Boycotting Civil Rights Museum Opening Was Wrong

Member Group : Freindly Fire

Child sees Santa Claus.

Child is afraid of Santa.

Child refuses to speak with Santa.

Parents reason with child, explaining that if he doesn’t talk, Kris Kringle won’t know what he wants and, therefore, won’t be able to work his magic.

Not surprisingly, the child sees the light, ensuring that all will be well on Christmas day.

Since we know that such logic works – good things happen when people talk, face-to-face, human-to-human – then why are we increasingly doing the opposite? Rather than engaging in constructive dialogue, our propensity is now to slam the door in someone’s face and ignore them completely. And as respect and courtesy go by the wayside, so too does the essence of our humanity – and our ability to make progress.

Most ironic is that the very people who choose this behavior – usually announced via a very public tweet about how they’ll stage a walkout, boycott this, or protest that, followed by a social media evisceration of those with whom they disagree – are the ones who complain the most about how bad things are. Totally lost on them is the fact that you can’t fix something until you have an honest conversation about what the problem is, how it originated, and ramifications to proposed solutions. So, by definition, avoiding those with whom one disagrees guarantees that solutions will never be found.

That mentality was on full display recently when President Trump visited the newly opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Rather than working with the commander-in-chief to continue the work of civil rights pioneers and discover solutions to today’s race issues, scores of leaders boycotted the president’s appearance.

How utterly disrespectful – not to mention extremely counterproductive. It’s not every day that the president of the United States comes knocking, especially in off-the-beaten path Mississippi. Support him or not, it is inarguable that his presence automatically elevates everything and everyone around him. In refusing to kowtow to those demanding he stay away, Mr. Trump, in the span of an hour, put the Civil Rights museum on the map. Now, countless millions, both in the United States and abroad, have a more thorough understanding of the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs of those, both black and white, who fought the civil rights battles. By addressing America’s unique ability to rectify past mistakes, as well as discussing the challenges of today, President Trump’s visit should have ushered in a new round of dialogue as we look to bridge our racial divide.

But because some prima donnas didn’t like the president and his platform, they invoked their sense of entitlement – their “right” to be offended – and acted like spoiled brats. In turning their backs on the nation’s leader, they unwittingly dishonored the very people whom the museum honors, and embarrassed themselves, their Party, and their country.

Worst of all, they stalled their agenda, hurting those they claim need the most help.

Let’s give this situation some proper perspective:

1) Many who stayed away held their own ceremony, where they blasted Mr. Trump with labels that, quite honestly, made no sense. Gee, what a surprise. So they’ll criticize the president for racism, bigotism (didn’t know that was a word), xenophobism, misogynism, and all other “isms” (invented and otherwise), yet have no idea what those terms really mean. Newsflash: not helpful, and those spewing such garbage, often laced with vile language, look like fools.

Protesting for the sake of protesting has become America’s favorite pastime, but it doesn’t move the ball forward. If you can’t articulate what you are opposing, and why, then you shouldn’t be out there. America has serious problems, and needs serious people to fix them. Professional organizers whipping people into a frenzy at every protest du jour is pointless. Admittedly funny to watch at times, but pointless.

2) This is America, so you can legally protest all you want. However, it’s worth asking why there were so many angry protesters railing against the president. It’d be one thing if he had a long track record of voting “the wrong way.” But he doesn’t. Quite the contrary, he has largely been a do-nothing president for 11 months who has done little on the race issues. And while aspects of his record as a businessman can give his opponents fodder, there are just as many stories of Mr. Trump being evenhanded and fair with minorities.

Clearly, Donald Trump’s behavior, insults and flip statements are indefensible (and self-defeating). But neither they, nor the platform he advocates, make him a racist.

• Advocating a border wall does not make one a racist; in fact, a wall that impedes the flow of drugs would be of huge benefit to all Americans – especially to those living at Ground Zero: the inner cities.

• Pushing for Voter ID to protect the sanctity of our hallowed right to vote is not racist nor disenfranchising, especially when IDs would be issued free of charge.

• Using his bully pulpit to call out all racists – not just those whom the politically correct crowd selectively deems bad – makes him consistent.

• Enacting a temporary travel ban on countries with no ability to vet its citizens is common sense national security – not racism.

Moving to enact school choice legislation – the ONLY reform that can help those trapped in inner-city deathtrap schools – is not racism. It’s hope.

Aiming to pass common sense gun ownership laws to help those in America’s war zone cities isn’t racist. It’s a literal lifesaver for those trying to protect their families.

Having the backs of America’s police – while purging all elements of racism from the ranks and ensuring that bad cops are rooted out – isn’t racism. It’s a sound policy for keeping America at its safest levels – ever.

Calling out NFL players for kneeling and boycotting the national anthem isn’t racist. It’s patriotic.

And fighting for civil rights by protecting everyone – equal opportunity for all, special treatment for none – is a unique American value.

Obviously, many are opposed to some of those policies. But it’s time to stop playing the race card every time an idea is floated that some don’t like. Doing so victimizes those who truly experience racial prejudice.

3) During the campaign, Mr. Trump, in seeking support from the black community, caught significant flak for asking, “What do you have to lose?”

That criticism wasn’t warranted. Sure, his delivery could have been more polished, but his points were valid – points, by the way, that this column has been advocating for years.

The plight of the black community has not changed in decades. Inner city schools are among the very worst (and no, it’s not for lack of resources). Without education, job prospects are extremely limited. Many neighborhoods are crime-ridden, which scares off companies and further compounds the job problem. Too many children – of all colors – grow up in fatherless homes, and too many young girls get pregnant at too early an age. These factors combine to decimate hope, and without hope, the “I’ve got nothing to lose” mentality prevails, creating a vicious cycle of poverty, crime, incarceration – and death.

One doesn’t have to agree with the president, but to stubbornly refuse to listen to him, simply because he is a Republican, is foolish. Fact is, most American cities has been under Democratic control for decades, often while Democrats also controlled state governments and the White House. So it’s only natural to question business-as-usual, and start discussing fresh ideas. Not doing so is grossly irresponsible.

Americans have a choice. We can keep turning our backs on all who dare disagree, in which case the status quo wins.

Or we can welcome new ideas, even if, God forbid, they come from “the other side.” Most of all, we can re-learn what it means to work with each other – human-to-human – to find common ground so that all Americans win.

Santa, if you’re listening – what a Christmas present that would be.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. His print column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected]