Whenever we hear the word lynching, we think back to a very dark period in our nation’s history, when thousands of black people were killed at the hands of racist murderers.
One only has to go to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., to view the names of more than 4,000 victims of racist terror as you walk through the museum to see what a dark and painful chapter in our history this was, mainly for black people. In all, 4,743 lynchings were recorded between 1882 and 1968 in the United States. Of those murdered people, 3,446 were black men, women and children.
It’s a part of our nation’s history that should’ve never been allowed to happen, but unfortunately it did. While we can’t bring back those who were killed at the hands of lynching, we can do our best to try to learn from what happened, never allow it to happen again and to also learn that “lynching” is a word that should never be used lightly.
Having said that, we take issue with President Donald Trump’s use of the word lynching to compare it to impeachment proceedings. While we don’t believe Trump meant to convey any racial overtones in making the comment, in hindsight he still should’ve known better than to say it. As commander-in-chief and as an American, he had to know that using that word would stir up old wounds.
The same can be said about former Vice President Joe Biden, who compared impeachment proceedings in 1998 against then-President Bill Clinton to lynchings. Biden should have known better to have used that word, just as Trump should have known better because of the old wounds that the word opens back up.
We do believe these actual impeachment proceedings against Trump are flimsy and are diverting attention from the real issues affecting our country. Trump, in the wake of the Russian collusion “nothingburger,” has every right to be outraged over this latest effort to overturn the results of the 2016 election. Even so, this wasn’t the best choice of words to express that outrage.
Thankfully, our country has come a long, long way since those dark decades of lynchings. We have made a lot of strides in race relations in this country, which is something that we should be proud of. There is more work to be done, for sure, and we should welcome that task, but we must remember the word “lynch” has extremely hurtful connotations for many of our fellow citizens.