Editor’s Note: Ilan Gilbert is the Democratic candidate for town supervisor.
Last week (Aug. 15), I attended the vigil for the victims at Charlottesville, Va., at the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown. This event was attended by individuals of all faiths and racial backgrounds.
I felt that it was important to participate in the vigil because as a community we need to send a clear message that we are united against the hatred, racism and bigotry that were on display the weekend prior.
I call upon our leaders: federal, state, county and even local to stand together against the hate—against the Nazis, against the KKK, and, yes, against the President’s lack of moral leadership.
I say lack of moral leadership based on the following facts: After he had read a prepared statement on Monday, Aug. 14, in which he said he opposed the hate groups by name, many of Trump’s followers were satisfied that he had sufficiently disavowed the neo-Nazis. But his change of heart the very next day, in which he equated the hate groups with the anti-fascist groups who had assembled, all but eliminated any claim of a moral high ground. Mr. Trump was so solicitous of the dark hate groups that are growing stronger every day that the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke, felt a need to praise him effusively for his courage and honesty.
Trump went so far as to say that there were good people mixed in with the neo-Nazi demonstrators. I’m sorry, but I do not believe good people mingle with neo-Nazis. As a person of my heritage—and the son of an Army veteran who fought to liberate us from the Nazis—I am both outraged and saddened to see our president defend these groups that are both hateful and un-American.
My sister and I shared a feeling today. In some bizarre way, we’re happy that our parents are not here to see the President of the United States accepting and implicitly providing support to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The “Greatest Generation,” my dad included, risked their lives to rid the world of the Nazis. It would break my dad’s heart to see them marching en masse in our cities and defended by our president.
I call upon all our representatives, Republicans and Democrats alike, as “Americans”—from the halls of Congress to the steps of our town hall—to express their outrage and reject this environment of hate. This is not a question of politics but rather of human decency. Donald Trump is not making America great again; rather, it appears, in his bluster, Donald Trump is making America hate again!