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Warriors for Justice

The following post was written by Guest Author, David White.

Think 1955 in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. The murderers of Emmett Till are on trial, and everyone – everyone – black and white knows that the outcome of the case is a foregone conclusion. The prosecution team does the best they can. Till’s Uncle, poor Mose Wright, under immense life-threatening duress, identifies the culprits in front of the crowd in the courtroom, and the murderers still get off scot-free.

Fast forward to 2021, and put yourself in the House Managers’ position at the 2nd Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump. Imagine the demoralizing effect of knowing that you face a group of Senate jurors who are as intractable and oppositional as those in the Emmett Till case. The Managers did an excellent job. They certainly inspired me to want to do more to ensure that we preserve the ideals they so eloquently and fervently advocate.

Their opponent was the personification of autocratic nihilism, a man who would gleefully watch the destruction of the beautiful Capitol building, a structure erected with immeasurable toil, blood, and tears. A man who would encourage an insurrection because voters spoke and he could not find enough accomplices to help implement his devious plan to invalidate the election results and maintain power.

The word that perhaps best sums up what I witnessed from the former president’s defense would be “absurd.” Of course, when your client is the 45th president of the United States, you expect nothing other than absurdity.

Look at some of the imprudent and sometimes humourous outbursts from the trial (with a few personal interpolations).

“Mr. Chairman, the prosecution is being unfair, they’re bringing in evidence that implicates my client, and I feel that is prejudicial and so….uh, wrong”.

“Mr. Chairman, they’re using his words as reported by the media and as promulgated on social media platforms, and how can that be fair? After all, they’re only reports, and who would ever be prosecuted or found guilty on mere reports, even if they are his own words?”

“I declare ‘reports’ to be hearsay and inadmissible and totally unfair”.

“I say they should present their case without reports, without incendiary video, and simply go about fixing the pandemic and racial inequity.”

“Mr. Chairman, we reserve the right to imply that their presentation is fraudulent and hypocritical because we say it is.”

“And we reserve the right to present statements into evidence that are mere assertions and assert them as facts, because – the prosecution is partisan.”

“And we know they’re partisan because they identify as Democrats, except Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, the numerous other Republican congressmen and women who declared the trial valid along with the over 100 legal scholars of all political persuasions who determined my client was guilty of inciting insurrection. So, this whole trial should be declared a sham, and let’s all go home in the name of unity.”

“Oh, and by the way, the videos they showed with my client appearing to egg on those pre-meditated incursionists didn’t tell the whole story. They forgot the part, somewhere after about the tenth time he said fight, that he dropped in the word peacefully in a totally non-sarcastic manner. As we know, my client does not have a sarcastic, insincere bone in his body.”

“Since they can doctor up videos let me show you some totally out-of-context videos, for several minutes, of numerous Democrats, many of them in this chamber at this time, using the word ‘fight,’ which of course I will present in a nonpartisan manner because we on this side don’t believe this should be a partisan matter.”

“And while I’m at it, let me show some gratuitous videos of violent street incidences involving a lot of people of diversity with the implication that these are Black Lives Matter and Antifa members; not Trumpers acting violently, though not put in any contextual framework because – somehow this is really a trial about Antifa and BLM, and we really shouldn’t be partisan.”

“So, in conclusion, Mr. Chairman what I’m saying is, you can’t find that my client, who called those well-known violent thugs, racists, anti-semites and kooky conspiracy theorists to the Capitol for a ‘wild’ day as Congress was certifying the election that he legitimately loss, but which we don’t have to admit, guilty of incitement, just because he sent them there to fight like ‘you know what’  or they would lose their country.”

“Oh, one more thing, can you call a recess so that I can consult with the jurors as to how to go about assuring my client’s acquittal?”

I brought up the Till case to push back on this notion that I’ve been hearing from pundits that I generally respect, like Ari Melber and Joy Reid, that the House Managers were derelict by not demanding witnesses to “look those jurors in the eye” and tell them about the pain and suffering they’ve endured. Presenting witnesses may have produced more tearjerking drama, but in my opinion, it would not have brought more conviction votes from naysaying Senators who had already – over three days – seen proof of criminal acts.

Just as an affidavit, handwritten by Emmett Till and certified by God, would have been rejected by the Mississippi court, no truth or proof that anyone else could have provided in that Impeachment Trial would have swayed any of the Trump loyalists.  Furthermore, the trial would have descended further into their nihilistic trap and turned into a comedy of errors.

Lawyers for the Defense:  “Mr. Chairman, if they call this witness, I demand that Kamala Harris be called…VP Harris, are you now or have you ever been a member or associate of Antifa or BLM?”

House Managers: “Objection.”

Lawyers for the Defense:  “You can’t object. This isn’t a real court of law, and the chairman is not a real judge. Mr. Chairman, they are being unfair in not allowing me to question my witness as I see fit.” (Moments later) “The defense now calls Rep. Maxine Waters to the stand.”

Back to critiquing the trial, I loved how Chaplain Barry Black designed his opening prayer to touch the conscience of anyone who was listening who had a conscience. He was precise about what the trial was supposed to be about (truth over falsehood, courage over cowardice). And I imagined his majestic voice and prayer emanating from above, delivering a message about good battling evil, and lies versus truth to souls that need saving.

House Managers Jamie Raskin, Joe Neguse, and Stacey Plaskett’s presentations were uplifting, and I was especially impressed by their impassioned, principled exhortations to righteousness. Raskin’s citings of Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and the Bible were also profoundly inspiring.

Although most Republicans clung to their false prophet, there were some courageous living testimonies on that side, too. Burr, Romney, Cassidy, Murkowski, Collins, Sasse, and Toomey sought and will find salvation in the truth.

Following the Emmett Till trial, Wright and the two other black men who testified against the killers had to relocate away from Mississippi. The fate of the courageous seven Senators in the 2nd Impeachment Trial, along with the previously insufferable Liz Cheney, may not cause them to be run out of town; still, it is not unreasonable to think that a megalomaniacal sociopath and his disciples will try to punish them in every way possible. They are to be commended for their courage.

The “fight” for justice continues, and righteous warriors carry on.

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Reflecting on Inauguration Day

Talk about being a crybaby. I can’t help myself. When it comes to pomp and circumstance, I am a waterfall. Weddings. Graduations. Funerals (Funerals don’t count. A lot of folks cry at funerals.). A good book or movie can also bring on the waterworks. Sometimes when I am angry I cry Quasimodo ugly, but when I am happy, I shed tears of joy.

Yesterday’s Inauguration ceremony was a happy crying time. Like numerous other Americans, I had been looking forward to that day since November 3. After climbing out of bed and showering I brewed a pot of coffee. (Hazelnut, delicious!) Then, I turned the television on to my favorite all-news channel and hopped on my stationary bike. From 8 a.m. throughout the day, until near midnight, I watched all things Inaugural. My planned bike riding marathon lasted an hour.

As the reports of the activities and events leading up to the Inauguration were broadcast, I got weepy. It wasn’t the fact that the long-awaited transition of power was almost over that made me emotional; it was the beauty and solemnness of the ceremony. I can’t remember how many times I snatched a tissue from the Kleenex box.

Knowing that I have a hair-trigger emotional switch, I always fight to hold back the floodgate, but there are times when the safety lock fails. Take Tuesday evening, for instance. I was watching the commemorative service held at the Lincoln Memorial for the COVID victims and was doing well until Yolanda Adams sang one of my favorite hymns, Hallelujah. That did it. Crying time.

Then yesterday, my eyes welled with tears as the Bidens’ motorcade arrived at the Capitol. As the first couple exited the limo, joined hands, and walked up the steps (steps that on January 6 looked like a scene from Night of the Living Dead), I had a one tissue, two teardrops moment.

Seeing Kamala Harris and her husband descending the steps to be seated in the ceremonial area was a two tissues moment. More tears fell later when Kamala was being sworn in.

But before the swearing-in ceremonies began, when the Obama’s arrived and walked through the passageway and down the blue and red-carpeted steps leading to their seats, I lost it. The dam broke. I emptied the Kleenex box.

At one point during the program, MSNBC political commentator, Joy Reid, said that she was having a goosebump moment. Excuse me, Joy, but I had flash floods. I later learned from many of my Facebook friends that they also turned on the waterworks during the ceremony.

I know that there are some people who may not have shared the joy that so many of us felt yesterday. People have different ideologies regarding politics, and this not so “perfect union.” Some of the nonconformists are my friends. Like them, I am aware of the odious acts of violence and other racial injustices committed against Black and Brown people in this country. As many objectors do, I protest against it, speak out against it, and do what I can to try and bring about change. But I refuse to walk around every day feeling disgruntled about the status quo. Life is too short, and that baggage is too heavy to carry. Sometimes I choose to set aside the load and be happy, if only for a few hours. If only for a day. I heed the advice of Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Yesterday was a day to feel happy.

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The Sheep Are Drinking the Kool-Aid with Cult 45

The following post was written by Guest Author, David White. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher of this blog.

 

If they don’t get it now, they’ll never get it. Forty-five has essentially told you that your attempts to preserve and protect your life and health are an inconvenience to his grift and graft. What are a few thousand deaths in areas where I don’t live when my ratings might suffer, and I might lose money and my presidency?

This weekend Joy Reid was asking her guests why don’t the Trumpists see that they are being manipulated and lied to. David Corn put it as succinctly as anyone I’ve heard recently. He said, in essence, you have to let them go – they’re not seeking the truth they have drunk the Kool-Aid.

Look at the Jonestown massacre. Those people had their leader. He was infallible in their minds. He sold them utopia, and they convinced themselves, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he was “The Man” to deliver them everything they wanted.

Now we have Cult 45. Their leader has sold his people on his evil, racist, selfish, egotistical reign by giving them the hope that he can show those others – the Latinos, Blacks, Jews, Asians, liberals, and anyone who doesn’t toe his line that his kind will rule. What they don’t fully appreciate is that the only kind he wants to rule are those like himself and his progeny. Everyone else is a tool.

But they buy his absurdity because he feeds them what they want – bigotry, wrapped in fake everything. Fake Christianity. Fake patriotism. Fake morality. Fake empathy. Fake compassion. And fake victimhood. He uses their resentments and frustrations to his own ends, and they let him because they identify with his racism and unconstrained id. They aren’t turned off by his ugliness – they want what he has – and, reluctantly concluding that they might not get to where he is, they gladly settle for the schadenfreude they feel for the pain and suffering he inflicts on others.

Some historical records of the Civil War reveal that the poor whites who fought for the Confederacy did so, not because they were due to gain financially, but because of the psychic pleasure derived from subjugating and lording over those whom they could consider less than themselves (the black slaves, of course). The same reason why they concocted Jim Crow laws and the KKK.

The last and perhaps most challenging obstacle for Americans, black and white, and “other” is to remove the false social construction of race. Science tells us there is no biological divergence in the human species to justify any labels. We do it for sociological convenience. We walk past people every day who we would label white on sight who, by ancestry, would be considered black – and vice versa. But it is convenient to put individuals in racial compartments and then, based on compartmentation, determine how we then deal with them.

I know this is complicated and controversial, but the science is there. We are all on a human continuum of skin color and hair texture based on genetic mutations. We look like our progenitors – Asian, European, or African. Still, those aren’t races. Those are mutations from generations and generations of the original race of all humans who came from Africa.

In another iteration, if Hutus had decided (and were able) to overrun the whole continent of Africa and subjugate the Tutsis and other tribes to slavery for generations, they would have justified it by claiming the Tutsis and others were different races and therefore not worthy of being treated the same as a Hutu.

I was outraged when I heard the latest spin by 45 and Fox that “We need to get the economy going and old folks and sick folks need to go on and die.” Anything to restore the economy and prevent the so-called upper class from losing money.

As a precaution, eighty-nine-year-old media mogul Rupert Murdoch had his network cancel his birthday party while continuing to downplay the threat of the coronavirus to their sheep. They don’t care about the elderly. They refuse to see through the charade because they have pledged full loyalty to the cult of 45.

Cult leader Jim Jones didn’t have to force or coerce the hundreds of people who died with him in Jonestown, Guyana. They willingly and dutifully drank the Kool-Aid and 45’s pigeons will too. We shall see how many are willing to drink to their end.

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Dating Across Political Lines

No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.”

I recently read an article where a guy said that 90 percent of females he encounters in DC are very liberal and seem to view conservative men as walking deal-breakers. When I was in the dating game (nearly 20 years ago before my current relationship), I dated men whose liberal views aligned with mine – except for two who were conservative Republicans.

Back then, I did not discriminate. If I liked a guy who asked me out, I’d date him. My radar has honed over the years, and I am more political than I’ve ever been. In these polarizing and contentious times, for the sake of my peace of mind, if I were still in the game, I would not be inclined to date across party lines. People who date across the political divide can make a relationship work – if they are willing to put in the work. I’m not. It is sometimes difficult enough to maintain a platonic friendship across party lines.

My first Republican flame was a speechwriter for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger (is one among others) to whom the quote above is ascribed. I began dating the speechwriter on the rebound, following a breakup with my then-boyfriend. After a few dates, I found that I liked the conservative guy. He was a perfect gentleman. He was smart, had a sense of humor, and I enjoyed his company. However, there were a couple of hurdles that intruded in our relationship.

Once, when we were out together, while my date was busy buying tickets I glanced at two black men who were standing about 12 feet away. I guess they were in their late 20s or early 30s. I couldn’t avoid noticing the hateful expression on the face of the one with his arms crossed whose eyes were throwing darts at me. He and the guy who was with him were both wearing black berets. While he was giving me the cold stare-down, I overheard some of his snide comment to the fellow standing beside him. “That sister other there dating a white guy. Ought to be ashamed.” That was in the I’m-black-and-I’m-proud 1970s. Society was moving toward being racially progressive on interracial relationships, but it had not progressed to where it is now. For the next few seconds, I ignored him, until my date and I continued on our way and they went theirs.

Our second tension was more personal. It occurred one evening while we were watching an episode of Roots. The character Kizzy’s master was selling her away from her family for something that she did (I don’t remember what it was) and boyfriend commented that some masters were good to their slaves. Well, Jumping Jehoshaphat! Whether that statement was true or not wasn’t the issue. It was simply the wrong thing said at the right time. Our argument that occurred as a result of that episode wasn’t what led to our break up. We eventually smoothed things over, but I decided to get back with the guy that I broke up with before I got involved with the speechwriter.

The other Republican I dated was black like me. But if you heard him talking smack and couldn’t see him, you wouldn’t know it. He was in the entertainment business and very political. It was difficult enough trying to stomach his political views, but I wholeheartedly resent people who constantly berate members of their own racial group. His arrogance wore me down. It doesn’t matter if the intra-racial bashing is for someone’s job, their political party or because they are blinded by self-hate, in my opinion, constantly stereotyping and denigrating your own racial group does nothing to enhance your image. It makes you look bad. I don’t care whether your viewpoint is due to envy, feelings of superiority or because you think that you are economically and socially better off than other people. Don’t let it go to your head. Life is like a giant sliding board. You can be up at the top one day and down on the ground the next. It doesn’t matter if someone is high on the corporate ladder or picking up trash on the street if a person is out here trying to make an honest living then don’t negate him or her. Actions and deeds aside, as human beings, none of us is better than the other. I strongly dislike seeing black people put other black people down and I view racial animosity with more disdain than partisan animosity. My compassion compass with Republican #2 was not in synch. Thankfully, that pseudo-relationship crashed and burned.

When it comes to mixed-partisan relationships, evidence abounds that Democrats and Republicans have a hard time making relationships work. To the contrary, a high-profile couple, political strategist James Carville and his wife, media personality Mary Matalin are one example of an inter-political relationship that is working. According to USNews.com Martin had this to say about that, “That we disagree on policy was tough, but it’s not one of those deal-breakers. We’re very practical in our local politics, and we’re philosophically opposed on the role and scope of government, but we love each other.”

 

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The First Stone

Youthful indiscretions – is there no forgiveness for them? Who among us hasn’t done something in our youth that we regret when looking back on the misbehavior as a mature adult?

On Friday, the right-wing blog Big League Politics published a racist photo from the 1984 medical school yearbook of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. One of the photos on a page titled with Northam’s name depicts two people, one in a blackface costume and another wearing a Klan outfit.

On the day that news outlets broadcast that photo, there was swift prejudgment and immediate demands for the Democratic governor’s resignation. He issued an immediate apology for the photos but seemed to waver on whether he was one of the two people in the picture. The next day he asserted that he was not in that photo and added that since he had not purchased the yearbook, it was his first time seeing the picture. Only he, the persons in the photo, and God know whether he is truthful.

Flipping the script for a moment – the Me Too movement brought out numerous women making sexual misconduct allegations, some that occurred decades ago, against prominent men. To be fair, some male victims have made similar accusations against women.

The point is whether the issue is sexual misconduct or racist behavior, how far back is too far back to drag up someone’s past and use it against them?

Before I incur a backlash of criticism let me clearly state that I am not making prejudgments against Me Too victims or people who are accused of or guilty of racial injustices. I merely want to emphasize that people do stupid and irresponsible things when they are young (and sometimes not so young) that they might not repeat when they are more mature.

I know that all transgressions are not attributable to youthful ignorance. The arrogance to make sexual powerplays or blatantly or subtly display racial hatred is sometimes deep-seated. But the purpose of this post is not to judge the alleged perpetrators; I am simply wondering how long is too long to hold something that happened decades ago against someone without examining or considering their track record going forward. If a person has a continuous, unrelenting record of wrongdoing that is one thing, but if the accused shows by his (or her) actions over the years that he or she has changed their wayward behavior why continue to drag up the past? When is long ago long enough?

My cousin, Renate Jones recently said this about the Gov. Northam controversy. “While I agree that this was horrific, this was over 30 years ago, and as a young man, he did what a host of many young people do…stupid stuff. We cannot judge this man by what he did so long ago. In the eighties, racism existed, and still will [sic]. How is the man now living his life? Ultimately judge him by his behavior now. I am black and do not feel he should resign. In 1984, I was militant as [could] be…need I say more? Imagine if you guys have some of your behavior come back to haunt you [from] 30 years ago”

After apologizing for appearing in the disturbing photo, the governor said the next day that he wasn’t in the picture. He insisted that neither figure wearing a racist costume was him. He also said that he never bought a copy of the yearbook and that Friday, when the story broke, was his first time seeing the photo. Some people hearing that were left wondering was it an attempt at damage control to save his reputation and job or is he sincere?

I agree with Renate, how far back in the past is too far to go to hold something against someone? (Let me add that I am excluding and find unforgivable certain hideous crimes like kidnapping, child trafficking, rape, and cold-blooded murder.)

So, a young teacher observes a toddler smacking a pacifier out of the mouth of another child in a daycare center. Will that act of aggressiveness be held against the child 40 years later when he is nominated for the position of let’s say, US Surgeon General because the teacher remembered the incident and publicized it during the confirmation period? Sounds laughable, doesn’t it?

What about the high school cheerleader who purposely trips-up a competitor during tryouts. A few decades in the future when the tripper becomes, perhaps, Secretary of Education or even President of the U.S. will she be forced to resign from her position because the tripping act was exposed? Ridiculous!

I am not trying to make light of serious situations, but if every one of us is required to give full disclosure about every racist or mean-spirited thing we’ve said during our lifetime when does the line get drawn? Is redemption or forgiveness possible?

Images of hurtful things can remain seared in people’s minds. I retain a clear vision of an act of sexual misconduct committed on me by a former manager in the workplace. I also recall instances of blatant racism that I experienced at the hands of at least two CEOs at different workplaces while others in the office were aware of it, but pretended not to see. Some people change; others don’t. Such is life.

If someone spends years of their adult life on the straight and narrow, trying to live down previous insensitive conduct is there no tolerance for evaluating that person’s behavior going forward?

Since the Northam incident, and numerous times in recent years, I’ve heard many talking heads on TV say, “There is no place for racism” in our government or our society. There isn’t – but it exists, and it rolls downhill.

When people obviously and blatantly continue to perpetuate evil throughout their lifetime, that is one thing, but when people show by their actions that they are trying to do better because they know better, then I say give them a chance.

If we – individually – are to be held responsible for every wrongful thing we said or did in our distant past, whether it is attributable to youthful imprudence or adult ignorance – who among us would be able to cast the first stone?

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