In a recent op-ed for TIME magazine, Public Broadcasting Service late-night host Tavis Smiley expressed concern that blacks in America might one day return to slavery if Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wins the election on November 8.
“In my lifetime, I have never seen Congress so blatantly mock our Constitution,” he stated. “It’s especially striking that it comes from the political party that’s always lecturing us about the 'rule of law,' What’s worse is that they’re getting away with it.”
The host of The Travis Smiley Show continued:
When I hear Donald Trump suggest that he wants to “Make America Great Again,” it always triggers the same three questions in my head.
One: How is Trump defining “greatness?” I’m not sure he and I share an understanding of what makes a nation truly great.
“For me, it starts with how you treat the children, the poor, the aged and infirmed, how you embrace equality as you labor for equity,” he noted.
“Equality means that everyone gets the same in America, whether they need it or not,” Smiley asserted. “Equity says we commit to ensuring that all fellow citizens have the basic resources that will give them commensurate opportunities to contribute meaningfully to our society.”
“Two: Since so many fellow citizens have yet to experience the true 'greatness' of America for the first time, for whom are we making America great again?” the host then asked.
“And three: To what specific period of American greatness are you wanting us to return? When black folk suffered segregation after slavery? When women had no right to vote or control their own bodies? When gay brothers and lesbian sisters felt ceaseless hate?” he asked.
“When we stole land from the Native Americans?” Smiley continued. “When we sent Japanese families to internment camps? When America lynched Mexicans? I just need Trump to give me some clarity on the time period he wishes to travel back to.”
He then added:
I disdain the way Trump is exploiting it, but I actually understand the anger that many of his supporters feel. I believe those questions, in fact, represent their pain better than he does. While I’m not an angry black man, I do have a righteous indignation that burns inside me about the myriad of injustices that result in a daily contestation of people’s humanity.
The question is whether that feeling of being left out or left behind will be channeled into love and justice or hatred and revenge? … I’m going with unarmed truth, unconditional love and being creatively maladjusted to injustice.
After the PBS host concluded a speech at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a student asked him the following question: “Mr. Smiley, do you believe that given the crisis state of our democracy, we black folk could ever find ourselves enslaved again?”
“Looking directly at the student, I could see he was dead serious,” the PBS host noted. “My answer? Yes.”
“Seven months ago, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Smiley noted in his column. “It is his constitutional duty -- not just prerogative -- to do so.”
“Hours after the president’s announcement, Republicans announced there would be no hearings, no votes, no action whatsoever until after the American people vote on a new president,” he stated.
“They have kept their word,” Smiley continued. “Republicans have turned this Constitutional issue into a political football and suckered the White House, Democrats in Congress and the news media into playing the game by their rules,” he asserted.
“This is a travesty of justice," Smiley added, “but it has all but disappeared as a news story.”
“I wonder what other Constitutional mandates Congress could just decide to ignore,” the liberal host speculated. “Is it possible that the White House, the opposition party in Congress and the news media could be cowardly complacent, too frozen by fear to actually do anything to stop their overreach?”
“So could the Constitution be thwarted and black folk end up enslaved again?” Smiley asked. “Legal scholars, of course, will find the question ludicrous and laughable.”
“It wasn’t far-fetched for the young student who pressed me at Lehigh that evening,” he noted. “And honestly? With the hair-raising, bone-chilling, spine-breaking, nerve-wracking path we’re on right now, I shudder to think where this democracy could end up one sad day.”
It didn't take long for Trey Sanchez of the TruthRevolt.org website to respond:
For some time now, Smiley has been anywhere but near the kind of destitution the slaves in America were accustomed to. Earning his way into the $10 million dollar club, Smiley leads a pretty great life.
It would appear his theory is unfounded, at least for a one-percenter like himself.
Yes, Smiley's column is yet another example of liberals demanding “do as I say, not as I do.”