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On the 16th of August, the Rational Standard saw fit to publish my opinion piece, titled, “Torch-light rally in Charlottesville casts spotlight on Trump’s bigotry.”

My article drew a host of generally unfavorable, if not derisory and aggrieved comments.

The first point I would make is that I don’t care a tinker’s cuss. I readily accept that the article was published on the Internet where all’s free game. However, what is troubling, deeply, to me, is not the raft of hostile remarks, but the overall import of sentiments expressed.

As was highlighted by the editor of the Rational Standard:

“The Rational Standard welcomes debate within the framework of respecting one another’s individual and economic liberty. We will not shy away from publishing controversial and contrarian perspectives which [that?] are compatible with this framework. The views of our authors do not represent the views of the Rational Standard or its board.”

Another editor, Nicholas Woode-Smith, also defended the decision to publish the piece by stating:

“The Rational Standard runs on guest articles. Where we differ from other publications is that we do have a strict editorial policy. This article was not seen to violate our editorial policy. We aren’t Trump worshipers. We aren’t blatant Trump decriers.”

To those readers of the article, one thing must be glaringly evident: I am a fierce Trump decrier.

Why?

I have followed the ascension of this man since well before the commencement of the 2016 candidacy nominations: the stage where the man, who is simply unable to effect an iota of change in his sentiments, mien or behavior; verbally bullied, lied and slandered his way to the highest office in the land.

Eh, sorry, he actually began behaving in this fashion far earlier – in March, 2011 in fact – when Trump aired the view that he doubted the then-President, Barack Obama’s, American citizenship. My apprehension and misgivings about the fitness of this man were then sown; even if Trump had yet to formally announce his candidacy.

In fact, his race-baiting could be said to have begun in 1989 with his inflammatory comments made about 5 young black men he regarded, without the benefit of a trial, as being ‘bang to rights’ guilty of gang-raping a young, white, female jogger in New York’s Central Park. Take your pick – Trump has continued in this ‘rough-and-tumble, hit-me-and-I-hit-you-back-twice-as-hard’ manner that, as he maintains, made him such a ‘winner’ in the real estate development game. (And at this, I seriously have to say that I’d hate to see just how the man would react were he to lose: a state of being simply not within the universe of Trump consideration).

I don’t plan, or desire, to direct you to thousands of available articles listing this man’s legions of shortcomings, lies, whoppers, omissions, commissions and outrages. All I’ll say is that it is his fault, and his fault alone, that he sees fit to give such offense and generally behave like the loud-mouthed, inebriated boor propping up the local golf club bar.

No, I won’t detail his litany of mostly self-inflicted wounds, however, I feel I must address the fact that many, many, young South Africans – not Americans – appear to have been captivated and seduced by this man. It seems that via TV, Trump has been able to sprinkle his ‘Apprentice dust’ and have so many S’Efricans readily and willingly spring to his defense.

And let’s all be honest; this small, Internet controversy has been provoked, in the eyes and minds of those who felt so incensed to comment, by a single incident: the willful killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.

To those who seemed to be of the mind that –

“… The article is just a Donald J. Trump hit-piece, nothing else.”

– damn right the piece was overtly censorious. Trump wrongly attempted, and rightly failed, to re-conform the very essence of liberty – the truth – and create some degree of ‘moral equivalency’ between neo-Nazis, white supremacists and nationalists who were opposed by an indeterminate number of anti-hate, anti-Robert E. Lee, statue protestors.

There was, on my part, no attempt at balance, but it was both true and fair. Every reported incident can be verified, especially the tragically senseless, totally unnecessary death of Heather Heyer.

Another comment echoed Trump’s position that, “… both sides had reasonable people in it.” In my opinion – and the piece was an opinion piece – ‘reasonable’ people do not consort with neo-Nazis, white supremacists and ultra-nationalists.

Another commented, “… This is some msm grade nonsense right here, russian ties and all, a sad day for the standard.”

I presume msm means ‘mainstream media’ – high praise, indeed. And I made not a word of mention of any alleged ties to Russia, although I did point out Trump’s extreme and inexplicable aversion to saying anything remotely critical or derogatory about Vladimir Putin: two very different issues.

To whoever wrote this:

“… She would be alive today if she hadn’t been attacking innocent people in their vehicles. It wasn’t the Dodge that killed her, it was the two cars she was harassing.”

Oh, I get it, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and ‘alt-right-ists’ are not only reasonable people with an acceptable agenda, but they are also cautious drivers?

And I must say that I reply in exactly the same fashion to this:

“… I watched the video, it looked like the ” Nazi” was driving at snail’s pace through the crowd and only accelerated when one of the peaceful protesters bashed his car.”

Another added:

“People commenting in this thread appear to be alt-right sympathizers, and Trump supporters. A morally bankrupt collection of human filth”.

Thanks ever so, not only for your implied support, but mostly for your ability to parse that which I thought was an elementary set of circumstances.

Then someone added: “… Obama started the division, not Trump.”

This, to me, is quite a profound observation. The US is indeed a deeply-divided nation, but can we respectfully agree to disagree that ‘division’ began long before Obama?

Some ironist questioned: “… Has the RS been hacked?”

This made me laugh out: loud. Very loud and long… like Antonio Conté long.

Another affronted reader said: “This piece belongs in Huffington Post for its one sided leftie opinion.”

The HuffPost? Really? Thanks ever so, the exalted praise simply continues. Again, thank you. Hopefully, this might lead you to the realization that ‘lefties’ are fully entitled to having an opinion: although I would rather refer to my views as simply measured, considered, decent and sensible.

Another commenter wrote:

“I argue against the statement of how divided the US has become. Whilst I’ve never been there and spoken to Americans in America – I believe the divisions were always there – just hidden waiting to come out…”

Try and speak to a few Americans. Generally they are fine, reasonable people, although they don’t respond well to being referred to as ‘former colonists’ and their beer is undrinkable.

A final commenter opined:

“Idk how a protest involving a few hundred people in a town no one can find on a map is indicative of an entire nation of 325 million people. The Nazis and Antifa are fringe groups of society that are not gaining members at a rapid pace. There’s no cause for this alarmism except falling media readership.”

While small – just 48 000 inhabitants – Charlottesville is easily found on all maps. Regrettably, while of relatively few members, the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and alt-rightists can disproportionately spread hurt, harm, menace and – as we saw in Charlottesville – death in most locations in the US. AntiFa, or their so-called ‘ultra-leftist’ forebears, have, also regrettably, been sowing civil mayhem since, as I remember it, the Seattle, World Trade Organisation conference and that was 1999.

And someone succinctly added: “… Prick.”

To which I respectfully ask, “Who? Trump, or me?”

I consider myself having no other political affiliation, attachment or allegiance to anything other than this:

“The chief danger to freedom of thought and speech at this moment is not the direct interference of… any official body. If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. [In this country] intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face.”

That’s George Orwell, not that I am in anyway comparing myself to him – especially in quality of writing and thought – but I wholeheartedly agree with and respect his sentiments.

It is, to me, exceptionally dispiriting that some young South Africans have fallen under Trump’s crude spell. Yes, there is much that is wrong in the US body politic – the amount of red tape wrapped around business, small businesses especially. This stands as just one example, but this former reality TV star isn’t the answer to the myriad of problems entangling America. Know why? Because, hypothetically, were he to be in close proximity of either your attractive wife or girlfriend he would, if the man’s words are to be believed, make a beeline for her crotch. And he is so enamored of himself that he would still expect her vote.

God bless America! ‘Ain’t that the truth!’ For with Trump at the wheel, some degree of divine intervention is desperately needed.

  • Tim Crowe

    Dear Mr Gray and RS readers,

    I wholeheartedly support the editors’ decision to publish Mr Gray’s original and current submissions.
    Free speech is about free speech.

    More specifically, short of hate speech and other law-breaking acts, I fully endorse the RS approach of minimal editing of pieces published. That makes RS an ‘island’ of freedom in a sea of false (Fallist?) ‘facts’, “alternate truths”, spin and propaganda.

    Now to my thoughts on Mr Gray’s current piece. Before I do this, I am an old (69), American-by-birth, man who has lived, loved and worked in Africa since 1973. For more on my ‘history’, views and ‘lived experience’, see my Blog Site – timguineacrowe.blogspot.co.za

    My full curriculum vitae is on Page 3.

    Yes, Donald Trump is Unfit to be President of the US. I have followed his ‘career’ for more than a decade and even attended one of his horrible presidential campaign speeches. [Most of which he spent defending his fraudulent Trump University and defaming the ‘Mexican-ancestored’ judge involved with legal action against it.]

    Sadly, for many Americans (not me), Hilary Clinton was even more unfit to serve.

    So, he ‘won’ [with more electoral – but not popular- votes] the election.

    My initial position on Trump was: “Give him a chance.” Maybe, he’ll appoint good advisors that will help him to ‘translate’ whatever good ideas he might have had into effective and constructive policy.

    He’s had that chance and, without exception, has failed to deliver.

    My sincere hope now is that he does no irreparable damage before he resigns, impeached or fails in re-election.

    With regard to events that happened at Charlottesville, on university campuses, et al., there are thugs and anarchists on both sides. Regardless, as long as the neo-Fascists don’t break laws, they should be allowed to demonstrate peacefully and speak. Those who oppose them should do the same. When this happens in free
    societies, sooner or later, the law-breaking thugs reveal themselves and will
    be made to account for their bigotry and lack of overall humanity.

    Case in point is my local ‘look-alike’, Eugène Terre’Blanche.

    With regard to statues, see my pieces on symbols (page 2), Robert E. Lee, Cecil Rhodes (page 2) and Jan Smuts in my Blog Site.

    Statues of other Confederate ‘heroes’ (e.g. Nathan Forrest – founder
    member of the Ku Klux Klan) should be relegated to the dust bin or spaces open only
    to those who revere them.

    This advice may not apply to my alma mater, the University of Cape Town, since it is led by supporters of those who advocate destructive Fallism – neo-Fascist/Apartheidism.

  • Harald Sitta

    Hard hitting. i like that even if i do not endorse Steven gray’s position. DT for me is just the fox in the complacent establishment hen house. What the Republican party in cooperation with DT could achieve if they just would act effectively could be measured clearly. The biggest danger I see is the totalitarian nihilist left combined with total corruption a la B&H Clinton. This is for me enemy number 1!