Questionable Leadership From The Oval Office
“I will use this noble offce, this bully pulpit, if you will, to speak out against hate and discrimination everywhere it exists,” said the President of the United States at the time, with conviction. No, not our current president; this came from George Bush.
During a summer when breaking news alerts were dished out at an alarming rate, one statement by Donald Trump stood out above them all: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides.”
Days before, violence had broken out, protesters had punched each other, and one woman’s life was tragically lost as members of right-wing terrorist groups, originally exercising their constitutional right to assemble, instigated violence alongside counter-protesters.
Though many of us disagree with Trump’s policies regarding immigration, healthcare, and spending, amongst other areas, we can understand how other citizens can possibly be in support of these policies.
However, there is no room for bigotry in the Oval Offce. The support for groups specifcally attacking our marginalized communities should be unfathomable for Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. By failing to condemn Nazi groups, and by averring that violence was purveyed by “many sides,” Trump tacitly expressed approval for organizations that harbor racist and harmful beliefs.
Trump’s silence is glaringly loud.
How can we be proud to be Americans when the president refuses to decisively denounce the KKK and Nazis? America has struggled to come to terms with its history of enslaving African-Americans and marginalizing myriad groups of people. Past presidents have acted in bigoted ways; for example, Woodrow Wilson segregated government buildings, Yet, in the present, we march towards true equal opportunity and respect.
What a step backward our country has taken in the march.
It is clear that the days where the highest offce of our country was considered a moral beacon and paragon are over.
We must look outside the White House for moral guidance, and trust in checks and balances to keep equitable values safe. We can be revolted by our country’s leadership, and still be proud to stand for the true American values of inclusion and diversity, values that we at Hopkins work each day to uphold.