What a beautiful name for, I am sure, a beautiful young lady. I received your letter asking me why I thought there is so much hatred and violence in our country.
It was a very thoughtful letter and I will attempt to provide you with an equally thoughtful response.
In my opinion the person most responsible for the very visible and blatant instances of hatred in America is none other than former President Barack H. Obama.
It seems to me that when this nation elected its very first African-American president there was a rather large segment of our society that just could not bring itself to have an African American in the White House as our president.
This segment of society sought a leader to lead them and their hatred out of the shadows and into the mainstream. They found that leader in none other than game show host Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump, you may recall, was the leader of what is now known as the birther movement which questioned President Obama's birthplace and, in so doing, questioned his legitimacy to the presidency.
Rex Tillerson dropped the bomb.
When asked on Fox News about racism in America and this country’s attitude toward neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, VA Tillerson said “I don’t think anyone doubts the American people’s values . . . equal treatment of people the world over.”
When asked if our president Trump shares this values, he replied, “The president speaks for himself.”
If you’ve ever watched Blazing Saddles that equates to the “Son, you’re on your own,” comment from the preacher to the new sheriff.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis doubled down on that sentiment when a day or two later he told a small group of soldiers, “Our country, right now, it’s got problems that we don’t have in the military. You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”
Mattis also said our country has two distinct powers for the world: inspiration and intimidation. “The power of inspiration—we’ll get the power of inspiration back. We’ve got the power of intimidation, and that’s you, if someone wants to screw with our families, our country and our allies.”
Mattis’ s first statement spoke to Charlottesville and the growing tension and divisiveness inside our country – but the second statement – particularly the “power of inspiration” was a not-so-subtle reference to our current Commander in Chief.
This week the president helped to drive his wedge – not the golf type – deeper into the American psyche when he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This highly controversial decision further encouraged his supporters, whoever may be left among that group, but it was assailed by Democrats and Republicans alike.