THE TRUTH WE SHOULD REMEMBER ABOUT DONALD TRUMP THANKS TO MAYA ANGELOU AND OPRAH WINFREY
©Wendell Griffen, 2017
Justice Is A Verb!
August 15, 2017
Politicians, news commentators, public figures, and other people are unhappy about President Donald Trump’s reactions to the vicious conduct of protestors associated with neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan, and other so-called “alt-right” groups last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their concerns include why Mr. Trump spoke about hate and bigotry “from many sides” on August 12 when the world watched news footage showing neo-Nazi, KKK, and other “alt-right” people attacking counter-protestors with torches and pepper spray the evening of August 12. They are disappointed that Mr. Trump waited until Monday – two days after one woman was murdered and 19 other people were injured when an “alt-right” sympathizer allegedly rammed his car into them as they walked down a Charlottesville street – to expressly denounce and condemn white supremacy. They are displeased that Mr. Trump did not include the worlds “alt-right” when he belatedly condemned white supremacy and neo-Nazi and KKK sympathizers.
I understand the displeasure and disappointment with Mr. Trump’s reaction to the racial bigotry, claims of white supremacy, and acts of cruelty the world witnessed last weekend in Charlottesville. Yet, I am not surprised by Trump’s reaction – nor impressed by anything he says or does to appear opposed to racial bigotry and white supremacy – because I remember a lesson Oprah Winfrey received from Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. A short video of Ms. Winfrey and Dr. Angelou chatting about that lesson can be found on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) at this link: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/When-People-Show-You-Who-They-Are-Believe-Them-Video.
The world knew long before white supremacists went to Charlottesville last weekend that Donald Trump cannot be trusted about racial equality. His history of personal and commercial racism spans his adulthood, as shown by a 2016 Fortune Magazine article: http://fortune.com/2016/06/07/donald-trump-racism-quotes/.
It was clear long before last weekend that Mr. Trump supported white supremacy and violence against persons of color and protestors. As the New York Times reported yesterday – see https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/us/politics/trump-charlottesville-protest.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news – Trump was hesitant during the presidential election campaign about denouncing support from David Duke, someone long known for his association with the Ku Klux Klan.
And after a white man sucker punched a black protestor who was being escorted out of a March 2016 Trump campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump openly spoke of “the good old days” when the response to protestors was to “treat them very, very rough, and when they protested once, they would not do it again so easily.” https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/03/10/donald-trump-rally-protester/.
Trump’s response to the white supremacist instigated violence in Charlottesville didn’t surprise me because – as I wrote in The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope – President Trump is “a remarkably misguided and unfair leader” who is “a remarkably ill-prepared and unjust president.”
We should not believe President Trump is concerned about racial equality and opposes white supremacy ideology. We should not believe he does, has, or will condemn, denounce, and disavow anyone associated with white supremacy and “alt-right” groups such as neo-Nazi sympathizers and the Ku Klan. We should not believe any claim Mr. Trump makes about being opposed to racism, bigotry, and hate-based violence against racial minorities. Trump announced days ago during a Fox News interview that he is “seriously considering” issuing a pardon to former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for violating a 2011 court order to stop illegal detentions of persons who appear to be Latino on suspicion that they were undocumented immigrants: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/14/trump-seriously-considering-pardon-for-sheriff-joe-arpaio.html.
Mr. Trump’s personal and commercial history – of white male supremacy and patriarchy, racist and misogynist bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, pathological penchant for violence and oppressiveness towards people of color, immigrants, women, disabled persons, lower income people, and other marginalized persons – was clear long before the events last week in Charlottesville. And, Mr. Trump’s association with “alt-right” ideology and his embrace of “alt right” ideologues is indisputable. He named Stephen K. Bannon, former executive chairman of Breitbart News, as chief White House strategist.
Maya Angelou counseled Oprah Winfrey that “when people show you who they are, believe them.” Winfrey adds, “believe them the first time.” Donald Trump showed the world long ago that he is a racist, sexist, xenophobic, and psychopathic bigot who will lie, cheat, and mistreat others without hesitation or the slightest twinge of conscience.