Republicans need to ask themselves a simple question: have we the courage and the will to face up to the immorality and discrimination of the Trump campaign?
Donald Trump and his campaign have once again given a big wink to his alt-right neo-Nazi supporters on social media. Yesterday, his campaign tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton next to the Star of David on top of a bed of money. Within the star, it contained the word corrupt. Many, rightly, called foul, but Trump allies said this was another example of political correctness run amok or the assertion that the Trump campaign had ever done anything remotely anti-Semitic was “fantasy.”
This morning, the millennial newsite Mic revealed that Trump hadn’t created the image, but rather it was first posted to a pro-Trump neo-Nazi message board late last month. The Trump campaign not only stole an anti-Semitic image, but felt it was perfectly fine to publish it.
The picture was not a dog whistle, but a megaphone.
Of course, now his surrogates and spokespeople are scrambling to defend this latest grotesque act. They say it was an innocent mistake and shrug it off as a controversy manufactured by a few hyperventilating individuals. In doing so, they are proving that they truly are the surrogates and spokespeople that Trump deserves.
The entire Trump campaign has been built on hate, xenophobia and base instincts that divide us. Yet many rush to defend Trump and his actions. They excuse these transgressions or even justify them by saying that Hillary Clinton has sinned as well-which does not excuse a thing. In doing so, they are not only condoning Trump’s inappropriate behavior, but enabling it.
Then there are the Republicans who are staying silent, hoping that the problem will pass them by. They too are enabling Trump’s vulgarity. It would be wise if they were to remember the wisdom of the now late Elie Wiesel who said, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
In private, many Republicans are appalled at Trump and his campaign’s actions. They are concerned about how he has empowered the alt-right in the United States. Yet, they are held hostage by worry about the cost to them if they were to share these thoughts publicly. They fear they will lose reelection through some sort of backlash from the Trump supporters. They worry that donors will not aid them in upcoming campaigns. These concerns are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what is happening within the GOP right now. The true Republican base is not comprised of Trump voters, but conservative activists who did not and do not support Trump. At the same time, major GOP donors are not donating to or raising funds for Trump. They have clearly walked away from Trump.
And then there are Republicans who are showing what true courage and morality looks like. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, who is fighting for reelection, has not only stood up to denounce Trump, but even ran ads attacking him. Take Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska who has said that he will not bend the knee to Trump. The bravery of Senators Sasse and Kirk reveal that both have the backbone to do what is right and stand up to the bully.
At what point do other Republicans join Sasse and Kirk and say enough? We have watched as Trump has mocked a man’s disability, his wife said a Jewish journalist brought anti-Semitic attacks on herself for writing a less-than flattering profile of her, Trump attacked a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage, retweeted white supremacists and now actively published — as his own work — an anti-Semitic graphic that was created by neonazis in order to attack Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump is showing Republicans and Americans that he promotes ideals and values counter to what the United States stands for. He lacks the judgment and temperament required to be president of the United States. It is painfully clear that Trump is using the silence of many to amplify the outrage of a few. And we all are suffering for it.
Republicans and Americans have a choice to make. In doing so, they would be wise to remember the prudence of Ronald Reagan who advised, “We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”