To The Daily Sun,
We saw the real Trump at the Tuesday press conference after Charlottesville. A white nationalist sympathizer. He didn't like what the teleprompter fed him Monday so he returned to his initial statements and doubled down. White supremacists were very pleased with his bizarre false equivalencies. There are no "both sides" with bigotry. There are no "many fine people" marching with neo-Nazis and white supremacists who chant "Jews will not replace us" and the N-word. The national backlash from citizens, activist groups, churches, think-tanks, corporations, and politicians from both sides with nearly every poll showing him with the lowest approvals ever and 60 percent disapproval.
And now he has pardoned Sheriff Joe Arapaio, a despicable anti-immigrant racist convicted of contempt of court for the continued racial profiling of Latinos. As the editorial board of The Arizona Republic stated, "By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just okay with him. It is a goal." Some law and order president! To increase his bigotry bona fides and to embrace more hate, Trump then banned transgenders from the military, a move with no rationale.
After Charlottesville and Trump's complaints about Confederate monuments being taken down, Baltimore immediately removed four that night, including one of Chief Justice Taney, who ruled in the 1857 Dredd Scott case that African-Americans, free or enslaved, could not be citizens because of their ancestry and that to grant them freedom in a free-state deprived slaveholders of their "property rights." During Reconstruction, African-Americans made great gains in the South but when it was abandoned in 1877, southern legislatures throttled up to disenfranchise them and create an American apartheid. Then came Plessy v. Ferguson in 1895, which ruled those "Jim Crow" laws were constitutional. "Separate but Equal" became the law of the land. Monument building exploded. Hundreds of thousands of Blacks lost the right to vote under Jim Crow laws. Wiki notes in its Plessy v. Ferguson article, "Historian Rogers Smith noted on the subject that lawmakers frequently admitted, indeed boasted, that such measures as complex registration rules, literacy and property tests, poll taxes, white primaries, and grandfather clauses were designed to produce an electorate confined to a white race that declared itself supreme," notably rejecting the 14th and 15th Amendments to the American Constitution." Sound Familiar?
Consider the "Silent Sam" monument dedication by Industrialist Julian Carr in 1913 on the UNC campus. Carr claimed Confederate soldiers "saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South," and as a consequence, "the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States" (Carr Papers at UNC, 1892-1923). The erecting of the majority of Confederate monuments coincides with Jim Crow laws, Plessy v. Ferguson, and the intentional disenfranchisement of African-Americans by state governments. There was also a noticeable uptick in monument building during the South's violent resistance to the civil rights movement beginning with the 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which nullified Jim Crow. But what gained great prominence in the South during the civil rights era was the re-emergence of the Confederate flag. That flag became a symbol of resistance to the civil rights movement. Around this time, the KKK also adopted that flag.
Politifact states "that Confederate symbols are political statements aimed at African-Americans is backed up by history, say experts," They are not simply "history" or "heritage" but homages to the most morally depraved period and its symbols in American history. The majority of monuments erected and the re-emergence of the Confederate battle flag were "in-the-black-man's-face" statements of white supremacy, apartheid, and oppression and that is why they have to go. Monuments have come down in over two dozen cities since Charlottesville with more proposed. We have history books for "remembering history."
- Written by Edward Engler
- Category: Letters
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