Saturday my newsfeed on Facebook was filled with shock and horror at the events unfolding in Charlottesville,VA. White supremacist protesters using repulsive words and imagery turned to violence and terrorism against those who disagreed with them. Donald Trump tried to place the blame on everyone who was there when it was more than obvious who as truly to blame. Soon my newsfeed switched from reports of what was happening to attacks on Trump. People said he was the reason this terrible event had happened, they placed 100% of the blame directly on his shoulders.
It is easy to understand why they posts I was seeing moved in this direction. Trump has use racist rhetoric again and again. He has attacked the rights of transgender Americans. He has adopted hate as the primary message of his presidency. But Trump is not to blame for the events in Charlottesville.
Yes, Trump emboldened the Nazis and white supremacists and other un-American protesters that were there, there can be no doubt about that. But it can also not be denied that racism and hate existed long before Trump was ever born. America has a long history of hate and oppression and using hate to divide and oppress us. What we saw last Saturday was just a continuation of what has been going on in America since before it ever existed as a country. Trump did not cause this, he has simply opened the curtains and let the light shine in on this hate so some of us can see it more clearly, though for many it has always been crystal clear.
Now we are seeing more and more people speak out. That is a really wonderful thing, but they need to be speaking out about the real issue.
If you watched that horrible scene of a car running over pedestrians and thought to yourself "Trump has to be stopped" you need to stop and rethink things. Trump is terrible for America and I hope we can find a legal and peaceful way to make his stay in the Oval Office as short as possible. The thing is that getting rid of Trump won't solve our problems. Putting all of our efforts into getting rid of Trump is like taking a cough drop for lung cancer. Trump isn't our problem, he is only a sad symptom of our problems.
If we could some how manage to impeach Trump, an almost certain impossibility as things currently stand, we would all have a period of celebration, but in a few years we would find someone else, more or less like Trump back in the White House. Our House of Representatives and Senate and our state legislatures would still be filled with people more or less like Trump. Our problems would still remain, we would just be enjoying a few moments of false celebration over our accomplishment of very little. We shouldn't be as concerned with stopping Trump as we should be with stopping the hate that put him into office.
If instead of fighting Trump we begin to fight hatred and misinformation and propaganda we will defeat Trump. More than that we will have defeated future Trumps. If we refuse to let racism and bigotry easily exist in America we will make it impossible for any more Trumps to ever get elected. If we take the time to escape our own bubbles, if we realize that while we are decrying racism on Facebook all of our friends on Facebook look just like us, if we put the effort into disowning our privilege, this is how we will defeat the present and future Trumps. If we only focus our anger on Donald J. instead of working to end the hate and ignorance that put him into power, we will fail and the Trumps will own our nation for the period of time they can avoid destroying it. Fight the disease,not the symptom. Work for the cure, not for self satisfaction. Worry about winning the war for the soul of our country, not the election. This is how we will make America greater than it has ever been.