Real test for Trump Administration
There is little doubt that America is very divided after terribly bitter campaigns that culminated in Republican Donald Trump being elected to replace the outgoing President Barack Obama as the 45th commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation in the world.
What is deeply disturbing is that the nation is not divided simply on political differences, but that there are openly clear signs that extremist groups are promoting policies that encourage racism — similar to conditions that led to the Civil War and the carnage where thousands of Americans killed each other, presumably in the name of justice. At that time, all citizens sadly were not treated as equals. That war is long over, but the objective to achieve true freedom continues to this day.
Obama, the nation's first black president, rekindled the hope that America was ready to move closer to the brotherhood table that the late Martin Luther King Jr referred to in his I Have A Dream speech, which captured world attention. However, extremist groups that thrive on hatred for people who are not like them are still very much a part of American life.
Even before President-elect Trump takes the oath of office in Washington, at least one extremist group has viewed his victory as one for returning America as a nation for white people only. Certainly not good news for Trump at a time when he was already bogged down with negativity over highly controversial proposals that he had vowed to implement once in office. Thus far, the nation is still in the process of trying to evaluate what the Trump presidency will bring.
They may be in the minority, but when there is a group hailing Trump in a manner that the Nazis saluted Adolf Hitler, it is far from comforting for minorities in America. Blacks and Hispanics are left to wonder where Trump really stands with such groups since, according to most news reports, he has yet to condemn them openly by name.
Many Americans feel Trump should follow the footsteps of the late former President Ronald Reagan, who called the KKK by name as repugnant and unacceptable to American ideals. There has been no indication that Trump is willing to go that far, although he says he is against racism and will be a president for all Americans. The jury is out on that one.
Trump's latest tirade was against the cast of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, which features Bermudian actor Nick Christopher. At the conclusion of a performance, which was attended by Mike Pence, the Vice-President in waiting, a member of the cast made a statement expressing grave concern about whether the rights of all Americans will be protected by the new administration.
While Pence said he was not offended by the remarks, Trump felt the organisers of the show should apologise for what for he considered poor taste. Ironically, Trump himself has been strongly criticised for considering some people to serve on his team who have questionable records on civil rights. After a ferocious campaign, during which he once said that protesters at his rallies should be removed on a stretcher, many Americans are suspicious about his declaration of being president for all people.
The real test for the Trump Administration will be whether he is able speak to the nation openly, apologising for the many crude and insulting remarks he made about so many people, and that he regretted having done so. That in itself would not change views of many, but it would at least show some humility in acknowledging that even the powerful make mistakes.
Anyone who saw the very last international press conference by President Obama, held in Peru, would have seen a very experienced and skilful person who selected his words carefully in responding to probing questions about a wide range of subjects, including Trump's astonishing victory over Hillary Clinton on November 8.
Questioned as to how he felt about a man he had criticised as being unqualified for president, Obama said that his experience had been that when someone reaches the Oval Office, and the reality of what the president faces hit home, there are likely to be adjustments in proposals aimed at keeping support while on the campaign trail. Obama said the American people will be the ones to assess whether the new administration is performing for the good of all people. He felt it was best not to assume failure without respectfully giving the new president a chance to prove that any of his policies will be for the good of all people and in the true spirit of the US Constitution.
It is a fact that America is divided almost down the centre over whether Trump is the right person during tough times at home and on the international scene. This is a situation that will fully test the ability of the his administration to unite a country that is swirling in doubt and confusion over whether the nation is really moving in the right direction.
The ball will be in Trump's court, and America and the world will be watching to see how he responds.