Friday, July 10, 2020 / by Erik Bjorklund
To the Editor:
Until the international press coverage of President Trump’s racist “white power!” re-tweet from the golf cart parade incident at The Villages, I had never heard of this retirement community.
But given that your Letters to the Editor are getting wide dissemination online, I must reply to Mr. Donald Simson’s attack on the press and his defense of “right wing people having their right to express their views.”
Mr. Simson, in your eagerness to take umbrage you have missed the entire point of why your little enclave of happiness in Florida is suddenly thrust into world news. You have assailed “the slanted national” press. The press, sir, is NOT monolithic but you have lumped the entire world media into a single entity. These wildly diverse and separate news organizations have simply reported on the fact that the President of the United States — the leader of the free world — thought it was acceptable to re-tweet a video wherein one of your neighbors yells “white power!” THAT is the story. Not what your other neighbors were saying, not who was upset with whom, not the right of all people to express their views. No. The story here is about the President re-tweeting vile, racist language and then pretending he didn’t know. Sir, when you attack the press you attack the fundamental structure of democracy. When you defend a racist President you embarrass America for failing to live up to its lofty principles. Your equating the reactions of your neighbors to the racist language of the golf cart driver sounds an awful lot like Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” statement on the Charlottesville white supremacist rally. To quote Frederick Douglass, “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”
South St. Paul, Minnesota