“The best thing that could happen to America would be if Trump and Pence were on a plane that crashed and burned.”
“The best thing that could happen to America would be if Trump and Pence were on a plane that crashed and burned.” – Nikki Giovanni.
My mouth hangs wide, it takes me a minute to think of my next question. Nikki Giovanni, the famous poet and distinguished university professor makes me speechless. I want to talk about her nomination for the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award. We could chat about her friendship with Maya Angelou, or her NAACP Image Awards. I would even be eager to talk about her Grammy nomination or her love of literature, poetry, and cooking. I didn’t expect Giovanni to make such an explosive statement. But if she wasn’t true to herself, she wouldn’t be the Nikki Giovanni that readers adore.
Her words echo and clog up the air for moment. I disagree with Trump on almost everything. Yet, I wouldn’t have the nerve or the desire to wish him and Mike Pence a fiery death. Humanity is more important than politics.
Still, the ugly truth is that many people in red states and blue ones are bitter and angry. People feel as if their humanity and their voice get ignored. Many feel undervalued and endangered. Their anger can make them march, shout or think unhealthy thoughts about lashing out.
My heart breaks for the next generation with these fools in the white house. Asking us to give Trump a chance is like asking Jews to give Hitler a chance.
I wouldn’t engage myself in this conversation if I believed Nikki Giovanni posed a threat. When she says that Trump and Pence’s plane should crash she’s speaking metaphorically. She’s expressing the unspoken hope that they will fail politically. Like many Americans, Giovanni wants Trump replaced by a less divisive leader.
Many people of color fear that Trump is a threat to inclusion, diversity and in some cases their freedoms. Scores of women see him as the image of misogyny and a threat to their reproductive rights. While most would not speak so boldly against a sitting president, many share her concerns.
Under the anger and fear I sense a desire for positive change. Nikki Giovanni’s love for her country is evident. Yet she feels it may be in danger due to poor leadership.
I ask, “Do you want to re-word that? Maybe you can think of a more delicate statement to express your frustrations.”
Nikki responds, “I’m old and I learned many years ago that I shouldn’t say what I don’t mean. Print every word of it. I’m not re-wording anything. My heart breaks for the next generation with these fools in the white house. Asking us to give Trump a chance is like asking Jews to give Hitler a chance. I read that eight percent of blacks voted for him. That’s like a vote for slavery. I’m so proud of women for standing up at the Women’s Marches all over the country. In Washington it was so crowded that you couldn’t move. These women were telling Donald Trump ‘not on our watch’. Saying they won’t bow down or bend over and take the worse from him. Why take abortion and make us have children and then deny those kids healthcare?”
Trump will not listen and only a fool would try to reason with him. He is beyond redemption.
Did you attend the Women’s March?
“I’m old and I only have one lung. My heart was with the women marching all over the country, but physically, I couldn’t march with them. Women are tired of men telling them what to do with their bodies. This wasn’t an election. It was a coup. Russia stole the presidency for Trump. We the people have to fight back nonviolently. It’s the patriotic thing to do.”
And how do you think people should do that?
“Organize. Resist. My generation did our job. We broke down segregation and now this generation has its fight. I’m so proud of the smart people in Black Lives Matter. They are doing their job and working to fight racism. The women who organized the Women’s March were standing up for black lives. They marched for reproductive freedoms, and equal pay. They are very smart to do what they are doing. It is comforting to see people of all colors joining the fight for equality.”
If Donald Trump asked you how he could redeem himself what would you say? Can he win over women and people of color?
“If I had a chance to talk to Hitler I’d say nothing. If Satan sits next to you what do you say? Satan is not looking for conversation. He wants a weakness to exploit. Trump also would not listen and only a fool would try to reason with him. He is beyond redemption.”
People like Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King Jr’s son, Martin Luther King III, have met with Trump. Some believe those meetings were to address issues concerning the minority community. Others saw it as a betrayal, or a show of respect for the office of the presidency. What are your thoughts on that?
“I was so disappointed to see Martin Luther king Jr’s son used as a photo op. Trumps used him in his battle with a good man like John Lewis. Trump used King’s son to pretend like he cares about African Americans. It was disgraceful. I would not dream of shaking the hand of the bastard that insulted a great man in history, like Congressman John Lewis. Lewis was marching with his daddy. They marched for civil rights. When trump called Marty (Martin Luther King III) should have said no. There is nothing to say to a man like Trump.”
Is there anything you want Americans to remember? Anything that could help bring peace and healing or end the political and racial divide?
“All white people are not alike. You have right wing fools sucking America dry, and crazy racist in powerful positions. However, there are great people in all colors. Good and bad in all colors. The people at the Women’s Marches were good people. You can’t let the fools make you think everybody is a fool. You need to learn the difference between the good and the bad.”
Some call her good. Others think she’s sometimes bad. But she’s always unapologetically Nikki Giovanni. With the heart of a poet and the spirit of a revolutionary, Nikki won’t let fear stop her from speaking out. She lets the world see the issues that concern her. You can agree with her. Or you may find her words to be as stunning and frighteningly radical as I did. Either way, you have to admit that it takes courage to walk that boldly in your own truth.