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  • August 16th, 2017


by Joel M.Vance
“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists. This represents a turning point for the people of this country we are determined to take our country back we are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump”
These are the words of David Duke former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, praising the president of the United States, Donald Trump, for standing up for the horrific actions by the Klan and its associated extreme right wing white supremacist bigots in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. The Klan originated as a group to defend Christian values. So did Nazism.
What Duke said couldn’t have been said any better by the bigoted, violent Klansmen of the 1960s and their ilk who were behind the killing of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the multiple lynchings of black men, the fire hosing of civil rights workers in Birmingham, Alabama, and the beatings and other violence directed at civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama.
And how did the schoolyard Bully in Chief respond to Duke’s tweets of support? “Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the fake news media will never be satisfied. Truly bad people!” So in other words it was not the racists and violent demonstrators who were at fault but the news media for calling attention to what happened in Charlottesville. That’s our president in character and at his worst.
In 1927 Donald Trump’s father, Fred, was arrested for participating in a violent Ku Klux Klan rally in New York City. While it’s true that the sins of the father are not necessarily those of the son, there is also another old saying: “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Over last weekend Donald Trump showed his true colors, primary of which is yellow for cowardice. First he revealed his true self by equating those who celebrated Nazi-ism and white supremacy with those who were there to decry such repulsive bigotry. Then, when the country reacted with revulsion, including many in his own Republican Party, Trump obviously gave in to pressure and gave a tepid rebuke, obviously scripted by his probably horrified advisors, and forced on him. Then there was his Sunday performance in a news conference that was as bizarre as it was revolting when he doubled down on his first reaction to the violence in Charlottesville by coming within a hair of endorsing the neo-Nazis who caused the death of one person directly and the indirect death of two law enforcement officials.
There is a seed deep within far too many white people that can be activated by the sick bile of the David Dukes of the country which always threatens to blossom into a poisonous flower of hatred. If it were not so, we would not have Donald Trump as the president of us all. Obviously, he got enough votes to be elected to the highest office in the land. Every one of those Trump voters shares in the blame and the shame of having elected as our president a person who represents the absolute worst of humanity. Name a disagreeable aspect of a human being and you can find it represented by Trump.
He almost certainly is a criminal unfortunately not yet caught by law enforcement. He is a bully, a womanizer, a cheat, a coward, a narcissistic fraud who is so transparently shallow and flawed that it baffling how he gets away with it and has for so long. It doesn’t say much for the rest of us that he epitomizes P.T. Barnum’s famous statement about the birth rate of suckers. Obviously too many have been born and too many of them went to the polls last November to vote for the King of Fools.
There lives a guy just down the road from us who writes periodic letters to the local newspaper a conservative rag that gives him a forum to vent his spleen. His source of information invariably is Breitbart News, the former leader of which is Steve Bannon, now Trump’s trusted advisor in the White House.
Bannon has plenty of despicable company in the White House. Two other Trump advisors are just as bad. Sebastion Gorka, a top counter-terrorism advisor for Trump, has been linked to a Hungarian Nazi group — the group claims he is a member and he wore a medal from the group to Trump’s inaugural ball. And there is Stephen Miller, who has been described as a former mentee of avowed neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, who frequently appeals to white resentment with language from the Nazi playbook.
From the tenor of the local guy’s letters I suspect he would be an eager applicant for a job in a concentration camp. I don’t know him and I have no desire to make his acquaintance. The mere fact of his existence is disturbing, because it proves that among us are those who would decry and destroy all the values that we say we ascribe to. They are the ones who instigate violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, bringing chaos to places that usually celebrate tranquility and peace.
It’s not just white supremacy that works on the body politic like a cancer cell. There’s news that a 17-year-old brat vandalized a Holocaust memorial in Boston, the second time this summer the memorial has been vandalized. And the white supremacists in Charlottesville were carrying anti-semitic signs. Meeting hate with hate doesn’t solve the problem of hate but it’s difficult not to hate those who preach and practice violence against other human beings. Violence apparently is an inevitable aspect of the genetic code of man himself and impossible to eradicate. The best we can hope for is to temper our tendency to evil and deal with those who succumb to the temptation to commit evil to the full extent of the laws available.
Trump got elected by pandering to seething crowds of hate-filled rabble and encouraging them to chant, “lock her up” in reference to his opponent, Hillary Clinton. The counter chant now should be “lock him up” in reference to Trump himself. It may happen, and it can’t happen soon enough, for this is a man who has the capacity and the authority to destroy the country that was created more than 200 years ago and has survived through catastrophe and calamity for those many years. But we have never seen a time so perilous and fraught with danger to what was created by our forefathers and what we hold so dear.
The party of Lincoln is beginning to realize that it has created a Frankensteinian monster, one that is out of control. Whether the Republicans will have the courage to do what is increasingly obvious- get rid of the scourge on the presidency- or not is iffy. It would take courage and the Republicans have shown a decided lack of that when it comes to doing the right thing. They’ve all too often chosen partisan politics over the greater good.
I worked for two years in Montgomery Alabama, for the Alabama Journal in the 1950s. And I got to see racial prejudice firsthand. Martin Luther King was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church at the time, a rising star among civil rights advocates but not yet the icon he would become. He had organized a bus boycott which lasted a year and nearly bankrupted the bus line and finally resulted in desegregation of the city buses and made Rosa Parks a household name. The violence and unrest of the 1960s was on the horizon but not yet present, yet Montgomery always had an undercurrent of racial unrest present like the humming of a high tension electrical line, the kind you don’t want to tamper with.
My home, Missouri, was not exactly an exemplar of racial integration, but it still was better than Alabama and they didn’t serve grits for breakfast. My hometown, Dalton, with barely 200 people, still was segregated with the white population on the front, lower side of a bluff which historically had been the bank of the Missouri River before that fickle river decided to change its bed to three miles south. The black population was on the top of the bluff and there was a vocational school there for African-Americans, patterned on the famed Tuskegee Institute. In delicious irony the 1993 Missouri River flood wiped out the lower part of Dalton’s white area and then someone bought the elevated Main Street and demolished every single building on it. Dalton now has a total population of 75 or fewer and is a virtual ghost town, haunted by the prejudice of yesteryear.
Black and white people mingled in the two grocery stores, but they did not socialize other than casually. It was the accepted mode of segregation, common in the Old South. And at that time the rising tide of integration was still somewhere over the horizon. Despite the 1954 Supreme Court desegregation of public schools, segregation still was de facto. Keytesville high school, where I graduated in 1952, refused to play in a basketball tournament that featured a team with black players. Our team was all white and it would be years before black students appeared in Keytesville classrooms and on the basketball floor.
Once, when we had first moved to Dalton from Chicago where I was born and raised, I came across several black youngsters dribbling a basketball and invited them to go with me down the street to the one-room school where there was an outdoor basket and a half court. Someone complained to my folks about their son playing ball with some black kids and my folks gently explained to me that we were in a different world and needed to play by different rules.
Between Dalton and Montgomery I built a powerful resentment against segregation in any form and now I resent the poisonous influence of the Trump administration which is so representative of the repressive state governments of the Old South. Trump’s top cop, Jeff Sessions, is a closet racist and he has sympathetic allies in a Republican Congress. Echoes of the 1950s are all over Washington. And echoes of the 1930s Nazi regime also are gusting through the administration like the bad effusions from a noxious garbage dump.
His supporters say that Trump is just being Trump when he hits back. “You hit him, he hits back” is the mantra of these deluded fools. In my view Donald Trump is a deadbeat, an unindicted criminal who should be locked away, if not in a prison, certainly in a facility for the mentally ill. He has debased the presidency, he has divided the country like the inciter of a lynch mob. He is a sociopath around whom, in his view, the world revolves. There is no wrong, no apology, no sense of shame in the man. If he does it, it is right in his convoluted and warped mind.
He has to be stopped by an all too often gutless Congress which wields the weapon of impeachment before he destroys the democracy that we cherish and, given his bellicose blustering toward North Korea Venezuela and, for that matter, the rest of the world, the country itself.

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  1. Sandra

    August 16th, 2017 at 11:45 am


    Thank you for your words that so effectively describe the state of our country. It is truly scary and frustrating!

  2. Carrie Jo

    August 16th, 2017 at 11:59 am


    Right on, Joel Vance, right on. Someone had to do something soon.

  3. Timothy Barksdale

    August 18th, 2017 at 10:26 am


    Thank you for expressing such a clear statement which I feel contains a logical progression.

    It is funny how some folks have even twisted conservation into being something other than conservative. I feel each of us, who care about land and the ethics of stewardship are performing an important function. Each of us who are educated and take time to express ourselves clearly and carefully are also making a commitment to peaceful co-existence with Nature. This harmony logically extends to all people, regardless of race, creed, or just about any other factor.

    Change scares all of us to some extent, but the irony lies more profoundly in the clinging nature of those who refuse to even discuss peacefully the changes which all life undergoes.

    Things which were one way when we were younger, change. New ideas flow forward and some grasp new solutions. This is progress. Life and history show us that it has always been this way. Letting go of outmoded beliefs and antiquated ways of life are very hard for all humans.

    But the defense of the most sacred values of conservation protect all equally as well. The reverence of Nature naturally extends to all beings.

    I admire your forthright statements and applaud you for expressing them clearly, we are in harmony and solidarity.

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