(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — Since when did words become more important than actions?
People are rightly outraged that President Donald J. Trump took so long to condemn white supremacy and attempted to equate both the right and left before flip-flopping, eventually appearing to condone the neo-Nazi elements of America’s political landscape; he said there were “very fine people” on both sides. Even world leaders and prominent political figures condemned Trump for his statements.
Conversely, the world has had a fawning wet dream over Barack Obama’s tweet on the subject, in which he quoted Nelson Mandela to state “no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” This has become the most liked tweet in Twitter history.
Obama can tweet eloquently and Trump can tweet like a buffoon, but at the end of the day, what difference does it really make?
During his presidency, the Obama administration propped up known anti-Semitic neo-Nazis in Ukraine and was even caught red-handed picking these neo-Nazis to lead Ukraine after Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in 2014. Apparently, this isn’t important to millions of Twitter users, so long as Obama says nice things that resonate with their inner desire to see the good in people.
Despite strong approval from the black community regarding Obama’s performance as president, the economic situation for African Americans went steadily from bad to worse under his presidency. When Obama was elected, the black unemployment rate stood at 11.1 percent. In 2010, it rose sharply to 16.1 percent, roughly twice the rate of white unemployment.
The number of black people killed by police under Barack Obama was through the roof, so to speak, and Obama continued many of the policies that unfairly target black communities and increase their incarceration rates, like the ill-informed drug war, which he allowed to rage on “pointlessly,” as Time put it, for most of his time in office.
A report published in June 2016 found black Americans were incarcerated in state prisons at an average of 5.1 times that of white Americans during Obama’s time as president.
As the Guardian’s Gary Younge explained last year:
“Obama will leave office during a period of heightened racial tension over police shootings. ‘His presidency was supposed to pass into an era of post-racism and colour blindness,’ Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton professor and author of From #BlackLivesMatter To Black Liberation, tells me. ‘Yet it was under his administration that the Black Lives Matter movement erupted. In many ways, it’s the most significant anti-racist movement in the last 40 years, and it happens under the first black president. The eruption of this movement can be interpreted as a disappointment in the limitations of the Barack Obama presidency. And some of those limitations can be explained externally, by the hostility with which he’s been met by the mostly Republican congress. But some of it lies in the limitations of his own policies.’” [emphasis added]
Other groups and parts of the world suffered under Barack Obama’s presidency, as well.
In just a few short years in office, Barack Obama became the world’s leading arms dealer, providing at least $115 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia. These transactions were made with the full knowledge that Saudi Arabia directly sponsors ISIS, is rumored to directly sponsor terrorists who commit crimes in Western nations and that they are committing a host of war crimes in Yemen, repeatedly killing civilians and destroying vital infrastructure.
Under the Obama administration, the CIA was spending over one fifteenth of its entire budget arming and training fanatical jihadists in Syria, teaching them techniques that can only be described as terrorist tactics.
It’s one thing to tweet about hate, love, skin color and religion, but it is something wholly other to put that into practice. A Pew Research Center poll found only 7 percent of Pakistanis viewed Barack Obama favorably, which is unsurprising considering he spent most of his presidential career drone striking their grandmothers and children.
No one is born hating another person, but they will be more likely to grow up to hate you if you choose a war path that involves murdering their family members.
Similarly, what would have happened if Trump had taken to Twitter or a televised address to say what we so desperately wanted to hear? Would he have stopped boasting about his exaggerated arms deals to Saudi Arabia, a country he once accused of committing the 9/11 terror attacks? Would he have stopped the United States’ current Ukraine policy, which we know has benefitted neo-Nazi elements of Europe?
Donald Trump has reportedly killed thousands of civilians already in less than a year in office. He ramped up the wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia and is still trying to ramp up activities in Afghanistan, the never-ending quagmire. Considering that since the start of the year, 500,000 Syrians have returned to their homes in areas liberated by the Syrian Arab Army, it is becoming increasingly clear that Washington-led wars in the region have not only directly contributed to the refugee crisis – they have completely exacerbated it. If you don’t want an influx of refugees, the simple solution would be to drawback on these current conflicts.
Yes, Donald Trump could and should have denounced white supremacy in his statements, and in particular, should have condemned the violence its movement has incited. But don’t we require more from these “elected” leaders, other than just words and tweets?
Would praise-worthy tweets have been enough — even as the world crashes and burns around them? Surely, the human race can demand a lot better than tweeted platitudes. If we don’t, the world’s most prolific mass murderers will continue to absolve themselves of their crimes by writing 140 characters or less of inspirational nonsense.