It’s ludicrous that some of the white supremacists who participated in the Capitol riot are actually disowning Donald Trump, even though he made their bigotry fashionable again, at least among the tens of millions in his base. In their view, Trump became a traitor when he yielded to pressure from the few remaining sane members of his shrunken staff and called off the same riotous mob he had incited with a video “plea” to “go home.”
Even though he added “we love you” and “you’re very special,” it was not enough to placate some of the supremacist seditionists (SS) who have now added their hero to their snit list with charges that he threw them under the bus. “Get out of our way,” said one. “We don’t follow you.”
One can argue that these freaks from the fringe are just giving Donald Trump the Trump treatment. The Trumpster made a habit of tossing his most ardent supporters into the dumpster whenever it suited his whims. Even Mike Pence, who spent an entire four years toadying up to him, got trashed because at the last minute, Pence wouldn’t break the law for him.
But Donald Trump made the white supremacists what they are today: a genuine threat to the United States of America. Where before they crawled along the secret sewers of super patriot intolerance, they now march with their heads high, beneath their “Proud Boy” and “Boogaloo” banners, like so many divisions of the Trump Army. Trump, as president, allowed them to wear their bigotry proudly. “I was a racist before racism was cool” was their spirited cry. Still, they are turning on the guy who encouraged them now that he is retreating with his tail between his legs.
Some of them, those who even bother debating with their critics, use the “What about ...?” argument -- as in, what about the leftist extremists who also use violence and attack police and innocent businesses in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement?
Before we go any further down this false equivalence path, let’s stipulate that all violence is bad. Having said that, let’s go back to the root causes of racial prejudice. White people brought Black people to America as shackled captives. White people built their country using slave labor and fought a war to keep the slave system. White people forced Black people to endure discrimination under Jim Crow and only grudgingly are giving it up; our society is still riddled with discrimination, including a huge disparity in the use of deadly police force against people of color.
That was the backdrop for this summer’s protests against law enforcement fatal abuses. The massive demonstrations against the outrageous discrimination were overwhelmingly peaceful and orderly. But yes, some of the demonstrators engaged in unwarranted violence, and again, let’s emphasize that all violence is unwarranted.
But at least their cause is righteous: opposition to the significant vestiges of racism that permeate our society. But, in the case of the white supremacists, they are the extremists who are the advocates of maintaining the racism. They are the ones who stormed the Capitol, along with those who are obsessed with other cultural grievances that caused them to attack democracy itself and now threaten civil war against the United States.
All because a fair election deposed the man who breathed life into their racist delusions. Some of them dream of the helter-skelter of a race war. That’s where Donald Trump’s presidency was leading us and what American citizens rejected. Although, the uncomfortable fact is that more than 70 million people continue to believe that the election is unfair, corrupt, a “steal,” or whatever word their iconic leader wished to call it. That’s who the fascists are now rejecting as too moderate.
The majority choice of Joe Biden promises to be a turn toward more moderation, at least until another authoritarian wannabe comes along.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.
(c) 2021 Bob Franken
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