From the San Antonio Express-News, January 21, 2018. Lest we forget why we resist.
To The Honorable Lamar Smith:
Our families were well acquainted before your election. I remember with fondness attending elementary school as a classmate of your daughter. When you were first elected to Congress in 1987, I recall the excitement even among us young students. Those fond memories faded into shame and disgust as I read of your speech on the House floor recently.
You had a lot of harsh words for the media and their use of the exact phrase that President Donald Trump is reported to have used to describe African countries, Haiti and El Salvador. You lamented, “There was a time when the media would show some respect for family values, but no more,” implying that you are a man of high moral standing who would share those family values.
But you spoke not one word condemning Mr. Trump’s comments. Your speech had the sole purpose of enabling our president to use racist views and language in the process of crafting immigration policy. You spoke not one word standing up for American values or the Constitution toward which Mr. Trump has continually shown disdain.
It cannot be denied that Mr. Trump has such disdain. His open push for harsher libel laws are nothing but a transparent move against our beloved freedom of speech and critical freedom of the press, which he lambastes daily. He violates the Constitution through the profit of his Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is frequented by foreign diplomats and dignitaries in order to gain favor with the president. He violates the Constitution by pressuring NFL owners to punish or fire football players who protest him, indicating that they will receive favorable treatment if they do so.
On the topic of Mr. Trump’s reaction to NFL protests, it is one piece in a full puzzle depicting the president’s racism. The most recent example, of course, is his rant against immigrants hailing from what he refers to as “shithole” countries, all of whom all happen to be black and brown, while expressing a preference for immigrants from Norway, who are overwhelmingly white.
One might be able to brush off his stated preference as merely a poorly articulated argument. But there are more than enough other pieces present to portray a clear picture:
His characterization of a neo-Nazi group in Charlottesville as containing “good people.”
His insistence that a judge has no right to hear a case against him because he is of Mexican heritage.
His broad characterization of immigrants from Mexico as rapists and murderers.
His constant advocacy of a “Muslim ban” (his words, not mine) during the campaign, leading to three different attempts at such a ban under a different name.
Finally, his cringe-inducing attempt to point out an African-American for the cameras’ benefit during a rally, with comments like, “Look at my African-American friend over there! Look at him! Aren’t you the greatest?” to prove that he is not racist.
In case you forgot, America was founded on the idea that people could come here when they were not welcome, free or safe in their home countries. It is specifically when a man or a woman faces hardships imposed on them by their government, society or conditions that they have historically heard the call of the American Dream.
If the president’s words and policies are not enough to convince you that he does not hold the American ideal or Constitution dear, just look at leaders he chooses to praise and those he chooses to antagonize. He has expressed great admiration, respect and friendship for dictators like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Vladimir Putin of Russia, while straining relationships with our strongest democratic allies such as the United Kingdom’s Theresa May and Angela Merkel of Germany.
Do you want your legacy to be one of protecting and enabling an anti-American, racist narcissist? Or do you want your legacy to be one of rising above party, above self-interest and serving your country? It is time to choose. What do you want your great-grandchildren to read about you?
Edward O’Malley, a native San Antonian, is founder and CEO of Motiv Engines. He now lives in Boulder, Colorado.