DONALD TRUMP’S TRAIL OF TEARS
In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. Getting rid of the Indians had long been on his agenda. As an Army General, he had brutally forced Indians off their land because white men wanted it. As president, he continued that agenda even in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. He didn’t care about the law. Sound familiar? Starting in 1830, tens of thousands of Indians were forced to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles, often shackled, without food or water, to federal land across the Mississippi River. It was a deadly journey that would come to be known as The Trail of Tears.
This is the president who Donald Trump has chosen to honor in the Oval Office by placing his portrait there. This is the president he relates to. And under Andrew Jackson’s steely gaze, with history an eternally raw wound, elderly Code-Talkers, who risked their lives in several wars to help America — the country that had brutalized them — Donald Trump pretended to honor them. It was as dishonest as white politicians in the 1800s making “treaties” with the Indians, which they never intended to keep.
I know a little bit about how the White House works, and when there is a ceremonial event like the one to honor the Code-Talkers, an advance team decides which room it will be held in, and what will be in the background of the photos. Nothing is accidental. So, people at the White House chose to put these heroic Native Americans in front of Andrew Jackson’s portrait.
Of course, Mr. Trump couldn’t leave it at that. He then had to throw in his favorite name for Elizabeth Warren — Pocahontas. And yes, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it is a racial slur. Just ask any Native American. As galling as his comment was, sadly, it’s not surprising anymore. I think the deeper, more resonant insult was placing these brave men beneath the portrait of Andrew Jackson. That one gesture, that one deliberate decision, mocked them and let them know with absolute certainty, that this president cares nothing for them and delights in humiliating them.
Like many others, I’m exhausted from my constant outrage over this man’s actions. It apparently wasn’t enough to insult Native Americans, he moved on to Muslims today…again. He re-tweeted violent and questionable anti-Muslim videos that were first posted by an extreme right-wing group.
We have in the Oval Office, an increasingly unhinged person who delights in insulting others and trying to pick fights. And while it’s true that we are not being marched along rough terrain, shackled and starving like the Indians in the 1800s, this is our Trail of Tears. And at the moment, I don’t see an end to it.