A long way from the brotherhood table
A political bomb exploded over the weekend in the American presidential election campaigns, when GOP candidate Donald Trump finally admitted that president Barack Obama was born in the United States, after years of pushing a perception he held that Obama was not legitimate in the nation’s highest office, because he was not a born American.
The announcement made last Friday, touched off a beehive of rage from many Americans who felt Trump was once again using his reality TV skills to keep him in the headlines and on the front pages of leading news publications, as he attempts to plough his way into the White House in a manner never before seen in American politics.
Trump has a trail of insulting remarks throughout his campaign, when he targeted just about anyone who challenged his brand of leadership, that involved making statements about Mexicans, Latinos, blacks, and people of other ethnic origins including Muslims.
What has many Americans and indeed people around the world deeply puzzled, is that Trump has managed to hang on to considerable support, keeping him viable for the highest office in the land.
Some political experts attribute this to the amount of problems his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton became snarled in, over the issue of e-mails during her spell as US Secretary of State.
While she was cleared of any wrongdoing by the FBI, there were lingering perceptions that the full story behind the e-mail issue was yet to be told.
With the Clinton campaign team forced into a damage control mode, Trump was busy making derogatory remarks about her being untruthful in dealing with the situation. However, Hillary never hesitated in admitting her error of judgment, in using such a communication system, and vowed never to engage in that practice again.
Meanwhile the Trump campaign rumbled on with comments that kept the press busy trying to follow changing Trump postures on a wide range of issues including immigration.
He had declared at one stage early in his campaign that, once in office, he would set wheels in motion to move 11 million illegal immigrants out of the country. Obviously that statement in itself should have sent his poll numbers sinking like a ton of bricks tossed into deep waters.
However, Trump managed to hang onto his supporters throughout a storm of criticism, for a plan that most experts felt was not even feasible.
As the election draws near, the attacks and counter-attacks have become more vicious, with the introduction of the word bigotry, which also ignited age-old wounds of America’s struggle to overcome the dark days of racism, that many believe has led to some of the nation’s crime areas including parts of Chicago.
With Obama’s birthplace still an issue with the Trump campaign, and with an official statement from the campaign admitting that president Obama was a born American, Trump could no longer avoid being hazy on the matter.
However, the announcement touched a nerve with a number of black and white top officials, who blasted him for thinking he could sweep the birth issue under the carpet, by simply reversing his previous stance, which was aimed at proving Obama was not legally president.
Senator Harry Reid, did not mince his words when he described Trump as the most “immoral” man to run for president. One prominent black commentator on CNN appealed to everyone to wake up in the black communities, before it is too late to stop a political disaster.
The deeper part to all of this, is that even after a civil war that left many thousands of Americans dead on their soil, killed by other Americans, over the issue of whether every American should be given full rights as a citizen, instead of proper freedoms for only those without dark skin.
Yes, it is not a pleasant time to reflect on, but many black and white people laid down their lives to build an America, where skin colour would not determine the quality of one’s life.
The civil rights legend, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, gave his life in the quest to rid America of racial injustice, and to think in the year 2016, there are still segments of America that have yet to move away from hatred of people, simply because they are different. Bermuda has had a long healthy relationship with America, and while most Bermudians are reluctant to comment on the political scene there, they are concerned about who sits in the Oval Office.
Democracy works in strange ways at times, and America is facing one of the most critical elections in its history. The choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will finally be answered in November, when the entire nation speaks through the ballot box.
The world is watching to see whether the nation has real intention of setting up that brotherhood table Dr King envisioned, where people of all races, religions and ethnic origins, could sit together in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
At the moment with claims and counterclaims of bigotry, in the hunt for America’s next president, that table of brotherhood remains a distant dream for many.