On this day, April 28 in 1898, Emile Zola's open letter “J'accuse” (I accuse) was published, accusing the French government and military of making a Jewish officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus a convenient scapegoat to coverup treasonous acts by the military.
One hundred and twenty-one years later, J'accuse President Donald J.Trump of fostering, supporting, encouraging a climate of hate, bigotry, and mass murder to advance his political ends.
It is more than a coincidence that shortly before the Poway CA synagogue murder of Lori Kaye, Donald Trump once again defended the Nazi's murderous rally at Charlottesville, this time with the justification that they were really defending the statue of Robert E. Lee, one of our “greatest generals.” Lee was certainly a great general. He also was a traitor who waged war on the United States in defense of slavery.
Defending a statute of one of Lee's leading officers, Gen James Longstreet, of whom there are no statutes, would have made some sense. In New Orleans in 1874, the retired Longstreet led local police in resisting the take over of local government by the White League. For that act of American Patriotism, Longstreet was accused of being a “race traitor” unlike Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee whose statues proliferated.
Donald Trump's improbable rise to power and his attempt to stay in power is driven by ceaseless attacks on black and brown people, on immigrants, on Muslims, on his steadfast refusal to condemn in no uncertain terms Nazis as evil, as did Vice President Pence after Poway. Trump offers condolences and notes the cops got their man.
But from the President of the United States, there is no clear condemnation of murderous bigots who become terrorists and their hateful ideology unless they are Jihadist killers. There is also no attempt to control the purchase, spread, use, manufacture of assault weapons, or the ability to sue the gun makers.
Instead, Donald Trump on the evening of the Poway shooting called members of the FBI “scum” for investigating him and embraced his “crazy idea” of sending immigrants and asylum seekers to sanctuary cities as supposed punishment. He also praised football player Nick Bosa for Facebook posts attacking quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The hits just keep on coming.
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The problem is not that Donald Trump is a conservative or a Republican. The problem is that he is a bigot whose political strategy is to appeal to bigotry, to lawlessness in defense of bigotry, telling border patrol officers to ignore court orders.
I am not saying that to be a Trump supporter means you are a bigot. I am accusing Donald Trump of deliberately, instinctively and with malice centering his Presidency and his politics on a path of bigotry, authoritarianism, and corruption of democratic ideal and our Bill of Rights.
Bigotry and antisemitism, to paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre, is “the socialism of fools”.
Bigotry is at the beating heart of Trump and Trumpism. It's a 21st-century version of the anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic Know-Nothing party of the 19th century.
Trump is President, not of all the people, but cares only about those who bend their knees and pledge loyalty and fealty to his every whim or to forgive all or almost all his trespasses.
It's completely clear what he is, and how he is doing everything he can get away with to remake our country and the world in his sad, flawed, and dangerous to democracy image. Wake up America. Conservative or liberal, it's time to turn our backs on Donald Trump's obscene violations of freedom and democracy and take corrective action in our own ways now before it's too late.