Presidents’ Day, the News and an Anti-diversity President - Higher Education
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Presidents’ Day, the News and an Anti-diversity President

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There’s been way too much news of consequence of late.

Starting with 17 lives taken at a Florida high school by a 19-year old former student with an AR-15, to the indictments of Russian meddling, to the failure of the Congress to come up with a fix for DACA, the American public is being overloaded.

That’s a danger, because when the public is overloaded, it goes into “I don’t care” mode.

That used to be fine when we could rely on leadership from on high — meaning our government – to get us through.

But look where we are.

We can’t rely on the anti-diversity president to do the right thing, let alone lead.

Children ages 14-17 shot in Parkland, Fl., and the president doesn’t even have the courage to mention the word “gun” in his White House remarks on the incident, choosing instead to say it’s a mental health problem.

A far fewer number would be dead today from that incident had it not been easy to obtain a semi-automatic AR-15 weapon. That’s not to say the shooter didn’t have mental problems, but not enough to keep him from buying the weapon. The issue is gun proliferation, not mental health. Too many guns, and we have Parkland, now becoming too common an occurrence in America.

Congress is as much to blame for doing nothing.  But the NRA-owned Congress got somewhat of a pass last week because it had other issues on its plate. Like trying to find a fix for DACA as we get closer to the March 5 deadline when Trump has decided capriciously the program must end.

The courts may have a last say. Two appeals courts have said DACA cannot simply end while litigation to save it is still open. And the Supreme Court could weigh in next week.

But last week the Senate failed to pass Trump’s bill, as well as other bipartisan measures to relieve the anxiety for nearly 800,000 who could face deportation if DACA protections aren’t renewed.

There is no clear way out of this. And Trump has tweeted it’s the Democrats’ fault, even though it was his actions that set the March 5 deadline. His remarks are antithetical to the leadership needed now.

In January, Trump even said he’d accept a bipartisan bill and take the heat. But now he’s blaming Democrats and doing nothing to show he has an interest in any fair deal to save DACA.

That all would be enough news for the week, but there was Friday’s announcement by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller that 13 Russians and three companies were indicted for meddling in the 2016 election, using immigration, religion and race to polarize the campaign in an effort that benefitted Trump.

Trump and the White House continued to call it ‘fake news” and parrot the phrase, “no collusion.”

What should be alarming to diversity advocates is how the Russians took a distinct anti-diversity stand to manipulate the vote.

The Russians knew the hot buttons.

So does Trump.  Both played the negative diversity for their mutual benefit in 2016.

Coincidence? Or collusion?

What is clear is the campaign is over.

The president needs to realize that diversity makes us stronger as a nation.

And yet, he can only see how it can help him, by dividing the country and the electorate in ways to keep him in the presidency.

It’s Trump’s way. It’s the base politics play seen in his reaction to the major stories of last week, from the high school shootings to the border wall, from the DACA demand to the 13 Russians indicted for meddling.

Trump’s politics are always guided by a strong anti-diversity sense that has him hellbent on denying what demographers know is the inevitable: The country will be a minority-majority country by 2050 or before.

Instead of embracing it, Trump wants to extend the limits of whiteness for as long as he can. In the process, he’s rekindled what was a dormant sense of White nationalism that is often expressed in violent anger.

This is our diverse country under the current president of the United States. Makes you nostalgic on Presidents’ Day for what was considered the norm, when presidents routinely put love of country and all of its people above love of self.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist, commentator and an adjunct professor in Northern California. He writes for the civil rights group AALDEF at http://www.aaldef.org/blog.

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