What do Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Donald Trump have in common? They were visionaries of what seemed like preposterous goals at the time, but every single one of them, with the possible exception of MLK Jr., was immensely successful.
Trump has made a mockery of every part of American politics. He has attained the highest political position in the world with a platform that accused an entire nation of people of being rapists and alleged crimes ranging from tax evasion to rape.
He did this, however, because like MLK Jr., he had a dream. A dream that to rational, intelligent people was a nightmare, but to many in this country—ranging from dirt-poor voters down south to some of the biggest powerhouses in Washington—was a godsend.
All this while Democrats pushed forward powerful, qualified, and dignified candidates, who made the fatal flaw of preserving the status quo. They pushed forward members of the establishment, using the powers of the establishment, and promised to protect the establishment.
Even though they were wrong in their decision to vote for Trump, those who did did so because they finally had a candidate who was promising what they wanted.
None of this justifies Trump’s behavior, and the kind of radical we need to win is not one who will give false promises on a bigoted platform, but one who has some kind of vision of the world their voters wants to see, and for them to make it happen.
Trump was a wrecking ball to the American political establishment. What we do not need is someone gatekeeping and defending the wreckage; what we need is someone who is willing to be a wrecking ball that will knock down his wall. There is no sense in preserving political tradition when we have entered an era where political tradition has been the butt of every sick joke this president calls political action.
When MLK Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to speak to the whole country, he did not say “Let us wait, our time will come” he said “I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to hold hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers” to an America that blew up churches with black children inside, and beat and hosed black people for sitting at the wrong lunch counter.
In the same way black people needed MLK Jr. to articulate the dream and inspire the country to achieve it, many people in this country needed Trump to bring their racist dreams to light. The civil rights amendment was born from a radical’s dream, and so will be the wall between us and Mexico. It will need to be a radical to take that wall down, but that can only happen when America is ready, and time is running out.