No room now for moral ambiguity

Farmington Daily Times

"Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth."

That ringing endorsement comes from former Ku Klux Klan leader and full-time racist David Duke via the president’s favorite social media platform, Twitter.

Duke wasn’t responding to Monday’s measured and scripted White House remarks calling out hate groups.

Racist websites across the Internet Tuesday celebrated the news that President Donald J. Trump gives American Nazis and Klansmen moral equivalency with any other protesters, and puts Robert E. Lee on the same tier as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. 

The takeaway from the unscripted press event that left top aides looking quite uncomfortable: The president values messages like “Jews will not replace us” right alongside “Give peace a chance.”

Give peace a chance? Maybe it’s time to give Pence a chance. 

Our president lost legitimacy with most of our country — and perhaps his mind — when he clearly and plainly spoke that mind during that fateful press conference. Many listeners who understood the words he issued promptly felt they needed a long shower to scrub them off.

Others bask in them. Why?

Our Greatest Generation went to war to defeat Nazis, as well as their Axis partners in imperial Japan. Decades later the Johnson Administration led desegregation and voter empowerment efforts fought fiercely by the Klan. 

Many of our nation’s greatest achievements, including a desegregated military and an overall gain in human rights and dignity across this land were either threatened by or ripped from the filthy grasp of people like those Tiki Torch-wielding madmen who gathered in Virginia to disgrace not only their names but a perfectly good part of any backyard mosquito-fighting arsenal.

Those who glorify fascism and hate in the name of Making America Great Again are enemies of a free and participatory democracy, indeed enemies of true democracy and freedom. Yet the president has more enthusiasm for attacking the "fake" media than deploring the events in Charlottesville.

Read:Trump economic councils disbanded after Charlottesville response

We hope Trump voters who agree with the president’s views on the racial violence in Virginia carefully examine why they think that way, and what it would be like to live in a nation that would evolve from successful implementation of Trumpian social doctrines.

Trump’s words came Tuesday afternoon, as members of Indivisible San Juan prepared for a peaceful vigil in memory of the victims of the weekend attack.

While Trump has lost legitimacy with many, he will always have a hard core of supporters, and some of them are vocal commentators on social media. Case in point: Daily Times Facebook page comments about the announcement of the peaceful Tuesday vigil.

More:Who may lose amid the CEO backlash and Trump? Americans.

The Daily Times’ rather innocuous Community Calendar item wasn’t online for many minutes Monday afternoon before a reader posted: “Yeah, let's all have a candlelight vigil for white supremacists and Antifa!!”

Another posted: “That's like holding a vigil for the nazis - the REAL German nazis, not the conservatives who are labeled as nazis because they don't agree with the liberal agenda.”

By 6 p.m. Tuesday the vigil had started peacefully, and it ended with around 70 participants and no counter protesters. Some honked their horns in support while driving down Main Street past Orchard Park. The Farmington Police Department said no security was requested. None was needed. This, at least, is a hopeful sign during troubled times.