August 15, 2017, President Donald Trump just laid bare his racist soul …
If anyone ever had any doubt as to whether Trump was merely pandering to racists and bigots (e.g. birtherism, the wall, the Muslim ban, etc.) or whether he really was one himself – today he put that question soundly to rest …
(He hasn’t shot anyone on 5th avenue (yet), but rest assured, if he ever does, they’ll still defend him …)
Laura Ingraham – on Fox and Friends – August 15, 2017
“The conversation now should really be focused on how we’re gonna treat history in the United States…. This is not about racial healing or racial unity when you see property [Confederate statues] being destroyed. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the eradication of history … we had really difficult, horrible moments in our country’s history that we were able to overcome, and at the same time we do give respect to the dead, all of our war dead. We respect them, not respect everything they stood for, but respect the fact that when the time came they stood up and fought for their views …”
Here’s the problem with this “argument” – the nub of the Trump/Alt-Right lies:
So … Ingraham insists “it’s not about racism,” it’s about historical monuments, and we should not only allow these monuments to heinous ideologies (as long as they were “historical”) but we should also respect “all of our war dead,” as long as they “stood up and fought for their views” …
Now there is a point buried in here somewhere that we are all fallible beings, and whether we care to admit it or not, under some set of extreme circumstances most of us could fall prey to heinous ideologies and do otherwise unthinkable things. (Hanna Arendt famously called this “the banality of evil.”) And yes this ought to be borne in mind with respect to the masses of ordinary people who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War.
BUT, that does not mean we ought ever raise any appearance of support for heinous ideologies to the stature of moral equivalency nor respect! You might argue that Robert E. Lee, the fallible human being, was “otherwise” a kind and honorable soul. But Robert E. Lee in the uniform of the Confederacy is a symbol of a heinous ideology. You might argue that the South was populated by all-too-human beings, who were “otherwise” good and honorable people. But the Confederate flag is not a symbol of good and honorable people – whether they “fought for their views” or not – it is a symbol of a heinous ideology. And that is what it’s really about. That is why white supremacists and neo-nazis are marching in Charlottesville – to protest the removal of a beloved symbol of their heinous ideology.
Final question for Ingraham (et. al.) – If all “historical” monuments are worthy of preservation, and everyone is worthy of respect as long as they “fought for their views” … are you likewise supporting the rehabilitation of swastikas in Germany? And heroic statues of Himmler, Goebbels, and Hitler?
Yours in utter disgust,