We Are Not Our Grandparent's Generation

US National Guard troops block off Beale Street as Civil Rights marchers pass by on March 29, 1968
US National Guard troops block off Beale Street as Civil Rights marchers pass by on March 29, 1968

We are not our grandparent’s generation and we do not have to fight the same battles. We don’t need a wall, we need a mirror.

I’ve heard commentators say, “Maybe the Republicans and their supporters are getting exactly what they deserve,” but what about the rest of us. All that talk about wanting a straight shooter has left America with a President who cavalierly talks about firing rockets at two different countries at the same time. Haven’t we seen how this story plays out already? Jesus Christ, how short are your memories? 

Look at what is going on across this country. White supremacists are openly marching in the streets, openly appearing on cable news, and openly occupying the highest levels of the U.S. government. This cannot be the new normal. This is 2017, not 1963. We cannot allow these separatists to be sanitized by calling them things like the alt-right or white nationalists, these are white supremacists. These are racist separatists. These are our grandparents’ worst nightmare in chinos and $75 haircuts. 

We cannot allow ourselves be gaslit into submission. We cannot allow ourselves to be gaslit into complacency. We are at a fork in the road. For years Democrats have lampooned and mocked the extreme right as rednecks and inbreds. We didn’t take them seriously, why would we? In my lifetime there has been so much progress, why would I ever think that we would go backwards? Well, that’s exactly what is going on in front of our very eyes. We’re watching the rise of white supremacists and being told that it’s just our imagination. We can’t ignore what we’re witnessing. 

As white supremacists march across college campuses with racist flags, assault weapons, and torches, right wing news networks inundate their viewers with selective images of black protesters surrounded by militarized police. As Republican political pundits defend the president joking about violence against minorities, the President of the United States refuses to speak out about the bombing of a mosque in Minnesota. As our country continues to fracture in an all too familiar fashion, we have to ask ourselves whether we have what it takes to self-correct. 

Can you imagine the outrage from the right if black people took to the street with weapons, to protest a perceived slight? I can, it consistently ends with the local police dressed like seal team six and white pundits referring to the protesters and “thugs” and “criminals.” Let’s not pretend we’ll see the same outrage from those pundits when it comes to Charlottesville. That would actually require principles.

The rise of white supremacists didn’t happen overnight, it’s an illness that’s been consistently fed. Men like Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, and their millennial remixes, have helped to create an environment conducive to joking about internment camps on national tv. Political pundits like Tomi Lahren, pundits who speak without considering the consequences or basing their opinions on anything close to a fact, have become the norm.  Republicans have to ask why in 2017 white supremacists feel comfortable marching in public without hoods on. In the age of social media and camera phones. Why are white supremacists unconcerned with the potential consequences of their actions? In 2017, why are Republicans slow to criticize flying the Confederate flag, but quick to question the patriotism of Colin Kaepernick? Where does the political hackary end and consistent political policy begin?

I’m sure I’ll make a lot of enemies saying this, but we have to start taking attendance and naming names. We can’t allow the loudest voices to be the only voices heard. We can’t allow people in search of nothing other than fame and fortune to pull this country apart at the seams. I know too many rational, well-intentioned Republicans to believe that these intellectual frauds represent the entire party. Republicans have to speak up and speak out against the vitriol on display. America needs Republicans to put politics aside now more than ever. This isn’t about left or right, this is about right and wrong. 

I woke up this morning to scenes of the Klu Klux Klan and white supremacists attacking members of the clergy on my TV. My first thought was, “Is that what it looks like when America is made great again?” To wake up to that in 2017 is wrong. Period. 

We are not our grandparent’s generation and we do not have to fight the same battles. We don’t need a wall, we need a mirror.