Righting America

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On Martin Luther King Day, A Patriot’s Lament: Donald Trump and the Insurrections to Come | Righting America

By Raymond Screws

Raymond D. Screws earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in 2003.  He also has an MA from Pittsburg State University and a B.A. from School (now College) of the Ozarks, where his advisor was William Trollinger.  Throughout his career, he has been a history professor, museum director, and humanities professional.  He has published articles on immigration and ethnicity as well as a chapter in a book on World War I and Arkansas. He has also co-written a chapter on leadership in America.  Dr. Screws lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is currently the director of a military museum. 

Picture of protestor holding a confederate flag at the January 6th riots.
A supporter of Donald Trump holds a Confederate flag outside the Senate Chamber during a protest after breaching the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

When President Trump refused to concede the 2020 presidential election to the winner, Democrat Joe Biden, and then perpetuated the Big Lie, he ripped the final threads of the cloth that has held the country so tenuously together.  In doing so, Trump produced the largest divide the United State has witnessed since the Civil War (and to some degree has never recovered).  It can be said that Trump’s divide is related to the divide caused by slavery, and, as with the Civil War, it will take decades or even a century for America to recover. 

Will true Republicans ever wake up and realize that Trump is not a true conservative?  While I do not believe that most Republicans are racists, the Trump camp sure makes it look as if they are.  More than this, many Republican/Conservative pundits have clearly demonstrated their racism, have clearly demonstrated their hatred of America.  What they want and love is their fictional image of America. They either don’t understand, don’t believe, or purposely distort the basis of the founding of this country, in particular the racist history of European America.

I love this country, and because I understand our historical and contemporary issues, because I refuse to hide behind the Stars and Stripes (or, better yet, the Confederate flag), I find that I am much more of a patriot than many conservatives.  I stand for the National Anthem, respect our American flag, and honor our men and women in the Armed Forces, especially those who have served in times of war and sacrificed their health our lives.  That said, I absolutely refuse to sweep our history under the rug – under our sacred flag – to hide the truth of our history.

Unquestionably, this country has had this cultural, political, and racial divide for a long time, but Trump took advantage of this division for his own personal and political and financial gain.  Trump does not give a damn about the Republican Party other than using it as a mechanism to advance his agenda.  Then he’ll chew it up and spit it out, just like he has done with the few prominent Republicans who have attempted to take the Party back from him. 

I am not a Republican, but I would like to see the Party return to its roots.  Most Republicans, it seems, do not comprehend or even know how and why the Party was founded more than 160 years ago.  I can say this with certainty – my grandfather, born and raised in Georgia as a Primitive Baptist, would be embarrassed to be from the same state as Marjorie Taylor Greene!   

But there it is: Greene and her fellow like-minded racist Trumpers have chewed up the threads holding this country together, disposing of them into their imagined all-white American sewer.  

America needs a two-party system in which the sides still disagree, but operate in undivided chambers of ideas and cooperation to further the values of the United States and its future. The Democratic Party is somewhat fractured, but it would appear that most Democrats continue to hold to particular American values. Then there is the other side. Did Trump simply give millions of conservatives permission to openly display their racist filth? Just look at Greene’s recent rant about Kwanzaa.  It says it all about the racist mindset permeating the Republican Party.  

When Trump commandeered the Republican Party for his own gain, the Party lost what remained of its historical identity. And it might never get it back.  In the end, America is sacrificed. Another January 6-like insurrection seems inevitable.