Racism is on the rise, and white supremacists are on the march — in Charlottesville, in Boston and right here in the Bay Area.
And it is all being excused, justified and normalized by a president who has proven himself, time and again, either unable or unwilling to distinguish between truth and lies, fact and fiction, right and wrong.
The National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents thousands of Bay Area caregivers, stands with all whom are horrified by what these groups stand for and by President Donald Trump’s insistence on equating their “free speech rallies” with the actions of counter-protesters who bravely stand up to them.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric emboldened the alt-right and gave license for the expression of hatred and bigotry. The violence in Charlottesville, Va., can be traced directly to his xenophobic agenda and willingness to fan the flames of hatred to further his political goals. By reiterating several times his belief that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that left one young woman dead, the president demonstrated without a doubt that he lacks the moral authority to lead our nation or the world.
Earlier this year, our union’s leaders voted to declare NUHW a sanctuary union, and we announced it in these pages. In light of Trump’s rhetoric and the anti-immigrant sentiments he gave voice to, our members took a stand to defend themselves and their loved ones against the draconian policies he and his Republican enablers vowed to enact.
Our members are as diverse as our nation, representing all corners of the globe in their ancestry and origins. We stand together in condemning all forms of white supremacy.
Right-wing commentators have mocked and attacked the sanctuary movement, heaping particular scorn on San Francisco, but President Trump’s comments have made it all too clear how important that movement is and will be to the safety and security of our diverse population.
The Republican-controlled Congress has supported Trump’s racist agenda and refuses to acknowledge that he is unfit for the presidency. Trump claims that in presidential demeanor he is second only to “the late, great Abraham Lincoln,” who would surely bow his head in shame as the party that claims his mantle defends and obfuscates on behalf of white supremacists. Did he not give his life to settle this question 150 years ago?
Lincoln and all our great presidents stood for something greater than themselves. President Trump stands only for himself; his only value is personal expedience. And he is ready and willing to pander to the most vile elements among his base if he believes it will serve his interests.
It is imperative that all of us who value diversity and democracy do everything we can to resist Trump’s divisive agenda and next year elect leaders to Congress who share our values: freedom, equality and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, gender or sexuality.
We can do it right here in California by ousting the congressional representatives who have supported Trump and instead elect candidates who reflect our communities and their interests.
Together, we must strive to create a more just society and elect representatives who honor our diversity, respect all people and resist the president and his racist agenda.
Sal Rosselli is president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents caregivers at California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco Nursing Center, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, Seton Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente and many other medical facilities throughout the Bay Area and California.