Remember back in 2008, when Sarah Palin used to talk about the “real America”? She meant rural and small-town residents — white residents, it went without saying — who supposedly embodied the nation’s true essence.
She was harshly condemned for those remarks, and rightly so — and not just because the real, real America is a multiracial, multicultural land of great metropolitan areas as well as small towns. More fundamentally, what makes America America is that it is built around an idea: the idea that all men are created equal, and are entitled to basic human rights. Take away that idea and we’re just a giant version of a two-bit autocracy.
President Trump during his statement to reporters about the events in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times
And maybe that is what we have, in fact, become. For Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn the murderous white supremacists in Charlottesville finally confirms what has become increasingly obvious: The current president of the United States isn’t a real American.