We’re better than this
What a week. Even for those who have always been Never Trumpers, the president magnified our low expectations, proving without a doubt he has neither the cognitive ability nor moral authority to lead the nation. After Charlottesville and his outrageous equating of neo-Nazis with those demanding equality and justice, he could have refocused his energy on the common good. Or he could at least have remained cloistered in his country club playing golf, allowing the rest of us to enjoy a few weeks of respite from the daily revulsion of his presidency.
But no. Trump began last week with a wooden address to the nation on his new policies for the war in Afghanistan, policies that bore a startling resemblance to those of the previous administration despite his campaign rhetoric.
He then traveled to Phoenix, ignoring a plea from its mayor to allow racial tensions from the Charlottesville tragedy to diminish. Instead, the president led a tone-deaf campaign rally, sounding more unhinged every minute, backed by a weird crowd that randomly cheered their ranting, unfocused and sneering President.
And then, of all places, he flew to Reno to speak to the American Legion and was greeted by 1,000 protesters on Virginia Street in the middle of a work day. After just a 22-minute teleprompter speech, Trump quickly disappeared, leaving behind an expensive public safety bill for a speech he should have phoned in.
By the weekend, Hurricane Harvey menaced the Gulf Coast, but all Trump could do was wish Texans “Good luck” before dumping a triple whammy late on Friday, pardoning racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, banning transgender troops from serving their country, and threatening Dreamers with a revocation of their work permits.
It was enough to make anyone cry in frustration and anguish. Instead, nearly 150 Nevadans drove to Gardnerville to protest Trump and his ardent supporters at Adam Laxalt’s Basque Fry, the largest public protest ever seen along U.S. 395 in rural Douglas County. Three people infiltrated the fundraiser for Laxalt’s expected gubernatorial run, disrupting his speech with Navy rescue whistles, chanting “U.S.A.” back to the crowd as they were roughly hustled out.
Progressive leader Bob Fulkerson explained the direct confrontation on Trump territory as “blowing the SOS whistle for a country and communities under severe distress. … Someone said we no longer have to ask ourselves what we would have done during the Holocaust or the civil rights struggle, because we’re doing it now. I’m inspired by the growing number of ordinary people in Nevada and around the country who know a better world is possible and are stepping up with courage and taking risks.”
A mile down the road, the protesters were more young than old, of different races and ethnicities, refusing to wilt under a searing Nevada sun. They bravely confronted a circling pickup with Confederate flags and cheerfully waved back at plenty of middle finger salutes and taunts from passing motorists. These expressions of hate were overwhelmed, however, by honking and cheers of support from local residents, passing truckers, and caravans of Burners traveling to Black Rock City.
On Sunday, as Texas residents celebrated breathtaking rescues and struggled with massive flooding, Trump was more focused on his own priorities. He tweeted “With Mexico being one of the highest crime nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other.”
Back in Reno, the Resistance continued with a Black Lives Matter protest attracting nearly 1,000 people determined to battle racism, bigotry and an incompetent president who surely cannot prevail. They know we are better than this.