To our elected representatives: Are you proud of what the president is teaching your/our children about citizenship, patriotism and public discourse? If not, why are you not condemning his racism and hate speech?

Congressman Cole has at least declared himself “disappointed,” but this seems grossly inadequate to the events: “disappointed” is what I feel when my steak is not cooked to order. Outrage is the proper response to racist tweets and rants about congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, by which he affirmed did not mean New York City, Cincinnati, Detroit, which is where three of his four targets were born.

When I called Congressman Cole’s office to ask for a clarification of his position on the racism, I was told that “the congressman’s statement speaks for itself.” And, as has often been the case when Republicans are confronted with the undeniable racism of their president, the tweet itself speaks of disappointment with the language President Trump used, not the ideology he was espousing.

And if the tweet does speak for itself, then so must the congressmen’s vote against the House of Representative’s resolution to condemn the president’s tweets specifically.

We are entitled to ask the congressman: Did you oppose the resolution because you approve of racism, or did you oppose the resolution because you oppose racism, but lack the courage to say so?

So far as I can tell, Sens. Inhofe and Lankford have not directly addressed the issue of Trump’s racist tweets and rants. They, too, should tell us: are you silent, sir, because you share the president’s racist views, or are you silent because you disagree, but are too cowardly to say so in public?

President Trump no longer feels a need to express his racial bias through “dog whistles”: he is openly, indeed proudly racist, welcoming white supremacist groups and betting his re-election on the hope that, given a choice between white supremacy and a commitment to the ideal that we all are created equal, the American people will vote for white supremacy and white supremacists.

And so that will be the fundamental issue before us in 2020. Not, who is Donald Trump — we know the answer to that question, sadly — but what kind of people are we?

John F. Covaleskie


Recommended for you