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Tuesday
Jul232019

Time to Speak Out

I have listened to Trump’s statements (when I am forced to) over the years. This latest rant, telling four congresswomen (the “Squad”) to go back to their countries, was beyond the pale. I spoke out and protested to my friends, but they were pretty much in agreement. Is that enough? I feel as if I now must publicly make my protestations loud and clear. 

As shown by established case law on racial discrimination, this is a racist statement, plain and simple.  This would be especially true if the speaker was addressing someone who was born in this country and not some “shithole” foreign location. Throughout Trump’s run for president and after, Trump was openly critical of our country and the people who managed it. He was going to drain the swamp. Maybe he did. Now he has filled it with individuals who put their own financial interests, as well as their friends, above this country, and they are being indicted for their criminal acts. 

When did I frist hear that phrase about going back to your country? Might the native American Indians said this phrase to the white explorers who landed on their doorstep, pushing them out of their native lands and into reservations? Might the Pharoah have said this to the Jews when they proved to be too much to control in his kingdom? Might we have said that to Japanese-Americans before we locked them up at Manzanar, taking away their homes and possessions? Might we have said that to Mexicans when we took over Texas and California? And might not slaves, forcibly kidnapped from “their countries,” willingly and happily gone back to their former lives in Africa?

This country was formed by dissent and activism. Rebellion was in our nature as we rejected the loss of individual freedoms and overtaxation. Are we not a better country because we outlawed slavery? Are we not better for allowing women to vote? And what about implementing child labor laws and consumer protections? Dissent and activism means someone is paying attention. Someone is noticing that we can be better and demanding change. Much better to be vocal than to allow injustice to continue without speaking a word. 

If we sent such activists back to “their own countries,” even if such a country did exist, then we will have lost the voices that seek change and a better world. Who would be left? Only people who agree wholeheartedly with Trump or those who sit silently by while our freedoms and protections are destroyed? And aren’t we all immigrants, except for native American-Indians?

Trump’s disavoval of a crowd’s chant to “send her back” rings hollow. He insists he told the crowd to stop or he spoke quickly to stop their chants. The videos of the rally proved otherwise. No, he smiled (or smirked) with satisfaction at how he could control and incite his crowd.

He is a racist without doubt. I don’t expect him to change. Nor do I inspect many of his followers to change. But we have to decide who we want to b e as a country. Are we going to be ruled by fear and hatred? Or are we going to raise our voices and vote for love and compassion. I will choose love over hatred, and kindness over cruelty, with every breath in my body. I refuse to let hatred take over our beautiful, and yes, imperfect country.