In the wake of our country’s latest mass shootings, it was our former president — not our current one—that gave us the support and encouragement we needed. Yesterday, former President Barack Obama released a statement addressing the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, and more importantly reminded us that we should never normalize racist or discriminating behavior and actions that come from President Donald Trump. And he did so without ever naming his name.
“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people,” Obama said in the statement.
He goes on to say that this hateful language, while not new in our American history, should have no place in our life, let alone in politics. “And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.”
His poignant words are resoundingly different from those that Trump has used since before his presidential election win. While Trump called for unity in his speech yesterday and added that “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” as others pointed out, his words are “empty and disingenuous.”
How could anyone believe that Trump wants unity and the end of racism in our country if he alone has slandered every minority community in the nation? One moment he speaks of bringing the country together and the next he is retweeting Fox & Friends who said former presidents should not condemn the current president. Trump is a walking contradiction. But one thing that remains consistent is his hatred of non-white people.
Yesterday, Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke expressed his frustration over the fact that mainstream media continues to dismiss Trump’s behavior. When a reporter asked O’Rourke yesterday in El Paso if there was anything that Trump could do to make the situation of mass shootings any better, he responded by saying, “What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? Hold on a second. You know, I — it’s these questions that you know the answers to.”
Obama wasn’t perfect by any means. He was, after all, known as the deporter-in-chief. He also had several mass shootings under his watch as well, but we do know that he fought tirelessly for gun control. We also know that Obama remains a man of integrity and dignity, which is palpable. It is that kind of admirable leadership that we desperately need once again.