August 15, 2017 is now a date that will go down in history: the day an American President defended neo-Nazis and the KKK. Donald Trump, who won the electoral college but failed to win the popular vote, endeared himself to white supremacists across this nation, inspiring David Duke, the former grand wizard of the KKK, to issue an endearing and supportive message about Trump’s “courage.”

It’s hard to know if Donald Trump believes his own lies or is just addicted to the process of lying. But this latest one — his account of the tiki-torch march through Charlottesville on Friday night — inflicted a wound on this country that may never heal. His account is that there were “good people” marching who just wanted the statue of Robert E. Lee to remain. The footage is clear, the Nazi chants of “blood and soil,” and “Jews will not replace us” are chilling. Those same people showed up the next day with loaded weapons, bags of feces, dressed in war gear. Good people do not march alongside those who traffic in such dark and bloodstained bigotry. Mr. Trump’s repeated attempts to establish a moral equivalence between white supremacists and protesters who showed up to defy them is nauseating. Anyone who isn’t heartbroken that this can happen in America, that this is the man in the Oval Office, needs to re-evaluate their soul.

When I was about 9 or 10, my father showed me footage of American troops going into Auschwitz. The film was black and white, the images of dead bodies piled like stacks of wood, and barely alive human beings looking at their rescuers with wide haunted eyes will stay with me forever. My father was clear about his reason for showing this to me. “You need to know what evil can do in this world,” he said. “You need to know what happened. Because it must never happen again.” I saw in his eyes a tinge of fear, which I was not used to seeing. He knew that evil doesn’t die. It can remain dormant — for years if we’re lucky — but eventually it will resurface. I don’t believe, though, that my father ever thought it would resurface to this degree in America, and the idea that a seated president would defend neo-Nazis would have chilled him to the bone.

It’s worth remembering that Hitler was elected president of Germany in 1934, and made no secret of his plans. He was completely clear about what he intended to do. The reason he was able to do it was that no one stopped him. People who could have spoken up didn’t.

America needs Congress to speak up — not in generalized messages, denouncing bigotry, but in specific terms. The President of the United States just defended white supremacists — we need you, our elected officials, to do something about that. We the people can rally, demonstrate, write, flood social media, but we can’t remove this man from office. Only you can do that. There will be a tipping point beyond which America as we know it cannot survive. It’s closer than you think.

When I was a child, we had a swing set in our backyard. One day I was on the swing, aiming for the sky that was thick with gray clouds. Suddenly there was a small break in the clouds and a thin shaft of sunlight shone down. My father had come out to the yard and I asked him if that could be God looking down on us, checking on us. “It could,” he answered. “God is always watching us.” I have lived my life believing that, but I have never assumed that we can sit back and wait for God to intervene when things go off course. Rather, I think He is waiting for us to act, to remember that, while evil does exist, we are stronger and louder and more defiant than the darkness that wants to swallow us.  And if the leader of this country can’t get on board with that, we need a different leader.



9 Responses to NAZIS IN AMERICA

  1. Matt Kramer says:

    In regard to drumpf winning the electoral college, the evidence is not yet in. Did drumpf win the electoral college, or did Putin?

  2. gigi shapiro says:

    Thank you Patti.. I have tears streaming down my cheek right now.. your Dad was a smart man and your words must be heard by everyone. This man must go.. Heis not sane… Gigi

  3. Rodney Wilson says:

    The president can’t get on board with your vision. He’s incapable. And most Republican politicians will do little, as long as he’s there to autograph their legislation. I’m afraid we’re quite likely stuck with him until January 20, 2021. A heartbreaking thought.

  4. Oh, my God, Patti. You are so articulate; so profound. Thank you for your clearheaded thinking and for your wonderful heart. I am terrified of this president, and of the people who continue to stand by and watch him destroy our country. Again, thank you so so much.

    Julia Schopick
    Author, “Honest Medicine”

  5. Valerie Brekke says:

    Patti, I love your writing as you are always on the mark! You wrote so eloquently exactly how I feel. Thank you!

  6. Jim Walsh says:

    I want to see a movement start to rename that Park in Charlottesville Virginia after Heather Heyer as a memorial to her loss of life. I hope you can help me spread the word. thank you

  7. Edward Jenny says:

    well said as usual Patti, we pray that someone will collectively help defuse all of the terrible experiences and restart us on the path of good. Thank you, Peace.

  8. Erika Griesemer says:

    Wow, well said. I have been struggling about this for a while. I am truly a historian whose heart is breaking because we are having trouble as a nation to find a breaking point or the light in all of this. In this life I am trying to write it out on my own blog, but I am exhausted each day and night wondering what is going to be said and yet no one has stood up on either side of the aisle. My mom said the worst thing tonight that it feels like we are not the United States of America anymore. My heart broke. Your words speak volumes, Thank you. I am still wondering who out there is willing to stand up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *