Over the last several days, white nationalist terrorists descended on the city of Charlottesville, Virginia in order to protest the recent removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. As a direct result of their actions, at least three people are dead.
This is merely the latest outrage perpetrated by white nationalists in defense of Confederate symbols in general and memorials to Lee in particular. Yet there are “moderates” on the right who would have us believe that Lee was a good and noble man, that the use of him as a symbol by bigots and terrorists represents a perversion of his legacy.
On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981, which stated:
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regards to race, color, religion or national origin.
On July 26, 2017, Drumpf announced — on Twitter — that:
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.
Two years ago nine African American worshipers were killed in a racially motivated terrorist attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In the wake of the attack journalists discovered that the perpetrator had been regularly photographed with Confederate flags. Since that time a growing number of people have called, often successfully, for the removal of Confederate flags and symbols from public places.
I write today about a dangerous time in the history of our great republic; a time in which nativist prejudice rears its ugly head; an era in which xenophobic demagogues stir up irrational fears of outsiders in an effort to gain power.