U.S. President Donald Trump.
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
After withering and justified criticism for calling some of the protesters at a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville “some very fine people,” US President Donald Trump has a unique opportunity to re-establish his moral credibility as a leader through an eloquent condemnation of racism, neo-Nazism and white supremacy. He should devote an entire address to a complete and utter condemnation of racism and bigotry and reaffirm the American and biblical proclamation of all people being created equally in the image of God. It is in this spirit that I suggest the following:
My fellow Americans.
Last weekend we witnessed one of the truly shameful episodes in modern American history. A group of white nationalists and racists tried to emulate Hitler’s torchlight parade of January 1933 upon becoming chancellor of Germany, right here in America. The torchlight parade of Hitler’s followers and SS marked the beginning of the darkest period in the history of humankind.
That any American group would seek to copy that procession to make a political statement demonstrates that hatred and bigotry continue to flourish not just far away in Europe but here in the United States. But events only cascaded from there, with the demonstrations turning violent and an innocent and courageous woman, Heather Heyer, who had a reputation for fighting injustice, losing her life when a hate-filled racist assailant rammed his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators.
I am the first American president to have Jewish children. My daughter Ivanka was not born Jewish. Rather, she chose to become a Jew. This was a decision that I supported fully and although I am not Jewish myself I put on a kosher Jewish wedding for her and her husband who is now my senior adviser in the White House. Since then, I have watched my Jewish grandchildren celebrating Hanukka and Passover and I have personally witnessed the richness of Jewish life. Millions of parents were robbed of the opportunity to watch children grow up and millions of children were denied the opportunity to be hugged and loved by parents because of the white supremacist cancer known as Nazism that was allowed to grow unchecked in Europe.
Let me be clear: I will never allow bigotry of any kind to flourish in the United States.
While the Holocaust is a unique crime to which nothing can be compared, rest assured that I as president will never allow the disease of white nationalism to spread within our borders. I will fight it with everything at my disposal. I will condemn it through every modern medium, whatever the political consequences.
America is the greatest country on earth, but it is not a perfect country, and it is especially guilty of the abomination of slavery which was practiced for hundreds of years before it took a terribly violent war to end it. More that 700,000 Americans lost their lives in the Civil War. We learned from that experience that if we do not strongly condemn and oppose the spread of bigotry and racism at its source, the price that we will pay later is greater than anything we can imagine.
I am the president of the United States, a shining beacon to the world of liberty and human rights. When white racists march against blacks and Jews in Virginia, they are offending God with their bigotry. They are offending American values by their denial of the equality of all people, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, written by the sage from Charlottesville. And they are offending me personally because they are attacking my own flesh and blood.
If you know one thing about me, it’s that I’m a fighter and it’s that I take no prisoners when it comes to threats to my own family and country.
These racists have picked a fight with the wrong guy.
I will fight them with every power I have, not because I’m bullied or pressured by any outside group into condemning bigotry. I will do so because it has always been a part of my personal values system to see the infinite specialness of every one of God’s children.
It was for that reason that I took action in Syria to stop the slaughter of Arabic Muslim children who were being gassed by their own president, Bashar Assad. It is for this reason that I am also standing up to North Korea as Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, brutalizes and starves his own people. And it is also for this reason that I am taking a hard line in Iran, which sows terror throughout the world and threatens Israel with annihilation.
Many people criticize me for these positions. But only a strong America, standing up for human rights, is worthy of leadership.
At my inauguration I made it clear that I would put America first. Prioritizing the needs of my country is my responsibility because I am America’s president. But America’s rose to become the strongest nation on earth because of its incorruptible values. And highest among them is the belief that there is a God who blesses America precisely because it honors the divine will in honoring God’s children.
I want any and all alt-right, white supremacist racist bigots to know that no matter how much support you may have given my presidency, regardless of how much you may think that some of my views align with yours, I have nothing in common with you. I care not a bit if I lose your support because you represent the contravention of all the values that this great country I lead stands for. It’s time for all of you to take a good, hard look at the irrational hatred in your heart and ask how you could have sunk so low. How is it that being blessed to live in America, the greatest and freest country on earth, you have still turned to hate.
What the hell is wrong with you people?
But regardless of the conclusions you arrive at, know that American law enforcement will be directed by me to utilize any and all legal means to check and curb your provocations that lead to violence and that what happened in Charlottesville will never be repeated again.
One day my Jewish grandchildren – themselves the descendants of Holocaust survivors – will ask me what I did when Nazis began to raise their ugly heads in America under my watch. And I will tell them I unleashed fire and fury on them and forced them to retreat into the sewer whence they came.
Thank you all. May God bless the family of Heather Heyer and grant them comfort, and may God bless America.
The author, whom
The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 30 books, including
The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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