Donald Trump tweeted in response to the elegant and forceful rebuke of his character and presidency by former first lady Michelle Obama.
“Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama,”
To some extent, he is correct. In 2016 Trump pushed an agenda of division, hate, and racism. Several studies have confirmed that concerns about identity and race were the decisive issues in the 2016 election. Those Trump voters were motivated by racial resentment.
America is a complicated country, founded on the principle that all men are created equal while at the same time openly embracing slavery and allowing legalized discrimination until as recently as the 1960s. A country whose richness was built upon immigrants’ various contributions and whose diversity is one of its most vital qualities, yet still has a segment of its society that rejects that very diversity, segregating themselves in their communities afraid of the unknown from a different race or culture. For these individuals, eight years of an African American President was the final straw. His ascension to the highest office represented a clear and present danger to their way of life, signifying that they were losing “their” country.
Donald Trump seized on this resentment and fear. He used buzz words, advertising, imaging, and manipulation to create a reality designed to scare those who are gullible or know no better with the help of certain media outlets. But when one examines his talking points more closely and his actions since becoming President, it is clear he is not concerned with the good of the country but in merely increasing his power, wealth and promoting his agenda of hate. This strategy is not new; history has shown us that it has proven to be effective in the past. It was President Lyndon Johnson who once said:
“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best-colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
Today, in 2020, Trump appears to have doubled down on his hate and division message to maintain his presidency, calling New York City’s decision to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Fifth Avenue a “symbol of hate, exploiting the individuals who used the Black Lives Matter protests as a cover to riot and loot by mischaracterizing them as representative of the entire movement—showing images of young African American men engaged in acts of violence to scare his base into believing that all people of color are a threat to white America.
“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.”
This is not reality, but when often repeated enough, perception often becomes a reality with some. Or as Carol Moseley-Braun once said:
Sadly, for the segment of this country who happily go along with this false narrative, unwilling to educate or open their minds to the concept of unity and their hearts to the idea of love, they are blinded to what the false narrative is really about. Nothing more than a form of control so that Trump can manipulate them.
However, the truth is what Trump and those who believe in his doctrine of hate and racism are afraid of this.
The image of young educated black men rallying around a strong, educated, successful black man of color they wish to emulate, to them this is ten times scarier than any image of violence could ever be. It is the reality that they truly fear.