By Daniel Atherton
“It’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world, they say,” Trump said. “There’s never been a movement like this. And it’s something very, very special.”
Fifty-three and a half years ago, there was a movement like this – a movement of impassioned people, fearful for the direction of the country, motivated to make a difference, enraged by the battle they faced in the capitol. The one fundamental difference: back then, America had a dream of liberty, today, America has a nightmare of liability.
The similarities are striking – both movements focused on the American Dream, an intangible and unfathomable concept. One saw that dream being reachable only through the destruction of walls, barriers, and injustice; the other sees it through the construction of walls, barriers, and injustice. The painful convergence runs deep and should truly act as a reminder of the battles fought long and hard, who’s results are still so fragile and fickle.
Martin Luther King had a dream that one day this nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Donald Trump had his own creed, that all men may be equal, but women certainly aren’t. That stardom would bring great fortune, the best of which being the ability to simply reach out and “grab ‘em by the pussy”.
Martin Luther King had a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners would be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
Not only did Trump not let everyone sit at his ‘table of brotherhood’, he wouldn’t even let them into the country, let alone rent his apartments. Whether you take the multiple lawsuits filed (and subsequently) by the Justice Department, or his passionate leadership during the ‘birther’ movement, and ignoring the most pertinent anti-Islamic rhetoric heard in modern history by any modern democratic leader, Trump has lead an unquestionable history of racism that has showed no signs of wavering even when he takes to his role as the leader of the ‘free world’.
Martin Luther King had a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, would be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
Trump’s cabinet, the men (as well as four women) who will be behind Trump’s work in the Whitehouse are as a whole almost as deplorable as Trump. The irony is, the person Trump nominated to protect the legacy of Martin Luther King, was denounced by the one person closest to him, his late wife, Coretta Scott King. In 1986 she wrote: ‘Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general pick, would be a massive setback for civil rights’, now in his nomination for the most senior Attorney General position in the country, King’s warning is even clearer. During this time, Sessions confessed to his acceptance of the Ku Klux Klan, in addition to his multiple racist remarks and derogatory ramblings.
Martin Luther King had a dream that his four little children would one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
Who cares most about the colour of your skin? The Ku Klux Klan, that’s who. Trump and his bunch of degenerates certainly do too. Over the course of his campaign, Trump sidestepped several opportunities presented to him, as obviously as possible, to renounce the support of the KKK and previous leader, David Duke. In David’s own words, a vote for any other candidate than Trump would have been ‘treason to your heritage’. Trump employed the help of prevalent white supremacists in his campaign, and even his cabinet.
Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist (and a position that requires no Senate confirmation), has a long record of witnesses to his racist and supremacist opinions, ranging from his wife’s testimony during divorce proceedings that Bannon didn’t want their children going to school “with Jews” because they were “whiny brats”, to former colleagues many corroborations of frequent ramblings about the genetic superiority of certain people, and the potential benefits of restricting voting based on race. Trumps cabinet is like a laundry list of outcasts from the liberal, responsible politics of the past decade. From conflicts of interest to court cases, it’s safe to say that his cabinet will have a hard time looking beyond the colour of one’s skin.
“What we’ve done is so special,” Trump said. “All over the world they’re talking about it.”
The world certainly is talking about it, and they will be for the next 4 years at least and for centuries more. Trump’s campaign, his election, and unquestionably his administration all mark a new chapter in American politics, one of uncertainty and division. How dare Donald Trump stand in front of Lincoln, where Martin Luther King stood, promising to unite the very country he helped divide.
“With faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” King’s words ring true when looking beyond the tyranny of Trump. “I promise you, it’s going to change,” Trump concluded with, and it certainly will.