Lots of handwringing and tut-tutting and making of distinctions so fine a Jesuit would say "Hey, wait a minute!" and a Thomist scholar would be left bewildered. Racism is the evil that dare not speak its name:
The Republican Party created Trump. But elected Republicans at the federal level are not Trump. They’re not openly racist (well, with a couple of exceptions of the Steve King-Louie Gohmert variety). They know better these days—or, let’s hope, they actually aren’t that way in their hearts, which I assume most of them aren’t.
What is, actually, the difference between what you say, and what's in your heart? I suppose we could point to the example of Iago, truly Shakespeare's supreme villain (Lady Macbeth usually gets that accolade because, well: she's a lady. Such presumptions aside, the crown must go to the man who say "I am not what I am.") What's in his heart is not at all what he says; but it is what he does. This is a very old understanding of human evil.
The heart is devious above all else;
it is perverse--
who can understand it?
I the LORD test the mind
and search the heart,
to give to all according to their ways,
according to the fruit of their doings.
It is your actions that speak loudest; not what you say you really meant, but didn't actually say.
“I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture,” [Peter] Cvjetanovic opined. “It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However I do believe that the replacement of the statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E Lee is a great example of that. He wasn’t a perfect man, but I want to honor and respect what he stood for during his time.”
“I did not expect the photo [of him in Charlottesville, carrying a torch and joining in the primal screaming] to be shared as much as it was,” he noted. “I understand the photo has a very negative connotation. But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.”
Cvjetanovic added: “As a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”
Because, you know, what you say should trump what you do. Right, Iago?
“They have no proof that I’m a racist,” [president of Washington State University’s chapter of the College Republicans Richard] Allsup said. “They are slandering me and that I’m racist without evidence because I talk about history and I talk about American politics.”
Well, other than being in that photograph above, from the Charlottesville riots. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas, dude. Something even Michael Tomasky understands:
It’s not enough for them to say, as most of them have since Saturday, that there’s no place in this country for hatred and bigotry. For the record, the most comprehensive list I saw as of Sunday afternoon was compiled by Haaretz, which had 17 GOP senators—including Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul—saying nothing up to that point.Yeah, but what's in their hearts? Isn't that what really matters?
Most of the statements and tweets issued were broad and pretty ambiguous denunciations of hatred and bigotry. John Thune of South Dakota was typical: “The hate and bigotry occurring in #Charlottesville is disgusting and unacceptable to the American people. America is better than this.” Ted Cruz of Texas was a pleasant surprise in that he used the phrase “domestic terrorism.”
But denouncing bigotry is easy for most Republicans, if not for the president. That isn’t what needs denouncing right now. What needs denouncing is white supremacy. What needs denouncing is a White House and a president who goes out of his way to avoid denouncing white supremacy. What needs denouncing is Trump.
We know Trump knows how. When he spoke up against the MS-13 street gang a month ago, he called its members “animals,” said “they butcher those little girls. They kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob. They prey on children. They shouldn’t be here.” Said that “it is the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13” and that “one by one, we’re liberating our American towns.”
“I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” said Duke in video uploaded to Twitter by Indianapolis Star photojournalist Mykal McEldowney. “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we gotta do.”