FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Making America White Again

If we are willing to be honest, there was no ambiguity in Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The word “again” says we aren’t great any more but we used to be. It is an aspiration to go back to the past, to the time when we were great. When was that? Trump has never said. But we all know what he meant – again, if we’re willing to be honest.

If you began last weekend early, you may have missed Trump’s Friday afternoon pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The man Trump affectionately calls “Sheriff Joe” had been convicted of criminal contempt in July for ignoring a court order to stop racial profiling Hispanics. The president, thus making his condoning of racial profiling official, had foreshadowed the pardon a few days before at a campaign-style rally in which he shamelessly exhorted his hero-worshippers to join him in condemning Democrats, unsupportive Republicans, the media and just about everyone else except Sheriff Joe, white nationals and Vladimir Putin.

This all comes on the heels of Trump’s response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he showed far more anger and contempt for the people protesting white supremacy than the white supremacists marching through the streets with torches chanting racist threats. This includes the lunatic who drove his car into the protesters and killed one of them, an act glorified on Nazi websites. Trump went on to denounce calls for removal of Confederate statues, even lamenting the removal of these symbols of slavery as unpatriotic.

Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015 by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. He promised to build an “impenetrable, physical, tall, beautiful, powerful” wall across the country’s 2,000-mile border with Mexico to keep them out – and that Mexico would pay for it. He proposed “deportation forces” to root illegal immigrants from their homes. He said during the campaign that the judge in his Trump University lawsuits could not be impartial because the judge was of Mexican descent.

Also during the 2016 election campaign, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” after several terrorist attacks in other countries were carried out by the terrorist group Islamic State. Faced with criticism over a religious test, he expanded it to, “All those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred will not be admitted.”

The joke on the Left was that by this definition Trump himself would not be allowed to enter the country. But it was no joking matter. One of Trump’s first acts as president was to issue a travel ban directed at keeping Muslims out of the country. And, of course, Trump’s claim to fame in the political arena before running for president was leading the “birther” movement, claiming Barack Obama was not really born in the United States and therefore not a legitimate president. Trump even implied that Obama might secretly be a terrorist.

Trump stood idly by while his supporters verbally and physically abused blacks and other minorities at his campaign rallies. He supports voter ID laws that suppress black votes.  He hems and haws when asked to disavow David Duke.

Now Trump has threatened to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t budget money for his wall. Realists have never taken him seriously on the wall with its costs estimated at $8 billion on the low end; most experts say it would cost much more than that. Trump had insisted throughout the election campaign that “Mexico will pay for it, believe me” but did anyone really believe him? So I guess now we have to pay for it – unless the Republican Party suddenly develops a spine and some self-respect. I’m not holding my breath.

Trump wants to reduce the percentage of the country’s foreign-born population to 1960s levels. Right now it’s about 12 percent, the highest it has been since the 1920s. At that time, the U.S. imposed immigration controls that reduced the foreign-born population to about 5 percent by the 1960s. To get back to this level, you’d practically have to end immigration. In 2016, the U.S. was admitting only about one million legal immigrants a year.

It will be hard to make America totally white again, but this seems to be Trump’s obsession. It is an endorsement of the Alt-Right and other supporters who don’t like minorities, are uncomfortable with the country’s increasing diversity, and blame immigrants for increased crime and taking jobs away from red-blooded white Americans. It doesn’t matter that both crime and immigration levels are near all-time lows. It’s not hard to smell racism behind these initiatives.

This is what Trump meant by his slogan “Make America Great Again” – as if we didn’t already know.

Howard Harrison is author of The Great Divide: Story of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Race.

More articles by:
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail