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:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail