Extreme Racism, Bigotry and Downright Lies
American voters have a real choice next week. It’s basically a referendum on Donald Trump, which is unfortunate, but he has remade the Republican Party in his own image, and too many elected Republicans have acquiesced in the most disgraceful aspects of his Presidency.
The roots of President Trump go deep in our nation’s history; we have skeletons in our closet that have re-emerged in the rise of Trumpism. They are playing out now; they need to be acknowledged, confronted and exorcised. It will take several election cycles of engaged American voters to cleanse the stench of his Presidency, its entrails, and its long and tenacious tentacles throughout American political life.
It began with the Native Americans who lived here when the English, Dutch, French and Spanish settlers arrived in what they called the “New World”. The Native Americans were slaughtered; their lands were taken, and then they were confined to reservations on the least productive land possible. They have the worst housing, educational opportunities and economic opportunities in the nation. In North Dakota, the members of tribes are being disenfranchised in the upcoming election because many Native American voters have IDs with their PO Box address rather than their residential address. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/north-dakota-native-americans-votes-stolen.html
Then we brought slaves from Africa to work the plantations of the South and bring great wealth to the plantation owners. After the Civil War, Jim Crow laws were enacted to deny African Americans the fundamental rights of citizenship. Even after the Brown v. Board of Education decision in the early 50’s and the Civil Rights Acts of the 60’s, racism persisted throughout this nation to deny African Americans equal education, housing and employment opportunities and the right to vote. The Gubernatorial candidates and Secretaries of State of Georgia and Kansas are doing everything within their power to disenfranchise minority voters so that they can win the electoral contests in their respective states. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/10/how-dismantling-voting-rights-act-helped-georgia-discriminate-again/572899/ Why not try instead adopting policies, like Medicaid expansion, that might give minority voters some reasons to vote for them? http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/gov-medicaid-expansion-voters-ballot-november-states.html
In the late 1840’s, we attacked Mexico and wrested much of the Southwest and California from Mexican landowners and their government. Denial of equal rights to education, housing, deportation sweeps, confiscation of lands and voting discrimination for Mexican Americans has persisted in California, Texas, and Arizona until very recently. https://www.history.com/news/the-brutal-history-of-anti-latino-discrimination-in-america President Trump’s attacks on voting rights, immigration rights and birth citizenship for Mexican American and Central Americans continue and exacerbate these noxious patterns and practices. Lately he proposes to amend citizenship rights enshrined in the constitution by executive edict, and to send the US military to the border to confront peaceful poor people seeking asylum.
In the late 1840’s and 1850’s, large numbers of immigrants arrived from Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia fleeing economic crisis due to the potato famine and political persecution in the aftermath of the failed democratic revolutions of 1848. They were not warmly welcomed, to put it mildly. https://www.history.com/news/when-america-despised-the-irish-the-19th-centurys-refugee-crisis The rise of the nativist Know Nothings and attacks on Catholics and Catholicism represented the backlash of our nation’s forebears. The nativist movement is alive and flourishing in certain realms of the Trump Administration with a great deal of encouragement from the President himself.
After the Civil War, the US began recruiting “coolie labor”, indentured servants, from China to work in the mines, build the transcontinental railroads and agricultural levees from which much of the wealth in California commerce and agriculture descended. Local workingmen rioted against and on occasion lynched the Chinese laborers, and in 1882, Chinese were barred from entry to the US – a condition that endured for 80 years.
After the exclusion of the Chinese in 1882, Japanese immigrants were brought to Hawaii and California to work in the fields. In turn, they were excluded from owning land, from becoming naturalized citizens, were barred from further immigration in the 1920s, and were then held in internment camps and their farms and businesses confiscated during the Second World War. Their rights were not restored until Supreme Court rulings and legislative reforms during the 1950s and 60’s.
Anti-Semitism has been a disgraceful feature of American life for centuries, and was virulent among prominent Americans, such as Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and Joseph Kennedy, in the lead up to the Second World War. But it has receded since WW II, the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. About 10% of Americans still harbor anti-Semitic attitudes; they are most common among the extreme right wing, and among some minority communities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_United_States President Trump’s election and his remarks about the Charlottesville, VA outpouring of neo-Nazis and KKK supporters have galvanized their adherents.
The President has been stoking these fires and beating these drums long before his Presidential campaign, throughout the campaign, since he became President, and in the lead up to the mid terms. Only by a very sound beating at the polls in 2018 and again in 2020, can we put a stop to this. It is vital for our nation and for the world, as he is gaining emulators, admirers and adherents in Europe, South America and the Philippines. Racism and authoritarianism are on the rise, and they must be stopped. So please vote now!
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin