I always view the summer as a time to wind things down and find some quality time somewhere, even if it’s just on your front porch. I never thought I would be approaching the upcoming Labor Day with such an uneasy feeling about the state of our country and the so-called leaders who were elected to serve it.
As a child, I heard many stories about fringe groups that were spewing hate against Italians, Jews and people of many faiths. I didn’t know much about an organization called the German “Bund,” which was an American pro-Hitler group.
At one time, after the war, it was revealed that the Bund had an active organization in Yaphank, Long Island.
They are long gone but if you travel to that community, you may find a few streets that bear very German names.
After World War II, there were frequent stories about anti-Semitic incidents in our country, but they were eclipsed by the ugly segregation in the South and for many years, the proponents of anti-Semitism were underground.
With the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the end of Jim Crow, we were once again hearing the dark echoes of ugly fringe groups.
To keep up with the times the new haters were promoting anti-immigrant, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim and their usual anti-Jewish positions.
For the most part these fringe groups kept to themselves and when they surfaced, they were a one-day story.
There is no doubt in my mind that the election of Donald J. Trump has given these groups a new life and the gall to publicly flout their Nazi and Confederate flags.
The event that sounded the bugle to the racists was Donald Trump’s handling of the Klu Klu Klan during his campaign.
In 2012, Trump spoke of the dangers of these groups and specifically mentioned David Duke, a former Klan leader.
Fast forward to 2016 and candidate Trump when confronted with allegations about supporting these groups said he had “no idea who David Duke is.”
Once candidate Trump sent his not so silent message to the fringe groups, they took it as a sign that he was one of them or at least would be happy to take their votes.
Emboldened by the Trump support the fringe groups attended his rallies and openly proclaimed their desire for a Trump in the White House. And sadly to this date Mr. Trump has done everything he can to give new aid and comfort to these ugly characters.
Given an opportunity to denounce public demonstrations with Nazi and Confederate flags, the President in his darkest hour, pronounced both sides as having their flaws and in that instant gave another shout out to the racists.
What is even sadder is the paralyzed Republican establishment, most of whom are afraid to point the finger at Mr. Trump for fear of retribution.
Republican leaders are more concerned about a tax package and repealing Obamacare and less about what America stands for.
House Speaker Paul Ryan had his big chance to denounce the racists and confront the President over his remarks in a CNN interview this past week.
He had no problem criticizing the fringe elements but at best he couldn’t do anything more than say that “the President messed up in his public statements.”
So much for leadership and courage.
No doubt that between tweets each day and rallies around the country, the racists will be further emboldened and that will wake up a few of the silent lambs in Washington.
But, don’t hold your breath that the party leadership will tell their president that he is not only hurting their image but is tearing down America’s image all over the world.