OPINION | The Day America’s Leader Forgot to Mourn

I am a bystander trapped in time along with millions of others. It’s Heather Heyer’s memory that keeps us here. It is the very worst version of Groundhog Day but without the happy ending. Yes, it’s been one year since that Saturday afternoon when I first heard the news, saw the footage. Big strong men aren’t supposed to cry, but there are exceptions.

A car driven by a white supremacist plows into counter-protesters in small town America, ending the life of Heather Heyer—permanently separated from her friends and family by the proverbial border between love and hate. Welcome to Trumpland.

The nation looked for healing, for an explanation, turning to the president to condemn the cowardice of the act and its racial underpinnings, yet the best the president could offer was the statement that “there was blame on both sides.” Trump the thin-skinned pitbull that barks at every noise, until there is real danger, then the president runs away. Shush, your supporters may hear you! The president ran away from the young people who marched on Washington D.C. to oppose gun violence. He continues to run from moral responsibility, and from  truth itself. The president runs away.

The driver of that vehicle represents everything that most Americans reject: the marginalization of those who may be different—asylum seekers, Muslims, blacks, Mexicans, the list is lengthy. Trump has ostensibly built his administration supported in large part by the demographic of hate and intolerance that he continues to exploit.

August 12, 2017, on that one day, in that one moment as that car lunged forward, accelerator press to the floorboard, the driver seemed to encapsulate the totality of Trump’s presidency in one short egregious act of cowardice and hate.

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest non-fiction book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.

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