On this day in 1964, following a months-long trial, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage. He would be incarcerated for another twenty five years until his release on February 11, 1990. For the duration of his incarceration, it was illegal to publish a photograph of Mandela. He was tried and convicted on relatively spurious charges — voicing express opposition to apartheid in segregated South Africa.
Donald Trump has claimed that “no politician in history, and I say this with great surety (sic), has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Maybe it’s because he tells lies. Maybe it’s because his closest advisers tell lies. Maybe its because his Supreme Court pick waxes incoherently poetic from the High Court. Maybe its because he’s purportedly violated a clause of the constitution that no other president has dared to violate. Those would be good reasons to be critical of the president, for sure. Is calling him out for these things unfair? No.
Do you know what is unfair? Making a big deal about mustard. Donald Trump is just a thin-skinned reactionary child that expects to be treated with kid gloves when he’s called out for his political failures or constitutional violations. This is not about fairness, this is about truth.
Nelson Mandela gave a three-hour speech at the opening of his trial for sabotoging the South African government. Not once did he use the phrase “bigly” or insult the size of the prosecutor or suggest that his father murdered a beloved statesman; rather, he gave one of the most quoted speeches on civil rights to date. He said:
During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, my Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
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