On the day in 2017 that Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States the “Make Room for the Real America,” crowd took control of the country from those of us who believed in the “Ideal America.” With the recent rise of white nationalism and the killings that are part of that movement, you often hear commentators make the statement, “we are not like that,” or “that is not us.” But the truth about this country is not the idealistic picture painted most of the time, but in reality, the hateful, greedy, murderous America of Donald Trump and his ilk. Blacks, Indians, Chinese, Japanese and now Mexican Americans, Gays and Lesbians have been the target of white racism that has dominated this country’s history since its inception. A trip back in history will confirm my assertion about this country.
The late Dr. John Hope Franklin told us that if we want to solve a problem discover the source first, and the source for America’s problem would take us back to the Founding Fathers and the early settlers. The foundation for the creation of this country was the Declaration of Independence written by a man who was unable to abide by the dictates of that document. Once the revolution ended, George Washington, James Madison and thirty seven other men wrote a constitution that was inconsistent with the ideals found in the Declaration. For example, how could they deny an entire race of people their freedom but argue in the Declaration that “All men are created equal.” Furthermore, how could they create a new country and lay claim to land already occupied by natives of the country. They did exactly what that crowd of “Make Room for the Real America” would do and that was to kill off the original inhabitants of the land or put them in what was nothing more than concentration camps called reservations. “Make Room for the Real America” superseded that “Ideal America.”
For a short period of time after the Civil War, approximately 10 years, the “Ideal America” finally surfaced with the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendment and it appeared that the dictates of the Declaration of Independence would become a reality. But the “Make Room for the Real America” crowd was not about to succumb to the notion that other minorities were just as equal as them. Once Rutherford B, Hayes and a congress, tired of the “Negro Issue,” pulled the troops out of the South and returned rule to the slavocracy class and” Make Room for the Real America” was back in charge. What followed was segregation, lynching, rape and the terroristic treatment of a race of people. According to the Alabama -based Equal Justice Initiative, nearly 4,000 Black men and women were killed by lynching in a dozen Southern cities between 1877 and 1950.
In the later years of the 19th Century, the Chinese working on the transcontinental railroads and in the mines was exposed to the same racial hatred as the other minority groups. Labeled as the “yellow peril,” the United States Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, prohibiting the immigration of Chinese to this country. The Japanese suffered from the wrath of the “Make Room for the Real America,” when their land was taken and they were locked up in concentration camps during World War II, an act that had the approval of President Franklin Roosevelt as well as the United States Supreme Court. “To hell” with the Declaration of Independence, the “Make Room for the Real America,” was calling the shots.
For another short period of time during the 1960’s the “Ideal America” was able to grab control of the country. The Civil Rights Movement had a deep impact on the country and even the President, born in the South, joined the cause and the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act two years later. But that “Ideal America” soon dissipated with the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, the four little girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. With the election of Richard M. Nixon, the “Make Room for the Real America” was back in charge.
There were periodic times when the “Ideal America” surfaced and it looked as though the country would finally live up to the dictates of the Declaration of Independence and especially with the election of the country’s first Black president in 2009. However, it was during the eight years of President Barack Obama’s tenure that the “Make Room for the Real America” re-grouped and their leader surfaced. Donald Trump gave them hope when he began his attacks on President Obama and kept them going for eight years.
Now, after two and a half years of Trump’s racist leadership in the White House, the “Make Room for the Real America,” has grown and is openly attacking what appears to be the new target of their sick cause to “Make America Great Again.” The brains behind this insurgent dangerous movement is the far-right wing Stephen Miller. He has led the attack against immigrants seeking asylum in this country. Undoubtedly, he is briefing Trump and giving him the ammunition to carry out this vicious attack on men, women, and children coming to our borders in hopes of a better life. This attack on Mexican American citizens, and our neighbors from the south is consistent with this country’s history. The “Make Room for the Real America,” consists of killers and it has been that way since the beginnings of this country. So, liberals and those who believe in the “Ideal America” need to stop reacting to these slaughters as if this is not what this country is all about. They need to stop this “we are not like that,” because this country “is like that,” and has been that way for a very long time.
Because I had the opportunity to live through two of the periods that the “Ideal America” was in control, that is the 1960’s and of course the period that President Obama was in office, I believe there is still hope that we can survive the ugliness we now confront. Those of us who believe in a better country than what we have must take the necessary action to bring about change. The coalition of groups that came together to put President Obama in office must do it again. However, the next time, that group must become a permanent America and maybe then we can say that “we are not like that,” and it will be a reality of who we really are.