Imagine walking into your kitchen in the middle of the night, turning on the light, and seeing hundreds of cockroaches scurrying around your feet. You would feel horror and disgust, I'm sure. You would probably also feel some degree of shame, because what kind of good-for-nothing slob allows hundreds of cockroaches to take over their kitchen?
Thirty-some years ago, my two aunts and I were driving through my grandmother's hometown of Angola, Indiana, when we found ourselves in the midst of a massive Ku Klux Klan rally. We experienced much the same horror, disgust, and shame we would have felt if our kitchen had been overrun with cockroaches. We wanted to open our car windows and scream at the creeps to get out, to tell them that they had no business in our town, our state, our country. I am by nature a peace-loving person (not to mention a coward), but I confess that I had the urge to jump out of the car and beat the living crap out of each and every one of them.
What we did, of course, was lock our car doors and got the hell out of town because, let's face it, we were terrified.
Having had that experience, I believe I have an inkling of the horror, disgust, and shame the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia, must have felt last weekend, as hundreds of terrorists paraded through the streets of their normally peaceful college town, carrying symbols and chanting slogans of hate.
We should all feel horror, disgust, and shame. The cockroaches that invaded Charlottesville came from all over America. In fact, the one who willfully drove his car into a crowd of citizens taking a stand against the hatred, killing a young woman far braver than I will ever be—that particular cockroach came from a small town in northern Ohio not far from Angola, Indiana.
The president made a statement eloquently expressing what every true American felt about the events in Charlottesville:
Our Founders fought a revolution for the idea that all men are created equal. The heirs of that revolution fought a Civil War to save our nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to that revolutionary proposition.
Nothing less is at stake on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a violent attack has taken at least one American life and injured many others in a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons.
White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special.
As we mourn the tragedy that has occurred in Charlottesville, American patriots of all colors and creeds must come together to defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry.
Just kidding. That statement came from Senator John McCain. It's what the president should have said. Instead he said this:
We condemn in strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence — on many sides.
He looked into the camera as he said "on many sides," and then he repeated the words for emphasis.
On many sides.
Many sides? There are only two sides to what happened in Charlottesville: human beings and cockroaches. Mr. President, which side are you on?
He was unwilling to denounce the cockroaches when he was running for president, because he needed their votes. (You may recall that he claimed not to even know who David Duke was.) Apparently he is still unwilling to denounce them. Oh, he finally came out with a stronger statement on Monday, after receiving harsh criticism from "many sides." But in a press conference on Tuesday he reversed himself, doubling down on what he said the first time, calling it "a fine statement," and saying that he believes there were both "very fine people on both sides" and "blame on both sides."
At least he can now count the number of sides.
The cockroaches have no doubt about which side the president is on. After Tuesday's press conference David Duke, one of the very finest of those "very fine people" (You know who he is now, don't you, Mr. President?), heartily praised Trump for his "honesty & courage."
Mr. President, let me give you a hint: when a cockroach praises you—especially when it's the head cockroach—you're on the wrong side.