Things are heating up in the 2016 presidential race. The past several years have been very telling; the Republicans have revealed an atavistic bent with their penchant for turning back the clock in America. This trend is best exemplified by the current Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, who has expressed a desire to “make America great again.” Just what does this mean?
Strong clues can be garnered from the way that Republicans have beat up on President Barack Obama during both of his terms in office. They have painted him as a devil and have opposed just about everything that he has proposed, just because they dislike him. We could arguably say that their opposition is based on a genuine disagreement with his policies, but probably not. Probably the motivating force is an extreme streak of mean-spirited bigotry rooted in skin color.
If a white sitting president had faced the outright, outrageous recalcitrance President Obama has endured, there would be cries of foul from the electorate. The Republican shenanigans have bordered on treason. One current situation that bears this out is their assertion that Obama should wait until he leaves office and allow the next president to select a new justice to replace the recently deceased Antonin Scalia. This is ridiculous; Constitutional law allows the sitting president to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice, yet miscreant Republicans have no shame in disrespecting the POTUS!
Based on this state of affairs, it might be prudent to ask to what period Donald Trump is referring when he talks about making American “great again.” Could it be when they came and took land from the indigenous people, literally restricting them to reservations, i.e., little spaces in this vast land that once belonged to them? Or is he referring to the time when Americans snatched people from Africa and elsewhere instituting one of the most egregious manifestations of slavery known to humankind? Or is he referring to Jim Crow and to a period when it was alright to lynch Black people and hang them from trees in what the late, great vocalist Billie Holiday referred to as “Strange Fruit?” Or is it the period when “Black Codes” were enacted that basically placed a giant psycho-social wall from which Black people are still attempting to break through? Or is he thinking about the time when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated with many people pointing to J. Edgar Hoover as a possible factor in the case? Is he talking about the period when Emmett Till was murdered, or when Medgar Evers was killed? Is Trump referring to the time when it was actually illegal for Black people to acquire education? Just what is Trump alluding to when he says he wants to make America great again?
Judging from the wild support that Trump appears to be garnering from the electorate, it becomes obvious that a lot, a whole lot of Americans have swung backward to a time that is, quite frankly, anathema to Black people and, because of this, we need to be wary of the “code words” that Trump is using. Trump raises the specter of a previous racist demagogue who rose to power in Nazi Germany during the past century. We must not forget that it was a mere 70 years ago that Hitler was allegedly defeated. (We now know that the U.S. “rescued” many of the Nazis giving them a safe haven in America under the “Operation Paper Clip” program).
According to those in the know, voter turnout is key in elections. Republican voters currently seem to be more “energized” than the Democrats, and a greater Republican turnout will bode well for a Republican victory. If Black people are to hold onto the gains of the recent past, or move forward, then it is IMPERATIVE that we turn up and turn out at the polls to ensure that the clock is not turned back toward the antebellum South, or worse! A luta continua.