Distraction: Something that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.

One of the things you must give Mr. Trump credit for is his superb use of distraction. He is a master of making America give full attention to something that is either ridiculous or outrageous and ignoring what is important. The recent tweets by Mr. Trump illustrate my point.

Trump has launched a barrage of attacks against Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. Trump has now accused Cummings of being a racist and improperly using federal and state funds given to improve Baltimore.

He declared that Baltimore is a “rat-invested” city that no one would want to live in. Ben Carson has now echoed the president, saying that as a neurosurgeon he was hesitant to send children back to “infested” homes in Baltimore .

For the record, every major U.S. city has problems with housing in low-income areas. All have problems with rats, roaches, etc. Baltimore is no better or worse than Kansas City, St. Louis, Detroit, New York or Washington, D.C.

There are some very good areas in Baltimore, and there are some horrific areas there, too. Let us note that one of the best research institutions in the world, Johns Hopkins, is in Baltimore.

It is interesting that Mr. Trump would make such comments about Baltimore given that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is one of the major slum lords in Baltimore.

If the economy is doing so well, why isn’t the Trump administration fixing the problem of poverty and housing in America instead of padding the pockets of the rich?

However, Mr. Trump’s tweets do not alarm any thinking person. He did reveal, however, that he does not know what racism is if he thinks Cummings is a racist.

Black people can be prejudiced and/or biased, but they cannot be racist. White America constructed racism.

Racism is a three-tired phenomenon that is individual, systemic and institutional. Since people of color did not construct racism in America and do not have access to the privilege and power of deconstructing racism, only white America can either dismantle racism or continue to perpetuate it.

My main concern is not Mr. Trump’s propensity for divisive rhetoric. Mr. Cummings, the Rev. Al Sharpton and members of The Squad are big boys and girls.

They, like all of us who speak our minds, have learned to grow thick skin. My main concern is that Americans who truly love this country not get distracted by this nonsense and lose sight of what is truly important.

The situation in the Middle East, particularly Iran, is of massive importance. War in the Middle East will have devastating consequences to our society.

Perhaps we should stop being the “police force” of the world and recognize the rights of sovereign countries.

We have plenty of issues to tackle here at home. We need Republicans and Democrats to focus on them and stop being distracted.

The situation at the southern border demands immediate attention. We created the problem by our interference in Latin America. Suddenly, we withdrew funding, and a bad situation became worse.

People fled Central America for a better life. Now, we have nearly 100,000 people in detention centers.

Why can’t a bipartisan group from the Senate and the House of Representatives tour all the facilities as one fact-finding assembly and report to us the truth of what is happening there?

It is reported that people are sick and dying. We are told children are in cages. Shouldn’t we find out what is true in a bipartisan manner and forget about Trump’s lunacy?

Robert Mueller’s comment during his hearing before a House committee is important. When asked whether he believed the Russians interfered with our political system, he replied, “They are now!”

Regardless of how much Trump loves Mr. Putin, we cannot continue to allow foreign powers to interfere with who we are as a democratic republic. What the Russians are doing is far more important than what I am called by a racist.

Finally, we need Democrats to stop acting like chickens with their heads cut off. They need to unify and present a way for us to be united again.

Their infighting will result in Trump being elected again. I am not anti-Republican, but I am anti-Trump.

Four more years in office for him will put this country in a situation we may not recover from for a very long time.

We are being distracted, and it is hurting us. As a nation, we are more divided than we have been in a long time.

It is time for us to be about what is import for the common good, not simple-minded ideological agendas.

How can we unite the Anglo population and people of color, the wealthy and the poor, urban and suburban, the working class and the rural community?

That is the vision and goal of the common good. It should be the goal of every American who wants us to be truly great.

The Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at MU. He teaches at Columbia College and Moberly Area Community College and writes for the Missourian.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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