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Opinion: Trump, please just ignore April 4

I am not looking forward to April 4.

In fact, I’ve been dreading it for months. April 4 is, of course, the 50th anniversary of the day Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis. As such, it is one of those days when a president is called upon for wise words of summation and honor.

Unfortunately, the president to whom that task now falls is Donald Trump.

The churning in my stomach at the remembrance of that fact is a visceral reminder of just how much President Obama spoiled us all. Particularly African Americans.

For eight years, through black folks’ milestones and tragedies, the one thing we could depend upon was that our joy and pain would be reflected back to us and communicated out from us with compassion, insight and eloquence. When we commemorated the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, President Obama reminded us how the sacrifices of ordinary people on an ordinary bridge venerated freedom and inspired the unfree around the world. When we mourned Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight other people massacred in a church for the crime of being black, he reminded us how amazing is grace.

Nearly every time black people needed him to speak to our sorrows, history or aspirations, Barack Obama rose to the occasion. Now April 4 looms and it occurs to me there is literally nothing Donald Trump can say that will be equal to the moment.

Maybe someone will write him some eloquent words and he’ll read them with that stilted cadence and squinty glare he uses when trying to seem presidential. Or maybe he’ll point out that there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the civil rights movement.

It doesn’t matter. One will be as meaningless as the other. He will fall short of the moment, not because he is white, — either President Bill Clinton or President George W. Bush would certainly do a fine job — but rather, because he is Trump. He has no credibility here.

By contrast, President Obama seemed tailored for such moments, as if sent from some celestial Central Casting to testify to the possibilities and potential inherent in black lives — as if built in some lab to remind African Americans to persevere and dream because ... look what can happen when we do.

Sadly, the guy who replaced him is a reminder, too: America is still America. And in America, a thrice-married white guy can support an accused child molester, reportedly pay off porn stars, muse about being president for life and support confiscating guns without due process, yet remain, for many of us, morally preferable to a black guy who has been married to the same woman going on 26 years, never supported a child molester, never paid off a porn star, always respected the peaceful transfer of power and never spoke of confiscating guns, much less without due process.

The same people who professed to find sinister tidings in the black guy’s birth certificate, childhood and work as a community organizer cheer the white guy as he daily soils himself and the Oval Office. Martin Luther King would have known exactly what to make of such moral hypocrisy.

So the best thing Trump can do for us on April 4 is to ignore it. Go golfing at Mar-a-Lago. Give Stormy Daniels a ring. Have some cake. Meantime, the rest of us will honor the radical prophet who died calling on America to vindicate its noble promises — something America still struggles to do, 50 years later.

Yes, by the simple fact of his existence, Barack Obama reminds us how far we’ve come toward that goal.

But Trump reminds us how very far we have yet to go.

— Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald.


Joshua Cain

What I don't understand is why even look to the executive office (past and present) for any opinions on these issues. Americans look to the executive office for far too opinions and far too many solutions to problems not under the purview of the office. The executive office and its influence, capabilities, and impact on the country need to be limited as originally intended. Trump and Obama are a perfect examples. The rule by fiat and decree under Obama (and he isn't the only one) continues under Trump. A well known actress once declared that we should give Obama all the power he needs to get things done. Are you sure you want to create that standard?
Be careful with the power and responsibilities you bestow and expect from one president to the next.

3 months, 2 weeks ago


Gary Stussie

I'd rather just ignore Leonard Pitts Jr!

I have watched President Trump very closely and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that he is racist. It is a sad commentary that Pitts has to point out the novelty that President Obama is a " black guy who has been married to the same woman going on 26 years".

Does the Democratic Party benefit when Pitts calls the President "A thrice-married white guy can support an accused child molester, reportedly pay off porn stars, muse about being president for life and support confiscating guns without due process" ... Does this type of attack on our President make the liberals in Lawrence feel good?

With people like Pitts and Joy Behar waving the liberal banner, it will be a long time before another Democrat of any color is in the Whitehouse. People are getting wise to, and fed up with, the divisive identity politics practiced by the left.

People are also wising up to the tax & spend Democratic Party, It is clear that the Party is largely a party of unions, government workers and retirees, "green" industries, "entitlement" payees, professors, teachers and social-change activists -- all of whom require government payments in one form or another. The only major element of the Democratic base that doesn't receive government payments is the professional class (lawyers, engineers, stock brokers and so on), they make up less than 5% of the population and are not reliable Democrat donors.

Conversely, America’s rising prosperity will further broaden and deepen the Republican Party. Trump economics will be defined as the economics of more jobs, higher wages, lower taxes, more take-home pay and the vision of a prosperous America as the new normal.

The complete Democratic rejection of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – and the party’s record of the Obama-era normal of low growth, wage stagnation, unemployment and growing welfare rolls – will be a heavy burden come mid-terms.

African-American are realizing that the Democrats have taken their support for granted for far too long. Even the DREAMERs are saying that they have been failed by Democrats who are more interested in blaming President Trump and Republicans than delivering a congressional measure that would protect the young people from deportation as they await a path to legal residency.


3 months, 2 weeks ago


Bob Smith

Das lennypitts is still beating the same drum. So sad.

3 months, 2 weeks ago


Bob Summers

Angry and bitter clinger is the Liberal.

The Liberal is seething with hate.

Trump is making an unprecedented meeting with NK dictator Kim Jung Un?

Does Trump have time to cater to the Liberal haters like Pitts by recognizing Republican MLK?



3 months, 2 weeks ago


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