This is what Trump’s America looks like

And it is ugly . What we are witnessing in Charlottesville, VA are the results of Trump’s racist, xenophobic, misogynistic rhetoric having emboldened the worst elements of society. Unfortunately this will not be the last because Trump’s administration will do nothing to disavow them but will continue to send signals that he is on their side.

In the middle of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville on Saturday, two young women, one white and one black, took each other’s hands and held them tightly, and with their other hands they gripped the steel barrier in front of them.

A few feet away, a young white man with a buzzed haircut and sunglasses leaned towards them over a facing barrier. “You’ll be on the first f*****g boat home,” he screamed at the black woman, before turning to the white woman. “And as for you, you’re going straight to hell,” he said. Then he gave a Nazi salute.

For the third time in a few months, white nationalists had descended on the small, liberal city of Charlottesville in Virginia, to protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

This time they came under the banner of the so-called “alt-right”, for a rally they called “Unite the Right”. They were a motley crew of militia, racists, and neo-Nazis, and some who said they simply wanted to defend their Southern history.

They gathered early in the morning at Emancipation Park – formerly Lee Park – where the statue sits, some dressed in full tactical gear and openly carrying rifles. Others wore black shirts, helmets, and boots.

In a column they surged into the park, using sticks and their fists to shove aside anti-fascist counter-protesters. Then they blocked off the entrance with shields. Inside, David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, grinned and waved as the crowd, almost entirely white and male, cheered him on, chanting his name and putting their arms up in Nazi salutes.

In the park, in a pen ringed by steel barriers, they shouted anti-immigrant, anti-semitic and racist slogans and targeted white women counter-protesters, calling them “traitors” who “needed to get subjugated”. Outside, anti-fascist protesters threw bottles of water at the white nationalists and chanted “Off our streets, Nazi scum”. Pepper spray, used by both sides, filled the air.

The speakers booked for the rally in Charlottesville were all men. The people who came to attend the rally were almost all men, and across the country the following of the so-called “alt-right” is overwhelmingly male.

The Republican party’s coded racist rhetoric opened the door to Trump getting elected. Trump does not even bother to code and thus we see the full flowering of the Southern Strategy unleashed by Richard Nixon.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Trump’s comments seemed a dog whistle message to alt-scum that it was unfortunate there was violence but oh well everyone is guilty which is pure bullshit. On the other hand, it is hard to know if Trump understands the situation or even what he was saying. He may well be parroting Steve Bannon (sp?) words and opinions.
    A man who has a problem handling a one-page briefing note may not appreciate the subtleties of those words he spoke.

    I am a rather upset that much or most of the press is not treating the car attack as a straight-forward terrorist attack. Certainly CBC seems to be downplaying it.

    I fail to see much/any difference between the “terrorist” attacks in Nice and on the French soldiers in a Paris suburb and this one in Charlottesville. Oh, wait this one was by a presumably Christian white man so obviously it cannot be terrorism.

    Over the last twenty or thirty years I have not paid much attention to internal US dynamics. International certainly, but frankly I don’t usually care about the internal stuff. I had the apparently extremely naïve impression that race relations had improves since the Detroit riots of 1967 or the Los Angles riots of 1992. I may have been wrong.

  2. jrkrideau says

    Trump does not even bother to code

    Well, anyone shameless enough to invite President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to the White House is either so unethical or uniformed, or Trump’s case both, we cannot expect him to “code”.

    You are probably lucky he’s not awarding David Duke some kind of medal.

  3. Helge Heinrich says

    I wish Trump had tweeted a bit about this:

    I don’t have time for this political correctness of honoring stupid losers. Gen. Lee is the biggest loser ever. He lost bigly, so many dead!

    And look at Gen. Jackson, average talent! I feel sorry for his soldiers, a true loser. So bad he got shot by his own men. Sad!

    When the statues were put up, they have put fake heritage above common sense. This American carnage has to stop right now!

    Drain the swamp of confederate monuments. We have to celebrate winners again!

    Washington, tremendous win! Jefferson won the war on terror, Madison made America great, Monroe: huge dealmaker, second best in US history.

  4. lanir says

    I spent part of this afternoon trying to figure out which side the terrorist was on. The first reports I read were vague.

    This does not feel like a small detail to me. Understanding where violence is breaking out is the first step toward addressing it. Violence will never resolve this issue. You’d think at the very least all those people protesting over their “southern history” could figure that out after one civil war and 150 years of varying degrees of racist violence.

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