We saw it coming. We are not surprised. We expected them to show up on our doorstep. White Supremacists are not some apparition only discernible by those who dabble in the paranormal. It is quite amazing that the person who currently sits as President cannot see them or refuses to see them. A more disturbing assessment could be that the current person sitting as President sees White Supremacists but is not disturbed by their presence or support for his views, policies, and presidency. In all fairness to Trump, no matter what he had said in response to the events in Charlottesville, it would not have been enough because the current President has lost all moral authority and credibility to address issues of ethnicity and race. From the moment that the Republican standard bearer descended those steps at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for President of the United States the country has been a downward ethnic and racial spiral. He referred to Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers. The phraseology was brief but the connotations were extremely long and deep. Recently, the current President also stated that he is pushing for a new immigration policy that favors people who can speak English. Once again, the connotations run deep. He has proposed a ban on Muslims. He has hinted at the idea of Marshall law in Chicago. He has created a bogus commission on voter fraud whose sole intent is to provide cover for concerted attempts to use voter suppression tactics to curtail the Black and Latino vote. Such policies would also attempt to curtail college students as well. He has backed away from monitoring police violence. He sides with the NRA in their absolutist position against any type of gun control. In short, this is one of the most reactionary presidencies.
Racism is no stranger to the White House and men who occupied the Office of President. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence; however the final draft omitted references to African enslavement. Jefferson founded the University of Virginia that is located Charlottesville. As President, Jefferson owned Africans and fathered children by one of the enslaved women. He wrote about the inferiority of the Africans and how they should be returned to Africa or sent to Africa due to the African’s inability to assimilate with Whites in American society. Abraham Lincoln is taught to American school kids as the President who freed the enslaved Africans. What is not taught is that few, if any, Africans received freedom based on the Emancipation Proclamation. What is not taught is that Lincoln believed in Black inferiority. Also what is not taught is that enslavement continued after the Civil War until ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Given the history of Presidents and this nation, it would be dishonest to say that we are surprised about the White House response to Charlottesville. As stated above, the White is no stranger to racist. However, what is happening now is something that many American thought had passed. We believed that despite Reagan campaigning in Philadelphia, Mississippi, he also signed the King Holiday into law. George W. Bush signed the Voting Rights extension. Despite Bill Clinton’s signing of the Crime Bill, he appointed more African American’s to judgeship’s and federal bureaucratic appointments more than any other President before of since his presidency. Truman integrated the military. Johnson fought for the Second Reconstruction. We also elected also elected a Black man as President of the United States. Despite polls that showed increasing racial polarization, we believed that America was on an upward trajectory regarding issues of race. The current administration has wiped all those beliefs away. We now believe that the current administration could wipe away all the progress that has been made on the racial front. Keep in mind that I am not saying that America is perfect. I am saying that three steps forward could not be eliminated by one step backward. However, what we are experiencing with the Trump Administration is a full throttle retreat from Civil Rights and social progress. Many believe that the current President is assaulting what has been perceived as progress. America is now in full reactionary mode. Charlottesville is an outgrowth of President Trump. There is little to no demarcation between the words of Trump and those who promote the latest expressions of White supremacy. In the final analysis, Charlottesville was little more than another Trump rally.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”