Trump and White Supremacy
The Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation

The other day, I posted an article about Mr. Rogers and how he viewed his friends in his neighborhood. Fred always said to children, “I like you as you are.” I used this famous photo of a toddler’s sheer joy in seeing Mr. Rogers for the first time in that article. Surely, that young child heard Mr. Rogers’ one-liner and truly believed it.

“Mr. Rogers….”

Fred said, “Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” However, there are many people that didn’t hear or accept what Mr. Rogers said. Trump and his unfortunate minions are perfect examples of this reality.

However, let me give you the backstory. I was teaching a couple of accelerated online world religion survey classes during the summer session. My classes had an interesting final. I gave them an essay that I had written a handful of years ago. Additionally, they got the Cosmic Calendar, which was Carl Sagan’s creation.

It should be noted that, during my years in high school, college, graduate school, and post graduate school, I had only two science classes. I had chemistry in high school and geology in college…no other science classes in those twenty years. That being said, I have learned a great deal about the sciences due to Carl Sagan. Sagan had the ability to teach science to non-science students. He did for me what Mr. Rogers did for toddlers.

Carl Sagan, my teacher

Sagan took nearly 14 billion years and reduced that time since the big bang down to our calendar of twelve months.

Cosmic Calendar

The top row starts with January and runs to December. The middle section is the month of December. The bottom row is the last minute of the last hour of the last day of the year. For example, recorded written history started in the last 12 seconds of that year, or Columbus discovered America in the last 1.2 seconds of the Cosmic Calendar. I wanted my classes to think and ponder. Then this was their question for the final.

This final is designed to make you think. You won’t be graded upon your conclusion, but you will be graded upon your thinking process. Think. Don’t merely restate something told to you by someone who was told something by someone, etc., etc., etc. That isn’t thinking; it is merely repeating. For example, the Earth isn’t the center of the universe and women aren’t second-class humans no matter who said that was divine truth.

Don’t write your reply. Wait awhile. Then write a 1500-word essay entitled: The Meaning of Being.

I graded their essays and was truly impressed by the honesty and their processing their reasons for being. It was a great semester and both my classes did well. I felt good about how both of my classes did and posted their grades. It was just another great time of teaching. However, things in America radically changed in a matter of a couple of minutes, and my announcement radically changed also. This is my response to my classes. This is the video.

Dear Class,

All your grades for your finals are posted. I had planned to do a video about your exam.... However, the killings in El Paso, TX occurred. Therefore, I tied the final's topic to the killing in Texas.

Then it happened again…this time in Dayton, OH. In El Paso, many were ethnically Mexicans that were killed. Some were Mexican citizens and others American citizens. Either way that white supremacist didn’t like their skin color. In Dayton, the white supremacist was out to get blacks.

We have a severe problem in America. When I was your age, I was in college, which was during the civil rights movement. The KKK and other white supremacist groups were killing blacks and some of their white supporters.

I told you about my two dances with death…. However, I haven’t mentioned this one. Well, this could have been my first and my last dance.

I’m an old man, but you are young. Some of my generation tried to resolve problems like racism, sexism homophobia, xenophobia, etc. We failed. It is up to your generation to change America. This next comment will seem a bit of a threat or at least a warning, good.

If you don’t change what is happening in America, you might not come close to reaching my age. It is in your hands. Some of the older generation will assist you, but the torch is now in your hands.

I have traveled the world. I have been in three or four dozen countries…many were or are still military dictatorships. For example, I traveled to E. Berlin. The dividing up of Germany occurred after WWII. During the runup to WWII, Hitler was talking about the Aryan Race, which is just a dated term for white supremacists. His followers were out killing Jews and those not ethnically pure. Man, does that resonate with what you see and hear today?

I told you at the beginning of this semester, this class could change you. I hope that I am correct…. Good luck.


I mentioned that my students’ generation needs to take up the torch. Many, in my generation, have worked to address issues of sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. While we worked hard, we haven’t done enough to stop the killings of people who aren’t like the white supremacists.

Watch this video of part of President Kennedy’s inaugural address.

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

What JFK said nearly six decades ago describing the time in the early 60s is precisely where we are today. “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century….” My generation tried to addressed those -isms of race, sex, ethnicity, etc. We have made progress…at least some progress. Nonetheless, the rise of white supremacy has gotten out of control due to Trump and the silent Republicans.

Passing the torch to a new generation

This generation has a clear and pressing dilemma staring them in their face. It is their axial moment. They can go with the flow and allow it to worsen, or they can stand up and act. This was my warning to my classes. The white supremacists have assault rifles which contain up to a hundred bullets, which can be fired in a matter of a few moments are out there in cities, towns, and villages across America. How many more domestic acts of terrorism will occur before we address the needed changes in the laws and in our hearts?

Interestingly, Bob Dylan wrote a song back in the 60s, which raised a question.

Blowin' in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, 'n' how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, 'n' how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

I hope that it wouldn’t be blowin’ in the wind much longer.

This video is a very good analysis of the situation facing America.