Opinion

A return to the bad old days of extreme racism won’t make America great again

Workers stitch together hats on the factory floor of Cali Fame and Cali Headwear in Carson, California.
Workers stitch together hats on the factory floor of Cali Fame and Cali Headwear in Carson, California. TNS

My parents were life-long members of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution. They were exceedingly and overtly proud of our lengthy American heritage, and added Protestant to become the epitome of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or as it was known, WASP.

Imagine their horror when I informed them I had joined the Catholic Church and was going to marry a Swiss, the grandson of immigrants, and as the Swiss on the North Coast were known as, one of those “-ini” families. As in Fiscalini, Loppini, etc. They were so angry I had chosen my own life path — one not chosen by them — they refused to come to our wedding.

They had, without really personally knowing Bill, decided he was inferior to our pure WASP heritage. In fact, years later my mother commented that she wanted to explain to our daughters the importance of marrying a white man; otherwise it was similar to introducing a defective bull into a herd of purebred cows. The girls were old enough that I replied it was fine with me if she said it to them exactly the way she had to me.

My point in telling this rather old story of the 1950s is that these attitudes were prevalent and virulent.

They were prevalent in the best — and worst — of families.

It was a time when extreme racism, misogyny and bigotry were common. A time when it was “normal” and legal to discriminate against people of color. A time when it was legal to block people who might be different from buying a house in your neighborhood. A time when one was deemed inherently inferior if one was not white. And horribly, a time when it was public entertainment to lynch someone because of skin color.

This is the time that Make America Great Again wants to return to.

The president of the United States is proclaiming, publicly and loudly, against women who happen to be women of color and who happen to be duly elected by the constituents of their Congressional districts, simply because they do not like the direction he is taking this country. That, in my opinion, is nearly traitorous.

My family has fought in every war this country has ever been in except, to my knowledge, the Spanish-American War.

Family members fought to protect our Constitution and the rule of law — at least that is what they were supposed to be fighting for. The right of free speech, the freedom to assemble peacefully, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and freedom of religion are in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

These are all ingrained rights this occupant of the White House is trying to dismantle. In my opinion, this constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense. He took an oath of office to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Anyone who looks at me can tell that I am white. But my brother was rather dark complected with very curly hair and almost black eyes. My mother used to joke that we must have had a Cherokee princess in our background. (Perhaps the same one Elizabeth Warren had in her background.) I laughed about that for years, so for my birthday last year one of my daughters gave me one of those DNA test things. Alas, I was purely 97% Anglo-Saxon, with 3% Eastern European.

Since I am so purely white, and since my family has been here longer than has the Trump family, and since he has proven he is a liar, a misogynist and a racist, I suggest he go back to the country he came from.

Except there’s a problem. Since Trump’s grandfather did not complete his mandatory military service in Germany before he moved to the U.S. (and failed to notify the proper German authorities that he was emigrating), Germany refused to accept him back when he later tried to return.

And it probably wouldn’t want his grandson, either.

Cambria resident Shirley Bianchi is a former San Luis Obispo County supervisor. She writes an occasional opinion column for The Tribune.

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