It’s time to take a stand against hate

To the Journal editor:

We should stand for it no longer. The President has described Mexican migrants as rapists, nations that send us non-white immigrants as “s**thole countries”, Central Americans traveling toward the U.S. border as “an invasion”, unauthorized immigrants as an “infestation”, declares that non-white legislators should go back to the “places from which they came”, and calls a majority-black city with a black Congressional Representative “disgusting” and “rat-infested” . Despite his supporters twisting themselves into knots attempting to justify his vile statements, many Americans view them as the racist words of white nationalism and its close cousin, white supremacism.

Donald Trump may believe what he is saying or could be simply using these expressions in a sinister political strategy for re-election–it doesn’t matter. The real concern is the effect the words are having.

Slavery and white supremacy are our country’s original sin. It took nearly a century for slavery to be eliminated, and for the past century and a half, there has been slow advancement in tamping down the scourge of white supremacy. But even while legislative progress has occurred, a dark undercurrent of racism has persisted, even as it became socially unacceptable to voice it.

That has all changed since Donald Trump descended a golden escalator to announce his candidacy and simultaneously begin his attack on Mexican migrants.

Since then, citizens who had kept racist thoughts to themselves have been empowered and even encouraged by this President to say those things out loud. Extremists have gone beyond words and taken action–ranging from marches to hate crimes to domestic white nationalist terrorism involving assault weapons. The sudden display of disregard for fellow human beings has been as stunning as it has been disturbing.

It is up to us to turn the tide. White citizens need to speak up; when someone says something racist, it is our duty to call them on it. Those of us in faith organizations, especially white Christians, need to re-read what scripture says about showing concern for our neighbor and act accordingly. We should write our politicians and impress upon them the need to make correct moral decisions, even when they think it could hurt their election chances.

And lastly, the situation is so serious that when the next election rolls around, no candidate should receive our vote unless they have, in no uncertain terms, spoken out firmly against white nationalism.