I am a Black man, over sixty years old, who grew up in Washington, D.C without my biological parents. When I was 11 years old, I was in the 5th grade and attended an elementary school located in the southeastern quadrant of the city. I was lucky; I had some strong influential uncles who were brave, accomplished and were men to be respected. They along with my great-grandmother were instrumental in my life. They kept me safe, they kept me clothed and fed and were examples I could follow. I think of them with every critical decision I make, and I have said to myself on numerous occasions, “what would my uncles or grandmother do?”
In the fifth grade I met Mr. Elmer Letchworth, he taught me to think “outside the box” (a phrase I heard from him for the first time in 1967) Mr. Letchworth was well ahead of his time. He was my teacher, a musician, an artist and a local performer using marionettes as a tool of communication. To say he was eclectic is an understatement. I grew up in the heart of D. C’s inner city. I had an M-14 rifle pointed at my head by a scared young cherry-faced National Guardsman during the riots of 1968 following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the year leading up to Dr. King’s death, I felt hopeful because school was a place I enjoyed, and Mr. Letchworth made me feel like I belonged. This was the world that allowed people who looked like me to vote, potentially unencumbered, only two years prior. Two years before that legislation, riding in the front of the bus and drinking from any available water fountain south of Virginia was illegal.
I almost hesitate to bring up Mr. Letchworth in the context of this conversation. The highlighting of Donald Trump and his connections to White Supremacy are so anathema to Mr. Letchworth I feel ashamed putting his name in the same sentence with Donald John Trump. The only similarities are that both are White men. I learned many years ago that Dr. King was right, not judging a man by his character is a mistake.
That brings us to the Cartoon-in-Chief. I have seen enough, heard enough and watched enough bloodshed since Mr. Trump took office, that can be either attributed to him or was tacitly condoned by him since the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. Using the moniker cartoon may seem mild to a lot of you reading this and are oozing with disgust of Trump. I used that signature word for a purpose. Saying that Donald Trump is a morally bankrupt man or a sorry excuse of a human being, insults both man and humans. He deserves neither, his blatant disrespect later today showing up for public mourning, that most residents of Dayton Ohio and El Paso Texas feel he instigated, is the height of self-centered egoism. I wrote this last night because I felt the pain of every member of the surviving families. I awoke hoping he would change his mind before morning and whatever vestige of a decent voice that is left in his head tells him to stay home and spare those grieving mourners another mortal wound.
Vote in 2020 for Change.