There are lots of problems in this country that our legislators fail to address. Last weekend, one event that is an example of how two of them are often intertwined occurred here in Texas. Yet another right wing, white supremacist used a gun to kill 22 people, at last count, in El Paso.
President Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for this incident in the same way that a parent is responsible when a child follows their example and does something wrong.
If Trump made a few racially insensitive jokes in private it wouldn’t be such a problem, however he makes claims that certain ethnicities are “bad people” at political rallies, in televised speeches and in tweets.
He minimizes the perceived dangerousness of neo-Nazis by saying “many of them or good people.” Whether he believes these things or not doesn’t matter, he is the President of the United States and sets an example that unfortunately many Americans are keen to follow.
Certainly a large fraction of those already felt that way before he started his run for president, but his repeated statements have given them permission to be vocal as well.
Like any mob when a loud voice starts calling for an action, others take up that call and act on it.
It isn’t just that Trump uses racist tropes and scapegoats immigrants, or that congressional Republicans or, for that matter, Texas Republicans haven’t called him out for it.
I’m truly saddened that Trump and Republicans from Congress, state legislatures, on down to some city halls would rather use his hateful, divisive rhetoric to win office than work to heal the nation and their communities.
A year ago, while right wing terror attacks were on the rise, the Trump administration dismantled a Department of Homeland Security intelligence unit focusing on domestic terrorism and reassigned the staff to different positions within the DHS. That wasn’t the first time Republicans forced dissolution of a DHS analysis group focused on domestic terror not committed by Islamists.
Congressional Republicans pushed DHS to shut down a group run by Daryl Johnson not long after President Obama took office in 2009. Johnson produced a report called Right-Wing Extremism and Republicans went nuts.
Stopping research and information gathering on right-wing violence is the same sort of head-in-the-sand behavior we see with Republicans on gun violence where they have defunded efforts to study the issue at the Centers for Disease Control.
It’s also very similar to how they hide from the global climate change crisis by defunding research by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal and state agencies.
It’s truly sad that the party of Lincoln, who did everything in his power to maintain the union, has chosen division and strife as a means to retain power.
I fault not just Republican elected officials in this.
It is the responsibility of Republican voters too, for if they don’t repudiate Trump and his enablers at the ballot box, they are in fact supporting them just like good little Nazis.
Oddly enough, George W. Bush’s claim around the time of the Iraq war that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” is very true in this instance.