Columns

You are here

Shutting down Trump's hate

By: 
John Bell

July 2, 2018

By now the whole world knows that Donald Trump’s mouthpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was denied dinner at an eatery called the Red Hen. The owner and staff collectively decided not to serve her in response to the horrendous human rights abuses her administration was inflicting on refugee families and children.

Trump not welcome

Huckabee Sanders and her party left quietly, and were not charged for the cheese plate appetizer they had received. Cheese or no cheese, the next day she escalated the situation, tweeting the restaurant’s location and professing her innocence: “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.” To witness Huckabee Sanders performance as Press Secretary is to see her repeat Trump’s portrayal of the press as public enemies. She lies outright, and when challenged she insults and demeans reporters. Whatever her talents, “respectful” isn’t on the menu.

Other Donald Trump enablers received similar treatment. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (who is directly responsible for putting children in “tender age shelters”) and her party were driven out of a NYC Mexican restaurant when a group of Democratic Socialists of America members surrounded her, chanting “Shame! Shame!”. Later, protesters with placards exposing Nielsen as a child snatcher, gathered at her home in the early morning with loud speakers and played tapes of terrified children weeping and calling in vain for their parents. As one organizer said: “No justice, no sleep.”

Then reputed architect of Trump’s racist immigration policies, Stephen Miller, also got a Jones for Mexican food (what are these people thinking?). Another diner recognized him and announced to the rest of the patrons: “Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?” Miller was unmoved and finished his meal, proving that he minds neither being called a fascist nor having extra spit in his burrito.

Then Congressional veteran Maxine Waters had the nerve to applaud these actions. She declared: “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”

False equivalence

Every opinion columnist was suddenly Miss Manners, tut tutting about the watchword of the day: civility. Can’t we all just get along? Mainstream media pundits were outraged. Waters’ Democratic Party establishment colleagues like Nancy Pelosi threw her under the bus. Trump supporters, a notoriously genteel lot, were shocked. They almost shredded their “Proud Supporter of the Muslim Ban” T-shirts in lamentation.

Their glorious leader told a rally of his faithful: “Maxine—she’s a beauty. I mean, she practically was telling people the other day to assault! Can you imagine if I said the things she said?” We don’t have to imagine. Trump has a long record of urging supporters to assault opponents, even promising to cover their legal costs if charged. He himself said of one vocal protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that.”

Worse, Trump had deliberately tried to create an equivalence between fascists and anti-fascists. After the fascist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump insisted: “I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.” He went on to insist there were some “very fine people” amid the Nazis, Klansmen and assorted white supremacists.

To be clear, Trump and his ilk are making it “radical” to be angry when confronted with a swastika or a white hood. Dog whistle racists like Trump encourage Nazis to slither out from under rocks. Why should it be a problem if we drop that rock back on top of them? When I see the chattering class arguing that the servers and owner at the Red Hen are “just as bad” as Huckabee Sanders, I call bullshit.

And for bullshit turned up to 11 I give you the Toronto Star’s Vinay Menon, who wrote: “Freedom to dine is a right worth defending — even for Sarah Huckabee Sanders”. But in his mealy-mouthed way, Menon gets to the heart of the issue: “In this sense, free eating is just like free speech: you must defend the stuff that makes you queasy.”

What nonsense. The Trump agenda rests on a cornerstone of misogyny, homophobia, racism and white supremacy—in other words it is evil. People who perpetuate this evil are not equal to those who confront them. The angry people who rioted outside the Stonewall Inn were not equivalent to the cops who raided it. The Black Panthers, with their breakfast programs and armed self-defence were not equivalent to the KKK, with its cross-burning terrorism and lynching.

Don’t be oblivious, and learn from history. Trump isn’t just talk. His actions are consistently brutal and racist. Tolerating racists does not end racism, it stokes it. Facts have hard heads. Violent crimes against Muslims have risen sharply, dating to Trump’s election. And the hatred unleashed does not restrict itself to Muslims. Anti-Semitic attacks have soared as well those targeting LGTBQ communities.

Fascism is not just another set of ideas and opinions. Fascists are dedicated to destroying democracy in all its forms; they are happy to use the platforms ceded to them by confused liberalism to organize the brutality that is their true goal. To allow Trump and his troops to go unchallenged is to give that ground to the bigots and thugs.

The far-right is on the march around the world, happy to use the gullibility of what they sneeringly call “normies” to amplify their message. We cannot let racists and bigots go unchallenged. If we fall for the false equivalence, if we grant them “free speech” to mobilize and embolden hatred, we run the risk of losing our freedoms for good.

We are not in a civil debate. If anything we are in a civil war and it is time we realized it and started to act accordingly. We have to declare Never Again! And mean it.

Section: 
Geo Tags: 
, after login or registration your account will be connected.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.

Featured Event

Recent Videos

The latest from the female-fronted hard rock band takes on Trump's America
With ongoing austerity and the rise of the right, we need socialist politics and candidates more than ever
This science fiction exposes the reality of capitalism and racism
Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel