A president who approves of treasonous conduct
Americans old enough to remember World War II lived during a period of heightened patriotism in the nation. Everyone was concerned with the defeat of the Axis forces. Americans willingly accepted the rationing of luxury items as well as gas and tires for their cars to assure that our troops were adequately supplied. Despite the discrimination and segregation still rampant in America in the 1940s, Blacks were nonetheless extremely loyal Americans.
The Pittsburgh Courier, a prominent Black newspaper, launched a campaign in 1942 called “Democracy – Double Victory, At Home – Abroad.” The idea was for Blacks to continue to push for equality, even as they fought the foreign enemy. The symbol was the “V” sign in each hand, to create thereby a double V.
The spirit of Double V was very popular among African Americans during World War II. Blacks were willing to risk their lives because of the promise of equality contained in the Declaration of Independence, the founding premise of the nation: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Black attitudes were not always so supportive. In 1852, Frederick Douglass had renounced the validity of the premise in his famous July 5 speech in Rochester, New York. He said, in brief:
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages…”
Ratification of the 13th Amendment to outlaw slavery just 13 years later, in 1865, changed the attitude of Blacks to the America that was so eloquently reputed by Douglass. To eschew slavery, a practice so common throughout the world, seemed to be enough to inspire Blacks to hold out for the universally elusive concept that all human beings are created equal.
While Blacks have remained exceedingly patriotic despite racial discrimination in the U.S., Donald Trump, who has enjoyed every privilege, seems to seek alliances only with despotic international leaders. Despite the fact that Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, has tried to undermine American democracy by corrupting an election, Trump nonetheless holds him in the highest esteem. Trump ignores the evidence that Russians have placed a bounty on American troops killed in Afghanistan.
In his recent speech at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Trump made it clear that he opposed the removal of statues of the leaders of the Confederacy, although they had engaged in the treasonous Civil War against the U.S. government. Trump made it clear that he supported the white supremacists even as fair-minded Americans seek racial solidarity after the heinous murder of George Floyd.
Racists should take no comfort in that support. Trump is truly egocentric. He has failed to take control of the pandemic that has killed more than 131,000 Americans. Despite the scientific evidence that wearing masks and maintaining a distance from others is effective, Trump would not require these measures because a mask, in his opinion, makes him appear to be cowardly. Trump is, therefore, willing to risk the lives of Americans in order to assume a cosmetic pose.
Who then is more patriotic — the Trumpites or those who work to unite the nation’s citizens of various ethnicities?