I have been giving serious thought to something the brilliant writer and political activist Victoria Christopher Murray said to me after a comment I made following the death of former President George H W Bush. She had only positive things to say about the late President while I felt the need to set the record straight about Willie Horton, The Southern Strategy, and parts of the Bush legacy nobody was talking about. She said, “ I have grace because I pray that grace will be given to me. At the time of my death, I pray that I’m not judged by the worst thing I’ve ever done. Not rewriting history, just handing out what I pray will be handed out to me. At the time of a person’s death, I can ask that they Rest In Peace. It’s God’s judgment now, not mine.”
How was I supposed to respond to that? Nothing I could say even sounded good to me. We both agreed it would be much harder to show grace to the current occupant of the White House once he reaches his inevitable demise, as must we all. I began to wonder what would I say if called upon to eulogize Donald J Trump, focusing on the good he has done without outright lying. Slowly the words began to come, with thanks to the late Richard Pryor for the beginning.
“We are gathered here today on this sorrowful occasion to say goodbye to the dearly departed. He was dearly and he has departed. Thus, that’s why we call him the dearly departed. In other words, he’s dead.
Donald Trump in his own way has been a strong advocate for literacy, demonstrating that being well-read is essential, with people failing to do so at their own peril. Trump made clear that honesty is a virtue, he set an example for us all that character and reputation matter.
Donald Trump united people. He brought together diverse factions like Muslims, the LGBT community, black people and Hispanics, and women. In fact, much of the world has come together as a result of the policies of Donald Trump. ‘Some people’ think he’d have made an excellent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Donald has no problem reaching out to people others have shunned, skinheads, Neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists… are they not American’s too?
Most of all, Donald Trump was a family man. He instilled in them the same values that got him to the White House. Not one of them (so far) has been convicted of perjury, fraud, money laundering, or obstruction of justice, despite all the rumors.”
I still have some work to do to exhibit the grace Victoria challenged me to show. I’m still a work in progress.