In the darkish hours after the assault, worry swept over my hometown. Lightning flashed on the horizon, illuminating empty streets and parking tons. Bars and eating places shuttered their doorways. Wherever I went, as I departed I heard this: “Take care out there.” That was a phrase I’d by no means heard on this metropolis in additional than 50 years.
Even at a public library, close to the positioning of the assault, individuals overtly suggested one another to watch out, even exiting to the car parking zone. “You gotta look both ways when you head out there,” mentioned one man, loud sufficient for all to listen to. “Be safe out there in all aspects.”
But within the human cycle of grief, the worry, disbelief and nervousness has reworked into a seething anger. El Paso isn’t a risky, rioting metropolis the place the president might anticipate hassle. But he inevitably noticed how alone he was in his poisonous, racist politics, some throwback to a receding time in America.
When Air Force One touched down, the temperature was hovering towards 104 levels and only one single native official, Mayor Dee Margo, was there to greet him (Gov. Greg Abbott was there as nicely).
Along the president’s route from the airport to a hospital, individuals lined the roads to greet him — largely with rejection. “What’s more important?” Asked one man’s signal. “Lives or re-election?” American and Mexican flags sprouted collectively within the August warmth. Signs with quotes bearing his title got here again to hang-out him: “We cannot allow these people to invade our country.” “Not Welcome” lined a stage at a park the place individuals protested the president. The El Paso Times ran a black entrance web page with this headline: “Mr. President, We Are Hurting.”
How individuals truly reside right here stands in stark distinction to Mr. Trump’s white nationalism, persistently separating Americans into old school, racist classes. (Among different situations: He has instructed American Jews that Israel’s prime minister is their chief and proudly boasted of his few black supporters by calling them “my African Americans.”) Six in 10 Americans right here have household on the opposite facet of the trickling Rio Grande, in line with a examine by the El Paso Community Foundation, whereas six in 10 Mexicans simply throughout the border have household on the American facet. Thirty p.c of Latinos right here marry exterior their ethnicity, normally an Anglo. Nationwide, one in six marriages are interracial, in line with the Pew Research Center.
And what’s normally forgotten is that racial violence in America has nearly by no means been a two-way road. Instead, it has been visited, sadly, by the bulk — whites. What whites have traditionally referred to as “race riots” have truly been one-sided assaults by whites: Anglo-on-Latino in Texas, white-on-Chinese additional West, white-on-blacks in Oklahoma and the Deep South. And so it continues, in 2019.
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