By J. Stewart Cook
You can’t help but think that a man who was so far from political life would immerse himself in a world he knew little about. Yet, Donald Trump did!
Perhaps to Donald Trump, politics “was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Watching Donald Trump at church, Detroit’s Great Faith Ministries, one could not help but think of Forrest Gump, the “slow-witted but kind-hearted, good-natured and athletically prodigious man.”
We witnessed him swaying with the congregation, although not entirely on a secure footing. He seemed to have that “slow-witted” look, his “kind-hearted, good-natured” way. And, yes, a “prodigious man,” big, very impressive, amazing and wonderful. Was this the new Donald Trump with political overtures, in other words, a new relationship? Or was it simply a masquerade, a false show?
Having followed Donald Trump from day one of the election trail, I have to believe the former…”a new relationship” with African-Americans. Why had it taken Donald Trump so long to court Black America? Racist, one would ask? Absolutely not; racially uncomfortable, perhaps. I’ll go with the latter!
In one of my previous articles I rephrased what Donald Trump should have said to African- Americans…“You’re living in poverty, which need not be and can be eliminated. Your schools need to be improved and brought up to the highest standards. Jobs will be created and the 58 percent unemployment rate amongst the youth can be lowered or even eradicated. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING TO WIN!”
Could this phrase define the new Donald Trump? Could he now rise up and reach out to the Black Community screaming.., “I have seen the light.” Would it be an epiphany…an “experience of sudden and striking realization” that, yes, I can do this and should not have waited so long.
Comfort, all he needed was comfort. And, who better to help him but Dr. Ben Carson, the African- American retired neurosurgeon. Donald Trump could not have asked for a better person to assist him in gaining the Black Community’s confidence. Dr. Carson, a man of humble beginnings and, humble to this day, made himself available to Donald Trump to facilitate his entry into the Black Community.
Well received? Politely and with a touch of hesitancy; and there was evidence of humility on Donald Trump’s part, with a strong willingness to capture an audience so formidable and at times daunting. It was a breakthrough, a major achievement for someone who had never courted the African-American community like this before.
“Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them,” said Forrest.
Taking a cue from Forrest Gump’s mama could only hold Donald in good standing. It means taking the time to understand first to then be understood. Donald needed to be understood!
J. Stewart Cook has been involved in Canadian politics since he was a teen. He was actively involved during Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s era during the latter years of the Cold War, serving as an advisor to three different Members of Parliament and Press Secretary to Stewart McInnes, a Federal Cabinet Minister from Nova Scotia. Mr. Cook left active politics in 1988 and entered the Canadian Federal government as a civil servant in the field of Access toInformation and Privacy (ATIP). He retired from the government in 2011 as Director of ATIP for one of the Federal Departments. He currently lives in Ottawa.