Transcribed by Ahmed Sule, CFA
Two score and a decade ago, after a lifetime speaking against the giant triplets of racism, economic injustice and militarism, my voice was silenced. Or so my killer thought, but he was wrong. As the United States marks the 50th anniversary of my death, now would be an appropriate time for me to write a letter to you, the President of our great country. I am sure you are frustrated with the opposition you face on a daily basis. The attempt to link you with Russia reminds me of when I was accused of being a communist sympathizer. There is an unhealthy fear of Russia in America, which is gradually morphing into a 21st century form of McCarthyism. I also understand that a journalist by the name of Zeke Miller wrongly accused you of taking down my statue after Obama departed the White House. I urge you not to hold it against him.
Please note that I have dictated this message to Ahmed, for onward delivery to you so let me apologize in advance for anything lost in translation. A few years ago, I wrote a letter to your predecessor President Obama expressing my thoughts on his approach to addressing the giant triplets of evil. In this letter, I will do likewise focusing on how you are dealing with militarism, economic injustice and racism.
On militarism, I am afraid that I will have to score you an “E”. You delight in projecting USA military strength and your rhetoric’s against other nuclear-armed countries risk plunging the world into a nuclear holocaust. Instead of championing nuclear disarmament, you are threatening to use nuclear weapons. What do you hope to gain by this? Is the 15,000 tonnes of TNT dropped on Hiroshima by the US in 1945 not destructive enough?
You have given your military chiefs a de facto license to kill by giving them total authority to call in strikes. There is a risk that the military may feel justified in committing crimes against humanity since the Commander-In-Chief has given them a ‘blank cheque’ to use any means to justify its ends. It is unfortunate that you have continued with the brutal drone deployment policy of your predecessor, President Obama. Because of AmeriKKKa’s (sic) influence, innocent victims killed in these attacks will be dismissed as collateral damages. It has also come to my attention that you plan to remove the need for high level vetting when using drones and have expanded the scope of drone targets.
I understand that you plan to organize a military parade along Pennsylvania Avenue because you believe it would be great for the country’s spirit and make you and the generals merry. Should the display of weapons of mass destruction be a cause of pride? I am afraid that AmeriKKKa is approaching a spiritual death because it continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift. Following the path of previous AmeriKKKan (sic) presidents, you have allocated $700 billion to the defense budget, yet your government sees no moral inconsistency in slashing the food stamp budget by $213 billion. I know where the $700 billion defense budget can be allocated — in the wrinkled stomachs of millions of God’s children in AmeriKKKa who go to bed hungry at night.
Even though you have said things, which have hurt the Muslim world, you see no contradiction in selling arms to some of these countries. Last year, your administration signed the largest arms deal in AmeriKKKa’s history with Saudi Arabia. In exchange for billions of dollars, you will be supplying the country with bombs, tanks, combat ships and missile defense systems some of which will lead to broken limbs, scared skins, wailing widows and orphaned children in Yemen. I have tried to make sense of your love affair with the military industrial complex, but I just can’t. President Trump, our government must depend more on its moral power than on its military power.
When you announced your run for presidency, you delivered an economic message that suggested a new approach to AmeriKKKan politics. You promised to drain the swamp, control the excesses of financial institutions, block lobbyists from influencing Washington politics and protect the economic interest of the average man and woman on the street. On the day following your victory, analysts attributed your triumph to your message, which resonated with the so-called white working class.
Instead of draining the swamp, you have swamped the drain with vested interest. Despite your ferocious assault on financial institutions, you have surrounded yourself with senior executives from these institutions. Under the guise of promoting economic growth and stirring the so-called animal spirits, you are rolling back the remnant regulations, which used to act as a check on the excesses of the various corporations that dot the AmeriKKKan landscape. In the short run, this deregulation policy is likely to result in profits for these firms and outsized bonuses for its executives, but in the long run, it is likely to result in predatory lending to the poor, climate disaster for the marginalized and the perpetration of the never ending chasm between the have and the have nots.
While your government is bent on cutting public spending which should have benefited the poor such as Medicare and food stamps, it has gone the extra mile to implement a tax reform, which will predominantly benefit the 1%. CEO’s and investors are rubbing their hands with glee as they see their company’s tax reduced from 35% to 21%, while the ultra-rich are skipping as they learn that the exemption amount for estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes has increased from a $5 million base to $10 million. In contrast, the middle class can only manage a smile as they pick up the remaining crumbs left on the floor. AmeriKKKa claims to be a beacon of capitalism, but what really exists is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.
I have tried to make sense of how struggling whites bought into a message from a white billionaire only for him to protect the interest of his friends in high places. It then dawned on me that the same tactic, which the Southern aristocracy used during the Reconstruction era, was at play. What the Southern aristocracy did was to take the world and give the poor white man Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.
The general narrative has been that black people love playing the race card, but Your Excellency, I must confess that you have deployed this card with maximum efficiency. From the onset of your candidacy, you drew a color line and pitched your tent on the white side of the line. Picking from a chapter of the Southern Strategy rulebook, you used dog whistle coded words to appeal to the racial animosity of your base. Words like immigration, crime, law and order began dripping from your lips. This strategy of blaming the immigrants for AmeriKKKa’s woe has succeeded in distracting AmeriKKKans from the key source of their misery — a capitalist economic system that proportionally favors rich white men.
There is a saying, which goes — show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. Unfortunately, you have been associated with a number of inductees in the AmeriKKKan Racist Hall of Fame. David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan endorsed your candidacy for Presidency of AmeriKKKa (however, you disavowed his endorsement). I think you need to sit down and reflect on why Grand Wizard Duke would accuse those voting against you of committing treason to their white heritage. Up next was Joe Arpaio, the so-called most hated law enforcement officer in AmeriKKKa who illegally detained Latinos and was charged for racially profiling Latinos. In the first presidential pardon of your administration, you pardoned Joe Arpaio, thereby legitimatizing AmeriKKKa’s original sin. Moreover, White supremacists and neo-Nazi groups like Daily Stormer, Alex Jones, Richard Spencer, Britain First, American Renaissance and the Ku Klux Klan have applauded your controversial actions.
Besides your association with racists, you have indirectly endorsed racial violence like the case in Charlottesville when you suggested a moral equivalence between white nationalist and those protesting against racism despite the violence inflicted on the latter by the former. Furthermore at one of your rallies, you went nostalgic saying, “You know, in the old days — which isn’t so long ago — when we were less politically correct, that kind of stuff wouldn’t have happened. Today we have to be so nice.” I don’t need to remind you that those old days were the days when Emmett Till was murdered because of the color of his skin; when four young girls were blown up in a church at Birmingham because of the color of their skins and when I was killed because of the color of my skin.
I guess deep down in your heart, you believe your intentions are sincere. I guess you can’t understand why many people on the black side of the color line accuse you of racism especially when you have employed many people of color, when you have mentored a black person as your apprentice, when you housed Jennifer Hudson after her mother and brother were murdered, when under your tenure, Black unemployment is at its lowest in AmeriKKKan history. I guess that’s why you say without hesitation, “I am the least racist person.”
But when people learn that in 1973 you were charged with violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against potential ethnic minority renters; when people learn that in 1975 you settled with the Department of Justice over housing discrimination claims ; when people learn that in 2011, without a shred of evidence, you claimed Obama was born in Kenya; when people learn that in 2013 in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case you tweeted that most crimes are committed by blacks and Hispanics ; when people learn that in 2015 you wrote that Jeb Bush likes Mexican illegal immigrants because his wife is Mexican; when people learn that today you believe Colin Kaepernick is a son of a bitch, Senator Elizabeth Warren is Pocahontas and Africa is a “shithole”, then you would understand why most people of color would disagree with your assertion that you are the least racist person.
Some may argue what is the cause for alarm in using a racial slur against people of color; after all, sticks and stones may break bones, but names do not hurt. The issue goes beyond the name-calling. There should be and must be cause for alarm when the most powerful man in AmeriKKKa (who is viewed with suspicion in the black and brown community) now has the power to set policies and appoint individuals to oversee institutions that have systematically discriminated against people of color such as policing, housing, healthcare, education, justice, prisons and labor.
Let me digress a bit by addressing one of your core supporters. I must confess that I am disappointed with the White evangelicals who have chosen the path of least resistance by remaining silent on some of your racial actions. In this regard, the white church has strayed away from the teachings of Jesus. The AmeriKKKan evangelical church appears to be whiter than Christian and many white evangelicals have chosen to remain silent behind the security of the stained-glass window. Please don’t think that I hate the church. How could I? I was in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great-grandson of preachers.
Finally, please don’t dismiss this letter as the ranting of a dead black man. I urge you to put some effort in addressing these triplets of evil so that AmeriKKKa can morph into a beloved community where the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and every man shall sit under his own vine and every woman under her fig tree, and none shall be afraid.
Yours in Love
Martin Luther King Jr.
(Transcribed by Ahmed Sule, CFA)
4 April 2018