No, don’t go back to where you came from. YOU make America great.

By Gary Gately

WASHINGTON — In the sticky heat of a gray dawn in the nation’s capital, I’m driving past The White House, trying to conceive of a heart so black inside, resorting to telling brown people like my son, Paulie Gately, adopted from Guatemala as a 9-month-old, to go back to where they came from. Suddenly, I’m feeling nauseous.

Yes, I watched with the rest of world the long night’s journey into day in November 2016, riveted, if full of foreboding for the future of the Republic. But who could have imagined it would come to this?

You, Donald J. Trump, tell them to go back to where they came from? Go back to where you came from? Did you study the playbook of Bull Connor? Go back to where you came from, or I’ll spit on you and knock you off your feet with this here fire hose, darkie.

I know you. I remember you, when I worked as a scared intern at The New York Times in 1985–86, you took a nasty bite out of the Big Apple, terrorizing poor tenants, driving them to the streets, and telling them to go back to where they came from, raising from the depths of a heart painted, black, a despicable trope representing, presumably, that America you deemed great. You told us, too, that the Central Park Five should be executed, didn’t ya?

Lou Reed saw your gilded tower, tarnished by hate:

This room cost 2, 000 dollars a month
You can believe it, man, it’s true
Somewhere a landlord’s laughing till he wets his pants
No one here dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything
They dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I’ll piss on ‘em
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death
And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard
Get to end up, on the dirty boulevard
Going out to the dirty boulevard

On this day, I encounter Frankie Domingo, a 28-year-old immigrant who came from El Salvador two years ago, at 14th and K, as he’s about to start stringing electrical wire for new buildings.

“I don’t get that man, President Trump,” Frankie tells me. “I found peace here. I don’t see gangs every day, or at all where I live. I go to work, Why does he want to make us go back to a place where there are gangs everywhere, and I’m much more likely to be killed?” Good question, Frankie. Just no good answers.

Frankie comes from a homeland with a murder rate more than 14 times that of the United States.

And you want him to go back to where he came from, Donald Trump, even though he busts ass to make America great. This could be a death sentence for those you would throw away to stoke the racist, alt-right extremists in a party that lays no claim any longer to be heir the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

At the Make America Hate Again rally, the true believers, falling into step faster than a brown-shirt salute in the early 1930s, chanted about Rep. Ilhan Omar, born in Somalia: “Send her back!” You remained silent.

Then you uttered forth a truly Trumpian apology at The White House

“I felt a little bit badly about it. I would say that I was not happy with it. I disagreed with it.”

Weeping crocodile tears, are you? And, like the Pilate, washing your hands of the whole sordid travesty: “But, again, I didn’t say that. They did.”

Shame on you, Donald Trump, shame.

What do I tell my son about you? I remember when America, always an imperfect union, was far greater than the depths to which you seek to drag us, when we would whisper into the ears of our babies and toddlers: “Yes, of course, you can be anything you set your mind to. You could even be president someday.”

Now what father in his right mind would say you can be just like Donald Trump one day. God help us.

I’ve been told maybe that as a journalist I should just keep quiet about this (though I do not cover President Trump in any capacity) because we’re all objective purveyors of fake news, after all. But as a father, I can no longer remain silent this day, in the capital of my country. This land is Paulie’s land, this land is my land…..

Paulie Gately, pitching for the Towsontowne T-Birds travel team at Cooperstown All-Star Village.

But I know you’re a good Christian man, Mr. Trump, who believes in old-fashioned values, for you have told us so.

Tell me this, then: What God do you know who would tell brown people — like that homeless Arab immigrant named Jesus? — that “those people” should go back to where they came from?

The way Sister Kathleen taught us at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (before my old man fell on hard times, and I headed to Chadwick Elementary in the third grade), it would amount to a grave sin to indulge racial hatred. Maybe even a mortal sin, separating us from God’s Love, if you acted with the requisite full knowledge of the sin’s gravity and nonetheless chose hatred, darkness and death.

I know, I know, it’s just politics in this town where it’s not so much the heat as the stupidity and hate these days. While I’ve never been a hard-core political reporter, I do recognize you know your friends well, and know how to win their votes. You know they live for this vitriol — every alt-right, extremist hate group, every white supremacist group, the KKK, the “very fine people” among the Neo-Nazi fanatics, the anti-immigrant bloc that would shut down the borders and ban those terrorist Muslims.

You bring disgrace to The White House to my country, to my son’s country.

God bless America, soon.

Let us pray, that may He save us from slipping further into the dark shades of what we used to be.

Gary Gately has won 15 national, regional and local journalism awards and been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian.

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