I thought it was pretty hilarious that of all people to speak about unifying Muslims, Donald Trump was the man to go to Saudi Arabia and do just that. After all, this was the same man who campaigned on the evils of Islam during his stumble into the White House. He never acknowledged the humanity of Muslims who don’t hijack airplanes or suppress women. Steve Bannon would be equally qualified to give a lecture at Xavier University on African-American inequality issues.
I was curious if he would stick to the banter that has made him popular among white supremacists. However, he sang a very different tune when he found himself in the Middle East surrounded by Muslims. Suddenly, Islam was not a religion of violence. We saw a much softer side of Trump. I couldn’t help but chuckle at how he seemed to shrink in that room full of Muslims. His hands actually seemed to match the rest of his body.
While Trump supporters and moderates might claim this was simply Trump being professional, it would’ve been the first time. My theory is that we saw a trash talker get face to face with those he talked trash about. We saw the coward that he really is. He is a dog that was used to speaking out against cats in rooms full of other dogs. In Saudi Arabia, he suddenly found himself surrounded by lions, jaguars, and other felines that are not only unafraid of the man, but willing to sink teeth.
I hate to admit that I enjoyed seeing the awkwardness. I enjoyed seeing Steve Bannon timidly working his way through a crowd of Muslims. It was a small victory for those of us who are challenged on a daily basis by a man who incites fear and anxiety among minorities in his own country.
I was equally excited about the potential to see the Twitter-master himself address Muslim youth. Of course, after his experience on the podium, 45 cancelled his Twitter appearance, further displaying the cowardice of the president of the United States. I imagine he had never been so relieved as when his plane left the runway.
I found myself a bit envious of the group who scared Trump. My envy stemmed from the ability to make that bigot change his tune through intimidation. I realize there were probably plenty of people in that room who are tyrants in their own right. But I have been so literally sick of reading Trump’s hateful words and watching his administration put their boots on the necks of the American people who can’t relate to the problems of a gold toilet not flushing or a private jet not being ready on time. It actually makes me nauseous.
That’s when it hit me. In all of South Carolina, Charleston is a place of progress and understanding. It is a place of rising above. It is filled with strong people, a plethora of skin tones, and various languages and dialects. I wondered what topic we could so strongly agree on that Donald Trump would not dare preach hate or show his face because of a fear that stems from our unity in something moral.
I imagined a Charleston so dedicated to giving all children a quality education that neither Trump nor anyone from his administration would dare try and sell the Devos budget here. I imagined a place where a person seeking shelter from blood and death is welcomed like an old friend. I see the Holy City so humble in its service of all people that the thought of discrimination would build a supernatural wall around the city so that anyone who wanted to divide us could not get inside 526. Their cars would stall and planes would fail from the love that pulsated on the tides of our resolve.
More than that, though, I would love if Trump were welcomed here because he truly believed in unifying people and spreading love. That is not our president, though. He has not once made a decision that puts people above corporations. He has not stood tall in a challenging moment and been an example of what to do. He has taken every opportunity to attack the planet, suppress struggling people, and pat the backs of those who would be welcomed at a table with the likes of Megatron, Cobra Commander, and Montgomery Burns. He has no interest in unifying this country, much less Muslims in the Middle East.
Until then, I will settle for a Charleston that makes him shudder. The challenge is not a matter of politics or party lines. It is a matter of a man’s nature and this country is being led by a man driven by greed, selfishness, and a sense of superiority. May he never be comfortable here as long as there is hate in his heart and he is led by a devious and selfish nature. Let us come together to create a public culture that scares evil. Let love guide our steps. Let that be our resistance.