Let me set a scenario- you are a kindergarten teacher; your young students are playing outside. Suddenly one of them falls and happens to have a scratch. After comforting him for a while, you realize he needs a band aid to protect his wound. Subsequently, other children claim that they want to be treated equally, thus they demand a band aid for themselves too, even though they are not hurt. This picture can be easily associated to the current political climate of the United States. Whilst the #BlackLivesMatter movement is demanding for the accountability of police officers involved in the heinous assassinations of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other victims, the opposition has claimed that the movement’s intent is to dismantle the police and create an anarchical society. In the midst of the current crisis one may ask oneself: What is the federal government doing to find a common ground to all of this? What are they doing to stop police brutality? And most importantly, what role does Donald Trump play in all of this?
Firstly, to find the answer to all of this, it is necessary to understand how Donald Trump has managed racial problems in the past.
Although Donald J. Trump appeared in the political environment of the right until the late 2000’s, for accusing president Obama of not being born in the US, there have been multiple occasions in which the New York-based entrepreneur has made comments against other folks based on their race. The Atlantic Magazine has published a compilation of the current POTUS’ bigotry towards minorities. From opposing the right of Indigenous groups to possess and manage casinos to demanding his real estate to only be sold to white executives, the president has made it clear that he is not a fan of minorities. But what do his racial engagements have to do with his competence to govern? To answer this question, it is better to look in detail at a more recent event.
In 2017, a group of neo-Nazis and white nationalists packed the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, demanding for a Confederate monument not to be removed. The “Unite the Right” rally called for the fulfillment of Trump’s requirements, made by him during his campaign. They were demanding for a country, in which Jewish people would not control them and for a white-filled America. Even the former leader of the terrorist group, “the Ku Klux Klan”, stated that he was protesting to fulfill the promises of Donald Trumps’ campaign. It was clear that the hatred of this groups would result in counter protests. The demonstrators were met with backlash, for that day DeAndre Harris, a black protester was beaten by four white nationalists and James Alex Fields Jr. ran his car over a crowd, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer. The president’s response to this calamity was blaming both sides, saying that “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence” could be found on both sides.
To this point, one could qualify Trump’s competence towards racial matters as flawed, irrational, and wretched. The current response of the Trump administration towards the #BlackLivesMatter movement exemplifies what was formerly stated. As it was noticeable that Trump did not care about minorities in the past, it was predictable that he would not care about them in the present. The rising of the racial question in the United States was inevitable. Just as the neo-Nazis in Virginia meant counter protests, it was unavoidable that Trump’s comments on Latinos, Muslims and African-Americans would result in a revolution, that longs for a future, in which a black person will not be judged for the color of their skin. To make it all worse, the White House has not given empathy or understanding to the protestors’ demands. On the contrary, Trump has sent the National Guard to protect the White House , he has qualified protesters as “thugs” and he even launched an attack on peaceful protesters to take a photo-op.
So, at this point, nobody knows how the future of the United States will look like. If the president continues to show indifference and aggressiveness, the upcoming political environment will also remain uncertain. To this point, one may ask oneself, why, as a Guatemalan, should I care about American politics? Why should we care about Donald J. Trump’s behavior? In my perspective, the answer relies on the fact that the influence of the US in Guatemala is enormously unimaginable. By being our closest world power, the economic and political authority they represent is huge. They are the number one importer of Guatemalan goods , they have dismantled democratic presidents, to establish a military regime . So, yes, we must care about their politics because the potential effects of the incompetence of any administration is countless. The impaction of his inaction could be massive.
On the other hand, the influence of the United States could theoretically have a good influence too. As America holds great influence on our people, if our folks from the North had a better and more efficient government, the results in our country could be great, just as the other way around.
To conclude, at this moment, what we can do is to be hopeful and hopeful for a new administration, regardless of party, which can govern in an unbiased and objective matter, so that in that way, structural issues, such as systemic racism will be terminated for good, and for this change to come, with the intention of a parallel change in Guatemalan society.