3 Simple Words

This has been sitting in my drafts since last April. It was originally intended as a tribute to my nephew who died on Easter Sunday. I was thinking of all the things I should have taken the time to say to him before he passed. They say time heals all wounds but sometimes healing is impossible without acceptance or in my case, restoration. I should have taken time to tell you how proud I was that you turned your life around. That you would enjoy being a husband and perhaps God willing one day, a father. That you had matured into a better man than your own father and most importantly, that I loved you. I think that why I couldn’t finish this post because if I had the chance to make it right with Josh I would say three simple words, “Please forgive me”. And there is the simple truth. I didn’t have the words. Until now I have been carrying around the guilt of knowing that day after day I choose to ignore the opportunities to take him under my wing, and then he was gone. But now it’s time to let it go.

We have all heard the cliché, ‘Life is too short’ but have you ever taken the time to examine what it means? In my opinion, it means that life is unpredictable, no man control’s their own destiny but we do have the freedom to make choices. And this brings me to why I chose to share this story. I think we all overlook opportunities where three simple words could make a difference in the life of a loved one or a stranger. And what better time to start than now, while the presidential election campaigning is underway.

You see over the last 18 months or so Donald Trump has been trying to make us all believe that the country is divided, that we need a hero, a savior, him. His campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” is a very dangerous racist dog whistle, not only because of the words which harken back to a time when minorities and women had fewer rights but also because of the history and character of the man behind them. Look closely at how Trump has run his campaign, denigrating Hispanics, Immigrants and keeping the Black Community at arms-length while feigning concern. If he could I believe Trump would revise the slogan to read “Make America White Again”.

Sadly, some people are buying into his act hook, line and sinker.

I’ve been trying to understand Donald Trump and I think I have finally figured it out. The issue with Trump is that he believes in nothing, and that why he demeans, lies and race-baits without a second thought. Listen to him carefully as he consistently bombards us with exaggerated proclamations of a crime ridden society, pending of acts of terrorism and nativism. He’s trying to tap into the darkest part of human nature and transfer his fears and insecurities to us.

And that is central to the problem with Donald Trump, he doesn’t earn respect by uniting people, he practices manipulation and panders in fear. He doesn’t lead people, he bullies them. If you take the time to closely you will see that the influence of Donald Trump is based on a façade empowered by a lack of accountability. When you believe in nothing, when you love no one but yourself, all of your interactions are false. Worse, it is impossible to empathize or display compassion. Trump is unfit to be president because simply put, he doesn’t have the words.

The Trump campaign machine wants to convince us that our country is in chaos. I don’t believe that and you shouldn’t either. You see, the strength of America is not found in a single person but in all people. America is by no means perfect. As a Black man who has experienced racism I know this is true. But I also know that I, we, live in the greatest country in the world. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I wouldn’t want to raise a family anywhere else.

I believe that we are at our best when we look past our differences and give of ourselves unselfishly without expectations. I challenge you to take a day off from your party affiliation, your fears or your prejudice and find the opportunity to say or exercise three very simple words and observe the difference it makes with your own eyes and ears.

I will listen   I can help   I love you   I forgive you   Please forgive me

Regardless of who wins in November we have to work together. I hope that you reject Donald Trump but I’m not going to encourage you to vote for Hillary Clinton; even though I feel she is the better choice. Instead, I ask that you accept this challenge as an opportunity to think differently about the way you engage the people you love, the people you come in contact with and the people you normally ignore. Practice being better to them one day at a time and encourage them to mirror your actions. And then ask yourself, which candidate has the words?

Proverbs 18:21, Hebrews 13: 1-2


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