Blog: We Shall Overcome One Day     
To listen to this MLK speech, please click here

Should the Republicans who are quick to bow and kiss Trump's feet be left alone in a room with him? While everyone knows that Trump is a racist is it possible to say that he is influencing their behavior, too and, in the process,  normalizing a new type of governance model built on the servitude of Republicans requiring them to forfeit the U.S. system of checks and balances (or standards of decency and fairness) --- to serve his purposes, alone (including his  white supremacist tendencies)? I s this bowing down, to the POTUS then a compulsory  testimony, an obligatory political gesture, a mandatory"public display" of their approval of his racism, xenophobia, misogyny, s_ _ _hole comments, fake immigration debates (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), and, of course, his inability to acknowledge the Russian cyber attacks, etc.--- or is Trump simply responsible for their release from Pandora's Box?

What would Martin Luther King think about a POTUS who has lied over 2000 times, who holds racist views --- or who keeps espousing white only preferences --- preferences that could amount to ethnic cleansing if not a  "ruthless clearance of dark skinned immigrants --- or a certain obvious populace" from the U.S.? Here's what we do know about the current U.S. president based on his most recent racist views and unpopular policies: Trump is dividing the country based on his white supremacy value system ensuring that some individuals are embraced while others are condemned while still others are banned from the country due to his feeble understanding of diversity. We also know that  wherever he goes on the planet earth he will be met with mass nonviolent protests based on his belief system. It is truly an achievement for the global community to be able to state that Trump is now confined to mostly racist areas in the south if he wants to be respected and/or if he wants to f ind people who believe in his views. 

In other words: Trump does not represent the majority of Americans, never has and never will. I believe Dr. King would start there. He would probably mention that when a president can only claim that 30% of the nation voted for him he is --- or was at a disadvantage from the very start of his presidency --- add on his unforced errors and he is historically unpopular even if the Republicans currently represent the majority of both houses.   Targeting people of color or whatever President Obama accomplished to undue wrongs is not helping Trump either it for  it only makes him appear jealous of America's first African American president. creating a profound a lowering of American standards so that  to feed his racist base.  He must, of course, understand that the  majority of the world consists of people of color. He, therefore, will always be remembered as a racist (unless he changes his ways) and will lose any battle against people of color based on his unAmerican stances that will go down in history as the leadership positions of a man who wanted to be the next Hitler without studying the lessons of Hitler's leadership failures. 

Based on this fact alone, he will encounter opposition at every stage of his presidency with no reprieve in sight based on his most recent authoritative views in support of military parades and the abuse and battery of women. This will happen in spite of the Republicans who are willing to lose their souls to push his and their highly unpopular, unethical  conservative agenda. He is also learning that the majority of Americans do not think a confederate agenda is an appropriate substitute for an American agenda, either. They are also not interested in an agenda that needs voters to believe in the inferiority of other races --- an agenda that needs to balance the budget on the backs of the poor with no shame. 

Dr. King would probably say the conservatives have tested the theory and learned the hard way that the majority of Americans do not have the stomach for ---  unfairness, inequality, misogyny, lies, hypocrites, a president who has sexually harrassed women and grabbed them by the pu_ _ _ , a president who supports wife beaters, pedophiles, rapists. They also do like his cavalier response to  Russian interference in an election or the  hacking of voter machines, military parades, and/or his take on the very fine people who killed Heather Heyer.  

To most people of color racism has always been about social exclusion, an out of sight, out of mind mindset that allows politicians to forget about the poor and people of color by dehumanizing darker skinned people. It is about expecting people of the darker hues to automatically know their place in an environment that fails to recognize inequality and/or how inequality is created and supported --- by far too many people --- who have never felt compelled to question why so many children end up in the school to prison pipeline. When  Martin Luther King asked: "How Long --- and answered: Not Long" Please refer to MLK's entire speech entitled: "God's Truth Is Marching On.") he certainly did not know that the world would ever have to deal with such a racist president as Trump or the current feeble response to his brand of racism from Republican elected officials ( omit Lindsey Graham, John Kaschic and Jeff Flake from this category since they have all publicly rejected Trump's racism). This response includes the cowardliness of a small group of white and black ministers (such as Mark Burns) who are willing to take on Stepin Fetchit roles to overlook, and in the process, indirectly defend the president's racist practices. 


How can voters be expected to call any elected official or even a minister an effective leader if it requires overlooking Trump's racist tendencies or his weak leadership practices tied to policies that support kleptocracy --- or, perhaps, forced collusion originating from a fear of his vindictiveness that springs from his threats and snares (Is Trump a behind the scenes reincarnation of  Preston Brooks?), The question has to be addressed --- just what did it take to get Cotton, Purdue, and   Kirstjen Nielsen to lie for him? Did Trump literally draw a circle around these loyalists and then demand that they never step out of it or else risk a Brooks' type beating --- thereby giving the concept of the Trump "inner circle" a special meaning --- by reinstituting "force" as a familiar tradition tied to U.S. conservatism? )

How can voters be expected to respect these leaders who never speak up against racism or the damage or harm it causes to millions of lives --- wherever it is found --- or who find it necessary to serve his racist, uninformed base, (a base who is much like the voters who made it possible for Hitler to become the leader of Germany) --- a base that still doesn't know it is working against its own interests? How can they be called leaders if they have never had an original thought --- or even know that they are puppets for an incompetent POTUS who insists on overlooking the U.S. Constitution? Their inability to notice racism and misogyny as if people do not suffer because of it will always be the telltale sign that they do not understand or support democratic principles, the American value system, basic human relations or a diverse  nation. His subjective need to bend facts (a tactic of racists) is also a sign that his objectivity has never been honed, a flaw that can only be addressed by fine tuning his understanding of humanity through the promotion of a type of procedural knowledge for a president who does not recognize morality or even empathy or how these qualities are connected to skilled leaders. 

In this light, Dr. King would still find the need to focus on the moral responsiblity of Americans or the need for " moral dissent against the forces of injustice." He would, therefore, notice that the POTUS only won due to the 47% of eligible voters who did not bother to vote (since no one thought such a vulgar, vile person could win). But, would he listen to the excuses of the nonvoters or would he consider Trump's win as a cautionary tale for future generations who need to remember why each and every vote is a vote that counts --- or why "not voting"  is akin to an acceptance of Trumpian racism or choosing to   remain silent about the need for civil and human rights? 

Would he say that Trump's presidency is so bad that all future generations will refer to Trump as the one who heard the call to divide the country from the very start of his presidency by attempting to return the nation to a time when when ethical standards were not recognized? Clearly, as a presidential candidate Trump  was more than willing to take on a noncompetitve role reserved for the worst of the worst to beat his Republican competitors. Unfortunately, he achieved his purpose by intentionally promoting a racist presidential campaign --- a political role that generally remains vacant in the U.S. in most instances for it depends on serving racist voters. It is a point still proven daily, a point demonstrated by his immoral self-servng decision-making abilities that still serve as a symbol, if not a loud  clarion call for the world on any given day if not every hour, minute or second --- *to the shame of the United States of America) --- to stay woke.  

While many the world over call Trump vulgar, sleazy, off the cuff, racist, misogynist, liar, disgusting or use these words to refer to the man who is the key representative of the U.S., MLK would have probably, instead, spoken about all of the people still bowing down to Trump who are still willing to acccept his substandard, chaotic leadership style . He would have noticed the people and pundits who say if the economy is O.K. in November Americans will vote for Trump, a view that speaks volumes about the ones promoting it. In other words, he would find it troubling that they expect so little from Trump --- or know so little about the role of a U.S. president so much so that do not know that they are setting aside civility to overlook his racist policies and/or weak policies  to accept what they call a conservative agenda. He would have noticed immediatelly that they do not know how to tell the difference between a president who knows how to lead from one  who does not ---  a president who not only  does not want to represent all Americans but does not know how to make decsisions for the ones he does represent. (Keep in mind, the current economy is based on the Obama Administration and we don't know if the economy will go the way of the stock market and remain shaky under Trump who lacks the competence or seriousness to truly address it.) 

On the other hand, MLK would have noticed the democratic voters who, as a whole, keep promoting what is fair --- at least. He would have also noticed all of the voters who still represent American ideals --- who are upholding them with all of their might --- voters who have a right to join the discussions and be heard, too --for they are not as gullible or as easily deceived as Trump's voters who keep proving that they are  guilty of supporting the root causes of racism over and over again. 

Democratic voters, therefore, must keep speaking out against unfair policies having to do with immigration such as DACA and not compromise with Trump --- for everyone knows that even though Trump and the Republicans pretend that they speak for all Americans they do not. All Americans should, therefore, be constantly reminded that Trump only received : " muddled support from his voters ." His unpopular policies should be brought up constantly --- as well as his inability to lead, including the chaos that he causes on a daily basis. That his weak leadership abilities signal that we are now experiencing "midnight in America or a constitutional crisis" based on his need to  " target the innocent" or DACA it is also a sign that he will remain an unpopular president until he leaves the presidency. 

In the case of the sh_ _thole statement, all American citizens should, therefore, be expected to weigh their options and either believe the POTUS and the Rupublicans or Sens. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and  Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat. The decision is an easy one. The 2000 lies of the POTUS  serve as the only evidence that even a child would need to prove that no one is holding the POTUS accountable for his actions or his lies, which is why he keeps telling lies over and over again.  

American citizens also know that their failure to act on DACA quickly is about racism but also a failure to understand leadership. Adding to the U.S. debt, etc., hiring an inexperienced student to address the opioid crisis tied to 50, 000 deaths each year, hurting the economy and stock market by overheating the economy showing that Trump and the Republicans do not have the know-how to lead.  Is it any wonder that their approval ratings are historically low overall?     

With this fact in mind, how can the clergy remain silent if they say they are who they say they are without holding him accountable for his collusion with the Russians or if they must cover up his lies at his beck and call (at whatever the cost) --- or never speak up against racism and misogyny?  How can they call themselves Christians if they can be bought for a coin or two --- and/or are required to accept and then hide his vile, differential treatment of people of color that even disadvantages children on purpose?   What would Martin Luther King probably say about these public figures? The answers are embedded in the questions. . .

And yet, until ghettos, (along with low performing schools) disappear American racism will always remain visible to anyone who does not want to pretend that the U.S. has overcome its racist past -- or to anyone who truly wants to win the battle against inequality. It will remain visible to anyone who does not want an out of sight, out of mind mindset to suffice that ignores the plight of people of color. Racism will remain visible until it no longer exists. To tolerate it --- or to cavlierly pretend racism has not harmed people of color is an insult to those who have died and  fought against racist practices or racist leaders (whether black or white) who continue to support racist strategies and then feign ignorance.  Democracy's promises must, in actuality, apply to all American citizens, not just some.

Despite this view, we also know that there are far too many Americans who continue to remain silent about their racist beliefs, in particular even as they claim to be caring citizens  --- a sentiment that shows they may never even think about the root causes of racism. In fact, these same Americans may even live their entire lives without considering that their own silence had something to do with the suffering of other human beings.  

And, this, of course, produces confusion, for most Americans, who do not understand how Trump's voters, "including the 52% of white women who voted for
Trump " could continue to support a POTUS who is deliberately  weakening the very foundation of the United States  --- for which the U.S. public school system must stand. Surprisingly, for Trump's voters, their choice to still support Trump produces a kind of quandary or a dilemma that should not exist for they are either for truth, justice, morality and Jesus or they are for Trump. They cannot be for both or say they are for morality and then support Trump's ongoing white nationalist tendencies (whether in secret or in public). They should not have  to hesitate either in weighing the cost or consequences of racism unless they are having a hard time trying to figure out if it is wrong to have beliefs on par wit
h his beliefs about segregation and/or social exclusion when it comes to people of color. If so, the choice to reject Trump is a choice for them to reach higher, instead, of lower to sustain his immoral abyss, a choice to distinguish between right and wrong, a choice that does not "go along to get along" at whatever the cost ---  if it means supporting policies that, at their root, exist to harm other Americans.   

F
or instance, in Wolff's new book: Fire & Fury Trump tries to defend the KKK. (We now know that a vote for Trump is a vote for the KKK.) This point alone proves one thing and one thing alone: General McMaster, etc. must find it very painful to serve under Trump --- if this book is just a tad true. All of the generals, however, should be commended for staying put, along with all of the personel; in all of the  intelligence agencies who continue to serve as public servants  ---  as well as Mueller who is leading the Trump/Russian investigation that is, at its root, protecting, preserving, and defending the nation from all of its enemies. Could it be that Trump is one of those enemies whose love of WikiLeaks and a whole bunch of Russians (he will never say an unkind word about. . .) who interfered in an American election (according to 17 Intelligence agencies) be the reason most Americans (if not the entire world) have always believed that he is, unequivocally, guilty even as he weakens programs that help his own voters

With Trump as their leader the Republicans have clearly met the threshold for Republican kleptocracy, too and should be held responsible for pretending failing to really address the opioid epidemic for failing to prevent the deaths of the 67, 000 Americans who are impacted by it.  If they were interested in addressing it they would have publicly supported Americans in understanding who exactly is keeping the opiod epidemic alive and well. . . starting with Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut who invented the pain-killer called OxyContin.

In other words, the Republicans are ignoring transparency and accountability priniciples and, in the process, following Trump down a dark path where they seem more interested in: 

       . . . rationalizing and enabling Mr. Trump’s autocratic, kleptocratic, dangerous                 and downright embarrassing behavior in hopes of salvaging key elements of its             ideological agenda: cutting taxes for the wealthy (as part of possibly the worst                 tax bill in American history), hobbling the regulatory regime, gutting core                         government functions and repealing Obamacare without any reasonable plan to           replace it. 


The Trump family overall should be added to this list of hard core kleptocrats, too --- especially Trump, Jr. who visited Neshoba County where the three slain civil rights workers were murdered. He, of course, was following the lead of Reagan who did the same thing to make a statement about states rights. Nixon used this conservative strategy as well to feed his racist voters. For example:

        A documentary focusing on Nixon’s “Southern Strategy" details how Nixon                     promised Thurmond and other Southerners support for “states’ rights” and to                 appoint only “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court, code language for                 stalling desegregation. It speaks about how Nixon tapped into the sharp                         racial divisions in the country and the fear of change to reach those white                       Southern voters.

But did any of these politicians or Trump, Jr. review lessons learned when it comes to white nationalism and white supremacy? They could start by studying Hitler's life and Nazism to learn what happened to him as well as Nazi soldiers. They could also review the history of the confederacy. 


And, after they finish reviewing best practices in addressing white supremacy and reading Wolff's book ---- they could then focus on what was already set in motion years ago due to the faith of Martin Luther King and the leadership of President Obama  as well as countless others who sacrificed their lives for a high calling. This process begins by understanding that the "arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." For example: 

      Economic growth is now ubiquitous in the developed world (including even Japan) for the first       time in quite a while. In America, we are in a record eighth year of economic growth, bringing       peak employment and finally a bump in earnings. Median household income is now                         the highest in history. The Dow is at 25,000. Medicine has effectively abolished most of the             diseases which used to kill us in mass numbers. Illegal border crossings to the U.S. have                 fallen to record lows. More Americans have health insurance than at any point in history, and       Trump has failed to kill Obamacare. Crime rates are at historic lows and keep declining in               ways that simply baffle criminologists. Solar energy is finally competitive with fossil fuels.               Global conflict continues its long centuries-old decline. ISIS has been destroyed in its own               heartland. Anyone with a phone has access to more learning and knowledge than at any                 point in human history. More people live in democracies today than a dozen years ago. When       natural disasters happen, they kill fewer people in a far more populous world. The last                     decade has seen the biggest decline in global poverty ever. And on and on. All this renders             the collapse of the American presidency more tolerable. For more information, click here.



The Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King with comments from John Lewis, etc. 

To listen to the song: "We Shall Overcome," click here .


For a discussion on the "5 leadership Lessons from Martin Luther King,"  click here
To Learn about Highlander's "Justice Camp" for Children, click   here



 

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David Landers