of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went downhill from the get-go.

The president then blamed “many sides” for the violence, refusing to call out the hate groups that provoked the riot in the first place. The president seeks to portray himself as a strong man. He instead comes off as a weakling, a wimp.

So now Ivanka has entered the discussion with a patently reasonable and well-aimed statement that should have come from the president of the United States.

Here is how to respond to violence

There’s been no shortage of outrage being expressed today over the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va.

It has come from across the partisan divide. Republicans and Democrats alike have spoken eloquently about their outrage at the violence perpetrated by the white supremacists who gathered there to make whatever statements they want to make. They have spoken as one.

I want to share a statement that came from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who’s been a target of this blog on many occasions over the years. Today, though, I want to applaud Sen. Cruz for speaking eloquently and passionately about an incident that has consumed the nation.

It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great Nation with bloodshed. Heidi’s and my prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the ongoing violence in Charlottesville. The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to speak their minds peaceably, but violence, brutality, and murder have no place in a civilized society.

The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate. Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.

These bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail. America is far better than this. Our Nation was built on fundamental truths, none more central than the proposition “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

Well said, sir. Thank you.

Campaign becomes ‘race war of attrition’

ClintonTrump-Split_jpg_800x1000_q100

Donald Trump calls Hillary Clinton a “bigot.”

Clinton says Trump’s campaign is being fueled by white supremacists.

Back and forth they are going. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, says his Democratic opponent, Clinton, is the enemy of black Americans.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/trump-clinton-bigotry-fight-227443

Is this what we — the voters — are going to get from now until Election Day?

I do hope the campaign can evolve into something a bit more edifying and educational.

I remain befuddled by Trump’s immigration policy … his softening and then re-hardening of his plan to deport undocumented immigrants.

What’s more, I also am equally befuddled as to how Clinton is going to explain whether foreign governments have sought favors from her by their huge donations to the Clinton Foundation and/or the Clinton Global Initiative.

This week, though, the candidates are exchanging rhetorical artillery fire over who between them is more of a bigot.

Is there any reason to doubt just why public opinion surveys indicate such a low opinion of these two major-party candidates for president?

Listen to the doctor, Mr. Trump … on second thought

carson

Ben Carson knows what bigotry looks like.

He also knows that using the term “bigot” in a battle between candidates for the highest public office in the land is counterproductive in the extreme.

The former Republican candidate for president has advised his party’s nominee, Donald J. Trump, to cease calling Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a bigot.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/ben-carson-trump-clinton-bigot-227453

Dr. Carson said this about Trump’s name-calling:

“I kind of left that behind in the third grade. I certainly don’t encourage it because the issues that we’re facing are incredibly important—for us and for the future generations.”

Do you think Dr. Carson, the surgeon who’s also African-American, will be able to persuade Trump to cool it with the bigot talk?

Probably not.

As Trump’s campaign continues its flailing ways, the candidate is left to say things about Clinton that have nothing at all to do with policy differences he might have with her. Oh, but wait! Trump doesn’t have any policies of his own, which leaves him to rely on the insult machine he oils daily.

Carson, of course, isn’t going to let Clinton off the hook, either. “That’s what people do who don’t have anything to talk about,” he said while referring as well to Clinton’s use of the term “racist” to describe Trump’s statements.

While the Democratic nominee attacks the words that come from her opponent’s mouth, Trump has decided to define his foe’s character by accusing her of being an outright bigot.

This campaign should proceed on a much higher plain.

I fear that it won’t.