Trump’s Wicked Travesty: Using the Wounded Knee Massacre as a Fun Tweet
We cannot easily heal this nation of ours. The near-genocide of Native Americans by the Europeans who settled in this country and called it their own is a grave burden that eats at the core of who we are now. Until we as a nation acknowledge in our hearts the unremitting violence and atrocity shown toward native populations from 1620 to the 1890s and beyond, and apologize for it, we will remain trapped in a great darkness of spirit.
To have the President of the United States in 2018 write this incomprehensible tweet, words that circled the globe, and have Congress and the general public remain largely silent about it, is a testament to that darkness:
“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”
It is not surprising that Trump wrote it and sent it. There has never been a more emotionally bereft and irrational man in residence in the White House. It is, however, extraordinary that he got away with it. Almost no one in his own party demonstrably opposed it, and Congress in general gave no response.
This kind of silence, allowing the president’s joke about the massacre of 300 Lakota men, women and children on December 29, 1890 to go unchallenged, reveals a pathetic cowardice — that, or an ingrained, though indefensible, racism still holding strong.
Everyone who knows what happened at Wounded Knee and did not vocalize an objection to the president’s crass and deeply disturbing humor is actually complicit in it. We always are when we say and do nothing against injustice.
Because as the haunting books of Elie Wiesel have informed us, books about the concentration camps where he was sent as a young teenager in WWII— it is the people in the town beyond the wall of the camps who knew what was happening and did nothing, the ones who stayed silent, who let the worst of our inhumanity thrive.
Because as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Man’s inhumanity to man is not only perpetrated by the vitriolic actions of those who are bad. It is also perpetrated by the vitiating inaction of those who are good.”
This president should not have been let off lightly for what he did. But he was.