How to stand up to the GOP’s rising wave of bigotry

What could be done? Calls for civil disobedience. Passive resistance. National demonstrations unmatched since the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s

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Donald Trump, shown at a 2016 campaign rally in North Carolina, officially launches his re-election bid Tuesday night.

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The Republican Party now stands for racism, bigotry and religious intolerance. It embraces fear and ignorance as if they were virtues. It is the standard bearer for everything that is anti-American.

Republican Party leaders support the race-baiting President Donald Trump, who uses inflammatory rhetoric to demean black political leaders, black athletes, Hispanics and Muslims. He has used our government to target these populations and split the country apart. He wants to deport Hispanics. He wants to ban Muslims. He says anyone who wishes to come here from a third-world nation is a criminal, terrorist, rapist or freeloader.

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Oh, but there are some good ones too, he will add, as if that excuses his loathsome pandering to racists and bigots. “I have a Jewish friend,” anti-Semites like to say.

A majority of this country finds Trump reprehensible. Unfortunately, while Democratic Party leaders denounce Trump’s words, its leaders have done little else.

What could be done?

Calls for civil disobedience. Passive resistance. National protests and demonstrations unmatched since the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.

For example, when an attorney for the U.S. government admitted in a courtroom that immigrant children held in detention camps were not being given soap, blankets, tooth brushes and toothpaste because of a funding shortage, there should have been an immediate call to action.

Millions of people in this country would have been happy to contribute money to buy blankets, and trucks should have been rented (or donated) to ship the blankets to government immigration camps in Texas, Florida or wherever else they were needed. When border patrol agents or soldiers attempted to stop the trucks from entering the camps, the confrontation would have gone viral on the internet.

When Americans actually see a government turning on its own people, when they can witness the brutality of racism, they find it unacceptable. That’s what happened when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put a spotlight on the South by launching his protest movement.

Americans should have immediately demanded the firing of every detention camp guard who failed to post an alert on Facebook that immigrant children were being denied blankets. If the guards chose silence because they feared losing their jobs, they should lose their jobs.

If they were complicit in making children suffer because they simply didn’t like the people in the camps, they should lose their jobs because they failed to protect the people in their care.

Where is our sense of moral outrage?

Where is our sense of personal responsibility for our government’s conduct?

We still know right from wrong.

Elected officials, congressmen, are forced to notify Customs and Border Protection whenever they want to inspect a detention camp. This allows government officials to clean up the camps, move detainees, make sure the immigrants with the loudest voices and worst complaints cannot be heard.

These are our camps. We pay for them. We employ the border guards.

Given the reports of neglect and abuse, we must demand true surprise inspections and the resignations of congressmen who can’t find the backbone to do that.

This president cannot be trusted.

He lies. He has abused his authority for personal gain. He invents allegations of wrongdoing by political opponents and encourages his followers to publicly denounce his critics. If you denounce this president because of his hate-filled attacks on blacks, Muslims and Hispanics, you must leave the country. You are not a patriot.

The Republican Party will determine who can enter the country, who can be granted citizenship, who should be elected to office and who should be counted on the census. Only those who agree with Trump will be allowed to speak.

That is the party line today. It will get worse tomorrow and the day after that.

Americans once pledged liberty and justice for all. Apparently, in the eyes of Republicans, the only people entitled to liberty and justice now are those loyal to Trump. 

To paraphrase the words of Dr. King: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We can no longer remain quiet. Lethargy will mean the death of liberty.

Democracy will not work unless we all work at it.


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