There was never a time when soldiers of conscience were able to win by waving roses alone in the face of their well-armed enemies. Yet, violence is an ineffective tool and an oxymoron. Waging war for peace is a lame justification bloodthirsty hawks might claim. In the eternal war between good and evil, today’s battle is liberals and conservatives with universal moral values versus white supremacist. This battleline became clearer when President Trump sanctioned bigotry and racism. In his response, Trump was dismissive of a white supremacist murder of Heather Heyers in Charlottesville, VA as he plowed his vehicle into a group of peaceful counter protesters. He went further by equating both sides: racist protesters with anti white supremacist counter protesters, insisting that “there is blame on both sides.”
What is worse is that the killer had adopted terrorist tools lifted from ISIS’s playbook turning his car into a weapon. A troubling development when the leader of the free world is as dismissive of such killing in a similar manner as Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Baghday and others terrorist leaders. This is a very dangerous precedent putting Trump on par with terrorist logic and rhetorical maneuvers. There is no justification Mr. President!
If it were an oversight, then let it be known that there is no wisdom in neutrality in the face of hate; lest one sides with bigotry and injustice. Deplorable as that may seem, the political fallout never caught up to the collective outrage over this incident. Those who orbit the Trump sphere were unconvincing and slow to react. Muffled calls by Republican leaders for Trump to unequivocally denounce racism including Sen John McCain and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan seem to have enticed Trump to “correct” course days after the violence that killed Heyers and injured 19. Unfortunately, he discounted those statement of condemnation of white supremacist in an off the cuff morally ambiguous comments a mere 24hrs later. No one with an iota of moral courage dared to defy his/her boss from within the administration except for Gary Cohn, a Trump advisor who resigned in protest. What does that say about the rest of the Trump administration?
A very telling silence, one that implicitly supports racism. Racists were emboldened to organizing last Friday under the “Patriot Prayer” march in San Francisco a group that supports Trump. In doing so, they are dismissing the sacrifice of those who fought Nazis in WWII, the leaders of conscience who marched in peaceful protests against racism throughout the civil rights era, and countless Americans who walked-the-walk demanding equality on behalf the downtrodden, disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Where is the moral high ground that America aspires to take? Presidents are expected to lead the nation to the path of unity and healing. Trump’s inability to read and follow the map of ethical and moral justice is terrifying. President George W. Bush’s first address in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9-11 was from a Washington, DC mosque. He made clear that Muslim-Americans are patriots and should not be blamed for the terrorist attacks. Trump’s words are not an issue of political party affiliation, not a communication mishap, nor is it a political snafu. This is premeditated and much more sinister. His next two major decisions confirm that: Banning transgender persons from the military and pardoning sheriff Arpaio.
President Trump’s directive to reverse the Obama era policy of giving transgender individuals the same rights and assigning the same responsibilities as any others who vowed voluntarily to serve and possibly die in defense of the nation and its values. The same values that Trump is currently eroding by restoring discrimination and gender inequality in the military. The LGBTQ community has been fighting and making small and steady progress leading up to a recruitment equality within the military. They had to win the support of a critical mass of the American population to apply upward pressure for change culminating in former President Obama directive to the military to accept members of the LGBTQ community into the military applying the same qualification and restriction imposed on any other individuals. Equality is achieved only when everyone is on the same footing and is afforded the same opportunities without any restrictions unrelated to function and mission.
As for Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, he was pardoned by Trump from a conviction of violating a court order to end his illegal, unholy crusade of racially profiling Latinos. "He's done a great job for the people of Arizona. He's very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration," Trump said of Arpaio. The same Arpaio who is the subject of reported abuse of his authority and unconventional violation of inmates. The list of complaints rivals the criminal RAP sheet of some of the criminals he imprisoned. Joe’s racial discrimination knows no bounds. In 2012, Arpaio held a news conference to persuade the public of Obama ineligibility to hold the presidency due to lack of qualification. The U.S. president must be born in on American soil. Sheriff Joe argued that Obama wasn’t born the U.S. and therefore doesn’t meet the requirement to hold the office. A major conspiracy theory of the “Birther Movement,” which he and Trump were two of its leading voices. Arpaio and Trump go way back “Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration," Trump confirmed.
Both decisions were announced on Friday evening which is typically when any administration wants limited coverage of its announcement. But this Friday provided Trump with additional cover as the focus of the nation is shifting toward Hurricane Harvey and the destruction in Texas where it made landfall. The White House announcements were buried in the news.
The timing of the announcements was not the only interesting thing about them, a more important observation is the common denominator. Both announcements specifically oppose obama policies and are both filtered through a racial lense. Fanning the flames of racism must not be lost on congress. Senators and Representatives on the Hill are an equal and balancing branch of government. They must hold their own in the face of racism. A different approach to the political norm is in order. Collectively, they must rise above short term gains replacing it with America’s long term greater good. The current bully sitting behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office is bound by the limits of the office. Those limits are set by the American people. Those who are willing to take to the streets must, in addition, priorities political pressure on their elected officials. Compelling them to advance the people’s will in the House and Senate. Congress must take the moral high ground otherwise they would allow for a new culture of nepotism, kowtowing and political corruption. The American people will not stand for that on the long run. If for nothing else but selfish gains and self-preservation, congress must act with urgency to help the nation heal or you will be voted out.
My latest article, "Is Trump walking the US back to social strife and inequality? link to published version https://goo.gl/6bL9uo on @AlArabiya_Eng