Not condemning white nationalists encourages them

Dear President Trump,

A wave of sadness washed over me on our way to where we planned to walk the dogs this morning. It was no doubt fueled in part by being exhausted from having been at the vet ER at midnight last night with the little dog who couldn’t stop licking. He seems better today after getting some pain meds and a different anti-nausea med, but we’re all pretty wrecked from the ordeal, small as it was in the grand scheme of things. So yes, that’s definitely part of it.

But really, way more of it has to do with feeling bereft and angry about you and where our country is and where we seem to be heading. Laura showed me video this morning of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holding one of the women who was widowed on Friday in the terrorist attack in Christchurch. Ardern was completely oblivious to the cameras as she hugged the woman, spoke in her ear, listened to her as she cried into her neck and shoulder. Ardern hugged the toddler in the woman’s arms and held them both for long minutes and then turned and walked with the woman, holding her hand. She then greeted a male elder with a warm embrace, more tears, and quiet words in his ear, nodding slowly in response to what he said to her. His appreciation of her presence, her emotion, her love was apparent in his eyes.

This is what it is to be a leader of all one’s people.

The contrast with you is devastating – you were asked not to go to Pittsburgh after The Tree of Life terrorist attack because the leaders there thought your presence would be divisive and patently unhelpful. Of course you didn’t listen and you went and your disingenuous presence was divisive and patently unhelpful.

And thus far, no one in the media seems to get that your failure to robustly condemn the terrorist attack in Christchurch is sending a deliberate message to white supremacists. Jennifer Rubin isn’t the only one who is missing the mark, but she went to some effort in laying out a clever, but woefully insufficient hypothesis regarding your tepid, lame, non-response. She concluded that it doesn’t serve your Trump-first agenda to call out rightwing, white supremacist terrorism because it doesn’t whip up your base like your ban on people coming from predominantly Muslim countries or your border wall horseshit does.

Rubin correctly concludes that your lack of response to the full span of terrorist attacks is endangering Americans (and countless others in the wider world), but it’s much, much worse than a simple Trump-first motivation. By not condemning hate in all its forms, you are giving implicit permission to “the very fine people” who want to kill and maim and terrorize the people you constantly say are less-than, who you say are “evil rapists” from so-called “shithole countries.”

We have to call this out and not tiptoe around the fact that you, our president, the leader of the free world, are stoking and encouraging violence, that you are providing cover for white nationalists. This is why I am sad, angry, and scared. You are doing these things and those who are charged with calling you out don’t seem to appreciate what you are doing. I hope I’m just reading or watching the wrong things and there are people who get it, but at this point you are far more dangerous than anyone is saying and we need people with real exposure and clout to be shouting it from the rooftops.

May we recognize the true dangers you pose.
May we be willing to face the implications of having a white nationalist as our president.
May we understand that the health of our democracy is failing badly.
May we not make peace with or give another inch to the would-be autocrat currently in office.

Tracy Simpson

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