We Must Think Local, Even if Trump Wins

We Must Think Local, Even if Trump Wins

Editors choice

Written By Mike Thompson |

The Michigan Banner requests from me a Trump write-up. Not the usual Facebook fun and escapism on whether Donnie should be the “Orange Cheeto” (from joking Facebooker Dante Toussaint), or, in Trevor Noah’s Daily Show humor, “the Circus Peanut.” Am here honoring Jerome Buckley’s proposal to write something serious, for actual publication.

Facebook-type jokes, or in the barbershop or in the bar, often are born out of what-can-we-do frustration. Especially, here-and-now, regarding Trump. But sometimes we don’t know what to do or say, and the current national politics are an example. Thinking of a potential Trump presidency, I’m at wit’s end and sanity’s end. Sometimes when we joke and laugh, we actually are crying.

Okay, serious. Trump has been on my you-know-what list ever since he launched himself in 2009 as an Obama “birther,” claiming our new president somehow was not born in the United States. A birther, to me, bottom line, is like a Klanner. No matter how you may feel about President Obama — (a) Big supporter, (b) Sort of disappointed in him, (c) Various other views — there absolutely is no excuse for Trump being the leading birther, and no excuse for anyone who understands this to say they still will vote for him.

Black people were denied official citizenship for all those years, and countless lives were martyred for true citizenship, for the right to vote. For Trump to then challenge the citizenship of the first black president with such open bigotry, insensitive to all the historic bias and repression of U.S. citizenship, that should have disqualified the Orange Cheeto right away for his hint-hint style of modern racism. And then his other atrocities, such as mocking the physically handicapped news reporter.

Nobody, black nor especially reactionary white, wants to hear about white guilt, but will admit I’m feeling the white guilt. Consider the rounded-off polling numbers:

  • White men, more than 60-to-40 percent for Trump (Such a shame)
  • White women, 50-50
  • Latinos, 20-80
  • African Americans, 5-95

What this means to me is that if Trump loses, people of color in their votes will have saved me and my white peers from ourselves.

And if Trump somehow wins? Well, at The Saginaw News, Bob Johnson is doing such great work regarding our local concerns, so please support him. Bob sometimes (like me) escapes onto the above-mentioned Facebook. Recall Oneword (his FB nickname) asking/musing a few months ago, to paraphrase, “Tell us, what would be the result of a Trump presidency? Would it be such a disaster? Why?” Bob was not stating a viewpoint, he simply was posing the question as a journalist.

My first answer to Oneword would be that we don’t want a racist as president. I hesitate to call other people bigots, even when the Circus Peanut seems so obvious. Am humbly sure I have my own shortcomings also in this regard, even with best intentions. But Trump is bad news.

Second answer is that in an ideal world there are many concerns that should merge blacks with low-income whites, but race bias makes too many whites self-defeatingly pro-Trump. More jobs could be created, for infrastructure and other purposes. More youth jobs, like when we oldsters were kids. The minimum wage should be higher. Women should receive equal pay for equal work. Taxation should be more fair. Our brothers and sisters should not be mass-incarcerated for drug-use offenses and other nonviolent crimes. And so on.

Third answer is that we need to get out the vote for Hillary this fall, even though Hillary may not be our ideal choice. (And Hillary should continue what she began in the September 26 debate, to tell us more why we should vote for her on her own merits, instead of simply because she is not Trump.)

Fourth answer to Bob Johnson is that national elections seem to distract us from what we can achieve local. For just a few examples:

  • We need to figure out multi-uses for the Saginaw High building, including more grade levels, so that we do not lose it.
  • We need to continue efforts to address tragic violent crimes and deaths, while giving credit for work that is being done. (Progress is being achieved, even though we may not recognize this progress.)
  • We need to continue to address poverty and social issues, everything from Bishop Larry Camel’s food distributions to Brian Pruitt’s “Power of Dad.”
  • We could reinstate the Saginaw Human Relations Commission, formed in 1958 mainly though the work of Henry Marsh. The HRC sadly died out back around the turn of the millennium.
  • Definitely we should pressure the former 3-Soul, KISS 107, to restore Joyce Harvin’s “Community Connections” to Sunday afternoon prime time instead of insulting/degrading us with 6 a.m.
  • Many other local concerns that will remain, regardless of whether Trump or Clinton becomes the next president.


The local list could go on and on, the same as Trump’s racist statements and postures go on and on. My only answer, based on my own experience, is to think local, regardless of results of a prez election. By the pure numbers, we can’t make much difference in a national election, but we can make a dif on local Saginaw issues. Maybe I’m naive, but I view Trump — hopefully gone in defeat by mid-November, but even if Trump wins — as a distraction. We shall overcome locally.


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