A little child shall lead them
Most of the free world is in a state of utter bewilderment over America’s leadership after Donald Trump was reported to have used vulgar and demeaning language during an official meeting at the White House, with both Republicans and Democrats in attendance.
His use of a word during discussion over immigration policies, not worthy of being repeated, stunned most Americans and indeed the nation’s allies. It was an ugly start for that nation’s political scene as the new year unfolds with rumblings that the President crossed the line, big-time, with insulting remarks about Haitians and Africans, whom he claimed were inferior to people from Europe.
This touched off the obvious angry reaction that is yet to cool. Apart from Trump’s support base, speculation continued to mount throughout the nation as to whether his behaviour as the commander-in-chief, was doing more harm than good for America and international diplomatic relations.
Even more troubling was that many leading Republicans seemed reluctant to openly condemn the President for making comments that went against basic values the nation was founded on.
In a remark that some leading commentators described as openly racist, Trump suggested America would be better off by bringing in people from places such as Norway, which many observers felt implied that he preferred those with a lighter skin complexion.
With America’s violent history of social injustice based on race, it was deeply disturbing to John Lewis, the congressman who was beaten along with others during a civil rights march in the 1960s, protesting against policies that discriminate against people of colour.
Lewis said America had made significant progress in trying to build a diverse nation since that dark chapter and, while there was still work to be done, he found it unbelievable that the President would use language that did not reflect what America was about.
The congressman was not alone in expressing such sentiments, and the dust is yet to settle on how this will play out into midterm elections, especially with the tide turning in favour of the Democrats.
It is a testing time for America, with a leader who has angered a large section of the country, while clinging to his support base using tactics he feels will cement their allegiance — even at the price of offending most of whom he is meant to represent, along with allies that include Britain.
A number of African countries enraged by Trump’s description of people in that part of the world have called for an official apology from the Trump Administration. That seems unlikely, since Trump seldom, if ever, offers an apology to avoid appearing soft to his support base, who feel he can do no wrong.
With a leader having unpredictable traits in a world in which there are already tensions over a potential nuclear encounter with North Korea, it is more than troubling to all who cherish freedom and peace.
The recent scare in Hawaii over a false alarm that a missile was heading its way, sending many running for cover, only makes it more concerning that something must be done to improve international diplomacy. Although the incident was apparently an error, it clearly shows how a mistake could possibly lead to a response before an error is corrected.
A grim reality of the nuclear age.
However, the world must never lose sight that there are many good and peace-loving people from all nationalities or ethnic origin who believe all people should be treated fairly and with respect.
It is even more meaningful when five and six-year-old students reacted after hearing the story of an elderly black couple who were turned away from a resort some 60 years ago because of their skin colour. The couple had chosen the resort for their honeymoon.
Some students were visibly shaken, holding back tears and presumably wondering how such a thing could happen. The students decided to do something about it. They wrote to the resort, now under new ownership, requesting that this couple be given an all-expenses paid honeymoon.
They obliged and, yes, it all happened because those fresh young minds dared to take steps to make the world a place where everyone is respected and treated fairly.
This story was carried on CBS News, and with so many adults failing to live up to protecting good, sound values, there will always be hope. It also strengthens those golden words ... and a little child shall lead them.
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