Charlottesville. Virginia. The United States of America. August, 2017.
This is a watershed moment for the USA. The self-styled land of the free and alleged beacon of democracy for the world.
The United States of America which fought a civil war over slavery. Which did, eventually, tackle the discrimination and apartheid institutionally embedded in its society and laws. But a country never quite at ease with itself and its divisive history.
America. Home to the KKK who have now discarded their white hoods and march proudly in plain view, sharing their vile ideology by posting their images on Facebook and Twitter. Who ironically proclaim their White Supremacy in a land made great by immigrants from the four corners of the globe.
Because that is the inconvenient truth they dare not acknowledge: Unless you are an indigenous American, you are the descendant of people who came to America to escape poverty or persecution or to find a new and better life. They made America. You, the fascists and racists of America, are its shame.
So, people of the USA: one again it is time to choose. Neutrality is not an option. This is right versus wrong. Good versus evil. Do you back the sick supremacists or find the balls to dump on the Trump?
Donald Trump who encourages the police to beat up suspects.
Donald Trump who turned a Boy Scout jamboree into a sinister Youth Rally.
Donald Trump who boasts about what he’d like to do to those who disagree with him.
Donald Trump who is threatening to unleash nuclear war on the world.
Donald Trump who, when faced with the truth about the Nazis marching in his name, mustered all his eloquence to send his “best regards” to those injured in Charlottesville.
The actual President of the United States of America sent his “best regards”. Not his compassion. Or anger. Or tears. Just his “best regards” as he might in a round robin reply to the helpers at a charity tea party.
He didn’t condemn those who marched in his name. Or the Nazi salutes.
All he could do was condemn the hatred and bigotry “on many sides”.
He couldn’t bring even himself to use the name of the anti-nazi counter protester who was murdered.
Mr President – her name is Heather Heyer. She is a greater member of the human race than you will ever be. She knew which side she was on.
JFK once said: “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
So why the reticence from the president? Why does he find it so hard to condemn those who march in his name? After all, Donald Trump’s own mother was an immigrant from these very shores. He has Jewish grandchildren. Doesn’t he get it? Or is he a victim of his past and his own prejudices?
Surely it has nothing to do with the Washington Post’s claim that his father was arrested at a KKK rally 90 years ago?
Surely he can’t really be a white supremacist? Surely he can’t agree with the facist marchers’ cries of “Blood and Soil” or their Nazi salutes?
There is no way he can back the gun-toting private militia parading through the streets of Charlottesville, is there? And yet his equivocation continues.
It may well be that, by the time this reaches you, he will pretend to have found some moral backbone, got off the fence and somebody will have told him what to say. But it will be too late.
They would be hollow words from a shallow president.
Because this is the sad truth. Donald Trump is the man who has made America hate again.
But amongst the doom and gloom, there are the first glimmers of light. Some senior Republicans have found their voice, hopefully out of conviction. They are challenging the President to call this out for what it is: Extremism, White Supremacists, un-American and morally repugnant. They dare him to take a side or to be condemned.
America, this is your moment. He is your president and they march and cause mayhem and sow the seeds of division in his name. So you have to decide. Are they great American patriots, do they speak in your name, or will you rise as one and condemn them? If the armed militia had been black, would you have still turned a blind eye?
America: You fought the fascists with us 75 years ago when we took a stand knowing that neutrally in the face of brutality, bigotry and extremism was not an option.
America: It is time to stand up and be counted and to do the same again on your own soil, for the sake of us all.
America: This is your moment. The world is watching.