Another day, another headline linking Donald Trump to racism and violence. Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi was burned out by someone who spray-painted “Vote Trump” on the side of the building before fleeing the scene. Hopewell Baptist Church is a black community of faith.
Trump supporters will, with their usual total disregard for evidence and reason, be quick to accuse liberals, Muslims, gays and immigrants for having committed the arson to make their candidate look bad. The sad history of arson against black churches in Mississippi, the incongruence of accusing partisans of tolerance and nonviolence for an act of intolerant violence, as well as the fact that burning a black church fits perfectly with the kind of rhetoric loudly proclaimed at Trump rallies, will do nothing to change their tune. The bandwagon that Sarah Palin drove over the cliff of illogic has been in free-fall for years and now features a smirking, orange golem behind the wheel. Here is one of many, many examples:
The Trump campaign issued a typically insipid statement condemning the act while saying nothing about racism, intimidation or violence in general. Why would they? Racism and the threat of violence are the themes playing under the surface of Trump’s symphony of destruction. Apologies to Megadeth.
After the recent endorsement of Donald Trump by the official newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan, the Trump campaign called the newspaper “repulsive” and claimed to denounce “hate in any form” – in stark contradiction to pretty much everything Trump says when he’s not praising himself. Again, there was no condemnation of the racism and the violence against minorities that are the KKK’s claim to fame. How could there be? The racist Right is Trump’s base. David Duke, former KKK Grand Wizard, openly praises Trump: not for having inherited millions or squandered billions, not for separating gamblers from their cash, nor yet for avoiding taxes or military service, but specifically for his oft-repeated promises to persecute immigrants.
None of this is any surprise. What we need to remember is that Trump is the elected candidate of the Republican Party. The day after Trump loses the general election, the GOP will begin selecting his replacement. They will hardly find one as repulsive in every way as Donald Trump, but the same people who chose Trump will be doing the choosing again.
It is hypocrisy to publicly incite violence and foment hatred, then issue a disclaimer when someone turns your words into actions. It is cowardice to pander to racist extremists for their votes. Greed is the motivation, and there is no better poster boy than Donald Trump.
Once the GOP was the party of Lincoln, the liberal party that fought for oppressed minorities and for a more decent and just society. Now they rely on fear, hatred and ignorance to manipulate a dwindling base of voters. Republicans cannot even truthfully call themselves conservative any more when all they seek to conserve is the rampant concentration of wealth at the expense of their own constituents. It would take incredible fortitude to renounce the unholy trinity of hypocrisy, cowardice and greed. Frankly, it is hard to imagine that the GOP will ever recover from its current state of existence as the political tool of the neo-feudal billionaire bloc. I wish they would; true conservatives are as necessary for a nation’s health as true liberals, advocating for necessary restraint while their liberal counterparts push for beneficial change. We will see if this year’s post-election GOP autopsy is performed with more honesty, humility and courage than in 2008 and 2012.