In the wake of the growing violence in Charlottesville between the far-right and the police, plus counter protesters, Donald Trump took time out of his vacation to comment on the event with the following Tweet:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
I hope I will be forgiven if I find it laughable that Donald Trump, a man who has created divisions aplenty since taking office, calls out for unity. His entire ‘sales pitch’ is one of fear and hatred, lifted straight from the playbook of most of history’s worst dictators. In fact, it’s not even clear who he’s directing the line about violence to? Is he talking to the protesters or to the police opposing them?
Make no mistake, those marching in support of fascism and far-right ideals are not welcome in American society nor any decent, civilised society. Sadly, the election of Donald Trump has emboldened them, encouraged them to think that their ideas are the new fashion. These ideas are the very same ideas that people like my grandfather fought against over 70 years ago, ideas that started with the Night of Broken Glass and led to the horrors of Buchwald and Auschwitz.
If FDR and Churchill were here today, they’d be dismayed to see the tyranny they fought against rearing its ugly head in their own backyard
If Trump was serious about unity, he should show it in his own actions. He should abandon his Twitter platform, fire people like Steve Bannon (a man who proudly proclaimed that the GOP was the platform for the alt-right) and show that he is committed to the American Constitution. He should speak out against far-right groups and distance himself from the bile it creates, especially that for which he is responsible.
He should stop attacking the most vulnerable in society and direct his fire against those who would do others harm. He should work to decry those who spread lies to further their cause. He would starve the racists and bigots of the oxygen that has been given to them over the last decade.
Sadly, none of that will happen. Whatever role the so-called ‘alt-right’ had to play in Trump’s election, the President is on their side and they know it. Nothing about the man himself indicates that he will do anything to change that view. One can only hope that the American people, as a whole, will reject the far-right revival outright and move to deter its message.
My heart goes out to those in Charlottesville who are no doubt dismayed at the violence and the unwelcome attention that this march has brought them. A state of emergency is a terrifying situation to be in and I hope that its residents will take some comfort in the fact that this will not last. It might not seem like it, but it will not last. As long as there are decent, honest and brave men and women to stand against hatred and fear, the far-right will not succeed.
America will reject all forms of hatred, starting with Donald Trump.