Van Jones, in his impassioned CNN election night disquisition, fully communicated the fear and anxiety possessed by many marginalized citizens in this country who were a couple hours from seeing one of their worst fears confirmed with that night’s results.
I have muslim friends that are texting me tonight, saying should I leave the country. I have families of immigrants who are terrified tonight.
They had good reason to be.
For more than a year candidate Trump riled up crowds of supporters and upset others with the type of rhetoric that inspired, among other things, whites to punch blacks in the face, and ultimately had kids in schools directing ‘build that wall’ chants at their minority classmates.
These relatively isolated instances, however disheartening, failed to approach the depth of the fear Jones’ expressed back in November. January’s travel ban (viewed widely as Muslim ban) was a step in that fearful direction. By some accounts up to 90,000 were affected by the ill-conceived executive order.
Continuing his crusade to keep campaign promises, Trump’s next move was to set his eyes on immigration via the employment ICE, a lesser known cousin of other three letter bureaus like the ATF, DEA and FBI.
But with raids taking place across the country including incidents of parents being picked up by agents after dropping their children off at school, dreamers facing deportation and schools vowing to not allow ICE agents in buildings without warrants, we can see more into the fears hinted at on election night.
But what’s yet to be revealed for the African American community is exactly how Trump will fulfill the promises he made during campaign season. And how effective can they be.
Here’s an exceprt from a speech given by then candidate Trump given in Milwaukee this past summer.
The narrative that has been pushed aggressively for years now by our current Administration, and pushed by my opponent Hillary Clinton, is a false one. The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police; the problem is that there are not enough police. “
“Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society — a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent — share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country.
They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.
Everytime we rush to judgment with false facts and narratives — whether in Ferguson or in Baltimore — and foment further unrest, we do a direct disservice to poor African-American residents who are hurt by the high crime in their communities.
During the last 72 hours, while protestors have raged against the police here in Milwaukee, another 9 were killed in Chicago and another 46 were wounded. More than 2,600 people have been shot in Chicago since the beginning of the year, and almost 4,000 killed in President Obama’s hometown area since his presidency began.
How are we serving these American victims by attacking law enforcement officers?
The war on our police must end. It must end now.
The war on our police is a war on all peaceful citizens who want to be able to work and live and send their kids to school in safety.
Rhetoric is one thing. Executive orders and cabinet appointments are another. Entirely.
So when Jeff Sessions, who received condemnation from the graves of both Coretta Scott King and Ted Kennedy, was ultimately confirmed as Attorney General, a message was sent.
Back in December as their administration was coming to a close, the Department of Justice released its findings after months of investigating the police departments of Baltimore and Chicago. The findings were in some cases appalling.
Attorney General Sessions however sees no need for these investigations to continue. It is his belief that all police are doing a fine job.In fact, he didn’t even read the reports:
“I have not read those reports, frankly. We’ve had summaries of them, and some of it was pretty anecdotal, and not so scientifically based,” Sessions said.
Anyone in Chicago or Baltimore, or any city for that matter, has reason to be alarmed at a statement like this. It represents the type of thinking that can be extremely damaging to marginalized citizens.
Some thought Van Jones was being overdramatic on election night. But what Muslims and immigrants have already found out, the situation is real.
Is the “inner city” next?