Nazis are bad.
There, was that so damn difficult to say?
Well, yes, if one is a black-hearted egotist whose only concern is keeping a clammy, slippery grasp on power. In that case, it can be quite difficult.
As we all know our straight-talkin’, tell-it-like-it-is president was unusually quiet last weekend when fascists, racists, and violent thugs descended upon Charlottesville. The man who tweets every umbrage or perceived slight had nothing to say when the KKK started throwing punches, and white supremacists chanted Hitler-era slogans.
He then came out with a baffling, condescending condemnation of “both sides” of the violence. I suppose he was trying to be fair to both homicidal bigots driving their cars into people, and the demonstrators who should be blamed for… well, I don’t know what — perhaps for violently putting dents in the car or cracking its windshield when the vehicle plowed into them. Yeah, both sides are clearly to blame.
Of course, Trump did eventually come out against white supremacy, which proves that he will indeed take a moral position — provided that both sides of the political spectrum, millions of Americans, and every half-respectable media outlet scream at him for days to denounce fucking Nazis, which let’s face it, is the absolute minimum qualification for being considered a decent human being. But hey, he did it, right?
No, because he changed his mind the next day and went back to equating sign-carrying liberals with deranged Nazis who murder people, setting off a shitstorm of outrage and disbelief. So there was that.
Now, there are only three possible motivations for Trump’s false-equivalency nonsense:
1. He is an impulsive man-child who lashes out at others even if it is detrimental to his own cause.
2. Some dark part of his soul — perhaps a bigger part than his followers would like to admit — agrees with the white supremacists.
3. He is a chickenshit politician who is scared of offending his base, which is ironic when one considers that he is supposedly the anti-politician who is not afraid to speak his mind.
All three of these options are terrifying. In all three scenarios, the guy who is the face of America, and its political and even moral leader, has abdicated his responsibility (and possibly his humanity) so that hate-filled men shouting anti-Semitic slurs can feel good about themselves.
Of course, it’s perfectly obvious to me that someone should have told the president that the fascists in Virginia had mocked his tiny hands, or pointed out his dismal approval ratings, or brought up his disastrous leadership skills. If that had happened, he would have lacerated those bastards in a furious speech before they could finish saying, “Seig Heil.” But that didn’t happen, and now we have to wonder about the following:
Is this a turning point?
I don’t mean that in the political sense. We all know the gutless GOP will not turn on Trump unless and until he has outlived his usefulness to them. Otherwise, they will just keep apologizing for his maniacal outbursts and ugly tirades, or looking the other way, or somehow coming up with a twisted rationale for it (like, “liberals made this happen”). Hey, I guess it helps them sleep at night.
No, I’m talking about a cultural turning point.
After all, there can no longer be any doubt — if there ever was — about the kind of man Trump is (i.e., the kind who coddles Nazis). There could not be a clearer contrast between his delayed scripted words of false comfort and his spontaneous, appalling endorsement of racism.
Similarly, those who have excused his abhorrent behavior to this point have finally run into a non-negotiable, unambiguous, swastika-shaped look into his loathsome mind. Any defense of his stance goes beyond the usual pathetic, infuriating, illogical, baffling excuses that Trump supporters have offered for other transgressions (and there have been a lot of them).
This is so sickening, so reprehensible, so concrete in its evil that it threatens to permanently brand anyone who defends it as either a spineless coward or a sociopathic villain.
So it’s fair to ask if this is Trump’s Katrina moment. Could this be the final outrage that pushes his casual supporters over the edge and solidifies his calamitous reputation?
Those numbers will only increase. The sense of disgust will only snowball. And because Trump burned up so much good will mere months into his presidency, it is difficult to imagine the trend ever reversing.
For Trump supporters, after this point, there is no turning back. Which of them wants to be the last deplorable standing, waving his Make America Great hat around as the rest of the nation looks away in shame and horror?