November is American Indian Heritage Month.

“Be known by the tracks you leave.” – Native American proverb

On Nov. 9 – the day after the 2016 presidential election, friends and strangers bemoaned the fact that Donald Trump was announced to be the next President of the U.S.A.  In spite of all of Trump’s vile verbal attacks on the disabled, Muslims, Mexicans and other ethnicities, immigrants, refugees, women (as well as alleged physical attacks) et al, Trump may be the next leader of the “free world” (free?). 

The shock, sorrow, nausea, embarrassment, disgust, anger and fear expressed by people (citizens and foreigners) in response to learning that Trump might be our next U.S.A. president (only saying “our” because I am an American, not a Trump supporter) was likened to reactions expressed after 911 and other disasters. 

A friend, who was very upset about the polls erroneously predicting that Hillary Clinton would win the election, called me.  After our conversation ended, I called her back to tell her what a pollster said on TV in an effort to explain why the polls had erred.  This pollster said that poll predictions were based on prior elections and that the predictions for this presidential election had not projected that there would be a huge turnout of poor, white, non-college educated (“pwt”) voters for Trump.  (Not to be pooh-poohed in this election were: (a) those who voted for 3rd party candidates and (b) those who did not vote at all.)   Even though the power of the Electoral College may negate my following admonishment, I still say, Shame on those people who did not vote at all.  “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. 

President-Elect Trump (my stomach heaves as I acknowledge his title) now says, “I pledge to be president for all Americans.”  I do not believe him, but I also wonder which people he considers to be “Americans.”

Trump’s past behavior and vile words (indicative of his mindset?) do not support his declaration of a sudden conversion to “I-once-was-lost-but-now-I’m-found” statement that suggests he will treat all Americans fairly.  “The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” -William Hazlitt.  Trump’s choice of Vice-President also challenges this conversion.  While campaigning on Nov. 1 in Ohio, arguing that Trump is unfit for the White House, President Obama said that the presidency … “amplifies who you are. It magnifies who you are. It shows who you are.” (ABC News)  

There will always be VIPs in our Federal Government.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is often quoted as saying in his First Inaugural Address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Well, right now the fear of what our future 45th U.S.A. president and his selected administration will do to us Americans and the rest of the world. Trump’s admiration of Russia’s Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un should elicit fear in the whole world.

    Native Americans in North Dakota have been protesting against the Colonial Pipeline that is supposed to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois pipelines.

“Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe see the pipeline as both an environmental and cultural threat to their homeland. They say an oil spill would permanently contaminate the reservation’s water supply and that construction of the pipeline would destroy sacred sites where many of their ancestors are buried.” (NBC NEWS Oct. 27, 2016)  The pipeline’s developer (GIGs) “says it will create thousands of local construction jobs and millions in tax revenue.” – Christian Science Monitor.  This is again an example of greed vs. human rights, specifically in this case, money vs. the right to clean water and respect for Native American ancestors.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” -Nelson Mandela.

In support of Native American concerns about the pipeline is the fact that an explosion of a pipeline occurred in Alabama on Oct. 31, when a “trackhoe” struck the pipeline that workers were trying to repair after a pipeline spill that occurred in September. The explosion killed one worker and hospitalized four others. The fire burned for more than three days.

Unfortunately, VIPs and GIGs will always be around us, but as Michelle Obama said in her July 2016 DNC Speech, “…when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. …”  May “The Great Mystery” (Native American belief) help us all abide by this advice. 

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...