What do Martin Luther King Jnr and Donald J Trump have in common?

A recent documentary on the life of Martin Luther King highlighted the parallels between his life and Donald Trump’s. They both became champions for the downtrodden and neglected people of their time.

Both men pursued their goals, arguably against impossible odds, prevailing at a great personal cost to themselves and their families. King paid the ultimate price with his life but not before he had gained sufficient momentum to drag America kicking and screaming into a world where, for the first time, black lives actually did matter.

People in King and Trump’s day with no rights and no voice found them when their champions turned up. The political powers who had turned a blind eye to the plight of “niggers” and “deplorables” were forced by two men on a mission to right the wrongs of their day.

The late Dr Martin Luther King was a leader in the 1960s American civil rights movement, a strong advocate of reform through legal and non-violent means and a fine orator. He became the voice of second class black America.

King empowered Negros by stating the truth that “no matter what colour you are, you are somebody”. He fought for their right to be treated the same as any other American. Opposed by President Lyndon B Johnson, King was hounded by the FBI who fed the media a diet of lies including labelling King a communist.

Donald Trump was elected President by an invisible movement across grassroots America. Forgotten middle Americans rallied to a voice that recognised their economic plight, promised to redress the balance lost by the regions and to deal to the corruption responsible for decimating the whole country.

His political opponents did not see Trump as a threat. They discounted and ridiculed him through the media. Since his unlikely election, he remains the target of lies and smear campaigns, including being labelled a fascist.

Momentum has reached the United Kingdom where, astoundingly, some Britains protest against Trump’s visit, either because they are lazy thinkers blindsided by the media or because they genuinely fear his political clout in an unstable and divided country led by a woman clutching at straws to survive.

Trump’s business acumen and negotiating skills are no secret. His commitment to “drain the swamp” is slow and tedious, but he is patient and persistent. The United Nations and NATO, financially on the pig’s back after taking America to the cleaners for many years, were cast adrift by Trump when he withdrew American funding. Against howls of outrage on the international scene, he sticks to his election promises of “America first” and to “Make America great again”.

Despite being flawed, imperfect people, both King and Trump ran successful campaigns to stand up for their forgotten people, and through their own personal convictions, changed the course of American history.

Martin Luther King made the following statements and although they are no longer revolutionary, they are just as pertinent today as they were 50 years ago:

“The non-violent approach is radical, under the worst conditions there is hope”

“You cannot defeat the enemy by becoming the enemy”

“Anger eats away at your own soul, but if you give in to your anger and frustrations you lose”

I think Donald Trump would agree.


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The subject evoked in the collage is the debating of political issues with friends in a public place

Pablo Picasso
Glass and bottle of Suze (after 18 November 1912)
pasted paper, gouache and charcoal

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