We are witnessing the urgency of that right now. America is in crises.
No one understood that better than novelist Toni Morrison. The brilliant Nobel laureate knew the power of words. Her eloquent expressions informed us and inspired us. Her words offered us a lens to understand race and history and memory in America. In every fiber of her being, she understood how powerful language is and the responsibility that comes with it.
Something Donald Trump has neither interest or awareness of.
Now with Toni Morrison’s death, a powerful voice for race and freedom and the underrepresented has been silenced, but her passionate words have never felt more prescient or more essential to listen to.
In the hate-filled swamp muddied by our president’s words, her voice is necessary to counter that ugliness and tune our ears to truth.
“If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very very serious problem and they should start thinking about what they can do about it.”
Trump’s words matter. They sow fear and hate and embrace racism. Vile, they empower white supremacy and white nationalist terrorism.
Donald Trump did not create the hate and racism that Toni Morrison exposed and revealed and asked us all to question. But he continues to fan the flame of white nationalism, putting the presidential seal of approval on racist sentiments inspiring a growing rash of hate-filled crimes and mass shootings.
His carefully scripted speeches delivered dispassionately on a teleprompter belie his true feelings.
He may claim there isn’t a racist bone in his body. That may well be true. But there is racism in his heart, his brain and it courses angrily through his bloodstream.
Today, in the wake of the tragic shootings, El Paso residents signed a letter telling Trump he is not welcome in their city to visit. “It is your rhetoric and actions that led us to this terrible moment.”
Words have consequences.