The Real Threat to Civil Rights? Trump Haters, by Donna Jackson

A common criticism of President Trump is that his presidency is a threat to civil rights. It is, but not because of anything he or his supporters have said or done. The real threat to civil rights comes from the environment his opponents have created.

Donna Jackson

Donna Jackson

When my conservative black family members get together, the concerns about the Trump era that we discuss are about how liberal disregard for common decency and the rule of law could usher in a new era of Jim Crow laws.

In the recent debate over Trump’s impeachment, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a high-ranking liberal sometimes suggested as a future House speaker, lumped impeachment in with the civil rights movement and women’s rights. Insisting that impeachment would not “further divide a fractured nation,” Jeffries said there was a “difference between division and clarification.”

In his mind — and the minds of many liberals — emancipating the slaves, ending Jim Crow segregation and supporting women’s suffrage are akin to impeaching the president in that they all apparently provide “clarity.”

But the impeachment drums that began before President Trump was even inaugurated, and the angry election campaign that preceded them, already have divided our nation. The ensuing three years of sensationalized demands for investigations and hearings have kept much of the real work of government from getting done and continue to pit supporters and detractors against each other.

While critics stir the pot, inflaming emotions with assertions that the Trump administration will roll back civil rights, their own actions have advanced a more likely threat of a new Jim Crow era. In this new era, President Trump is being railroaded in a way that parallels how many falsely-accused blacks once were treated. And if it can happen to Trump, it can happen to anyone whose views are opposed by those on the left.

In the Jim Crow era, blacks could find themselves facing false charges, being demonized by the media and being tried by mob or court with no regard for fairness. Today’s persecution and segregation no longer are based on the color of one’s skin, but on one’s beliefs.

For President Trump, was the road to impeachment fair? Allegations of disproved collusion with Russia, mired in dubious Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants and Christopher Steele’s dossier, unraveled and the eventual impeachment charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power aren’t clear high crimes or misdemeanors. Many in the mainstream media have been complicit in the campaign against Trump from day one. And will the president ever be able to face his whistleblower accuser?

There’s not much clarity here for Jeffries to identify, but there is certainly the groundwork for a lot of division.

In the Jim Crow era, blacks and whites were treated differently. Depending on where a black person resided, he or she might not be able to find a job, a place to live or a restaurant in which to eat. Now consider what happens to President Trump’s supporters today.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then White House press secretary, was asked to leave a restaurant after the owner explained she had “certain standards … to uphold.” In New York, a judge ruled that a bar could throw out a man wearing a MAGA hat.

Big tech firms are accused of bias against conservative employees, and social media “jail” seems overpopulated with those on the right. Conservative speakers on college and university campuses find free speech a rare commodity when violent leftist students, professors and administrators protest them.

Liberals claim that criticism of Greta Thunberg must be tempered because she’s only 16 years old, but there was no similar defense of Nick Sandmann when the MAGA hat-wearing 16-year-old was falsely accused of accosting Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial last January.

The signs are clear that leftists are divisive. What’s even clearer is that their efforts to dehumanize their opponents are the real threat to civil rights.


Donna Jackson is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network. She has worked in accounting, auditing and management roles with Ernst & Young and Marriott International, and was a deputy controller for the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She previously worked on political campaigns in Arkansas, including that of former Gov. Mike Huckabee. This was originally published by The Hill.

New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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