Now we've seen the real face of those deplorables Hillary Clinton was talking about last fall.
They're not a figment of paranoid imaginations, as those who thought it funny to wear "I'm a Deplorable" T-shirts at Donald Trump rallies during the November election campaign insinuated. No, they're real people who obviously slept through or skipped every American history lesson in school and now think it's somehow patriotic to demand a whites-only society that puts Jews, blacks and minority groups in their proper places.
As Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe made clear immediately after the melee, "You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but patriots."
“I have a message for the white supremacists and Nazis who came into Charlottesville today," he added immediately after the violence broke out. "Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”
His frank remarks were in stark contrast to those of the president of the United States, who tiptoed around the violence that included a skinhead driving a car into a crowd of people — like those terrorists do on city streets around the world — for fear of alienating what is obviously a sizable portion of his base. These weren't the so-called "radical Islamist extremists" he likes to call out. No, they were his people — so not once, but twice, he refused to condemn them for the violence, insisting rather that "all sides" had committed hatred and violence.
Trump even had the audacity to suggest that traitor Robert E. Lee was on the same level as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, obviously not knowing the difference between patriots who founded and nurtured our democracy and a turncoat Army officer who tried to dismantle the union Washington, Jefferson and other American heroes built.
It was easy to see the hatred in the eyes of these overwhelmingly young white men who find it easy to blame other people for their inability to find meaningful jobs or figure out how to get along in a civilized society. They've been living under rocks, but now we see them emerge, thanks to the clueless and silly excuse for a leader we decided ought to be president.
Americans who fell for Donald Trump will rebel at being compared to the supremacists, but they need to face the fact. Former KKK leader David Duke and his compatriots have been emboldened by the deplorable president they decided ought to lead the greatest democracy on earth. Trump's actions, from the sickening campaign he waged against Barack Obama's citizenship to his endless habitual lying, should have disqualified him from holding any responsible office. Those who decided otherwise own him now and the deplorables who come with him.
We all best crack open a history book, lest we forget how Germany in the 1930s fell for this kind of "patriotism."
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel
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