Emil Guillermo: Trump's total eclipse of American values
August 20, 2017 6:32 PM
To better understand what's happening in this great country, let's all engage in the metaphor of the day!
The total eclipse of the sun will be over in less than three minutes.
But take off the glasses, open your eyes, and see the real eclipse that's going on over the entire country.
That would be the Trumpian eclipse of logic, moral values, and democracy.
We have a little more than three years to go--though the bookmakers at Ladbrokes in England will pay 11/10 on a prop bet that Trump leaves before the end of the first term.
That's about a 48 percent chance.
I say it's likely to go higher if good people step up and condemn the president for his moral lapse; higher still, if Trump fails to recant his recanting of his Charlottesville remarks.
Once again, you'll recall Trump half-heartedly denounced the white supremacists a week ago Saturday, then fully denounced them by sticking to the prompter on Monday, then went back and reclaimed his support for those "fine" neo-Nazis and white supremacists on Tuesday. All with our Asian American cabinet member Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao standing by him, apparently brought in to talk infrastructure, but in reality used as a diversity prop, next to two Jewish administration members, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and economic advisor Gary Cohn.
Did Trump say there were "fine people" among the white supremacists and anti-semites? As he spoke to the media, Trump had the "some of my best friends" defense on display at the ready.
They should all speak out against Trump, if not abandon Herr Orange.
After the post-Charlottesville display of political and moral bankruptcy, how can anyone say Trump is fit to be president of the United States and leader of the free world?
And don't let Trump folks claim the firing of Breitbartist Steve Bannon will make any difference.
Trump showed he was a racist long before Bannon, who had nothing to do with Trump's stance on the Central Park 5. Nor was Bannon a part of Trump's unrelenting birther attack of President Obama.
After Charlottesville, Trump's going birther on the rest of the country.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this is strictly a black/white issue.
He thinks we're all inferior.
That's why the white supremacists adore him. Trump makes it possible for them to take off their hoods and come up for air.
I'd rather they suffocate from hate.
If you've seen that clip from Vice showing the torch-lit march through the University of Virginia in Charlottesville the night before the murderous rally on Saturday, the one phrase that made by blood boil was the chant, "You will not replace us!"
As I said in my last column
, Asian Americans know the sentiment behind exclusion. The Chinese and Japanese definitely do. Just think of the iconic hate crime victim, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American mistaken by an American auto worker for being Japanese.
Filipinos also know what it's like to be seen as a threat to the work force.
My father came to the U.S. as a colonized national in the 1920s and saw firsthand how Filipinos were subjected to the violence of white nativist politics.
It only got worse when Filipinos were perceived as different from other Asians because they did not "stick to their own kind."
House committee hearings on immigration verbalized the threat: "The Filipinos are a...social menace as they will not leave our white girls alone and frequently intermarry."
Ron Takaki cited in his history book, "Strangers from a Different Shore," a Time Magazine piece quoting Judge Sylvain Lazarus: "It is a dreadful thing when these Filipinos, scarcely more than savages, come to San Francisco, work for practically nothing, and obtain the society of these [white] girls...Some of these [Filipino] boys, with perfect candor, have told me bluntly and boastfully that they practice the art of love with more perfection than white boys, and occasionally one of the [white] girls has supplied me with information to the same effect. In fact some of the disclosures in this regard are perfectly startling in nature."
You see, back in pre-Tinder America, Filipinophobia was definitely a thing.
And it led to violence throughout California, including lynchings (yes, Filipinos lynched!), and a massive riot in Watsonville after a white mob shot and beat Filipinos who hired white girls for a dance.
After four days of rioting, Fermin Tobera was found shot dead with a bullet to his chest, January 22, 1930.
Anyone who has studied Asian American history knows Fermin Tobera.
He's proof Asian Americans know the hate that claimed the life of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.
It also means there's no question that Trump must come forward with greater clarity.
Here are what I'd graciously offer gratis to the president as a public service--some decent prompter notes for his next speech:
The white protestors and counter-protestors at Charlottesville are not the same. I've already heard people dismiss counter-protestors as "politically correct." No, they're just morally correct.
The white protestors are for exclusion based on their own sense of superiority.
The counter-protestors are for inclusion, and equity in general. This is the point of diversity, and the point of America. "In many one," right? It's not E Pluribus, Just Us.
Nazis, neo or old school, are bad. We don't need a neo-Hitler.
White Supremacists, who look at people of color as inferior and barely human, are the worst. Terrified of competition in a diverse America, they see exclusion as their only answer. They are wrong.
The KKK, hoodless or hooded, have a right to free speech. But the organization's philosophy and ideals are indefensible and anti-American.
That's what a leader of the free world needs to say if he wants to stay in office.
He shouldn't try to change the subject and talk about Afghanistan; or start campaigning like he's done something these last eight months, and try to forget Charlottesville.
We must never let him forget Charlottesville.
Or force us to live a second longer under a Trumpian eclipse of American values.
That's a darkness like we've never seen before
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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
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