A President who likes to Stir the Racial Pot

The history of America is one that is laced with conflicts and controversies that began from the time the English Settlers set foot on its shores. The significant ones involved the Native American Indians, the founding of the Republic, slavery, the civil war, and the civil rights struggle of the 60s.

The Squad (L to R: L to R: Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

While some of America’s significant conflicts are anachronistic and should have been left in the archives of history, some still linger in the psyche of people. For example, the vile hatred and racism that weaved their way through slavery era, the reconstruction era, and the Jim Crow era still blows over the land.

“Currently, hatred and racism are rumbling again like a volcano spewing out hot air and ashes across the land. That rumbling was triggered not by white  supremacists, but by the 45th president of the USA  Donald Trump.”

Racism and hatred although they are destructive forces are not natural disasters. They are man-made because they are the product of man’s fear, ignorance, selfishness, and lack of spirituality. Another characteristic of these problems is that they are inherent in people and like other vices they are latent until something triggers it.

Currently, hatred and racism are rumbling again like a volcano spewing out hot air and ashes across the land. That rumbling was triggered not by white supremacists, but by the 45th president of the USA Donald Trump. It began when he sent a tweet attacking four congresswomen of color (aka the squad) telling them to “go back home” if they don’t like America.  These three words−unprecedented and unpresidential−are not friendly advice they are vile racist words that say you don’t belong here.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to America if the Native Americans had more superior weapons than the English Settlers? Would they have told them to go back home? or would they allow them to stay. The point is that everyone in this country (except for Native American Indians) came here from some other country.

Except for the Native American Indian, no one should act as if their claim to this land was a God given right. Yes, the papacy in Rome issued papal bulls to allow Europeans to take possession of lands across the globe, but that was man’s doing not God. Surely, if a Native American Indian was to tell a white person that they “stole their land and that they should go back home,” he or she would be strongly offended.

There is a lot to unpack with Trump using the words “go back home” to women he perceives doesn’t belong in America because they are not white. His ex-wife Ivana Trump and current wife Melania Trump are immigrants. His father was a first-generation immigrant from Germany. His mother was also a first-generation immigrant from Scotland. It seems strange then that he should have empathy for immigrants and not insult them. His immigration policies that currently includes holding children in detention centers that are overcrowded and unsanitary seems to lack the understanding and compassion for someone who is a second-generation American and with family members who are immigrants.

Trump’s justification for his “go back home” comment is that the four Congresswomen hate America because of their “socialist” views and criticism of him. The irony of this is that Trump himself should not question anyone’s patriotism when he has embraced dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. These men are notorious human right abusers and adversaries of America. Yet, Trump has openly demonstrated admiration of them and even defended Putin in the Russian interference of the 2016 election; and he has praised Putin and disparaged his predecessor President Obama.

When Trump made his “go back home” comment on Twitter, if he was not aware that it would be perceived as a racist comment, he should at least be aware that as president of the US he has the highest responsibility to ensure that law and order is upheld at all times. This is his constitutional responsibility. However, his racist comment to the “squad” is in essence not just disrespecting the US Congress, but also a violation a federal code.

The Code of Federal regulations (CFR), 5 CFR § 4.2 – prohibits employers and the federal government from racial, political or religious discrimination. This regulation is administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) federal agency. Any employer including their proxy management employees or even employees who violate this law is subject to legal action. When the president undermines the law, he is not making the country stronger, but instead weaker.

“Politicians have tried to stir this melting pot before using racial fears to advance their agenda. Never before though has a president so blatantly done this.”

Last Thursday, the president at his campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, doubled down on his attack of the “squad” to which the crowd responded “send her back” (a reference to Congressman Ilhan Omar who is a Somalian refugee). While this may appeal to the base instinct of some Americans and is a throwback to the Jim Crow era, these racial epithets that are pronounced and encouraged by the president of the USA cannot “make America great again.” To the contrary they only damage America’s reputation at home and abroad.

America has had a history of racial strife that took the civil rights struggle of the 60s and subsequently the civil rights law to ameliorate. These laws while they did not eliminate racism helped to make America a better place for all people. It is ironic that it is not the white supremacist that are at the forefront this time of reigniting the fires of racism, but the one person who is supposed to unify the country and be a calming force is himself at the forefront doing the opposite.

It has been said that America is a melting pot, a reference to immigrants who have called it home from the beginning of the Republic. Politicians have tried to stir this meting pot using racial fears to advance their agenda. Never before though has a president so blatantly done this.

America is a country of immigrants and everyone in this country (except for the descendants of Native American Indians) came from or are descendants from people who came to America in search of a better life. Yes, the immigration policies need to be reformed to help control illegal immigration, but divisive rhetoric or tweets are not the answer.

Stoking racial fears is definitely not the solution to America’s problems. In fact, such fears only serve to create more problems. America is also a diverse country that cherishes certain freedom that other countries take for granted. Freedom of speech is the hallmark of that freedom. People will continue to express their views (popular or unpopular). The answer is not telling them “to go back to where they came from.”