By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, [email protected]
Millions of Americans, most of them Black but not all, have been playing a peculiar parlor game for the last few years.
It probably started June 16, 2015, although there is no official inception date for this ongoing “game,” which has grown increasingly more macabre. June 16, 2015, of course is the dreadful day Donald John Trump descended the escalator at the gaudy Trump Tower in New York and declared his candidacy for President of the United States.
About a month later, on July 18, Trump was interviewed by Frank Luntz, the political consultant during the annual Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. That’s when the dubious titan of industry turned presidential contender launched a salvo at Arizona Sen. John McCain.
“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump, a draft dodger whose wealthy daddy was able to facilitate the bone spurs medical rouse to keep his son Donald from serving in Vietnam. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured,” added Trump as the stunned Luntz stammered in amazement. Surely, this would be the end of Trump’s fledging campaign. In fact, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also a candidate for president that year, released a statement calling Trump’s comments, “a new low in American politics.” Nevertheless, the rest is history; Perry went on to become Trump’s Secretary of Energy.
But, perhaps that was the first time millions of mostly Black Americans uttered the phrase, which has now become a mantra, “What if Obama did that?”
Well, the direct answer to that question is there would have been no President Barack Obama, the 44th President and first Black President of the United States. No, there would have been no President Obama if Sen. Obama had disparaged the war hero status of his Senate colleague McCain.
But, since those dog days of the summer of 2015, more Black people probably play “What if Obama did that” than they play Spades. Well, maybe not more than Black people play Spades, but you know what I mean.
What if Obama…set up a meeting with Russians at the Obama Tower in Chicago and then lied to cover it up?
What if Obama…had alluded to the size of his private parts during a presidential debate?
What if Obama…referred to the news media as “the enemy of the people?”
What if Obama…had been caught on audio tape bragging about how he could “grab them by the p—y?”
Well, scratch that one because it is likely Michelle Obama would have ended her husband’s presidential run, in a very permanent way, even before he could get the opportunity to pay a porn star named Stormy hush money.
The point here is clear; the double-standard in play during Trump’s Felliniesque and criminal presidency, juxtaposed to Obama, perhaps the least corrupt presidency in the nation’s history is inescapable and more than maddening.
The truth is Trump on myriad occasions has gotten away with crap that would have ended perhaps any other modern U.S. presidency. But, when it comes to Obama unlike the others, Trump has engaged in activity that may have gotten the 44th President of the United States executed.
Tragically, I don’t speak with hyperbole here.
Envision if it was Obama standing at that podium in Helsinki, Finland a little less than a year ago on July 16, 2018, standing next to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President who orchestrated a cyber attack on the 2016 presidential election. Jonathan Lemire, the Associated Press reporter would have asked Obama if he had discussed the Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election (the consensus conclusion of all U.S. intelligence agencies) with Putin. Envision, if you will, if it had been Obama who had responded to Lemire’s incisive question by saying, “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Forget impeachment, do you believe the rabid Republican Party would have even hesitated in charging Obama with treason after the Helsinki episode?
The U.S. Constitution essentially defines treason as an act that involves, “levying War against [the United States], or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Remember, the Republicans wanted to damn near impeach Obama for wearing a tan suit in August 2014, think about that.
What if it was Obama’s name instead of Trump’s in the Mueller report?
So, how come the 45th President of the United States is still in office?
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.