D Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: ‘Trump Factor’ Dominates 2017 — A Year Replete with Diversions, Divisions and Destruction

When Donald John Trump, a 70-year-old real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity, took the oath of office on Jan. 20 to become America’s 45th president, he concluded one of the most amazing, if not bizarre, political journeys to the White House ever witnessed.

Initially viewed as a dark horse candidate, perhaps even as a joke, he parlayed his promise to “Make America Great Again” into a rallying cry that appealed to millions of voters who felt that both their needs and desired ways of life had been summarily dismissed and ignored by previous administrations. For me, hearing his oft-repeated clarion call seemed more like an open invitation to those who sought to eliminate America’s hard-fought, blood-spilled climate of diversity that had secured victory for his predecessor, Barack Obama — the first Black president in U.S. history. And so, while Trump’s fellow Republicans, as well as his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, viewed him with open disdain believing that being members of their respective party’s elitist, old school vanguards yielded far greater voter support, he used every opportunity to capitalize on the cultural and political issues that separated Americans. Everyone underestimated Trump and assumed that his strategy would prove to be foolhardy — everyone, that is but Donald Trump.

But as with any sudden paradigm shift and radical change to the status quo, there would be unexpected repercussions that would accompany Trump’s promised revolution: one of the deadliest mass murders in U.S. history in the city of Las Vegas in which 58 people died and hundreds more were injured by a sniper randomly choosing his targets from his hotel suite during an outdoor country music festival on the night of Oct. 1; thousands of white nationalists who, empowered by the rhetoric of the newly-elected president, marched defiantly with torches blazing through the streets on the evening of Aug. 12, then engaged in physical assaults of counter-protesters the following day, making Charlottesville the country’s newest battleground where supremacist-led bigotry and violence sought to return America to “the good ole days,” to a time when they were free to wear their white hoods while chanting Nazi war cries and heaping out pain, oppression and death to those who they viewed as “others”; and the #MeToo campaign on social media, which developed to startling proportions after an estimated 5 million participated in a massive women’s protest in January just one day after the inauguration of Trump, angered over his stance on issues like reproductive rights, equal pay in the workplace and sexual abuse and harassment.

Epic-sized fires would rage in California in early October devouring hundreds of thousands of acres of land, forcing residents and wildlife to flee, destroying homes and taking lives — but fires of other sorts also burned in the hearts and souls of millions of Americans — people divided by race, religion, ethnicity, economic status and sexual orientation.

Powerful winds accompanied by raging waters swept across the land, upending once tranquil paradises and home fronts from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, to parts of Texas, Florida, Alabama and Louisiana in the form of two monstrous hurricanes, Harvey and Maria, leaving an uncertain prognosis for recovery.

Trump promised a revolution and that’s certainly what we experienced during 2017.

But I am reminded of the great poet and spoken word artist Gil Scott Heron who, in the early ’70s, also talked about “the revolution” when considering the inevitably perilous future he believed America would one day face.

He wrote, “the revolution will not be televised, the revolution will not be televised, the revolution will not be televised. It will be, live.”

And so, perhaps, that time has finally come.

I ponder, prayerfully, but without fear, over what the new year will bring.

I ponder over the onslaught of the revolution.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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