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I want to say at the outset that I am one of the five percent (or so) of black voters who did not support Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
My decision had nothing to do with race.
That I did not vote for the person who would become the first black president in the history of the United States, was nothing more than a matter of ideological dissonance.
In the more than 10 years since Barack Obama burst onto the national political stage at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, I have found that the worldview he espouses is incompatible with my own.
It is for that reason alone that I determined I could not support the man.
It’s that simple.
Fast-forward to 2016 and the same can be said as it relates to Donald Trump.
Though I am a registered Republican I will not support, indeed I cannot support, Donald Trump were he to win the Republican nomination for president. I realize that statement won’t move the Dow Jones Industrial Average or give impetus to media outlets to interrupt their regularly-scheduled programming.
Besides, it’s not as if Donald Trump is going to receive much support from black voters anyway.
No Republican presidential candidate ever does.
As disappointing as that reality is, I am not so naive as to not acknowledge it.
As rare a commodity as black conservatives are today, I fully realize that my lone voice won’t really matter much in the grand scheme of American politics.
I get that.
Nevertheless, I am compelled to offer my opinion as I believe Donald Trump, much like Barack Obama, to be a fraud, particularly with respect to matters that concern many black Americans.
Case in point is a recent Business Insider article in which Trump is quoted as saying, “If I were African-American, I would be so angry with Obama!”
The problem I have with Trump’s remark is that it is centered on at least two incorrect assumptions:
1. all black Americans support President Obama, and
2. that black Americans who support Barack Obama do so primarily on the basis of race
Firstly, none of us, “The Donald” included, knows how we would feel or what we would do or think “if we were” someone other than who we are.
We like to think we know, but we don’t.
Secondly, Trump’s comments demonstrate that he has adopted the same stereotypical mindset as have countless other Americans, namely, that black voters, because we are black, subscribe to a monolithic view of the world around us.
Sadly, this is a widely-held perspective; one that black conservatives like myself have been fighting for quite some time to deconstruct.
Given these misplaced assumptions, a question I would ask Donald Trump is why should I, or any other black person, be angry with President Obama? Unless, of course, Trump is suggesting that the genesis of such anger be rooted in the fact that because Obama is black that black voters inherently view him as some Moses-type figure whose job it is to lead us to a new Promised Land.
I might concur with Trump if I held to a paternalistic view of the role of Government.
I do not.
“The office of Government is not to confer happiness, but to give people opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.” – William Ellery Channing
Perhaps it escapes Donald Trump that black people can actually think for themselves; that, contrary to how the mainstream media might portray us, we actually do care about issues like taxes, abortion, school choice, the environment, foreign policy, education, and economic opportunity; that not all black people see the world through race-colored glasses, and that we are quite capable of assessing our support of candidates for political office based on their platform not their pigmentation.
“I have never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed. I have always had high regard for the man who could tell me how to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington
Whatever Trump thinks black Americans should be angry with the President about is apparently rooted in the long-held misnomer that all blacks think, vote, and act as a collective and not as individuals. Barack Obama may be the first president who is black, but that fact should not be misconstrued to mean Obama is the first “black president.”
He is not.
At least not in the sense that people like Donald Trump seem to believe, that a collective “Black America” (as if there is such a thing) views the Obama presidency as salvific somehow; and that President Obama’s failure to live up to our god-like expectations warrants every black person being angry with him. You know…because Obama is “black like me.”
Seriously, how myopic can one person be?!
The liberal/socialist policies of Barack Obama have adversely impacted all Americans not just black Americans.
The absurdly expensive Obamacare mandates are hurting every American financially, not just black Americans. The overly-burdensome EPA regulations, particularly those that have been implemented to “bankrupt” the coal industry, are costing thousands of Americans – of all races and ethnicities – their jobs. That President Obama continues to deliberately ignore our nation’s immigration laws, is to the economic detriment of all American citizens not just blacks.
I could go on, but you get the point.
Would Donald Trump have made such a comment if, all things being equal, President Obama were white and he were black? Would he then have said, “If I were Caucasian-American, I would be so angry with Obama!”
I doubt it.
And therein lies the problem.