Column: Donald Trump’s political circus

Wendell Anthony

One might wonder if the late great P.T. Barnum has been born again in Donald Trump.

Barnum was famous for finding the weirdest and the most distinct individuals and creatures, and placing them in his circus for entertainment purposes. He once said “there is a sucker born every minute.”

In the race for president, it seems that Donald Trump, like P.T. Barnum, is still in the business of looking for suckers to entertain.

His most recent bellicose outreach to attract African-American voters, comes at a time when he is losing 50 to 90 percent of the black and brown vote.

Donald Trump would have us believe he is seriously concerned about doing something for the African-American voter, but in a 1991 book written by a former Trump casino executive, Trump was reported to have said: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes.”

This is the same Donald Trump who led the way for the “Birther Movement” against President Barack Obama, questioning his legitimacy as a U.S. citizen.

This is the same Donald Trump who has supported “punching them in the face, carrying them out on a stretcher,” and encouraging physical violence at rallies in which blacks have been hit in the face by onlookers and supporters of Trump.

This is the same Donald Trump who refused to come to the NAACP National Convention, held down the street practically from the Republican National Convention, which occurred at almost the same time, citing scheduling conflicts.

This is the same Donald Trump who did not attend the National Association of Black Journalist Convention, to speak about issues for black and brown communities.

This is the same Donald Trump who has not attended the Progressive Baptist Convention, the AME Convention and the National Baptist Convention. The National CME Convention is coming up in late October in the city of Detroit.

Let us see Mr. Trump on Linwood and Joy Road, Dexter and Fenkell, Mack and Bewick, Greenfield and Seven Mile, Grand River and Oakman, or Outer Drive and Southfield. Why won’t Trump select the specific location in the heart of the city, and lay out his urban agenda?

It is not about being a show horse. It is about being a policy maker. There are no clear policies from Trump direct to African-American or minority communities.

What the hell do African-Americans have to lose, Trump has asked.

We have the potential to lose the gains we have made in voting rights, civil rights and human rights, if we go back to the time, whenever America was “great.”

We have the possibility of losing the opportunity to gain new seats on the U.S. Supreme Court, which can finally come to a balanced and more equitable system of justice for all Americans.

We have the potential to lose health care, that has now been provided for millions of whites and black, who before ObamaCare had no access to health care.

We have the potential to lose higher wages and income equality, based on Trump’s own acknowledgment that he does not support a livable wage for people in our nation.

We have the potential to lose the gains made by a U.S. auto industry that was saved and given another chance at life, by a president who understood the need for a hand-up, not a hand-out to prevent the collapse of this industry.

Our mothers, wives, daughters and sisters have the potential to lose their right to choose the nature of what they do with their own bodies, and not be punished because a president believes he should determine their health destiny.

We have the potential to lose the basic freedoms that we have enjoyed as one man uses a dog whistle, indicating law and order, and states’ rights that take African-Americans back to a time in which America claimed law and order for some, and no law and much disorder for others.

We stand to lose the attention that has been paid to young people, by both blacks and whites, who understand black lives do matter. This is not because other lives don’t matter, yet due to the disparate deaths of black and brown men in cities across our nation, they have not always mattered equally.

So what do we have to lose? Our fundamental dignity and self-respect.

Wendell Anthony is president of the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.