Congratulations Dylann! Here’s what you’ve won: A fabulous front row seat in hell as your Manifesto now comes to fruition, along with the satisfaction of having projected your twisted vision into the future, the thrill of knowing you were not alone in your hatred, and the warm assurance as you wait on death row, that you really were “normal” after all.
Trump and his supporters are all with you now, recently chanting “send her back” at a reelection rally in Greenville, NC, as the President of the United States excoriated Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar for criticizing his border policies. Not to mention, the endless parade of mass shootings at the hands of domestic white supremacists. They are not so much mentally ill, as they are, like Roof, politically ill. What we are experiencing in this country is a sweeping political cancer.
Do you think my assessment is too harsh?
Consider this: Roof did not think of himself a racist. He was “race conscious.” He denied that he was filled with hate and that it was actually others who hated him. He said he had nothing against these people. He said he had to do what he did because no one else was doing it.
His demeanor was calm, matter of fact about the whole thing, just a “normal guy” standing up for what he believed. In fact his arresting officers took him to get Burger King. I watched he and his lawyers joking with each other when the jury was out of the courtroom. He believed he was just a lowly foot soldier doing what he could for his righteous cause. He predicted a race war was inevitable. He didn’t yell “send them back.” He just wished they were gone. He wished that more people would see and understand the threat black people posed to our society. He wished others had the courage to stand up, to speak out. He wished it so hard. And now he’s getting his wish. The racist right has been emboldened by the President of the United States.
If you find yourself interested in the full text of Roof’s rambling “Manifesto” in all it’s deluded and horrific detail, here it is. It was read in full during the trial, while I was sketching.
You may find more or fewer parallels to what is now happening in our country than I. His obsession with the idea that blacks are somehow oppressing whites, “driving them into the suburbs,” etc. and therefore “deserving” of the bad things whites do to them, is an argument I have heard over and over from so called “normal” Trumpian conservatives. There is no question in my mind, in many ways, Roof was prophetic of the dark time in which we are now living.