The Baltimore Sun in a blistering July 27 editorial responded to Donald Trump’s racist and race-baiting attack on the City of Baltimore, its residents and Congressman Elijah Cummings, and in doing so, they described the 45th President of the United States in the following manner, “...we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are ‘good people’ among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.”
There’s nothing the St. Louis American would add to the Sun’s indictment of Trump’s ignorance, incompetence, immorality, corruption and complete absence of anything that resembles character, except to say, we concur with their position unequivocally.
There is something else that is no longer subject to debate or speculation; Donald Trump is obviously a racist, and like racists throughout American history, he uses racism to accrue and maintain political power and advance his economic and financial interests. If you support Donald Trump because you believe what he believes, you’re a racist, if you support Donald Trump because it’s in your political or economic interest, you also are, at the very least, a racist-enabler.
On Tuesday, Virginia’s African-American state legislators rightly refused to attend his speech, calling Trump “an emblem of hate.”
Columnist Eugene Robinson offers a plausible reason for Trump’s latest decision, “to put away his racist dog whistle and bring out his racist bullhorn...” desperation.
In any case, the St. Louis American will not continue to litigate this issue and strongly recommends that you shouldn’t either. Moreover, we will also no longer coddle white moderates who are offended by Trump to the point of political paralysis and seek black absolution for their unconscionable inaction.
In the life of an individual or the collective life of a people there are inflection points, when you’re at a fork in the road and must choose a direction, the path you choose becomes your destiny. The next 460-plus days are not how much time is left before a presidential election, but the time left before America chooses a path and its destiny.
For African Americans the options are stark and the choice is obvious. Over 60 years ago Franz Fanon, psychiatrist, political philosopher and Algerian freedom fighter, spoke to what’s required of us in this moment. “I as a man of color do not have the right to hope that in the white man there will be a crystallization of guilt toward the past of my race ... and I recognize that I have one right alone: that of demanding human behavior from the other. One duty alone: that of not renouncing my freedom through my choices.”
History and circumstance have mandated our choice, but what of white Americans?
This is not the first time white America has been faced with this dilemma. In 1787 when America decided on the charter for its new republic, the liberty of African Americans was the price of American unity. Again in 1876 when the country had to establish a new normal after the Civil War, white Americans chose the subordination of newly emancipated black Americans via Jim Crow as an acceptable price to pay to unite the country.
As we hurtle toward November 2020, the pressing issue is not whether Donald Trump will be re-elected president, but whether white Americans, both individually and collectively, will choose to be on the side of justice or injustice. There is no neutral ground. For, in the words of Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”