Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Black people shouldn't be asked to forgive Trump's birtherism

This feels like another one of those “shut up and get in your proper place” moments. It’s assumed that forgiveness comes promptly after something is said or done to question the integrity of black folks walking in space occupied by white people.

There are things too hard to forgive. Why show up to parties celebrating Donald Trump after he stirred doubt related to the citizenship of President Barrack Obama? After questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, and promoting a boycott of his inauguration, why should black people support the peaceful transfer of powers?
The good book says you reap what you sow.

“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, told Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Lewis evoked the sentiment felt by many Americans. There’s an uneasy feeling linked to Donald Trump winning the presidency. Be it his loss of the popular vote or the intrusion of Vladimir Putin, being suspicious is a reasonable response.

Sadly, Trump countered with a personal attack following the news that Lewis plans to boycott the inauguration.

“All talk, talk talk - no action or results” Trump tweeted along with attacking Lewis for representing a district he claimed is “crime infested” and “falling apart.”

The outpouring of support for Lewis is squared by critics of his boycott.  

Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming chief of staff, said Lewis' criticism of Trump was “irresponsible” and challenged President Obama to “step up” by telling Democrats to stop questioning "the legitimacy of the next United States president."

"We need folks like John Lewis and others who I think have been champions of voter rights to actually recognize the fact that Donald Trump was duly elected. He's going to put his hand on the Bible in five days," Priebus said.

"I think it’s incredibly disappointing –- and I think it’s irresponsible -- for people like [Lewis] to question the legitimacy of the next United States president,” he added. “I think putting the United States down across the world is not something a responsible person does."

Trump’s hypocrisy is glaring. He launched a birtherism campaign that radically shifted Obama’s message of hope into a movement to prove his citizenship. (read Trump’s tweets on birtherism at: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/09/16/donald_trump_s_birther_tweets_in_order.html)

“Read this--@BarackObama's birth certificate "cannot survive judicial scrutiny" because of "phantom numbers," Trump tweeted on July 23, 2012.

“An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud,” Trump tweeted on August 6, 2012.

It was a vicious attack that gained traction with Fox News. It encouraged stereotypes that invalidated Obama based on the fake news that he’s a Muslim born in Kenya. It was the excuse some needed to hate Obama. Being black was enough to discredit Obama’s presidency among those who watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh and other promoters of fake news on talking radio. The lie that he’s a Muslim born in Africa was enough to justify all of that hidden racism.

It can be argued that Trump is the champion of fake news. His rise as a candidate for office can be linked to his effort to delegitimize the Obama presidency. He has offered no apology.  Rather than concede his role in encouraging hostility toward Obama, he blamed Hilary Clinton for the initial suggestion that Obama is not an American citizen.

Trump refuses to acknowledge the damage he created. In a September 2015 CNN/ORC poll, 43 percent of republicans believed Obama is a Muslim. Another 13 percent believed Obama was born outside the United States. (see: https://www.rt.com/usa/315347-americans-obama-muslim-poll/). The poll suggested that a substantial number of the doubters were Trump supporters.

Black people have reason to denounce Trump for promoting birtherism. Journalist have reason to question how Trump used birtherism to build a base of backers who believed his fake news. Americans have reason to speculate on Trump’s ties with Russia, and women have reason to boycott Trump’s inauguration.

America’s divide is not something the Obama administration created. It was orchestrated by a media blitz to discredit Obama’s citizenship.

Forgiveness has been part of the black community’s DNA. Not this time. Don’t expect a long line of black people endorsing the Trump administration. Don’t shame black people for refusing to embrace the peaceful transfer of powers.

Doing so is paternalistic and assumes a level of authority that Trump, and many of his supporters, denied President Obama.

Get ready for four long years. This time, moving forward will not be about conceding the will of the President. This time, it’s about doing onto others as others have done onto black people. The other cheek has been turned for over 400 years. This time, expect to be called out for your hypocrisy.

You reap what you sow, and Trump has sowed his share of fake news.

No comments:

Post a Comment