Donald Trump has forever tarnished MLK’s dream that our children can “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” For anyone who celebrates MLK’s life and legacy, Trump is a stunning reminder of how deeply racist America really is.
Nearly 60 years ago, Dr. King made his famous speech and inspired a nation to act for racial justice and equality. Today, Trump tweets and summons an army of White Supremacists to violent action. Trump calls BLM activists and people of color protesters, thugs. He calls his armed shock troops who desecrate “The People’s House” patriots. Meanwhile, our own FBI calls them domestic terrorists. The Department of Homeland Security refers to White Supremacists as the greatest terror threat to the United States.
While our country has seen improvements in race relations in the last 50 years, no one could have guessed how deeply entrenched racism is in America and how far we must go to alleviate it. Indeed MLK dedicated and gave his life in this fight.
Sure, we passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and elected an African American President in 2008 and 2012. But the challenges of racial equality and equal opportunity have not subsided because President Johnson waived his pen, or a majority of American voters voted for Barack Obama.
After four years of escalating racial tension, the violence at the Capitol was as predictable as it was inevitable. As the Liar-In-Chief, Trump’s biggest lie is not election theft — it is White Supremacy. What Trump’s millions of followers believe is that Whites are a superior race.
While Trump leaves office in disgrace, it’s easy to blame him for the racial violence, blatant acts of discrimination and racism he fostered and encouraged, as well as the deaths and suffering that people of color have disproportionally faced due to his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s the near majority of Americans who support Trump and stand by him, even in the face of his illegal, unjust and immoral acts who are the clear and present danger to our democracy.
It’s not just the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the Proud Boys, or even the enablers and complicit Senators or Members of Congress who failed to call him out and stop him. The American people are to blame. When shockingly, a great many Americans are willing to look the other way and not stand up against blatant discrimination, racial violence and murder, our society is infected with a cancer that will kill our democracy.
America, we have a lot of soul searching to do. If we take a look in the mirror and see the “Ugly American” then we need to clean up our act. Yes, we elected Barack Obama and will soon have a woman of color as Vice President. Progress — yes. But when former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke ran for President in 1992, he got less than 1 percent of the vote, yet Donald Trump in 2020 got 74 million votes or 47% of the ballots cast.
The fight continues. And we can thank Trump for putting a face on America’s true enemy and bringing its ugly head to the surface for all to see. The racism which festers like a cancer must be killed, or the host — our country — will die. Dr. King and others have given their lives to fulfill his dream. Let’s make sure that he and others did not die in vain.