Nearly every day he’s in office, President Donald Trump proves he is the true definition of a bully and a man of unprincipled politicking. He talks tough, but when it really comes down to it, his actions are weak. He’ll happily make fun of Rosie O’Donnell’s weight or publicly out his detractors as “losers.” But when it comes to responding to growing anti-Semitism in the U.S., the media hound lowers his tone to a proverbial whisper.
President Trump faced heavy criticism for a slow response to what should have been an obvious reaction to blatant acts of anti-Semitism across the nation, including the toppling of more than 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. This happened after the Trump administration famously included no mention of Jews, Judaism or anti-Semitism in a statement to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
His insincere statements on the topic, even after being pressed heavily to expound on the issue, is not a sign of political weakness, unfortunately. As recognized by the Anne Frank Center: Anti-Semitism has moreover infected the Trump administration. Friends, that’s not weak: it’s downright frightening!
The Jews are not alone with this denial. President Trump has also feigned concern for the African American community. He bluntly declared his desire to meet with the Black community to discuss solutions to inner-city problems, but said Democratic leadership had blocked him from meeting with Rep. Elijah Cummings for political reasons. Not surprisingly, Congressman Cummings said Trump completely fabricated a meeting between the two had been canceled. This was the latest in what has become a countless list of publicly uttered untruths by the 45th President.
Few African American leaders will soon forget about his equally weak appearance at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, when he failed to invite leadership of any of the historically Black faith communities or civil rights icons, nor speak to the current and long-running issues facing African Americans.
Is this lukewarm reception to our nation’s vulnerable populations coming from Mr. Trump or his handlers? It doesn’t matter. As we know from the Bible, only God can draw a line with a crooked stick and where I come from in Mississippi there is an old saying, “You can’t chunk straight with a crocked stick”. Moreover, someone appears to not know that the end never justifies the means. Consequently, should we expect any good end to come out of the Trump policies around education criminal justice or immigration? The silver lining here is that this provides a unique opportunity for people who have been historically oppressed to join together to form a collective army against the crooked policies and public pronouncements that embody hate and to ensure our country doesn’t fall back into societally antiquated times of division and blatant racism.
It is time for the Jewish, African American, and Muslim communities to unite in solidarity against this administration. In the Bible, when The Pharaoh sought to destroy the Israelites by sending them into the wilderness without their cattle and families, Moses protested to state, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.”
Martin Luther King III, his family members and other current Black leaders must join alongside the Jewish community, to fight together against the denial of our history and the delay of justice for all. To battle the lies that the Trump administration wants to etch into history, so that we would forget the evils and atrocities perpetrated against Blacks, Jews and Muslims in America, we must unite and celebrate in the African language ”Ubuntu” (Nguni Bantu term meaning "humanity"). We are populations that survived massive injustices. Working together we would have little trouble defeating our latest shared hurdle: The ignorant, insensitive, and dishonest Trump administration.
Moreover, there should be in the not too distant future, a call by all Faith and civil rights leaders, for a united meeting with President Trump, that he might really hear and feel our pain. May the haunting words of Martin Niemöller inspire us to intentionally work to this end.
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” -Martin Niemöller
Let us unite that we may still have someone to speak for our democratic society!