- Madison Lazenby
Black Lives Don't Matter to the Trump Administration
The fact that the Trump administration is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim is well documented. Sadly, this bigoted behavior worsens daily with each lie and omission of fact told by Donald Trump, his sycophants, and his state media apparatus, Fox News.
A common Republican defense of Trump is that he is not racist because he has Black Americans in his Cabinet and in the Executive Office. However, just because you are skin folk does not make you kinfolk, and just because you are Black does not mean you are for Black people: see Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson and Condoleezza Rice.
Back in April, protests erupted throughout this nation, but not for the reason you would think- these were anti-lockdown protests. During the most prominent protest in Michigan, hundreds of armed protesters held siege to the State Capitol and demanded COVID restrictions be lifted. As usual, Trump played into his audience, tweeting “The Governor of Michigan should give a little and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely.” Earlier this week, a recorded conversation between journalist Bob Woodward and Donald Trump came out in which Trump openly admitted to playing down the global COVID-19 pandemic, stating “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down…” A few days later, a report came out that the White House nixed USPS plans to send 650 million masks to Americans; not only did he play down the pandemic, he actively denied resources to many of America’s most vulnerable populations.
What is truly stunning is his disregard for Black voices. After the vicious murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, protests broke out across the world. It seemed that we as a nation, and as a world, had finally reached a turning point. There was international solidarity, and a consensus that those officers killed George Floyd and denied him potentially life saving medical attention. That was not enough for Donald Trump. As protests moved to his backyard, he called peaceful protestors “thugs” and “criminals”. He failed to acknowledge the distinction between the protestors and the outside agitators. To him, we are one and the same. What else would you expect from a man who emboldens racists and says there are “good guys on both sides”?
There is a clear difference in how Trump reacts to protests by White, gun toting Americans, and unarmed Black Americans. This distinction goes as far back as the prosecution of the Central Park 5, where a group of young black boys were taken into custody for a rape they did not commit and interrogated for seven hours until they made forced confessions. During their trial, Donald Trump called for their execution in an newspaper ad entitled “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”, displaying a stunning similarity in the rhetoric he used in the 1980’s and his rhetoric now. Even after DNA evidence and the confession of Matias Reyes freed these boys, Trump did not renounce his call for the execution. It is little surprise that this is how Trump would react to protests demanding justice. Equal justice under law is a foreign concept to the sitting President.
Recall the day when Donald Trump and Bill Barr had peaceful protesters gassed and shot like wild animals. Personally, it brought back images from the Civil Rights Movement, when protesters were hosed by the sheriff and had dogs unleashed on them in Birmingham. Or the tragedy of Bloody Sunday in Selma, where the late John Lewis and Dr. King led marchers over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and were gassed, shot and clubbed by Jim Clark and state troopers. Both pivotal moments happened in 1965. They happened again in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray, and for George Floyd in 2020. In a nation that pledges liberty and justice for all, when will Freddie get justice? When will George get justice? When will Tamir get Justice? When will Sandra get justice? When will Ahmaud get justice? When will Breonna get justice?
We demand justice now! Black Lives Matter!