It's hard to hold out faith for a healing in America when we have leaders in our government who believe that healing means making American white again.
It's particularly hard when our president surrounds himself with people like Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller — people who simply can't, even if they wish to, hide their discriminatory inclinations.
Jeff Sessions could barely contain his glee last week as walked beaming to a podium to announce that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, "is being rescinded."
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is a 70-year-old man who was born in Selma, Ala., and was long considered one of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate. He landed in the Senate a few years after his Reagan nomination for a federal district judgeship was scuttled over allegations that he made racially offensive remarks when he was a federal prosecutor in Alabama.
So, naturally, Donald Trump would come along 30 years later and choose Sessions — one of Trump's earliest and most outspoken supporters — as his attorney general. The choice drew criticism from the get-go.
"If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man," said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., in a statement. "No senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions."
Right-wingers know it, too.
Consider this Breitbart headline on Tuesday after Sessions' DACA announcement:
"27 Times Jeff Sessions Fought for Americans Against DACA, Amnesty and Open Borders."
The story about Sessions' "heroic immigration patriotism against all odds" led off this way: "Perhaps no politician has been more influential in shaping the populist-nationalist revolt against President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for illegal aliens and nationwide amnesty than Attorney General Jeff Sessions."
The Sessions-Bannon-White Admiration Society is longstanding — as are their closed minds.
In an October 2015 interview with then-Breitbart Editor Bannon, Sessions lamented the current levels of legal immigration, pointing favorably to a 1924 effort that set strict quotas on immigrants based on their nation of origin. You'll recall that the 1920s was about the same time the Klan was making a comeback and lots of Confederate statues were going up around the country to remind blacks of their place in the eyes of white supremacists who we now euphemistically call white nationalists.
That 1924 immigration policy heavily favored immigrants from largely white countries, and in Sessions' interview, he disparaged the 1965 immigration measure that undid that '20s-era quota system:
"In seven years we'll have the highest percentage of Americans not native born since the founding of the Republic In fact, when the numbers reached about this high in 1924, the president and Congress changed the policy, and it slowed down immigration significantly. We then assimilated, through 1965, and created really a solid middle class of America with assimilated immigrants, and it was good for America. And then we passed this law that went far beyond what anybody realized in 1965, and we're on a path to surge far past what the situation was in 1924."
Poor little Sessions, and Bannon and Stephen Miller — Miller who is now a senior adviser to President Trump who wrote most of the Trump's immigration speeches, but before that he was a longtime Sessions aide.
These men are afraid of people who don't look like them — people who are not blondish and creamy skinned. They are afraid of learning new cultures. They are afraid. Period.
And if they are successful at excising brown-skinned and black-complexioned, gay, lesbian, transgendered and non-Christian believing people (remember the Muslim ban?), then watch out. The next thing that will frighten them will be smart women, and suddenly those new American threats may prompt a call for fewer college admissions of girls. Don't worry about sharia law. Worry about Sessions law.
Protesters in D.C. on Wednesday toppled a paper-mache effigy of Sessions in Confederate uniform atop a box monument that read: "Jefferson Beauregard Sessions Living Monument of White Supremacy."
In a Washington Post podcast in May, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., told Post columnist Jonathan Capehart: "I think that Jeff Sessions is very dangerous. I think he's a racist, and I think that he absolutely believes that it's his job to keep minorities in their place. I think he's a throwback, and I don't mind saying it, any day of the week."
We think both the protesters and Rep. Waters are right.