By no stretch of the imagination am I a big baseball fan. Unlike many Americans, I’ll only watch a game under special circumstances. I rarely visit the ballpark. I am not glued in front of the television watching the endless stream of games broadcast during the summer.
I am, however, a student of history. Milestone achievements capture my attention, especially when accomplished by Black Americans who are pre-eminent in their fields.
Such was the case when the the great Hank Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth’s record of 714 homeruns in April 1974. Remarkable in his feat was his focus on playing the game in the midst of numerous death threats designed to protect Ruth’s record and to thwart his ascendance to the title of Home Run King. He overcame and retired with 755 home runs.
In the summer of 2007, I was also captured by the career achievement of Barry Bonds as he was poised to surpass the 755-homerun record set by Hank Aaron. Many remember that Bonds was enmeshed in a steroid-use scandal that threatened to taint any record-breaking achievement he might realize. In all of the excitement of his approaching milestone, I can remember one baseball announcer stating that “his (Bonds) record will always be marked with an asterisk.”
That was the announcer’s way of saying that Bonds’ achievement would never be “clean.” His “asterisk” comment allowed for those so inclined to view Bonds’ record critically, in a negative light, and as illegitimate.
Nine years later, another milestone has been reached. This time it has far greater consequences than the number of balls hit out of the playing area of a baseball field. For millions of Americans, this milestone threatens their livelihoods, quality of life, and, maybe, signals their personal death-knell. This milestone threatens to tear the fabric of our nation, however dry-rotted it may already be.
For the first time in American history, a president has been elected without having previously been elected to public office. The principle focus of this president-elect appears to be personal enrichment and self-aggrandizement. For a majority of Americans, he is unacceptable to hold this office and, for many, he never will be acceptable.
As of this writing, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has polled 2.8 million more popular votes than he did. His win is only attributable to an archaic, outdated element of the national founding — The Electoral College. If ever there was an illegitimate office-holder, Donald Trump is it!
Trump’s short-fall in popular votes is matched only by the international scandal attached to his campaign. Seventeen agencies responsible for America’s national security have reached consensus that a foreign government (Russia) hacked computer files generated in the U.S. for the purpose of manipulating a Trump victory in this past election. Some will even remember Trump’s treasonous encouragement of Russia to intensify its illegal scrutiny of his opponent’s computer files.
In October, this Russian hacking and its purpose were known, but dissemination of this information was reportedly suppressed by partisan machinations of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. For those who have forgotten, this is the same McConnell who, rather than promoting national growth and progress, declared in 2009 that the greatest imperative of the Republican Party was to make President Barack Obama a one-term President.
McConnell and his House of Representative counterparts, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, enthusiastically worked to obstruct Obama and subvert the national interest.
Most disappointing about the past month is that Trump could inspire the basest spirits of our citizenry to advance his illegitimate agenda.
Today, like my predecessor of nine years ago, I say with full confidence that regarding the Trump presidency, we may not immediately end it, but WE CAN PUT AN ASTERISK ON IT!!!
E. Faye Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women. She can be reached at (202) 678-6788 or http://www.nationalcongressbw.org.