Yes, a New York billionaire and an Alabama-born African American woman have much in common.
Rosa Parks, the iconic symbol of the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement, and Donald Trump, the insurgent Republican candidate for President of the United States, are connected by their shared fight for inclusion into a system that would rather have them on the outside looking in.
ABOVE: Trump pictured with Rosa Parks in 1986 when both were recipients of the Ellis Island Award.
And like Parks in 1955, Trump has refused to sit in the back of this country’s 2016 political bus.
Rosa Parks’s act of moral defiance stirred millions more to denounce an establishment that was in need of serious self-reflection and change for the better.
Donald Trump’s defiance of a similarly corrupt political system some sixty years later has also stirred millions in this country to demand change from both the political and media establishments.
Rosa Parks was arrested for her refusal to accept a fate prescribed to her by those who thought themselves her betters.
Donald Trump has seen his reputation attacked from all sides, his business empire threatened, and his personal fortunes diminished for having the audacity to give voters a choice outside of the political establishment.
Just as Rosa Parks came to realize her singular refusal to sit in the back of the bus became something far greater than one person, so too has Donald Trump repeatedly indicated an awareness that the political movement his candidacy has created extends well beyond the parameters of himself.
“This isn’t about me. This is a movement, folks.”
For years a growing number of Americans have watched the slow but steady decline of this country and wondered, often in silence, why our elected leaders appeared to choose time and time again to do nothing, or worse, act in a way that only hastened our seemingly imminent demise.
There were moments of collective outrage, where these voices of shared concern became temporarily unified, such as Ross Perot’s candidacy of the 1990’s, and the Tea Party movement of 2009.
Each time, the media and political establishments coordinated in their efforts to demean and minimize such opposition to the status quo, most often using the weapon of political correctness to charge participants with claims of racism, or repeatedly mocking them for their supposed lack of intelligence and understanding of how things “really worked.”
And each time, those efforts to demean and frustrate were successful. Ross Perot retreated into irrelevance, his reputation bruised and battered for having dared challenge those self-anointed political masters. (In his case, the Bush family – the very same family who has been so instrumental in fomenting opposition to Trump.)
The Tea Party, lacking a unifying voice, also became disjointed and far less effective in waging war against the status quo and by Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, was widely viewed by the masses of uninformed as a racist group of unhappy white people. The end result was fewer and fewer willing to openly align themselves with the true motives of the Tea Party – namely smaller government and more personal freedoms.
Then came Donald Trump.
Upon declaring his candidacy for President of the United States, the media pounced with gleeful abandon, no doubt confident their doing so would send Trump scurrying for cover.
Trump didn’t scurry, though, he fought back – HARD.
Voters took notice. Donald Trump was talking the language of common sense – their language, and not apologizing for doing so.
We’re a country, right? So secure the damn border. We’re shipping off tens of thousands of jobs overseas every year, right? So stop doing that and renegotiate these idiotic one-sided trade agreements. ISIS is killing by the thousands? Wipe the Islamic terrorist scum out! We’re the United States, for crying out loud. If something needs to be done – WE DO IT.
Soon, the Republican Establishment was joining the same liberal media who had attacked them for so long in attacking Donald Trump. And one by one, those establishment politicians were dispatched, despite repeated claims and prognostications from the political pundits that Trump would quickly be relegated to the scrapheap of political-oddities history.
Donald Trump won primary battle after primary battle and then, despite so many claims that it would never happen, he won the Republican nomination for president.
Enter the Clinton Machine – the essence of what has gone so wrong in American politics over the last forty years.
With political and media ties going back decades, the Clintons and their advocates delighted in the possibility of going against Trump for the White House. They watched, smirking, as a dutiful media leveled one attack after another against the New York billionaire.
Though Trump sometimes stumbled, he never fell, and he never backed off. In the political ring, he proved himself capable of taking a punch, shaking it off, and punching back. America hasn’t seen that kind of grit from a Republican since the days of Ronald Reagan, and it has won many a voter over – including millions of Democrats who have, and will, be voting for Trump.
Rosa Parks’s simple refusal to be categorized by the establishment as second-class helped to propel a movement that changed all of America for the better.
Donald Trump’s remarkably resilient insurgent campaign for the presidency now seeks to do the same.