What He Hath Wrought

Photo illustration by Elisha Tatone. Front  photo illustration by Elise Swain for The Intercept/Getty Image

Remarkably, our tireless Il Douche is still spewing sick racist hate. This weekend, he again reversed himself and declared the "Send Her Back" mob at his latest Nazi rally "incredible patriots," and on Monday bizarrely dubbed the brown-and-black-skinned Squad "a very racist group of troublemakers." In exquisite pot/kettle dissonance, he also proclaimed, "I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country...They (are) weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!" - thus affirming one more ugly time that only white people really belong to our great white supremacist shindig. With large swathes of a historically bigoted populace now feeling free to bray their collective intolerance aloud, Trump's textbook racism is increasingly, unsurprisingly bearing fruit, with"go back where you came from" outbursts sprouting like toxic weeds from New Jersey to California and beyond.

In Chicago, a black pregnant state legislator buying groceries with her daughter was accosted by a guy snarling to go back where she came from. In nearby Naperville, a gas station clerk harassed a local group of Spanish-speaking customers, calling them "illegals," sneering they should “go back to their country” and threatening "ICE will come,"  with another customer helpfully chiming in to explain "you have no rights." A spokesman for owners Buchanan Energy  claimed the women were acting "confrontational" - translation: they didn't want to be racially abused - but conceded the clerk "should have handled things differently" and fired him, proving we live in a time when gas station attendants are at least occasionally held to a higher standard than our purported president. The mayor also spoke up to declare, "Hate has no home here in Naperville (or) society at large" and "urge everyone in our community to showcase the kindness, compassion, and good decorum that our residents are known for and that our world needs more of."

Lofty sentiments, all. Alas, as The Root's Michael Harriot notes, they run counter to our woeful foundational belief that "America belongs to white people and white people only, (and) anyone else is not a real American." Thus, the all-citizens Squad "are not American Americans. Because there is only one enduring and eternal truth about the definition of 'American': White people get to decide." The screed to "send them back" is likewise longstanding, from Lincoln proposing blacks be sent "back" to Haiti etc to Alien and Sedition Acts to deport anyone publishing "malicious writing" against the government to Know-Nothing Party conservatives seeking to deport “radical leftists” who “hated America” to Tea Party freaks clamoring to send Obama "back" to Kenya to, now, MAGA bigots. "The idea of 'send her back' is the timeless and indestructible pillar upon which this country was built," he writes. "It is a clarion call that allows the upholders of white supremacy to believe black and brown bodies are as returnable as defective Amazon packages. Because, at the heart of their belief is their willingness to disregard the Constitution, the law, history and everything that they believe makes their country great...They are all white supremacists. The most American thing of all."

In the face of this harsh reality, argues The Atlantic's Adam Serwer, resistance to Trump becomes the ultimate battle for us all. For context, he cites Walter Benjamin in 1936 on a "fascism that (proposes) a series of false imperatives that (do) justice to emotional demands but disregards reason." Similarly and chillingly, Trump's bigotry, nationalism, divisiveness and belief that America is only for white people "is all he is," he writes, with its belief that "American citizenship is conditional for people of color, who should be grateful we are even allowed to be here." Serwer blasts the weakness of Democrats unwilling to confront his fundamental racism and its challenge to the rule of law and morality, because it's about us all. Omar and her colleagues must be defended, he writes, not because of her views on any issue but because "the nature of the president’s attack on her is a threat to all Americans." "This is not about Omar anymore," he says. "It is about defending the idea that America should be a country for all its people. If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere. What Americans do now, in the face of this, will define us forever."

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