Last week the nation celebrated the 88th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who, 54 years ago, was assassinated by unknown persons. James Earl Ray was accused of the deed, but after considerable research, it may be that he was not the culprit. Whatever the case, Dr. King’s assassination revealed the deep rifts in this country regarding race relations. Dr. King set the bar high; the strategies that he used were to encourage unity among the races in America. He spoke of a time when people would be assessed based on the content of their character.
President Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States and the 44th person to hold that position, ran on a platform of unity. In some ways, Obama can be seen to carry Dr. King’s vision forward. President Obama’s administration embraced diversity; he was a class act.
There were a number of positive benefits gained by American citizens during his term in office. In addition to helping to enhance the economy, he passed landmark legislation that helped increase the number of Americans covered by healthcare by more than 20 million. Though his intentions were honorable, Republicans attempted to thwart him at every turn. In spite of that, President Obama served with honor and dignity. Ultimately, Donald Trump is threatening to dismantle Obama’s legacy.
Donald Trump, who will have given his inaugural address by the time you read this, seems to be as negative as Obama was positive. Before he even took the oath of office, he had skirmishes with the press, the intelligence community, and civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, among others. Trump’s tirades on Twitter are legendary; it seems as though we can expect government by social media.
Moreover, he has assembled a cabinet that looks like it came straight from the pit of social justice hell. The people that he has appointed represent the exact opposite of the direction in which the United States should be going if we are to experience a modicum of social justice at home.
Trump has identified someone over education who has traditionally fought against public education and who has not been a teacher or administrator; he has appointed someone over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who does not embrace the notion of climate change.
He has vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which would take healthcare away from millions of Americans, he plans to develop a Muslim registry, and he has helped to increase animosity between the races. Trump gets into unnecessary fights and has defied the Republican status quo, especially regarding his business holdings and his refusal to release information about his taxes.
He is a loose cannon, who is very unpredictable. He is so thin skinned that he becomes obsessed with revenge over real or imagined insults or slights. He has threatened to kick the media out of the pressroom when he ascends to power because the media dares to print objective criticism about him.
A large number of Democrats threatened to boycott his inauguration and there was a Million Women March organized to demonstrate their opposition to his presidency. The most ominous threat of a Trump presidency, though, is his penchant for cozying up to enemies of the United States and for playing down threats to national security. He was slow to believe that the Russians tampered with our election. Also, it is very scary that he will have his hand on the nuclear button and can, in one move, order the destruction of life on this planet as we know it.
All in all, Donald Trump’s administration portends to be one of the most divisive and dangerous in modern history. The idea of building a wall to keep immigrants out of the United States is really a metaphor for his approach to the world; he is more of a wall builder than a bridge builder. He seems to prefer blocking people rather than reaching out to them.
Because of Trump’s apparent worldview and his promise to “Make America Great Again,” African Americans should make sure that the community has a game plan that will counter any changes that threaten the viability of the community. The most likely leverage is connected with economics. It is time for the Black community to grow up and to forge its own destiny as we careen headlong into a very uncertain future! A luta continua.