I know December’s impeachment hearings feel like a lifetime ago. But recall with me for a moment, if you will, Professor Pamela Karlan’s statement to the committee:
Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for? What would you think if that president said, “I would like you to do us a favor? I’ll meet with you, and send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.”
Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president has abused his office? That he’d betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process? I believe the evidentiary record shows wrongful acts on those scales here.
The message, one passionately duplicated by Adam Schiff in his brilliant summary, was that Donald Trump was and would remain that kind of transactional president, that he would continue to use the powers of the presidency for his personal gain and America’s collective loss. These are not the actions of a president, they are the transactions of a hoodlum. They are Don Corleone telling Bonasera the undertaker, “One day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do me a favor …”
It was in exactly this spirit that Donald Trump complained to Sean Hannity about New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio. “I dealt a lot with Mayor de Blasio,” Trump whined, “I was very nice to mayor de Blasio, I got him ventilators when he needed them, I got him hospital help when he needed it, I got him everything he needed, I got him the gowns, I got him the masks, I got him everything, the shields, I got that man everything. He couldn’t have been nicer. And then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down the middle of Fifth Avenue.”
Let’s be clear here, Donald Trump didn’t get those PPE supplies for mayor de Blasio, the American taxpayer did. They were used to save American lives and to protect the health of American citizens. They do not and did not exist solely so Donald Trump could call in a favor. Those masks and ventilators were lifesaving measures that it was not Trump’s business to broker, let alone give away for a quid pro quo. Had Trump denied those supplies to New Yorkers for any reason, let alone for personal gain, it would have represented base criminal malfeasance.
But what exactly was Trump complaining about? How had de Blasio allegedly “done him wrong”? Trump is complaining because he doesn’t like the message Black Lives Matter. It offends him that Black Lives Matter. He doesn’t want black lives to matter as much as white lives. And in the same rant to Hannity, Trump goes on to accuse his fellow New Yorkers of the same racism: “All merchants along Fifth Avenue are furious, they’re furious, and the whole city is furious.”
No they’re not. New York City voted 79% for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The city is overwhelmingly in favor of the Black Lives Matter sign and the message it carries. They want it there. It will remain there.
The message behind the Black Lives Matter message is a simple one. It is a message of equivalency, not of superiority. It is a message of inclusion, not exclusion. People of color want black lives to matter the same way white lives always have. That is, when a policeman comes on the scene, people of color want to know that, just like white people, they won’t be murdered. They want to know that whether or not they are the bystander, the crime victim or the criminal, law enforcement officers will respect their right to fair treatment, courtesy and due process. They will not be summarily executed for being black. The unspoken rule to “shoot first and ask questions later” will no longer apply to them. That’s it.
Donald Trump calls that hate speech. I call him calling Black Lives Matter hate speech hate speech in and of itself. That is the real hate speech here. I will even take it one step further. I will say that Fasist Lives Don’t Matter. If a fascist is a man or woman who insists that Black Lives Matter is hate speech, then their lives no longer matter to me. We don’t need such people on this planet any more. People who think with their epidermis are the problem to begin with. The net effect of their absence from the planet would be positive.
I hasten to add, I am not calling for their murder by individuals nor by the police. I would regard such a thing as a criminal offense and would expect any perpetrators of such crimes to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But what I am saying is I no longer care about their rights. I’m not even advocating that their rights be taken from them, I just no longer care. Their rights simply no longer matter to me. If, as they insist, Black Lives don’t matter, then neither do theirs. It’s just that simple. They can’t go on being howling outrage-monkeys and insist on my respect. They can’t, in short, have it both ways.
I am free and you are free to the extent that everyone else is free. If any inalienable rights do not apply to some people then they don’t apply to me either. As Benjamin Franklin put it, we either hang together or we will hang separately. There are no half measures when it comes to civil rights. America’s history of unevenly applied civil rights is why there is chaos and civil unrest in America today.
Donald Trump is a virulent racist. He must go. We must unite and see him gone. We need a man or woman who will be President of the United States. We must come together as a single voice and make President Biden a reality on November third, and we need to make “President Trump” a thing of the shameful past on the very same day. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.