Opinion: After Pete Wilson’s Endorsement of Trump, It’s Past Time to Remove His Statue

Oct 20, 2020

CBS 8 San Diego: We take another deep dive into topics concerning our community. This is an ongoing conversation around immigration and the U.S.-Mexico Border. Click here to see the full story. 


By Enrique Morones
Wake up, America! In this year’s election, hate is on the ballot. After all, under the Trump administration, our country faces a rise in hate like never before in our lifetime.

There have been some steps in the right direction. We applaud the removal of relics and symbols of hate like Confederate statues and the offensive former name of the Washington, DC, football team.

But those are small steps. We need to do much more.

And that includes us here, in San Diego. It is long overdue for my hometown remove the statue of former mayor Pete Wilson from Broadway Circle downtown. Wilson’s recent endorsement of Donald Trump brings to mind his support, back in 1994, for California’s divisive Proposition 187. That very racist ballot measure — which was struck down as unconstitutional —would have denied undocumented children the right to go to public school or receive non-emergency health care.

What a cruel and evil idea that was. Like the Dreamers of today, those children did not choose to come to this country. They were brought here by their parents. Americans should not pick on the weak and the innocent.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is on the wrong side of justice, refusing to change the racist name of one of its teams. The Texas Rangers were a racist vigilante law enforcement group with a history of lynching and terrorizing Mexicans in the late 1800’s. For a professional baseball team to be named after the Rangers is blatant racism. A name change is in order.

However, there is one local professional sports team we need to recognize and thank for bringing pride back to region. That, of course, is the San Diego Loyal soccer club. Members walked off the field not once — but twice — when players from opposing teams made racist or homophobic remarks to Loyal players.

In each case, team manager and soccer legend Landon Donavan had his players walk off the field and stop the game. Now that is leadership, and something we should all applaud.

Enrique Morones at the border wall. File photo
Professional athletes already make enough money. They can afford to skip a few games for a cause they believe in.

But money is not the point. Youth around the world look up to these athletes. If they stopped the games and refused to play, the whole country would have noticed. That would have been a positive contribution to society. What do athletes contribute otherwise?

We all have to contribute something. No one can afford to stand on the sidelines in this battle for the future of our nation.

We are facing the most important election in our lifetime. Racism is out of control. And, in large part, this is due to the hateful rhetoric coming from the White House. We all need to take a stance. We need to say “no” to racist monuments, racist language and racist presidents.

That’s right. No more doubts, and no more excuses. It’s time to call a spade a spade. Trump is a white supremacist.

And apparently he’s a loyal one at that. In the first debate, the president refused to condemn his own kind. No matter how many people on his staff, in the campaign, or among his followers try to explain away what he said, it’s no use. We all heard it. We all know what it means.

I’m not at all surprised. I’ve known this all along. After all, in June 2015, Trump launched his campaign for president by attacking me and my people.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump told supporters. To him, we’re all rapists, criminals and drug traffickers. Now, it’s no wonder that we have a broken immigration system where children get separated from their parents, get put in cages, and even die in the custody of the Border Patrol. At the same time, asylum seekers with credible fears are turned away without a hearing. It’s a disaster — and a global embarrassment.

But what did we expect? Hateful words lead to hateful actions.

We all have to vote. We can all do better. We can’t allow this hate and prejudice to spread. Don’t stand down and stand by, as Trump directed white supremacists in the debate. Instead rise up and say “no” to hate and racism.

Hate is on the ballot on Nov. 3. Vote against it.

Enrique Morones is executive director of the Gente Unida human rights coalition, a San Diego County Human Relations Commissioner, and the founder of Border Angels.