By Final Call News
When Donald Trump entered the race for the Republican Party nomination for president, the laughter was loud and long among the pundits and GOP establishment. The laughing is over now as “the Donald” continues to lead in polls as other “serious” candidates have dropped out of the race or are mired in extremely low poll numbers.
The billionaire carnival barker of a candidate has struck a particular chord with a sizable portion of the Republican electorate. Politicians who were considered in some way legitimate candidates for the nomination–Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry–have already quit. They aren’t laughing at all.
Whether Mr. Trump will become the GOP choice remains to be seen, but some things are very clear about what many GOP voters and others want. They want an outsider. But not just any outsider, they want an outsider who can make America great again. Making America great means a return to the good ole days where White was right and there was no need to apologize for it.
With thousands flocking to Trump rallies and gatherings–in the face of offensive, asinine and racist comments or perhaps because of such comments–there is something that is attractive about the man and his message.
The billionaire real estate developer can afford to pay for his campaign himself, which means he can be his own man, no matter how wrong-headed that man is. Part of being his “own man” has included broadly painting Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, slamming the Black Lives Matter Movement and justifying how a Black man protesting at a Nov. 21 Trump event in Birmingham, Ala., was beaten, kicked and choked. “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please?” Mr. Trump ordered when Mercutio Southall Jr., an activist started shouting “Black lives matter!” The man was beaten by Trump supporters and then Massa Trump declared: “Get him out of here. Throw him out!”
The next morning Massa Trump was unrepentant and unapologetic. “I will tell you that the man that was–I don’t know you say roughed up, he was so obnoxious and so loud, he was screaming,” he said on Fox News’ Fox & Friends Sunday. “I don’t know, rough up, he should have been–maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing. This was not handled the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you, but I have a lot of fans and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy, who was a troublemaker, was looking to make trouble.”
The Sanders reference is to when activists challenged the Democratic candidate on the subject of Black deaths and beatings at the hands of police officers and interrupted his speech. Their act led to attempts by the candidate to dialogue with demonstrators.
The Birmingham handling of the Black activist was another sign from Mr. Trump: It’s time that we stop apologizing and keep the darkies and these Brown folks in their place. It’s not the first time.
Perhaps more important than the messenger is the message. Since the death of Mike Brown in August, 2014, activism has exploded on the streets of America, spread to college campuses and the steps of city hall. The demand for justice has been loud, unapologetic and a far cry from the respectable politics of traditional civil rights groups and leaders.
After some acknowledgement of a problem has come the inevitable White backlash. It includes false charges that what has come to be known as the Black Lives Matter movement is a violent, police bashing, cop hating group that needs to be discredited and certainly doesn’t need to be heard or responded to.
Meanwhile Black students fed up with racism on campus have protested, often linking their #blackoncampus struggle to a major protest by students at the University of Missouri that resulted in the resignation of the university president and its chancellor.
What we see as victories or important struggles, Whites see as another example of how they are losing their country, their place in their society and they are fed up. Their overt anger surfaced in death threats police say were issued by two 19-yearold White males and directed at Blacks at the University of Missouri and in an incident in Minnesota. A Somali woman was smashed in the face with a mug for speaking her native language to family members at a restaurant. A White woman apparently took offense, demanded the woman speak English and assaulted her, according to the victim.
Carlos Chavers, Jr., an activist and friend of Mr. Southall, told CNN that Massa Trump is a modern-day Bull Conner, a reference to the brutal Birmingham commissioner of public safety in 1961. When Freedom Riders arrived in the city, the ultra-segregationist encouraged violence Freedom Riders faced. He promised Klansman that when integrationists arrived at the Birmingham Trailways Bus station police would not arrive for 15-20 minutes, leaving plenty of time to beat and brutally assault unarmed people.
That Eugene “Bull” Conner’s name can be invoked some 55 years later in connection with the beating of a Black protestor may say more about America than Mr. Trump, whose views Americans are embracing. It says yesterday’s struggles aren’t over and whether Mr. Trump moves forward or fizzles, the age old race divide remains. He has only stirred to the surface what was already in the hearts and minds of Whites who don’t see greatness in a country where Black Lives Matter–and a country where Whites have to respect Blacks. Massa Trump just might be doing the country and Black folks a favor. He is offering America a mirror. The image may be ugly, but it’s a true reflection of this nation.