I still haven’t been able to wrap my hands around the excessive use of Twitter employed by President-elect Donald Trump nor his propensity for attacking, cajoling, ridiculing or just saying things that anyone with an ounce of sense knows simply are not true.
Some political pundits say he’s taken politics to a new level, constantly referring to his actions as “unprecedented.” And while that may be true, I really wish he would focus more on the job that he’s about to undertake using every opportunity to prepare himself. Instead, with every chance and no matter what the issue, he seems to be almost addicted to shooting out random messages and attacks, particularly when someone dares to criticize him or challenge his perspective.
Now with only a few days remaining before Barack Obama hands over the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we hear that a growing number of Congressmen have chosen to boycott Trump’s inauguration, including Civil Rights icon John Lewis. Lewis has even dared to say that he doesn’t see Trump as a “legitimate president.”
As one would expect, Trump quickly responded again and again, blowing up his Twitter account with a counterattack — even though there’s no evidence supporting the claims lodged against Lewis.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to speak with the always outspoken comedian and activist Dick Gregory, who held nothing back in his criticism of Trump and in his warning to America.
Gregory, 84, offered a sharp critique of the 2016 electoral cycle saying: “Anytime you go to vote for the lesser of two evils you’re evil yourself — that’s how Hitler came to power. Few know that he [Hitler] won his election by 288 votes … and almost wiped the world out.”
As we continued our conversation, Gregory asked me why Americans never demanded that then-candidate Trump present evidence of his most recently-filed income taxes. He went on to point out several reasons why he predicted that America was about to face some of its darkest days.
Then he uttered this warning after we deliberated over what U.S. citizens should do in the next four years: “You don’t have to do nothing. America is not going to make it four years; it’s over.”
For several moments I was speechless, unable to provide a rational response. I just pondered his words. And then I thought about other nations who once ruled the planet and whose leaders, in their arrogance and hubris, led them first into a period of decline and ultimately into failure: the Aztec, the Romans, the Greeks and the Egyptians.
Although I was just a little boy, I still remember those fearful days in the mid- and late ’60s, when centuries of hatred, prejudice and racial strife threatened to boil over and tear our nation apart. In more ways than I would like to admit, I now feel like I’ve entered a time warp with the clock set back to those days when, as Trump likes to say, “America was great.”
Both then and now, the use of inflammatory rhetoric, the insistence of holding on to vestiges of “white power” and numerous protests lodged against the status quo were all commonplace. And as January 20 quickly approaches, I wonder if I should beware of what the future holds or if I should instead celebrate the “coronation” of “King Donald the First.”
Is Dick Gregory simply buying into outlandish conspiracy theories, yielding to unfounded paranoia, or is he prophetic in his warnings? The more I consider the future, the more I already miss Barack Obama.