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August 22, 2017

A Response to “Why I’m Celebrating Donald Trump right Now.”

In Lindsay Carricarte’s article, “Why I’m Celebrating Donald Trump right Now,” she asserts that Donald Trump is something of a necessary evil so that the U.S. will finally acknowledge racism, hate, and greed in our country—all things that Trump represents.

Carricarte writes, “Without him, we wouldn’t be forced to acknowledge the cancer that has been present in the belly of our nation for centuries.”

Yet, paradoxically, Carricarte also states that, “Racism has been alive and well in America since the Civil War ended and anyone who wasn’t aware of that before Charlottesville hasn’t been paying attention.”

So, it seems to follow that if we would pay attention, we wouldn’t need Trump. Trump is, therefore, unnecessary.

I think notions of “necessary evils” are dangerous. Such ideas imply prescience we can’t possibly possess. For example, if Trump starts a nuclear war—intentionally or unintentionally—we might not care about him being such a spotlight on our nation’s shadow of racism. Similarly, his actions may also hasten climate change and invoke environmental disaster.

One can also argue that Trump isn’t simply bringing our issues to light, he’s actually enflaming the problem by emboldening hate groups. By their own statements, groups like the alt-right and the KKK feel supported by Trump.

More and more, it seems Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” was simply code for, “Let’s return all power and privilege to white Americans.”

Where Carricarte really loses me, though, is when she asserts that, “Taking down Confederate monuments, flags, and renaming parks is not the answer.”

Well, I’m not sure that anyone thinks that taking down such monuments is an “answer” to racism.But it sure as hell is a step in the right direction. After all, these monuments are not just historical artifacts of hate (as such, they are better placed in museums, rather than open public spaces), but most of these were erected with the idea of letting black people know that white people are still in charge. Furthermore, the heroic posturing of the statues often glorify the Confederate soldiers and the racism they represent.

Taking such monuments down isn’t white people pretending that such evils didn’t exist; it’s letting America, as a whole, know that we no longer sanction such public displays of intimidation—that we’re trying to move on from racism.

Contra Carricarte, taking these monuments down isn’t “poking the dragon with a stick.” It’s confronting an already enflamed situation in which racists with guns are trying to roll back time via intimidation.

For this reason, Donald Trump should not be celebrated.

More importantly, we need to send a clear message to hate groups emboldened by Trump that we will not be intimidated.

In doing so, we are not denying or hiding from history and its racism—just the opposite: we are confronting it head on.

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Author: Matt Helmick
Image: YouTube
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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Matt Helmick