What Would Malcom Say?
I run this question through my mind a lot, lately.
As a writer with a story to tell, it is hard not to wonder how one of your protagonists would react to the election of Donald J. Trump to the position of President of the United States of America.
I believe Malcolm was a truth-teller. You see, he was raised that way. Some people don't tell the truth, because the truth can be an inconvenient fact that simply presents an obstacle to achieving an individual's immediate goal. Recent election campaigns in both the USA, and Britain, where I live, have been an exhibition in post-truth politics. People seeking power and control say whatever they need to say, to get to whichever hell they are bound on getting us to. And so, Britain got Brexit; America got Trump.
Truth-telling gets you into trouble, as Malcolm found, not least with his comments immediately after President Kennedy's assassination. But for all the trouble in the world, and the resulting censure, he never ceased in speaking his truth, and the truth of his African American brothers and sisters. In this way, he was like his mother, Louise. For the 25 years she was wrongly incarcerated in Kalamazoo State Hospital, she never stopped telling the authorities they were wrong about her. The more she told them, the more they medicated her, and the longer she was kept locked up.
Had Malcolm known these post-truth days of ours, it's hard to think he would not have held a strong opinion. Not a great truster of politicians at the best of times, in this the worst of times he may have urged people to keep their 'ballots in their pockets'.
Or he could simply have repeated what he said, after breaking his Nation of Islam enforced 90 day silence after the 'chickens would come home to roost' comment in the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination. His explanation for that was press distortion of a comment he made about the climate of hate in America at the time. He continued:
If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there's no progress. If you pull it all the way out, that's not progress. The progress comes from healing the wound that the blow made and they haven't even begun to pull the knife out much less try and heal the wound. They won't even admit the knife is there.
With Donald Trump's election, and his appointment of people to high office that hold dubious views on race, religion, migration, the rights of women and the LGBT community the knife is there alright. All I think I know is that Malcolm would never have let us forget its very existence, as some seem keen to do.