I get it. You voted for Trump.
Well, no, I don’t. I don’t get it. It’s not like Trump hid who he was at any point during the race or during his first (sigh) 200 days.
But you wanted a Republican agenda, and you were disgusted at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency, and you pulled the lever for the orange one. You held your nose and voted. Lesser of two evils.
Maybe you wanted to believe his shenanigans were an act. His stir-the-pot, say-something-outrageous-and-watch-the-media-jump antics were a means to an end, and not just an end in themselves. Seven-dimensional chess. The real point was that he was going to make America great again. Shake up the system. Drain the swamp. Lock her up.
And maybe it was possible to hide behind all that. “I wish he’d act more presidential, but…” Point to healthcare instead. (Oh, wait.) Point to his wall instead. (Hmm, maybe not.) Point to the Republican-controlled congress and all the progress they’re making. (Yeah, about that…)
But you can’t hide behind that anymore, can you? You can’t, with any ounce of dignity or plausible deniability, say that you “wish he’d act better.” Because he has now laid out on the table exactly who he is for everybody to see. It doesn’t get simpler than condemning white nationalists. It doesn’t get easier than saying “those dicks over there? The ones flying swastikas on the streets of America? Yeah, they’re not okay.” You don’t have to wait two days for “the facts to come in.” (When does this guy ever wait for facts, anyway? He’s got a tweet locked and loaded for anybody who rubs him wrong on literally any other topic, but literal Nazis? Nah, let’s make sure we have full information.) You stomp on it. Set fire to it. Throw it over the fence. Put as much daylight between you and that ideology as you possibly can.
But he can’t (or won’t) do that.
I can’t say I’m surprised, and really, nobody should be. But maybe you are. Maybe it’s possible that you thought this was all an act, that he courted the support of these people to further his political ends.
But you see that’s impossible, right? This ridiculous stand for the wrongest thing possible is costing him politically no matter how you look at it. There’s no reason for it other than that he supports these people, or at the very least, doesn’t think they’re a problem.
And that’s a problem.
The president should be unifying us, but instead he’s dividing us more and more at every turn.
He should be supporting and protecting the lowest among us, and instead he’s empowering the worst among us (to be clear, those would be the Nazis and white supremacists) to prey on and intimidate everybody else.
The Trump train is heading for a catastrophe. Let’s not kid ourselves: already it’s a catastrophe, but now it’s a catastrophe heading for calamity.
One is dead in this conflict, and he can’t call those responsible by name.
And they’re planning more rallies this weekend. One in my home city. And worse than the fact that they’re doing it to begin with is the fact that now they feel empowered because the president (who they clearly identify as one of their own, and he doesn’t seem to want to decry that characterization, either).
Decrying his bad behavior is no longer enough. Republicans coming out and condemning white supremacy in the wake of this — that’s, like, less than the bare minimum. Condemning white supremacy is the default position for a human. You shouldn’t have to announce that you don’t approve of it, and yet doing so is somehow seen as a brave stand by those who have hitched themselves to Trump’s wagon for 200 painful days.
It’s not enough. Talk is cheap. It’s time for the people who held their noses and voted for Trump to stop blindly defending this old, racist monster. And stop supporting the cowardly Republicans who won’t stand up to him.
You can’t pretend anymore.
It’s time for him to go.
Past time, really.
But there’s no time like the present.