Watching CNN over morning coffee and shaking my head in disbelief has become a daily ritual. Every day brings fresh examples of the idiocy and bigotry of the clown college presently running this country. “Canada is a security threat — Canadians burned the White House,” “the War of 1812 — oh yeah, when was that?” are among the more egregious examples of the president’s bottomless ignorance. I have no doubt Trump would be puzzled if asked who is buried in Grant’s Tomb.
Then we have Jeff Sessions, living proof that time travel is possible because only a refugee from the 17th Century would claim Biblical authorization for ripping small children away from their screaming parents at the border. Sessions did this in a June 14 press conference. Evidently in his study of the Bible, Sessions missed the part about “love your neighbor as yourself.” Then there is his obvious misinterpretation of the verse “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” Clearly, he thinks it means, “Make the little children suffer.”
Jeff Sessions is a rigid, soulless monster of a type quite familiar to the bureaucrats of Nazi Germany. They made that government function with such demonic efficiency. Donald Trump is an ignorant, self-absorbed toad. He is rapidly plunging this nation into a morass of devastated international relationships abroad, ecological destruction, and enrichment/empowerment of the one-percent at home. Together they, along with Christian dominionist Mike Pence and their congressional lap dogs, have legitimized the worst in America — the racists, the homegrown Nazis, the gun nuts and the white supremacists. The president himself said there were “good people” among the swastika-wearing marchers in the infamous Charlottesville riot. The notion that “good people” can be Nazis is simply breathtaking. Trump is fortunate the few survivors of World War II are now much too old to march on Washington and confront him on that one.
It will be far more difficult however to disempower the devil’s brood of racists
We can fervently hope that in two short years, we will be done with Donald Trump. The next president can begin working to repair our ties with our traditional allies along with the rest of the damage Trump and his people have done. It will be far more difficult however to disempower the devil’s brood of racists, dominionists and supremacists that Trump has called forth from the woodwork.
Now we get to real point of this essay and I hope it will shock you. That devil’s brood is not located only in the distant hills of Idaho, or in darkest Mississippi. They are right here in New Jersey — and not in the Pine Barrens either. This past week I observed a flyer posted on a kiosk on Nassau Street in Princeton. It advertised a group styling itself the “New Jersey European Heritage Association.” This outfit has a website showing it to be blatantly white supremacist and virulently anti-Semitic. And this garbage shows up in Princeton, of all place — in beautiful, upscale, intellectual, and progressive Princeton!
The manifesto on their site, along with their defense of anti-Semitism is easily demolished. But argument with such “true believers” is futile. You might as well argue with the cat.
In his book American Fascists, Chris Hedges discusses lessons learned from one of his professors at Harvard Divinity School, a Dr. Adams. Adams had personally experienced the rise of the Nazis in Germany. He noted that the comfortable assumption of liberal intellectuals that truth, logic and the values of Humanism would naturally triumph was dead wrong. Dr. Adams also speculated “if as few as 1,000 of us had seriously opposed the Nazis in the 1920s, we could have prevented them from taking power.”
Arguing with the racists and supremacists is useless
So, what is to be done? Arguing with the racists and supremacists is useless. Ignoring them didn’t work in Germany of the 1920s, and it won’t work now. They must be actively opposed at every opportunity, and a bright light shined on their filth. The danger here is that paying attention to them empowers them. Unlike roaches that scurry away from the light, they are more like small, biting insects that are drawn to it. However, we have no choice but to shine that light, exposing the lies, the shoddy “science” and the skewed, cherry picked “history” they use to support their theories. We have to show in our every word and deed that racism and supremacy are not socially or intellectually acceptable. They do not have a place at the table. If we cannot change the minds of these benighted creeps, we can at least try to prevent others from falling for the con-job of their philosophy.
Freedom of speech mandates that our modern Nazis have the right to promulgate their abominations. And we must respect that right. However, we are not required to respect the content of those promulgations and we must make that disrespect manifest at every opportunity. Never were more true the words of our classic motto, “silence equals death.”
Writer Toby Grace is Out In Jersey magazine’s Editor Emeritus