Employing activism, sports figures can alter the course of this nation

Jaime Harris | 1/18/2018, 2:13 p.m.
Utilizing their wealth and vast media platforms, sports figures can alter the course of this nation by ardently engaging in ...

Donald Trump’s vile and degrading characterization of countries inhabited primarily by people of color, including Haiti, as “shitholes” during a meeting last week at the White House with a bipartisan group of senators and congressman on the United States’ divisive immigration issue, reaffirms what millions of people have known for decades—that he is a manifest racist.

It is a pathology in which he was born, a family heirloom passed down by his father, Fred C. Trump. Dad and son, along with their company, Trump Management, were subjects of a federal suit brought by the Justice Department for alleged racial discrimination at Trump housing developments in New York City in the early 1970s.

Given his numerous public statements and acts of racism over the past 40 years, it is unsurprising that Trump desires to enact an immigration policy that would exclude immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America while welcoming white Europeans with open arms—he reportedly specifically promoted Norwegians—attempting to settle in this country.

As disturbing as his attempt to carry out a form of ethnic engineering and stem a demographic shift that by the next decade will place whites as the minority in the U.S., his cowardly enablers occupying seats in Congress and the Senate are equally dangerous.

Their explicit condoning of Trump’s agenda intended to create geopolitical discord; widen the economic chasm between the rich, shrinking middle class and the poor; and oppress Black and Brown people. Going forward this white supremacist ideology requires exigent resistance from a majority of Americans through relentless activism. It starts at the ballot box.

Utilizing their wealth and vast media platforms, sports figures can alter the course of this nation by ardently engaging in the upcoming midterm campaigns and accompanying elections to help loosen the Republican stronghold in the House and regain a Democratic majority in the Senate.

The focus of their efforts should be millennials, categorized by many demographers and researchers as those born after 1980. A report issued last year by the Pew Research Center revealed that the number of millennial and Gen X voters (those born in the mid-to-late 1960s) was larger (69.6 million) than baby boomers and those older (67.9 million). And 55 percent of millennials are either Democrats or left-of-center Independents.

However, getting them to the polls was a challenge in the November 2016 presidential elections. According to the nonpartisan research organization the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement located at Tufts University, only half of eligible voters 18 to 29 voted. Many elements come into play when assessing why, but what’s clear is neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton inspired enthusiasm among young folks.

Fourteen months later, the stakes are extremely high as Trump carries out his crusade of grievous and regressive legislation. Before facing the Golden State Warriors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who has been unrestrained in his criticism of Trump, succinctly encapsulated the current circumstances under which Americans live.

“The state of racism will never die, but what we cannot do is allow it to conquer us as people,” he said. The guy in control has given people and racism…an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear. And that’s the fearful thing for us because it’s with you, and it’s around every day, but he’s allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things.

“We can’t allow that to stop us from continuing to be together and preach the right word of living and loving and laughing and things of that nature. Because would we want to live anywhere else? I don’t think so. We love this place.”

Which is why global sports figures such as James must influence the midterm elections by rallying young people back to the polls and throwing their full support behind progressive congressional candidates. Clinton victories in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, states won by Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, would have lifted her to becoming the 45th president of the United States.

Instead, far too many millennials stayed home, and Trump narrowly captured each state and the White House. The rest is troubling history still being written.