(This post was written during the presidential primaries, on May 5, 2016. I knew it was strongly worded. But I believed every word I wrote. Once Trump took office, I had hoped my suspicions would be wrong; they weren’t. Trump just minimized White Nationalists in Charlottesville and pardoned Sheriff Arpio, and moved to deport 800,000 innocent dreamers. My concern for this wave of bigotry resulted in launching my candidacy for U.S. Congress in January of 2018.)
Christians who fail to speak-up for racial injustice — are they not the ones who would have had slaves while they sat in their white churches, spoke of the evils of drinking, and also the love of Jesus?
I must confess to my obsession with social injustice. And the pain — the tangible emotional suffering birthed from centuries of hate at the hands of professing Christians.
I remember reading about it in high school. American history. And watching Mississippi Burning.
But seeing it in my lifetime? Right here in The OC?
Like two years ago when I was made aware of an organized white supremacist group at my son’s high school.
And a few months ago with a friend had adopted black children. She was attacked on social media by countless racists who made the most repulsive comments about her family, simply because her kids were black. They ended up finding her home, taking a picture of it, and posting it.
Or last December. When I saw a swastika sticker on the playground of an elementary school in Newport Beach. (I’ve called the school twice to report it. The sticker’s still there as far as I know.)
My obsession hits home, perhaps mostly, because my Roman Catholic ancestors (on both sides) dealt with racial and religious discrimination in the 1950’s and 1960’s. My mother was ridiculed for being an Italian immigrant. My Mexican father watched his dark-skinned Mexican friends and family be forced into segregated schools by the white power brokers of the day.
He was “lucky” to be a light-skinned Mexican. He got to go the school with the lighter skinned kids and/or those from Europe. He also remembers the No Mexicans signs.
My son saw it at school. My friend was the target of it on Twitter. I saw it on a playground.
And my parents experienced it, firsthand.
So this one seems personal.
So what’s my issue?
I keep hearing bigotry coming from Trump and his supporters. Racist and sexist and xenophobic and crude speech. Then, when the comments hit the headlines, the silence — the ensuing deafening silence by many of Christian brothers and sisters, many who are Republicans, MANY WHO ARE CHRISTIAN LEADERS.
I’m in shock mostly at the apathy, the lack of outrage, the cowardice.
I keep hoping it’s mere incompetence — but I’m afraid it’s more.
Do we not remember that Hitler’s promise to “make Germany great again” was predicated on white supremacy and nationalism? And did we forget that millions of German Christians (including pastors) sat in silence as he spent years campaigning?
Do we not recall that this great country was founded on wiping out Native Americans, largely in the name of Jesus, then pivoting to treat Africans like animals, while showing up at church every Sunday to do the God-talk thing?
Do we not see a reoccurring message for Trump: blacks, Mexicans, Muslims?
And a failure to denounce David Duke and the KKK?
What will it take before we stand up and say, “enough”?
What got me today?
A big Trump supporter named Pat Buchanan. He was interviewed on NPR. He was WARNING listeners about white people becoming a minority, which will happen in the next few decades.
And as I drove and swerved in my bewilderment, I wondered: Can Trump’s and Buchanan’s vision to make America great again be interpreted as anything but a plan to start a race war?
You can listen to all the nasty things he said. Or, here’s the gist:
Buchanan: “We are 25 years away from the fact where Americans of European dissent will be a minority in the United States.”
NPR: “Why do you see that as a problem?”
Buchanan: “Well because I look at Europe and I look all over the world and I see peoples everywhere at each others’ throats over issues of ethnicity and identity… Anybody who believes a country can be maintained that has no ethnic core to it I believe is naive in the extreme.”
NPR: “But you understand how that language feels…”
Buchanan: “I don’t care how my language sits with people my job is to tell the truth…”
NPR: “Explain to me what having a diverse cultural identity and a diversity of languages how that undermines the American identity. I think it’s important to try to understand why you think that this is such a threat.”
Buchanan: “Well, first it seems that the American people tend to agree with us, does it not?”
NPR: “But what you are laying out is an America that is white or, if not, exclusively white.”
Buchanan: “It’s an America that’s a country like the one I grew up in and it was a pretty good country.”
To so-called Christian leaders who chose to not explicitly denounce this evil — using the real words racism, prejudice, discrimination, white supremacy, KKK, Alt–Right — sometimes I find myself wondering if you are my brothers and sisters.
I don’t like to feel that way, but with your silence, I can feel no other way.