Point of View Columns

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

It should be clear by now that there are no boundaries for Donald Trump. And there is no limit to the extent to which Trump will seek to disgrace, demean or degrade whoever might come into the line of his vision. And so it should really come as no surprise that even though he has been a lifelong bigot and fully committed racist, Donald Trump would have the temerity to appeal to black voters as their savior incarnate.

We know that Donald Trump reads as much as a mildly curious six year old, so there is no doubt that he will never read this letter. Nevertheless, this letter is addressed to Trump in the hope that there will be those who will read it and understand once and for all, that not only is this man unfit to be President, he should be thankful that the 1st Amendment prevents him from banned from all public discourse – forever.

Dear Mr. Trump:

It is beyond belief that you would actually appeal to black voters with a line like “What the Hell do you have to lose?” Aside from our self-respect, dignity and sense of personhood, voting for you would virtually vaporize any hope of a future for ourselves or our posterity.

But here’s a question for you Mr. Trump. Where the Hell have you been? You are 70 years of age which means that you were 17 at the time of the March on Washington. Where the Hell were you?

When your father’s housing development company, where you served as an executive,  was accused by the Department of Justice of racial discrimination in the 1970’s in Cincinnati did you acknowledge wrongdoing and try to rectify your misdeeds as manager of the project? Or did you sue the federal government for $100 million and finally settle without acknowledging guilt? Where the Hell were you?

And, in the modern era, since you were a public figure by 1980, can you name one time, just one time, when you spoke in favor of racial justice, equity or fairness?

Was there ever a time when you expressed dismay and outrage over the NYPD killings of Eleanor Bumphurs or Amadou Diallou or Sean Bell or Eric Garner? Do you even remember the young black men who were killed by a racist mob in Brooklyn? Where the Hell were you?

We do know that you sought the death penalty for the young black and Latino men who were wrongfully convicted of raping the Central Park jogger. We do know that even after they were fully exonerated and their sentences were vacated you expressed no remorse. When justice was finally done, where the Hell were you?

And when Barack Obama was elected President where the Hell were you when racially motivated bigots tried to delegitimize his presidency? Oh, that’s right; you were the spearhead of that despicable movement.

When there was a demented movement to falsely claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, where the Hell were you? Oh, that’s right; you were at the head of that movement. And when President Obama finally displayed his Hawaiian birth certificate where the Hell were you? Oh that’s right, you were nowhere to be found.

And now, after blatantly and purposely exaggerated the persistent pathologies that have beset the black community, stoking the flames under the perpetually boiling cauldrons of stereotypes, you must know that you did not discover these problems. So where the Hell have you been all of these years? Have you ever taken a single step, made a single effort, uttered a single word to help? Where the Hell have you been?

And now, having run the gamut from insolent indifference to blatantly racist rhetoric for your entire public life, you have the gall to ask for the support of the black community. Now, having insulted and attempted to demean and degrade the first black president of the United States during his entire time in office, you ask “what the Hell do you have to lose?”.

By supporting you Donald Trump, black people would lose the respect of all of the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who marched and protested and labored and died in the cause of freedom and fairness. By supporting you black people would lose any and all pretext of dignity – believing that after 70 years you have finally discovered black people and that you are the savior incarnate would be blasphemy, plain and simple.

So Mr. Trump, the answer to your question, “What the Hell do you have to lose?” is “Where the Hell have you been?”

Sincerely,
Black America

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Point of View Columns

Trump as Macbeth

When it comes to Donald Trump there appears to be no limit to the depths to which he will descend in his faux campaign for the presidency, a campaign that seems more and more like a textbook exercise in narcissistic self-indulgence. But this time, using his dog whistle to suggest a “Second Amendment solution” to Hillary Clinton he has once again gone too far.

It was only six years ago that Sarah Palin rose from the ashes of a failed campaign for the Vice Presidency to reincarnate herself as the Tea Party Queen. But as she staggered and wobbled from one misstatement to another falsehood, she too went too far. In the fall of 2010 she “targeted” members of Congress who should be defeated by the Tea Party zealots.

In case anyone was short on interpreting symbolism, Sarah Palin’s website displayed a national map and put a gun scope on the offices of the “targeted” Representatives. And then, a few months later, one of the Congressional Representatives targeted by Palin, Gabby Gifford of Arizona, was shot in the head.

Although it has not been confirmed that the shooter was inspired by Sarah Palin, and it is clear that he is a deranged individual, Sarah Palin created an atmosphere where “Second Amendment solutions” start to sound sane to the insane. And the blood of the individuals killed and maimed in Tucson is on the hands of Sarah Palin – indeed she is a modern day Lady Macbeth who will never be able to wash that blood off her hands.

And now along comes Donald Trump, a virtuoso dog whistle player, intimating that Second Amendment adherents could somehow solve the “Hillary problem”. Defenders/enablers of Trump contend that he is guilty of no more than spewing a bad, tasteless joke.

But there is a huge part of this country’s population that has seen presidents shot (Reagan) and killed (Kennedy, John). Many Americans have also witnessed the assassination (Kennedy, Robert) and maiming (Wallace) of presidential candidates in real time. And now that we live in a nation with over 300 million guns it would seem that this would be the worst time to kid around, joke around or dog whistle around rhetoric that even hints of “Second Amendment solutions” to the presidential campaign.

The Secret Service has already taken note of Trump’s comments, another unprecedented occurrence in American political history. But much like Lady Macbeth, we already know that any violence directed against Hillary Clinton or anyone associated with her campaign will elicit a canned denial from Trump, who will then be America’s Macbeth.

Of course, what is so sad and sickening about this entire situation is that Trump is the designated candidate of a major American political party. What is worse is that there are tens of millions of Americans who think that this arrogant, indecent and profane man should be President of the United States. What is even worse is that even when Trump is defeated in November and he goes back to his gaudy hotels and his dfraudulent schemes and his golf courses, those tens of millions of Americans will still be ith us.

And that may be the greatest danger of all. Trump will go away and disappear into the swamp of indecency and self-aggrandizement from which he slithered.

But those tens of millions of Trump supporters aren’t going anywhere.

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Point of View Columns

The World According to Trump

It is a matter of bizarre curiosity and obvious fact that upon becoming the official presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is even less restrained and is now totally devoid of anything resembling self-control. While questions regarding Trump’s fitness for the office of President of the United States sprout like bewildered weeds, there are even more questions being asked about the tens of millions of American men and women who think that he should be elected?

The litany of Trump gaffes, blunders and blatant acts of indecency are taking on the stuff of legend. Indeed, if Donald Trump wanted to lose the presidential election, he would be doing exactly what he has been doing since the conclusion of the DNC Convention in Philadelphia last week.

Case in Point 1 – On the last night of the DNC Convention Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-American parents of Humayun Khan, appeared on the podium. Humayun Khan was a posthumous recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart as a result of his death protecting his fellow American soldiers in Afghanistan in 2004.

Mr. and Mrs. Khan, still bent by the unknowable grief of losing a child, were on stage to attack Donald Trump’s stated plan to ban all Muslims from entering America “until we figure out what’s going on”. Mr. Khan, a lawyer from Minnesota, eloquently expressed his family’s hopes and dreams in coming to America as well as their tear stained pride in the ultimate sacrifice made by their son.

Mr. Khan concluded by pointing out that Donald Trump ignored the Constitution with his proposed Muslim ban. He also correctly pointed out that Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one” for this country.

True to form, Donald Trump attacked this Gold Star family, speculating that Mrs. Khan did not speak on the podium because her Muslim religion prevented her from doing so (not true). He also provided us with a quick glimpse of the World According to Trump when he actually equated Humayun Khan’s death and the sacrifice of his parents with his business accomplishments (conveniently mentioning that he received and accepted five draft deferments during the Vietnam War). The obscenity of his analogy was presented in full view of the entire nation.

Case in Point 2 – At a campaign rally a military veteran gave Trump his own Purple Heart – an award granted to members of the military who are wounded in action. Rather than graciously demurring, Trump accepted the medal, as unworthy as he is, and stated “I always wanted a Purple Heart, getting it this way is much easier”.

One wonders what the thousands of Purple Heart recipients must think. And what do the families of the wounded veterans think when they hear such words?

Case in Point 3 – Responding to President Obama’s characterization of him as being “unfit” to be president, Trump stated that Barack Obama is the worst president in the history of the United States. Aside from the fact that this country’s recovery from the Great Crash of 2008, the passage of the Dodd Frank Act, the creation of 10 million jobs and the passage of the Affordable Care Act all occurred during the Obama presidency and make Trump’s statement beyond ridiculous, he continued to put his belief in fact free rhetoric on display.

It is hard to believe that even the most acidic critics of President Obama would think that he was worst than Richard Nixon, who resigned prior to his inevitable indictment and impeachment and who, quite likely would have gone to prison but for his pardon by President Gerald Ford. And is Trump seriously suggesting that George W. Bush was a better president than Barack Obama even though Bush misled this country into two seemingly endless wars, watched thousands of Americans die and was at the helm when the American economy almost evaporated?

Of course, by now, it is clear that fact free is the way to go in the World According to Trump.

Case in Point 4 – When questioned about how he would advise his daughter, Ivanka Trump, if she were sexually harassed in the workplace, he actually said that he would advise her to go to another company or find another career. One can only wonder how any adult woman or man would support a man who would countenance sexual harassment and counsel retreat and defeat rather than standing up for basic human rights.

As Donald Trump reveals his true self one is reminded of House Committee on UnAmerican Activites counsel Joseph Welch’s comment to Joseph McCarthy in the midst of the communist witch hunt of the 1950’s – “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

When it comes to Donald Trump, the answer is quite clear.

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