Before Nazis started killing Jewish persons, they used to say things like “Juden Raus” and “Auf nach Palästina!” The translations are “Jews out” and “off to Palestine.” They even created a board game around these slogans (See Trump’s ‘Go Home’ Invective Echoes Nazi Incitement Against Jews). These words are the functional equivalent of saying “send them back” and “go back where you came from.” The racist history of such words is long and well documented, although Trump would have us all believe that this is fake news, what the Nazis called Lügenpresse, in an attempt to make people believe the reality he wants to portray to them.
Trump is also reviving the oft used slogan “America- Love it or leave it.” In addition to being used as a slogan against Vietnam war protestors in the 1960’s and 70’s, the “love it or leave it” mantra was also a favorite of the KKK – “This is Klan Country – Love it or Leave it!” What a warped understanding of love of country to equate it with lack of dissent! In times such as these, loving America requires those who care about the most vulnerable among us to be deeply critical of the path that our country is taking. We won’t leave America, we will stay and fight for its core values of liberty and justice for all, precisely because we love America.
Today in America, some people are saying these racist things who don’t know their history. Others are saying these racist things because they know their history. Either way, these racist words and actions are unacceptable and extremely dangerous for all people of color in our country and a threat to the well being of our whole republic. All good persons must stop this ongoing march towards hate and conquer it with love and justice. Racism in America never simply goes away; it must continually be confronted and controlled through both moral authority and the law. If you have been sitting this out so far, now is the time for everyone who loves what is best about America to stand up for what is right, and if people tell you to go back to where you belong, tell them you are already there – you are already here.