Saturday, August 12, 2017

Back - but not happily

I haven't posted here again in over a year. I'd been vacillating over whether to discontinue and shut down the blog as I just haven't had the time and motivation to maintain it. Inertia set in and things were more or less left where they were.

Until today. Today, I feel the need to put down a few quick thoughts regarding the political situation in the US. Today was not a good day as the largest white supremacist demonstration in a decade (if news reports are correct) took place today in Charlottesville, VA. I have ties to that area and the University there. And the demonstration that was planned and organized by the white supremacists is the very antithesis of that area and its citizens.

Yet that did not stop them from organizing and pushing through for their plans. From an organized march last night with torches to a few thousand (again, if reports are to be believed) white supremacists waving the Confederate and Nazi (seriously, NAZI) flags around and screaming about white power and how whites need to stand up for themselves. And I'm still stunned that they were waving NAZI flags in support of their ideals!

They were opposed by many counter-demonstrators and violence quickly erupted. Probably by both sides so neither is particularly blameless here. Extremists from both sides - white power advocates and antifa (short for anti-facists) - attacked each other and the police eventually stepped in and shut down the planned demonstration (and David Duke and others of his ilk whined about how their rights were being trampled - yet didn't seem to feel any sense of irony when the ACLU supported their right to demonstrate in the first place).

That might have been the end of it - until some idiot in a car decided to drive into a group of counter-demonstrators, killing one (so far) and injuring 19 others. Video of the attack (there isn't another word for it in my opinion) quickly went viral. Then President Trump went on television and condemned the violence by all sides (specifically not calling out the fact that it was all precipitated by the white supremacists) while simultaneously extolling how well the economy is doing under his leadership and then praising himself and a few others about a new VA bill he was signing at the same time. In essence, he spoke a few words condemning the violence in Charlottesville (by "many sides") before returning to his favorite topic - himself. And he refused to condemn white supremacists. This is odd given his predilection for condemning "radical Islamic terrorism" and damning anyone who is afraid to "call a spade a spade".

He later tweeted condolences to the family of the victim of the car attack and two Virginia State Police officers killed in a helicopter crash linked to the same demonstrations - again without calling out white supremacists and their "terrorist" actions. Oh, sorry, only Muslims can be terrorists...

What many people have pointed out is that, by not explicitly condemning white supremacists, he is implicitly granting tacit approval of their actions. And, on the other side of that coin, many of his supporters say that the violence was all the act of leftist extremists and they should be held accountable while denying anything wrong on the part of the white supremacists. This is ridiculous! And yet it is a sign of where our nation stands today. We are increasingly a nation divided. The job of the president should be to find ways to bridge those gaps but it is ever so clear that this president is singularly incapable of doing so.

I fear that things will get much worse before they get better. If they get better.

Today, I weep. I weep with frustration. I weep with sadness. I weep for my nation for which I am a patriot (not to be confused with a nationalist). I hope we can overcome but I fear that will not happen until Trump, and the divisiveness that saw him into office, are removed. I pray that day comes soon.

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