In the dry heat of the Sonoran Desert, Donald Trump once again held an event Tuesday night that produced the same dry soundbites from the President that the America outside his arenas has been forced to swallow. And once again, Trump chose the side of southern traitors in the ongoing debate over the value of Confederate monuments in the public squares:
They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history. And our weak leaders, they do it overnight. These things have been there for 150 years, for a hundred years. You go back to a university and it’s gone. Weak, weak people.
Trump relies on the word “they” to create an enemy for his supporters to oppose. He uses the word “weak” to allay the emasculation that his supporters feel when they are forced to confront America’s racist past. And as always, Trump is very bad at math. The last statues removed from a university came out of the South Mall of the University of Texas at Austin. The monuments there, depictions of Confederate generals and officials, were dedicated in 1933. Hardly 150 years, or even a hundred.
In fact, that’s one major argument against leaving many of the statues remaining in America in place: They are recent additions, erected not in the immediate aftermath of the war that claimed their muses, but by those who longed to go back to the days of the antebellum South. Just 84 years of “history” for the statues in Texas. The statues in Baltimore are younger than my mother.
Trump was far from done ripping open the wounds of Charlottesville, though. He went on to implicate “hate groups” given a pass by the media — a very thinly-veiled reference to Black Lives Matter and Antifa groups who have mustered at white nationalist events to counter the heavily-armed Nazis “protecting” the monuments. And as fast as he can, he deflects to gangs, schools, and trade, as though those have a part in the current national discussion of Nazis and race.
Not only does the media give a platform to hate groups, but the media turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets! pic.twitter.com/Mau0B1qYIP
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2017
Donald Trump doesn’t feel shame, so it’s hard to imagine what kind of projection he was doing when he claimed (live on CNN) that the media was turning their cameras off. But perhaps they should. Let the tiny minority of America that still believes Trump’s bullshit stand alone in the room with him. I don’t mind if they want to turn it into something that’s “ours” and “theirs.” Real America will keep the real monuments to our history, and every new statue will depict the America that loves all of her citizens.
Featured image via Ralph Freso/Getty Images