On July 16 the House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s racist messaging (“A divided House votes for resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks“). It was no surprise, but no less shocking, that all but four Republicans voted against the resolution.

By doing so, Republicans have cemented again their refusal to be independent, to stand for human rights, to have the guts to say, “Enough.”

I remember the chants of “Love it or leave it” in the late 1960s and ’70s, and the message was so clear: Your right to be an individual, to be a functioning part of the nation, to hold dissenting opinion, is determined by whom you hold allegiance to.

And today, as in the past, that allegiance is to a demagogue. A racist demagogue. One who by his own words and actions has done more to undermine this country — our values, our rights, our freedoms, our Constitution. When did it become patriotic to hold despots as allies and our historical allies as enemies?

We should all be required to re-read Margaret Chases Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience,” the late Maine senator’s powerful, independent and patriotic missive against demagogue Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Many Trump supporters refuse to brand him a racist. By doing so, they have furthered their complicity in the destruction of our democracy. That is neither patriotic nor keeping with American values.

Words do matter; words have consequences.


Olivia Atherton


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