An Open Letter To President Donald Trump

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Walter Smith

Part II of II

(Continued from last week)

Dear Mr. President:

In the decade of the 60s deadly violence against Civil Rights advocates was the tenor of the day. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, John Lewis was beaten within an inch of his life on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi, advocating for voting rights for “colored” people. Following his election as Governor, George Wallace, the Jeff Sessions of the 60s, famously proclaimed in his inaugural address: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” I never want to see those days “Again.”

The decades of the 70s and 80s witnessed the struggle of the Gay Rights Movement, violence against gays, the explosion of the AIDS epidemic, a failure to ratify a ban on sexual bias, and Reagan vetoed the Civil Rights Restoration Act. I never want to see those days “Again.”

In the decade of the 90s the first race riots in decades erupted in South Central Los Angeles after a jury acquitted four white police officers for the videotaped beating of African American Rodney King. Police brutality became a major issue in America and continued unchecked for another decade.

The decade of 2000 produced the first African American president of the United States. The Obama family has been mischaracterized, the president disrespected by members of Congress, the family depicted by thousands of negative caricatures, Barack Obama characterized as a non-U.S. citizen, and treated by the “Birther” movement like a vagabond who needed to show papers to be legit. I never want to see those days “Again.”

The decade of 2010 produced a resurgence of Civil Rights era-like protests against police brutality. The human/civil rights activist group “Black Lives Matter,” in 2015 called world attention to police brutality and the heightened protests against the election of the most unprecedented presidential candidate in the history of the nation. Lies, innuendo, bullying, mischaracterizations, name-calling, vulgarity, and interference by foreign governments dominated the election process. The eventual winner, Trump entered the White House with the lowest approval rating of any president-elect in the history of the country. The president-elect was the first not to release tax returns in 40 years. I never want to see those days “Again.”

In closing Mr. Trump, I followed your campaign very closely and much of what I heard I didn’t like. I heard you characterize Black communities as poverty stricken, crime ridden, illiterate communities. I heard all the “Dog Whistles” about you being the “Law and Order” candidate.

Gun control as it pertains to assault rifles, is a major issue in America. You reference gun violence when you talk about Chicago and the Black community, but we never hear your position on guns as it refers to white kids shooting up schools and theaters with assault rifles, killing dozens of young people including 3-year-olds.

I saw you campaign in rural “white” America where you promised them jobs and prosperity. You never visited the impoverished Black communities. Your promise to the Black community was to bring law and order to communities, which simply meant you would increase police presence with a mandate to use whatever means necessary.

Your Vice President reiterated your pledge at the Donor’s Dinner on Jan 19, to give law enforcement the support and freedom needed to do its job. Your appointment of Jeff Sessions to Attorney General suggests that claims of police brutality would not be addressed. We’re back to the “Bull” Connor days of 1963. I never want to see those days “Again.”

I, like Barack Obama, and like those residents of the crime infested Black neighborhoods who have nothing to lose, am a citizen of the United States. I served my country honorably during the Korean War, fought to protect the rights of my fellow white citizens while fighting to help them maintain the oppression of my family and friends.

After rotating from Korea back to the U.S., we were in route on a chartered plane to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to be discharged from the Armed Services. Our plane set down in the state of Tennessee for some minor repairs, and the 80 passengers, all servicemen in uniform adorned with the 8th Army insignia, went into a restaurant for breakfast. The eight African-American soldiers were told, “We do not serve niggers in here.” I never want to see those days “Again.”

When was America at its greatest and when was it at its lowest? According to your rhetoric on the campaign trail the U.S. fell to its lowest level under the Black president, Barack Obama. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

You got it wrong about America’s Black communities and you deliberately spoke disparagingly about Barack Obama and his administration. I never want to see those days “Again.”

Respect the legislation he put through Congress and if there are flaws in the legislation he was forced to sign under executive privilege, fix it, but let it continue to work for the people of the United States and the world.

You are now the president for all Americans and the leader of the free world. Listen to your critics, consider their concerns, put your personal pride and ego aside, face reality, learn from the mistakes of the past and make America better for all its citizens.

Walter Smith

Publisher, New York Beacon

 

 

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