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Tell Donald Trump I Said: Thank You

It is inevitable. Donald Trump will have the most GOP delegates going into the convention in July. The question now is relatively simple: what should you, the republican leadership, do going forward?

Listen. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m a democrat, a progressive, a black man. You don’t give a damn about me. If you had your way, you’d probably try to keep me from voting. Yet, I have a deep and abiding love of democracy. I’d like to see the process work as it should. So…let me offer you two suggestions on how to navigate this disaster you, yourself, devised.

1 Abandon all talk of a brokered convention. Just stop it. For the past few months there has been escalating violence at Trump rallies. His supporters are violently angry. How do you think they will respond if you nullify their choice? This is a climate you cultivated, fear and anxiety you provoked. The people have spoken. Respect their choice.

2 In the future, realize that when one stokes the fire of white supremacy, you unleash something that has the ability to harm you as well. Dog whistle politics, southern strategies, and veiled racism may get you passionate followers willing to vote against their interests—but that energy can turn ugly when a person like Trump comes along and says publicly what voters have been saying privately. Trump and his supporters do not surprise black folks in America.

It’s white people that are flabbergasted by the vitriol and hatred. We have survived, nay thrived, in a white supremacist country, culture, and political climate our entire lives. Some of us are taken aback that people are now saying openly what we know has been said behind closed doors. A few of us were lulled to sleep by visions of Obamas in the White House and dreams of capitalistic gain, but we woke now—and we will #StayWoke.

Yet, to that end, I’d like it if you could convey to Donald Trump my following words of heartfelt appreciation:

Thank you for cutting the grass with your rhetoric so that now the snakes can no longer hide. Thank you for smoking out the black folks who, like Stephen in Django Unchained, are opportunists and willing to participate in white supremacy for time on CNN and an opportunity for financial gain.

Thank you for showing us the true nature of white preachers like Joel Osteen and Paula White who have innumerable black followers, but articulate a gospel grounded in prosperity and white supremacist understandings of Christianity.

Thank you for showing liberal white Americans that white supremacy is so pervasive and destructive that a mere discussion of class inequality is insufficient to address the racism seething just beneath the surface of American life. (Someone please get this  information to Bernie Sanders and his uncritical supporters.) Finally, thank you for reminding black Americans that we are living in neither a post-racial nor a post-racist world. Many needed that desperately. Thank you. Sincerely.

Good luck, ladies and gentlemen. I can’t wait to see how you handle the convention in July. Like Michael Jackson eating popcorn at the beginning of Thriller, I’ll be watching with tiptoe anticipation.

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Lawrence Ware is a professor of philosophy and diversity coordinator for Oklahoma State University’s Ethics Center. He can be reached at:  Law.writes@gmail.com.

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