From Our Future
Her name was Heather Heyer. She was marching for justice in Charlottesville when she was killed by a white racist. Say her name.
His name was Timothy Caughman. He was walking down the street in New York City when he was killed by a white racist. Say his name.
Their names were Ricky John Best and Taliesen Myrddin Namkai-Meche. They were riding a train in Portland when they saw a Muslim woman and her friend being threatened. They stepped forward to protect them and were killed by a white racist.
Their names were Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Wharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson. They were studying the Bible in a Charleston church when they were killed by a white racist. Say their names.
And say the name of the real murderer, the one who sent agents out to kill: white nationalist terror.
It took real bravery for Heather Heyer to march that day. And it takes bravery just to be black or Muslim or Jewish or gay or trans in the United States, where the threat of violence hangs over every walk down the street, every ride on a train, even a Bible class in a great and historic church.
Last year, Donald Trump insisted that it was important to name your adversary. "Now, to solve a problem," Trump said in an October 9, 2016 debate, "you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. (Hillary Clinton) won't say the name and President Obama won't say the name. But the name is there. It's radical Islamic terror."
It's your turn, Mr. President. Say the name: White nationalist terror.
There were nearly twice as many incidents of white nationalist terrorism as Islam-related terror in the United States between 2008 and the end of 2016, according to one analysis. But instead of standing up to the terrorists, Trump has refused to even name the threat. He refused again when he was asked about the violence in Charlottesville and the death of Heather Heyer, making this now-infamous comment instead:
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."
Leaving aside the bizarre "many sides" construction -- Trump somehow turned a two-sided confrontation into an ethical hypercube -- the meaning of this comment was not lost on most observers: The President of the United States deliberately refused to make a distinction between actual Nazis and other self-proclaimed racists and the people who were opposing them because ... well, because they were actual Nazis and self-proclaimed racists.
The Nazis were happy with Trump's statement. The "Daily Stormer," an amateurish neo-Nazi website -- imagine a student newspaper published by the feral kids from William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies -- wrote, "Trump's comments were good... Nothing specific about us."
Trump refused to acknowledge the violent death, at the hands of a white supremacist, of the 32-year-old woman who was peacefully exercising her rights of free speech and assembly. He has remained silent as we have learned more about the killer's openly pro-Nazi statements and his attendance at a fascist rally in Charlottesville before he killed Heather Heyer.The Nameless Ones
There is one name we will not say today: the killer's. When you face a pack of wild dogs and one of them goes for your throat, does it really need a name?