I wrote this Tuesday morning, before Trump's frightening afternoon press conference throwing in his lot with white nationalist haters. Though it was tempting to react to the latest outrage, I had set aside one column already to react to Trump's tweet, and realized there will always be another shock around the corner—you cannot get ahead of the curve with this man—and it was probably better to let this fly and wait for the next shoe from our centipede of disaster to drop.
"Meanwhile," Trump enthusiast Jack Posobiec tweeted and the president retweeted Monday, "39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?"
Ooo, ooo, me me! I'll take that one.
But first a little background, for those lucky enough not to be reading this at the grim moment of America in mid-August 2017. A nation roiled by a sudden geyser of racial hate—or, rather, being reminded of the hate always seething just under the surface. A tiki torch-bearing mud flow of Nazis and Klansmen and other assorted mutants in Charlottesville, Virginia, vomited out of the earth and into view Friday night. On Saturday they were met by counter-protesters, patriots and regular citizens who reject the never-true vision of America as a white, Protestant enclave.
One of those haters, allegedly, sped his car into the peaceful protest, killing a woman. And our president, who will leap onto Twitter to denounce a teenager who asks a pointed question, blamed "both sides" then remained mum for days about the source of this attack on our values, perhaps because he knows how popular he is among haters, perhaps because several of his closest advisers seeped out of the same subterranean cesspool.
Trump's failure outraged the country. Because we are not used to seeing such bald cowardice, such indulgence of the undercurrent of American life. Not from the president. It's news.
Chicago, on the other hand, is a big city where shootings happen every day. We are not the most dangerous city in America. We are not the homicide capital. Chicago has a pervasive gang problem and its murder rate is five times that of New York City's. So it has problems with violence, but those problems, while news, do not have the fresh horror of a president winking at Nazis.
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