The Republican National Convention spent a considerate amount of time trying to convince white voters that Donald Trump isn’t a racist. They brought out black and Latinx speakers as props; colorful decorations on a white and dusty shelf. It was a direct attempt to ease the consciousness of those who would like to pretend that Trump isn’t who we know him to be; a white supremacist.
Some people may find a legitimate reason to vote for Trump (the mind wanders at this), but they do so in spite of his racism and xenophobia. The fact that the president is a white supremacist who constantly seeks to divide the nation is not reason enough for them to cast a vote for someone else. Still, these same people have families and some go to church, and these more moderate Trump supporters have to face the mirror at some point. The RNC’s “diversity” may be the pill they needed to ease their conscience, but even they must know, deep down inside, that this is a lie.
More than any other president in modern history, Trump has used white supremacy to instill fear in the white population and has used that to his advantage. Immigrants, Muslims and black people are the enemy in Trump’s America. Is it really a surprise that there has been an increase in hate crimes since he won the election in 2016? He not only attracts and courts white supremacists and fear-mongers, he gives them a voice.
Congressman Matt Gaetz espoused this vitriol in his RNC speech referring to Democrats:
“They will disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door. And the police aren’t coming when you call in Democrat-run cities. They’re already being defunded, disbanded.”
Nothing in that statement is remotely true. But it does paint a picture of a bleak America, one where brown people are the enemy. That’s coming from a sitting U.S. congressman. He wasn’t talking to all Americans. He was speaking directly to white conservatives who feel that this country is changing too fast, too soon. It’s a list of imagined grievances that hearkens back to racist tropes and stereotypes. In this view, all Latinx immigrants are members of MS-13 and the police has been disbanded because of the pressures of the Black Lives Matter movement. Never mind that defunding the police is not the same as disbanding it, but extremists use inflammatory language to instill fear in the minds of their audience.
The fire is here. Trumpism is the fire and whether it was sent by God or not, it was surely given oxygen by a large conflagration of God’s supposed followers. To this day, 82% of white evangelicals say that they will vote for Donald Trump.
Between Gaetz’s fear-mongering and Kimberly Guilfoyle’s bizarre performance, the RNC featured the occasional brown or black person reassuring white evangelicals that they’re innocent, that Trumpism is not a form of white nationalism, that they can sleep at night. Of course, these people are quick to ignore that 12 U.S. presidents owned slaves, that when Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal” he owned more than 600 slaves. Proximity to a black or brown person does not invalidate someone’s racism.
Trump is a white nationalist driven by his ego and self-preservation. He will continue to stoke the flames of racism and xenophobia in order to win the upcoming election. He doesn’t care what happens to the country. Close to 200,000 people have died from COVID-19, and the president hasn’t lost any sleep over it. Between promoting conspiracy theories, bleach injections and golfing, he continues to tweet and call in to Fox News to promote his hate-filled agenda. If we’re this divided, he may win. If Russia gets their way again, he may win.
We have a lot against us, but we have the numbers. We need to show up at the polls, whether in person or by mail, but we must show up. We need to stop this fire from spreading because in another four years only ashes will remain.