What’s Next?

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After the violent clashes in Virginia, America looked to the President for healing.  Instead Trump could only think about his own obsession of winning an argument with the media.

As a result, we have a President who insists those who support Nazi’s and white supremacists deserve the same respect and consideration as those who oppose those views.

It is true that the First Amendment protects even hateful speech.

It is not true that we have to provide a place in our society for racists and hate mongers.

It is true that the constitution does not protect those who choose violence as a means of protest.

It is also true that there were groups from both sides who came prepared to fight.

But the gathering in Virginia was organized by hate groups for the sole purpose of inciting a response from those who oppose those views.  There was only one person murdered.  A Nazi sympathizer used his car to kill a peaceful protestor.

In this country, the President and Vice President are the only two offices elected by all the people.  As a result, the President has a responsibility to be a moral leader for the country as well as a political one.

What happens when our President abdicates his moral responsibility to condemn those organizations that want to dismantle our democracy?

President Trump hasn’t done anything illegal.

Instead he fanned the flames of racial tension in this country which is exactly what these hate groups want.  His failure to condemn their views and hold them accountable for the violence that they incite will only embolden them.  This is not new news.  Hate groups have been fomenting race war for 150 years.

As Mitch McConnell said, “there are no good neo-Nazi’s”.  

There is no moral equivalency between Nazi’s or white supremacists and any other group in this country.

As long the person in oval office suggests that there is, these hate groups will escalate their plans to incite the widespread racial violence they feel is necessary to bring down our democracy.

 

13 Responses to “What’s Next?”

  1. Jeff Beamsley says:

    One of the conservative columnists for the Wash Post wrote a good summary of the Trump presidency.

    The U.S. president has two functions — head of government and head of state. Trump has failed miserably at the first. His inability to understand the details of policy and his lack of persuasive skills (bullying and threats don’t work, as we saw in the Trumpcare debate) have left him with only a couple of accomplishments (getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, achieving some regulatory rollbacks). But, if it’s possible, he’s performing even more dreadfully as head of state. In that role, empathy, historical perspective, humility and eloquence are all required. Trump has none of these qualities. Rather than look bigger than life, he looks like a peevish child.

    What we are seeing is what many, including myself, feared would happen. As the pressure on Trump mounts, he reverts to his primal behavior. He is defensive, combative, delusional, and impulsive. None of these are good qualities for someone with the immense power that we’ve let the president accumulate. For those, like me, who are concerned about the damage that a unified conservative government could do; a failed presidency is probably better than a successful one. But not by much.

  2. Keith says:

    “Racism is evil,” said Trump, two days after a driver rammed a car into a crowd of people in the midst of violent clashes over a white nationalist rally in the city. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the [Ku Klux Klan], neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” ABC News

    What’s next Jeff? Nothing….. the complete dishonestly of so many to fail to acknowledge that Trump has disavowed the KKK and white supremacists speaks volumes. Nothing has changed because the hatered of Trump remains. How can anything change?

    I ask you directly only one question. How on earth can you recite the company line he didn’t disavowed those groups?

  3. Ron says:

    Dear Mr. Beamsley:

    I only recently discovered your blog, and just wanted you to know how much I appreciate reading your views on this nightmare that our country is going through. You appear to be one of the very few Christians that I have found who is willing to speak out about this atrocity. Over and over, for more than 2 years now, I have been awestruck by not only the silence, but the endorsement, of the Christian right as this horrible human being has made a mockery of every single Christian and American value. They have had no qualms to look away, or justify, every single vile thing this man has said or done. They have sacrificed the dignity of our country and our standing in the world for a major power grab. And now that they have all of that power, they have no idea what to do with it. (Thank, God.)

    How many pastors have walked away from his evangelical council? As of this writing, just one. It turns out that the business community and its various CEOs are showing more moral backbone than our so-called religious leaders.

    But I do thank you for being a lonely voice in the darkness. I hope that one day your fellow Christians will take a good long look in the mirror, and choose what side of history they want to stand with. Contrary to recent opinions of the current resident of the White House, there aren’t “many sides” to choose from. There are only two. And shame on those who would contort themselves to believe otherwise.

  4. Keith says:

    Hi Ron,
    We had two choices. Did we have a better one?

  5. Ron says:

    Hello Keith:

    I’m glad that the only question you have on my post is easy to explain. The topic of the blog I was replying to above is all about what happened in Charlottesville, and the current president’s abysmal response to it. That included his bizarre description of torch-bearing Nazis marching through the city and chanting as “some very nice people quietly protesting” and his pathetic excuse of there being violent people on “many, many sides.” To be (very, very) clear, I was making a reference to the topic being addressed, not the last presidential campaign. The two sides I referencing: You either support white supremacists (which makes you one), or you’re a decent human being. Nowhere did I mention anything about the two choices we had in the last election. I, unlike the current president, understand that the campaign is long over, and he won. I am simply waiting for him to start acting like it. I hope this clears up your confusion.

    I noticed that on Thursday, you chose to use a quote from the president that he made on Monday, reading the official White House denouncement of all white supremacy groups including the KKK. He read every word with the sincerity of a hostage forced to read his captor’s statement before a video camera. All the republicans (including you, evidently) breathed a sigh of relief because he begrudgingly said the appropriate thing. But once again, he came out within 24 hours and negated any progress he had made. Maybe you missed that news conference. It was the one where you could watch poor General Kelly die a thousand deaths on camera, visibly wincing as the current president spoke. To quote this president to defend him is laughable at best. The one thing that you definitely can count on is he will contradict himself. It’s difficult to keep up sometimes.

  6. Keith says:

    Hi Ron.
    I was happy with Presdidents Trumps response on tbat Saturday afternoon. I had just seen video of the clash. Then I heard his remarks. After watching the video I can tell you I couldn’t tell who was who. Could you? Also I receive emails from progressive groups. Leading up to the event in Charlottesville they were encouraging people to show up to resist. They did. In lue of all that I thought Trumps response was not inappropriate. However the Van Jones’ of the world of course found it unacceptable. Aye the media, que the narrative, queen the Trump is a racists, etc etc etc.

    The press conference on Tuesday was a mess. Trump is abused for three days, nothing he says is accepted as “it wasn’t enough, he doesn’t go far enough.” You have to listen closely to the back and forth in the press conference and allow that is was arguementive and some of what he is quoted as saying needs follow up and at least the attempt to understand what he was trying to say. Much like president Obamas “you didn’t build that” comment. I understood what he meant. Shawn Hanity, as an example, didn’t give him that grace.

    What I find hard to get my arms around is how May on the left acutually believe many on the right actually support the KKK or neo natzies.

    Ron, the left has a pre-programmed set of words and beliefs. You simply MUST recite them to the tee and with enthusiasm or you are bashed. Look. O further then Trumps statement last Saturday.

    Here’s to hoping the majority of Dems are seeing KKK around every corner.
    Have you wondered why the media is all of a sudden?

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I ask you directly only one question. How on earth can you recite the company line he didn’t disavowed those groups?

    First it took him two days to respond to the murder in Charlottesville. How long did it take him to respond to a similar event in Europe?

    His first comments attempted to construct a moral equivalency between Nazi’s and those protesting the Nazi’s.

    Only after he was criticized for that position, did he come out with another speech where he only condemned racists.

    Then in the press conference the next day he again embraced them and defended his original position.

    This is a quick summary of his comments from the NYT.

    “I think there is blame on both sides,” the president said in a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

    Mr. Trump defended those gathered in a Charlottesville park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

    He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville.

    Basically his position is that there were some nice people there protesting the removal of a statue who just happen to have white supremacy as a hobby. They were attacked by violent left-wingers. Trump is the only guy willing to defend the country against violent left-wingers.

    He failed to show moral leadership. Instead he chose to appeal to his base who accept his claim that this is all a construction of the media who are part of the left-wing conspiracy against him.

    I don’t know how many of his base will leave him because of this. What I do know is that it puts the rest of his party in a terrible position. They have to fill the gap in unequivocally rejecting neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists while at the same time supporting Trump. Next year EVERY Republican incumbent up for election is going to be asked as least two questions by their Democratic opponent.

    1. What were your votes on healthcare?
    2. What did you say in response to Trump’s comments about Charlottesville?

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Ron,

    Thanks for your comments and support.

    Keith and I have had a multi-year conversation on a lot of topics.

    My interest is not to change anyone’s mind. I just want to better understand the nature of their belief.

    I’m also not interested in challenging belief since you can’t argue religion.

    I just want to figure out where the boundaries are between reason and belief.

    My hope is that with deeper understanding, we will appreciate that the things that we have in common far outweigh the things that we disagree on. I also hope that at some point we can become more practical in our politics. The beauty of democracy, when it is working, is we make progress as a country by following a middle path that both sides are unhappy about, but both agree is a fair compromise.

    Jeff

    BTW – My wife thinks I’m crazy. 🙂

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I understood what he meant.

    Sorry, but you did not “understand” what he meant. Instead you projected your own set of beliefs on him. He said EXACTLY what he meant to say. That’s because this isn’t the first time that he has said it. It has been a common theme throughout his campaign and it DOES resonate with a portion of his base. If he had meant to say what he said on Saturday, he would have repeated those words. He CHOSE NOT to repeat those words. Instead of healing the country and reminding everyone that there is NO PLACE in a democracy for racism, neo-Nazism, or white supremacy – he chose to pick a fight with the press on who was right.

    What I find hard to get my arms around is how May on the left acutually believe many on the right actually support the KKK or neo natzies.

    Ron, the left has a pre-programmed set of words and beliefs. You simply MUST recite them to the tee and with enthusiasm or you are bashed. Look. O further then Trumps statement last Saturday.

    Here’s to hoping the majority of Dems are seeing KKK around every corner.
    Have you wondered why the media is all of a sudden?

    You missed this too.

    The issue is whether or not racists, neo_Nazi’s, and white supremacists have a place at the table in our democracy. There is no question that our constitution protects their right to express their opinion. After Trump’s remarks, however, there IS a question of whether or not this is acceptable behavior in our society.

    The reason the press are all over this is because they have been warning about the growth of the fascism and white supremacy since Trump began his campaign. That’s their job.

    When he DEFENDS them, for whatever reason, we have entered VERY dangerous territory.

    This IS NOT an issue of the press or the “left” over reacting. This is an issue of the most powerful man in our country suggesting that people can support “white power” and also be nice.

    I am saddened that those who support Trump are willing to accept this behavior. But fortunately, we have another election coming soon.

    I’ve also seen some interesting reporting that suggests that if the Dems do get control of the house Trump may resign rather than deal with another two years of investigations into his personal finances (which certainly would occur).

  10. Keith says:

    I don’t have time. It you are projecting YOUR bias of Trump into the statements he’s made, inartfully I agree. He simply said there were two sides involved eight the violence. I don’t believe his comments to mean he called them morally equal. He was referring tot the violence.

    Sorry I haven’t been responding lately. Very busy.

    Hope you’re well my friend.

    For the record. I oppose KKK white supremacist and all others like them. I also know no other conservatives that do.

  11. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I don’t have time. It you are projecting YOUR bias of Trump into the statements he’s made, inartfully I agree. He simply said there were two sides involved eight the violence. I don’t believe his comments to mean he called them morally equal. He was referring tot the violence.

    I’m just taking him at his word.

    Unfortunately, you are the one who suggest that he knows what he meant by those words.

    All that I’m saying is that you can’t sincerely condemn racism and at the same time suggest that that those who were marching in the same march as those that were advocating racism and fascism are nice people. Whether you were peaceful or violent, if you are in a march that supports violence, racism, and fascism – YOU are just as guilty of violence as the person who became violent. You are just as guilty of racism as the person that carried a sign with a racist slogan. You are just guild of fascism as the young men carrying the Nazi flags.

    That’s why the discussion regarding violence is a red herring.

    The issue isn’t whether or not there was violence. The issue was that the organizers of that rally WANTED it to be violent. They accomplished their goal. The fact that Trump focused on the violence rather than the message behind the violence was just icing on the cake for them.

  12. Keith says:

    You are not taking him at his word. You are taking which words of his you’d like. Also you are taking his words from a combative moment where he is arguing with a reporter who is also making a false narrative of his comments. He is speaking of the violence.

    Side note – Chelsea Clinton call the KKK Lucifer. Her father said of Senator Byrd at his furneral “he was only doing what he had to do”

    How far do we want to take this. Eliminate the democrat party?

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    You are not taking him at his word. You are taking which words of his you’d like. Also you are taking his words from a combative moment where he is arguing with a reporter who is also making a false narrative of his comments. He is speaking of the violence.

    Sorry. No sale. He had all of the right words from his previous speech. He could have easily repeated them again. Instead he used other words. The words that I quoted. It is not the fault of the reporter. It is the fault of the president.

    BTW, he was NOT talking about violence when he said, “You have people who are very fine people on both sides”.

    Please stop trying to defend him. You are only making yourself look worse. Best advice when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.

    Look at what Mitch McConnell is doing. His first response to Trump’s comments was, “There are no good neo-Nazi’s”. Today he said, “My view is that most news is not fake”.

    He understands that it is time for him to distance himself from toxic Trump.

    Side note – Chelsea Clinton call the KKK Lucifer. Her father said of Senator Byrd at his furneral “he was only doing what he had to do”

    Not sure what this has to do with anything. Please explain your context.

    If you are trying to drag out that same claim that Trump made during the campaign regarding Robert Byrd’s affiliation with the KKK in his youth, here’s what the NAACP had to say about Byrd after his death.

    “Senator Byrd reflects the transformative power of this nation,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Senator Byrd went from being an active member of the KKK to a being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and many other pieces of seminal legislation that advanced the civil rights and liberties of our country.

    “Senator Byrd came to consistently support the NAACP civil rights agenda, doing well on the NAACP Annual Civil Rights Report Card. He stood with us on many issues of crucial importance to our members from the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, the historic health care legislation of 2010 and his support for the Hate Crimes Prevention legislation,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “Senator Byrd was a master of the Senate Rules, and helped strategize passage of legislation that helped millions of Americans. He will be sorely missed.”

    Byrd himself regrets his association with the KKK. He called joining the KKK “the greatest mistake I ever made.” In 2005 he said, “I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times … and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened.”

    I couldn’t find your quote from Bill Clinton. Can you please give me the reference.

    Here’s the quote I did find from his funeral.

    “They mention that he once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, and what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means,” Clinton said. “He was a country boy from the hills and hollows of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected. And maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does. There are no perfect people. There certainly are no perfect politicians.”

    This is quite different from your quote. It doesn’t absolve Byrd of any responsibility. It only recognizes that he did a lot of good in an effort to atone for his earlier mistakes.

    Both of these comments support Jonathan Haitt’s claims that I summarize in the next post. Racism is toxic in this country and Trump just poured a whole bucket of toxic over himself with his comments.

    How far do we want to take this. Eliminate the democrat party?

    Feel free to eliminate the “democrat” party since it doesn’t exist. That is just a pejorative conservatives use in place of the real name of the party. Not sure what name calling has to do with anything either. Perhaps you can help me out.

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