The President Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. by claiming not to be a racist.

It’s a different approach, I’ll give him that.

But it’s a lie. Donald Trump is a racist, if not by acknowledgement, then by word and deed.

And worse, we must accept the fact that we are now citizens of a racist country, or at the very least, a country viewed by the rest of the world as being such.

Face it: we establish our opinions of other countries by observing their leaders. Our leader can appreciate only white people—their concerns, contributions, and history. Anyone of color may get lip service from the president:

“Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.”

Mr. Trump said that. What he really means was

“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Racial divide? Yeah, I’ve used that term. It takes the pressure off all of us—a way of throwing our hands in the air and saying “it’s not my fault: it’s society. We’re divided.”

Yes, we’re divided because we are now, by every measure you can devise, a racist country led by a man who has lived his entire adult life as a white supremacist, used that philosophy as the cornerstone of his campaign, and won. This country elected him: I don’t know how you spin that in any other way than to admit a national, widespread, increasingly acceptable drift toward racism.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that, when it came to equal rights and equality for people of color, Richard Nixon was the most dangerous man alive. Dr. King recognized the deceit and the insincerity in Nixon, but he also recognized that a meek passivity in the face of someone like that does nothing to stop him, but instead feeds the prejudice and bigotry.

Not only is it difficult, but it’s also discouraging to find that fifty years after the unrest of the sixties we have moved forward so little, then even undone much of that. First America elected a Black president, then eight years later a candidate sought the endorsement of the Klan.

We’re better than that, but if we meekly acquiesce to the racist ramblings of someone as ill-informed and bigoted as Donald Trump and don’t raise our voices in loud, continuous, indignant, even rancorous protest, then being better doesn’t make any difference.

Claiming not to be a racist is one way of celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Living a life that exemplifies that claim is another.

 

 

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