What Trump Got Wrong on Charlottesville by 24h News - 1 week ago

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What Trump Got Wrong on Charlottesville.
As a conservative, I see both the social justice warrior alt-left and the white supremacist alt-right as two sides of the same coin. Both would punish others for wrongthink. Both see the other side not as opponents, but as evil that can justifiably be silenced. Both have risen in recent years as a response to the crumbling of Western civilization’s certainties.

But white supremacists, not social justice warriors, were the ones marching with citronella-filled tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va. this weekend.

That is why it is perplexing that President Trump condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.” A White House spokesman followed this up saying, “The president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.”

That is all well and good, and I am glad he said something. But this is the same president who routinely mocked and attacked Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for failing to call Islamic radicalism by its name. In Charlottesville, evil has a name, and it is white supremacy.

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Our nation has an unfortunate history with white supremacy. Our founding creed declared that “all men are created equal,” but it took much bloodshed for us to finally live up to that. Now, though, we do try to live up to our founding and belief that no race is superior to others.
The idea of white supremacy also has no place in science. We may be of different skin colors, ethnicities, heights, widths, eye colors and genders, but we are all part of the same human race. Out of the womb we are all equal, and equally in need of care. Theologically too, the idea of a superior race is anathema to our Judeo-Christian heritage. Genesis 1 makes clear that all of us are created in God’s image and likeness. To claim one race is superior to others is a sin against God, and Christians in the United States must forcefully condemn this.

Southerner whites bastardized the Bible in the 1800s claiming black sin color was the mark of Cain. It had no basis in the Bible. In fact, the story of Noah tells us that the line of Cain’s descendants was wiped out in the great flood. Others claimed the “curse of Ham,” but that too has no true basis in scripture.

Racial superiority is a repugnant idea and President Trump should condemn it by name. We should also note honestly that President Trump employs individuals who emboldened this movement. The president winked at and made kissy face with the alt-right as his advisers persuaded him it would be good politically. It is no coincidence that many of the men who marched in Charlottesville wore “Make America Great Again” hats. This president and his advisers made a nefarious evil feel comfortable coming out of the shadows.

The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, noted of President Trump’s post-Charlottesville news conference that, “When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” Silence and obfuscation in the face of evil only feeds evil. Naming and exposing evil forces it back into the shadows. The president who wanted Barack Obama to name radical Islam should take his own advice and be forceful. On a day that saw one person killed during the Charlottesville violence, the president did not need to play the “both sides are culpable” game. No side would be protesting in Charlottesville had not the white supremacists decided to march.

President Trump was elected at a time of great uncertainty. Both major political parties have become sclerotic and devoid of ideas. He offered up hope to people with real problems in this country. He offered real solutions and he promised he would fight. But it is more and more clear the president is incapable of learning on the job, rising to the occasion, or speaking with any conviction other than self-interest.

This president is our president. He is the president of the United States. But as we become less united as a nation, he seems unwilling or unable to speak with conviction and moral clarity. We will all be worse off for it.

Among the few bright lights in this weekend’s darkness has been the moral clarity of our church leaders to stand against this evil. In the absence of a moral, capable leader, it is up to them to reclaim the moral center. As long as they continue to take that stand, there will be hope.

By ERICK-WOODS ERICKSON.
nytimes.com

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