Usually on Sunday, I’d post a video or pictures of my wandering through the magnificent beauty of the Big Bend/Davis Mountain country. Not today.
Today, I want to say that words matter. They always have. Henry II of England said “Will no one rid me of this priest?” – and surprise – four of his knights killed St. Thomas Becket. In my parents’ time, Hitler used words to incite people against the Jewish community and everyone else who wasn’t Aryan.
The language our President uses is hateful and racist. It incites violence under the guise of “defending” our country. This is what Hitler did in Germany. The manifesto by the El Paso shooter uses much the same terms our President uses and expresses many of the same sentiments. Are we surprised, then, by the results? The results are the same now as they have been throughout history.
This is not President Trump’s fault. It is ours. We should know better. We should’ve learned the lessons of history. President Trump will go gleefully along and deny any responsibility. He always does. That will not change – we must change. We must change our attitudes and our policies. We must change our intolerance and indifference.
The manifesto attributed to the El Paso shooter harkens back to days that, until 2016, I would’ve thought were long gone. Our history is fraught with racial tension. Our future must not be so.
Whether you support President Trump’s policies or support his re-election is politics. Racism is personal. Very personal. It is certainly personal to the families of all those killed or wounded at a WalMart in El Paso yesterday.
History will not be kind to President Trump or to our country during this era of #MAGA. In Spanish, an old saying translates into “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”
To all of us – look around at the company that you are keeping. Are you on the same side as the white supremacists? The KKK? The El Paso shooter? If so, you’re on the wrong side.
See the pictures below. Words matter.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column first appeared on the Facebook page of Pete Gallego, a former state representative and member of Congress from Alpine, Texas.