I don’t know where to start. My logical self is hopelessly seeking cool reason. My emotional self alternates between disbelief and profound sorrow.

The events of last Friday and Saturday in Charlottesville and the aftermath, still roiling, compel the question:

Is this who we are?

As I watched coverage of the tragedy, reference to a “Vice” documentary was made several times. For those who don’t know about the HBO news series “Vice;” it is a show that, per episode, gives an in-depth look at an important issue of the day. They produced a documentary on the Charlottesville events of Friday and Saturday.

“Vice” was able to embed a reporter with the group leading the march. As I watched the report, the footage of Friday night was filled with angry, battle-postured people sporting swastikas and shields. They were organized. They carried torches blazing in one hand and often some sort of weapon in the other. Most wore combat gear and helmets. I heard the obscene hate-speech-filled chanting and I couldn’t help but remember testimonies from the tear-stained, anguished faces of those having gone through the Hitler rallies and the horrific result of hatred allowed to flourish in the 1930s-40s Germany.

Do you know anyone that didn’t have someone, a family member or friend, a coworker perhaps that wasn’t impacted by World War II? Our entire country sacrificed and suffered to ensure that this couldn’t happen here… and yet there it was right in front of me. Being Jewish, this is what was brought to mind. I can only imagine what went through the minds of our African American citizens!

And what about President Trump’s response to what transpired? Really? This isn’t hard. White Separatists and neo-Nazis are evil. There can be no parsing of words. There is no equivalency.

My logical self has over taken my emotional self and keeps raising the nagging question, what is the president thinking? He keeps tweeting, insulting and alienating even his own party, his own staff.

Mentally flipping through situations of the past, I keep coming back to the great Mohammed Ali’s strategy of “rope-a-dope.” Bear with me here. I can make the connection

In his famous 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” match against George Foreman, Ali stood against the ropes, covering up and letting Forman pummel him. Ali was betting that Foreman would tire himself out while he retained his “legs” for the end of the match. Thus “Rope-a-dope” was thrust into the American lexicon.

Could it be that President Trump is employing his own version of rope-a-dope? Does he think that he is sufficiently “covered” by his base and is encouraging the hits to wear down his detractors? So far it seems to be working. But, in the boxing arena it all comes down to the two fighters in the ring. In the political arena, outside influences can impact the outcome. Could Charlottesville be the punch that cracks Trump’s cover?

I don’t know if the Presidents’ actions are some sort of strategy. I’m just praying that we Americans are not the “dopes-on-the-ropes.”

 

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. Visit Wendy’s website at www.wendylevenfeld.com.

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