The current U.S. president is often compared to Nazis. From those opposing abuse of asylum seekers and immigrant children, we hear the slogan “never again,” and references to “concentration camps.” Yes, there is a long and real history of concentration camps globally and in the United States. But, let’s face it, the phrase is being used because of its Nazi associations.

That’s not totally unfair. Nazism, the apartheid movement in South Africa, and the Lost Cause/Klan right wing here in the United States that our president relies on for support are closely linked. All three are expressions of shame, denial, and brutality by members of a defeated white population. But why tie him to Nazis and not our own Lost Causers?

I believe this Nazi comparison aims to make the president especially alien. He is not “who we are” as Americans, we are told. But those who believe that, though they know that the Continental Army didn’t capture Dulles Airport, have still fallen for a naive version of our nation’s story that presumes white innocence.

No nation founded on genocide and a vicious slavery system can expect to be free of their impacts a few centuries later. Entitled bigotry pervades our white population. We are not ruled absolutely by enslavers or open bigots, but not because that’s “not who we are.” That is who a lot of us are.

The reason we are not ruled by enslavers or totally unashamed bigots is because, spearheaded by Black Americans, the forces of justice won the War of the Rebellion. Then they rose again and defeated segregation. These were real victories, though not final victories.

Early in the 20th century, ignorance, bigotry and arrogance bounced back with abuse of immigrants and broad white support for racist tyranny in the South. After the Freedom Movement, white reaction responded to burgeoning justice movements well before Trump with Reagan, Gingrich, Ailes and the Koches, and also with “moderate” Democrats like Bill Clinton who joined in mass incarceration and demonizing the poor.

But when black lives — and black political intelligence have taken the lead and mobilized effectively, democracy has moved forward for the vast majority of people. It’s always a tough struggle. But as the U.S. Colored Troops sang on their way to beating the Rebels:

For God is for the right, and we have no need to fear --

The Union must be saved by the colored volunteer.

As much as it might comfort some to think so, Donald Trump is not a zombie Nazi from some alien nightmare. He is all ours. He will join others of ours like Jeff Davis and Sheriff Jim Clark and Winchester’s James Murray Mason and Harry Flood Byrd Sr. on the rubbish pile of our history.

We don’t protect ourselves from his kind by pretending they are mysterious interlopers. We are best protected by the political wisdom African Americans have gained at great cost, wisdom that asks we whites to repair the multigenerational harm we have done, and to restrain our cousins who have strayed into evil.

Larry L. Yates is a resident of Winchester.

(9) comments

DavidSparkman

Mr. Yates is a propagandist for the National Socialist Democrat Party of America, a group based on the principles of the National Socialist Democrat Party of Germany. Both groups want(ed) to bring down the existing government through chaos and flagrant defiance of law, and the use of hate media for their propaganda. His misuse of facts and the English language proves this beyond a doubt. The illegal immigrants entered the county and politely surrendered to the Board Patrol with a clear knowledge that they would be processed though this procedure. Furthermore, they are free to leave at any time should they want to return to their home country. It is so curious that Mr. Yates accuses the President of the evils done by his sister organization the "National Socialist Party Deutschland's". Once the fabric of America has been destroyed by these anarchists, they will rebuild it into a authoritarian government without the freedom of thought or the liberties we now have. The boot jacks of the AntiFa movement are today the brown shirts of Hitler's movement Which Mr. Yates and his friends silently approve. Is this the America of our future?

Spock Here

Sparky, as always, is the trumpeter of his head comrade. Send her back, right Sparky?

Maurerguy

interesting negative reactions. None of them deal with my argument that Black people -- because of the position they have. been put in -- are smarter and more effective politically than we whites. I said nothing about "deserving" anything. Black people ended slavery and segregation with relatively little help from whites -- against, of course, massive white resistance. If you benefit from rights as a woman, a person with a disability, an LGBTQ person, or even a lower income person, you owe those rights to the leadership of Black people. If you choose instead to ally yourself with the slaveowners and the corporate bosses, you are just hurting yourself. Again, my argument is that Black people and especially Black organized movements are good for this country and the majority of us. Try to pay attention not be duped. I'm not ashamed of being white, because I'm not a sucker.

Conservative

Larry's ashamed of being white.

Rattler

I've done no harm to African Americans. My ancestors were not slave owners and I'm from the south. They attended the same schools as myself and had same opportunity as myself. No one gave anything to me, I had to work for it. Get an education, apply yourself and quit "whining " about your skin color.

slowe

THose who are “privileged”, whether it be male, straight, white, or religious (Christian in the West) always suffer from a kind of blindness about it and, so, deny it when it is pointed out to them, because, every one wants to think the world is fair and that they worked hard and earned whatever they have earned. Nobody denies that they worked hard, but, the world is really not fair. The privileged (men, white, straight, or Christian) never had to overcome as many barriers to their achievements as the non-privileged did and still do. Remaining “blind” and in denial about this difference perpetuates the privilege and prolongs the concomitant unfairness to minorities (non-whites, gays, women, non-Christians, etc.)

Rattler

I'm not privileged. I am female and barely make the middle class. My ancestors are from Sicily during the times with moors, so does my brown complexion, dark eyes and curly nappy hair mean that I can get freebies too because I chose not to make something out of myself instead of the easy way out. Discrimination is also prevalent amongst your retired white population, but do you hear the whine. Not just black lives but ALL lives matter. We can as adults agree to disagree

Cleo

Excellent post. Thank you, Larry.

slowe

Yep!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.