Trump, us and reaching out
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
Dr. Ben Carson believes it really doesn’t matter how Trump is reaching out to Black people and other people of color as long as he reaches out. I can’t decide if that is ignorance or madness. And how can he be reaching out to us by talking about us to other people not like us?
Nor do I believe that you touch people’s hearts by insulting them and diminishing their achievements. Trump and those who surround him are obviously unstudied people. Anyone who has researched the history of Black people in this country knows that we have defeated tremendous odds just to survive up to this point in America’s history.
It is not an overstatement or hyperbole to say no other people on the planet have done what we have done with so many odds against them or with so much institutionalized opposition. We are very much aware of what we don’t have and why we don’t have it. The statistics about our schools, our families, and the lack of opportunities are not just numbers on paper for us; they are realities we live each day.
He can bemoan and insult the Democratic Party all he wants.
While it is true that the Democrats have come short on too many occasions, it is equaly true that all of the political progress we have made for the past 50 years has for the most part, been done through the aegis of the Democrats.
Where have Trump and the Republicans been in the last 20 years?
They have been playing ethnic politics or pretending that every Black mother with children was on welfare or every major university has declined because of affirmative action.
Or they have been promising after every Presidential election to broaden the “tent” of the Republican Party and then not doing so.
It’s not that people of color are not welcome into the Republican Party, they just have to be a particular kind of Black person or Hispanic or Asian. They have to be the kind of person willing to ignore the overtly racist statement of party officials and candidates; or they have to be willing to be the person who sees nothing but bad in their particular ethnic group. In other words they have to wear political blinders and ear plugs. Like Dr. Ben Carson.
It is not my intent to give the Democrats a pass. But it is my intent to say that if there had been no Barack Obama, there would have been no Michael Steele as National Chairman of the Republican Party; if no Lyndon Johnson, then no Civil Rights Bill; no Democratic Party, then no Black President. And all of those Dixiecrats who opposed civil rights legislation and progress for Black people left the Democrats for the Republicans.
No, it has never been a perfect political world for people of color but while the modern Republican Party watched the deterioration of our schools, the destruction of our cities, the disintegration of our families, the Democrats tried to do something to alleviate those conditions. The efforts may have been short sighted, ineffective at times even counterproductive but they at least tried. The Republicans didn’t. They always had an “us versus them” mentality. We see that mentality in Donald Trump.
“Your schools, your youth, your jobs. What do you have to lose?” Ours because of desertion by everyone else. What do we have to lose? Just all of the little bit we’ve died to gain. Nothing less. Just think about it.