The way to rebuff President Trump’s Hate Holiday Weekend
Trump has all but come out and endorsed right wing extremists like those that rallied in Charlottesville last year. | Composite image; Trump portion credited to Susan Walsh/AP, rest of image credited to NPR.org

As Nazis, KKKers, and the white supremacist “alt-right” got ready this weekend to descend on the nation’s capital to celebrate their killing a year ago of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, President Trump had a unique opportunity to lead a nationwide rejection of their message of hate. He could have woken up at the White House Friday morning and used the weight of his office to call upon Americans to reject what divides them and emphasize the incredible similarities that unite all of us.

Instead, he got out of bed and took to Twitter to pour salt into national wounds and to make the dangers posed by scheduled Nazi festivals and marches this weekend in both Charlottesville and outside the White House more dangerous than they already are.

The president viciously attacked NFL players who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem ahead of the Thursday night preseason games. The player protests happened in Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, and Jacksonville.

It wasn’t enough for the president to simply complain that the players “are at it again.” No, he had to add in a second tweet that players who kneel during the anthem should be suspended without pay. And even worse, he once again continued his attack on African Americans by claiming that they are less intelligent than white people.

“They don’t even understand what they are doing,” he said of the players. He began this line of attack some time ago on Rep. Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, whom he described as being “a person of low intelligence.”

“This is no surprise coming from President Trump,” radio host Mark Thompson said on MSNBC Friday morning. “For him, it is a Hate Holiday Weekend, with the haters marching in Washington and now him stirring up more hate over the athletes.”

It is appalling, of course, that as the governor of Virginia and the city of Charlottesville declare a state of emergency ahead of the anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally there the president decides to pour fuel on the fire.

It is appalling that he could not find it in himself, on the anniversary of the day Heather Heyer was killed by a Nazi who plowed his car into counter-protesters, to say a word in her memory or in her honor. He could have asked, as Thompson suggested, for example, that people spend time on the weekend learning something about others who have a different culture or background than their own.

“He could have said something so someone like Heather or Viola Liuzzo (both white civil rights activists) did not die in vain,” said Thompson. “The vast majority of white workers and African-American workers and workers of all colors have so much more in common than they have different,” said Thompson. “Why couldn’t the president remind us of that?”

People who reject Trump’s appeals to racism are mobilizing this year to turn out at the polls so they can remove the lawmakers who have enabled the haters. | Annie Rice / AP

The president’s next chance to turn around on this issue will be Sunday, when he will be able to see from his White House windows as the Unite the Right rally-goers assemble in Lafayette Square Park.

Based on his record, however, we should not be holding our breath for any such positive development coming from Trump. We are going to have to depend upon ourselves, the people.

We know there will be counter-demonstrators who reject the message of hate carried by the far-right extremists. This is all well and good, the bigger those demonstrations the better. Massive peaceful protests and resistance are a sure way to rebuff the haters this weekend.

The best and most effective rebuff, however, will be a massive turnout on Election Day in November to dump all the lawmakers who have given license to the right wing and its anti-worker, anti-people message. It is almost time to turn out of office for good all those who have laid the groundwork for and continue to carry the water for Donald Trump.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is editor in chief at Peoplesworld.org. He started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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