Tag Archives: Charlottesville riot

Racist: It’s just a toxic term

Allow me one more comment on a quote taken from an extensive interview with a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who takes a dim view of the president of the United States.

David Cay Johnston said this to Salon. com: He is a racist through and through. He has been found in formal judicial proceedings to discriminate against nonwhites in rentals and employment.

Read the Salon piece here.

The “he” is Donald John Trump.

I am so struck by how easy it is to believe that Trump is a racist to his core.

Think for just a moment about the body of evidence that has been built up, most by the president’s own mouth.

  • He wanted to execute five young black men who had been exonerated in the rape and savage beating of a woman in Central Park, New York City.
  • Trump continued to keep alive the bald-face lie that Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, was born in Kenya and was, therefore, unqualified to run for the office to which he was elected twice.
  • White supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen protested the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They launched a counter protest by those who oppose their racist views; a young woman was run over by one of the racists. Trump then said there were “fine people … on both sides” of the dispute in Charlottesville, Va. Both sides? Are you serious, Mr. President?

Time and time again, the president seems intent on denigrating people of color. He referred to residents of Haiti, El Salvador and throughout Africa as coming from “sh**hole” countries, while saying he preferred more immigrants from, say, Norway and Sweden.

Huh?

Yep. What in the world are we to conclude?

My conclusion is that 62 million Americans voted in 2016 for a racist as their president.

Shameful.

Yes, on renaming Virginia highway!

Good job, Alexandria (Va.) City Council.

The council has yanked the name of an American traitor off a highway that runs from Arlington to Richmond.

It thoroughfare was formerly known as the Jefferson Davis Highway. Its new name will be the Richmond Highway.

Jefferson Davis, of course, was the president of the Confederate States of America. The CSA decided in 1861 to declare war against the United States of America. Confederate artillery gunners then opened fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumpter, S.C.

Thus, the Civil War began. It would end four years later with roughly 600,000 men dying on battlefields throughout the North and South.

Jefferson Davis’s complicity in launching that war is beyond dispute. He was a traitor to the nation. Do we honor such individuals? Should we honor them? Of course not! Indeed, a school in Richmond will be renamed in honor of Barack H. Obama, after carrying the name of Confederate Army Gen. (and another traitor) J.E.B. Stuart.

As The Hill reported: There has been a massive push to rename markers and landmarks named after members of the Confederacy following the Charleston shooting and the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacy rally last year.

Accordingly, the Arlington City Council has just struck down one more tribute to an infamous historical figure.

‘Obligation,’ no; prerogative, yes!

CNN anchor Don Lemon is not among my favorite TV journalists/talking heads.

He is the one who once asked — reportedly in all seriousness — whether the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been swallowed up by a “black hole,” apparently not realizing that such an event would have consumed the entire solar system.

I got that out of the way.

Now we hear that Lemon says it is his “obligation” to refer to Donald J. Trump as a “racist.”

According to The Hill: “Critical thinking is important as a journalist. If you cannot surmise that this president — if he’s not racist, he’s certainly racist-adjacent,” Lemon told an audience as the keynote speaker at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology NYC Summit. “We have come to a consensus in our society that facts matter. I feel like it’s my obligation to say that.”

I beg to differ, young man.

It’s not your “obligation,” although it is your “prerogative” to say what you want about how you perceive the president’s point of view. His obligation as a journalist requires fairness and accuracy.

I am quick to agree that Donald Trump has provided plenty of evidence of racist tendencies. I keep turning to the lie he fomented about Barack Obama place of birth, as he kept alive the slanderous accusation that the first African-American president was born in Africa and was constitutionally ineligible to serve in the office to which he was elected twice.

And, yes, there was that hideous assertion that there were good people “on both sides” of the riot that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., between counterprotesters and Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Lemon’s “obligation” only is to report what Trump has said; he should let his viewers make the determination as to whether the president is a racist.

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, of course, doesn’t prevent him from hanging the “racist” label on Trump. Indeed, it allows Lemon to say it, but it damn sure doesn’t require it.

U.S. has set a new standard for morality

Call me old-fashioned. Maybe even a bit of a prude — when we’re talking about officials who hold high public office.

Thus, when I hear the former director of the FBI declare that the president of the United States is “morally unfit” to hold the office, I nod my head in agreement.

James Comey delivered a blistering attack on Donald Trump, saying that the president’s moral character doesn’t measure up to the office he won in the 2016 election.

Comey — whom Trump fired a year ago because of what he called “the Russia thing” — cited a couple of key examples: Trump’s willingness to place “moral equivalency” between KKK’men, Nazis and white supremacists and those who protested their march in Charlottesville, Va.; and the president’s history of treating women “like meat.”

To be honest, Comey is far from the first American to declare that Trump is “morally unfit” to be president. Many millions of others of us have been said that before he ever won the election.

And that brings me to the critical point: Americans have redefined morality and have exhibited a clear and present tolerance for the kind of behavior that would have disqualified a presidential candidate.

Let’s get real for a moment, OK?

Trump admitted on that “Access Hollywood” recording how he is able to grab women by their “pu***”; he has admitted publicly cheating on his first and second wives; Trump has stated out loud how he was able to walk into beauty pageant contestants’ dressing rooms while they were half-dressed.

We hear now that Trump’s lawyer paid $130,000 to a porn queen to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter she and Trump allegedly had a year after he married Wife No. 3. The president denies the tryst occurred, but … the lawyer paid the money!

Trump has lived an existence filled with excess and moral depravity.

And yet …

He won enough Electoral College votes in November 2016 to enable him to slip into the Oval Office and take the reins of government.

This is the height — or the nadir — of political confusion.

Trump’s base, which comprises a huge chunk of the evangelical Christian movement, gives this clown a pass on his litany of debauchery and infidelity. Why? Because he promises to appoint conservatives to the federal judiciary; and those judges will rule against issues that evangelicals find repugnant: gay marriage, abortion and the prohibition on preaching Scripture lessons in public schools.

James Comey is as correct as he can possibly be in assessing Donald Trump’s moral unfitness for the presidency.

Some of us out here in Voter Land still want officials elected to high public office to represent the best in us. Donald Trump represents damn near the very worst in us.

The man is a disgrace.

Trump displays his delusion

Donald Trump is not at all shy about displaying his delusional traits whenever possible.

Such as today.

He told reporters that the best of the best are lining up, just anxious as the dickens to come to work in the White House, in the West Wing. Why, they’re falling over themselves to get hired by the Trump administration.

Except that he’s lying once again.

The best aren’t lining up. Indeed, the few grownups the president has brought aboard are bailing out right along with the nut jobs, ideologues and individuals under indictment for assorted criminal acts.

The latest actual adult to hit the road is Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser. Cohn quit over Trump’s fit of pique that resulted in his declaring his intention to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.

Trump wants a trade war. He says it’ll be “easy” to win. Cohn disagrees. Indeed, Cohn was reportedly enraged at Trump’s response to the Charlottesville, Va., riot that killed a young counterprotester. You’ll recall how Trump said there were “fine people … on both sides” of a dispute that included KKK members, neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacists.

Who in the name of good government would want to work in an administration led by someone who would equate racist/hate group members with those who oppose them?

The president’s delusion won’t allow him to recognize what the rest of the world sees clearly. The Trump White House is nothing more than a chaotic clusterf***.

Sick.

Can this school board revisit a tough issue?

I haven’t seen every scrap of social media chatter bouncing around Amarillo, Texas during the past couple of days.

What I have seen regarding an Amarillo Independent School District board non-decision has been — shall we say — less than flattering toward most of the board members.

The AISD board voted 4-3 the other night to “change” the name of Robert E.  Lee Elementary School to Lee Elementary School.

I believe Amarillo has just witnessed the unveiling of a profile in timidity, if not outright cowardice.

The school in question sits smack in the middle of a community that serves a significant population of African-Americans. Children attend a school that is named after a man — Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — who led a military effort to defeat the United States in a war that began over whether states could allow the ownership of slaves.

Gen. Lee’s name has been in the news of late. Communities have sought to remove statues commemorating this man who I and others consider to be a traitor to the United States of America. They rioted in Virginia because white supremacists, KKK’men and neo-Nazis protested attempts to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from a public park; the riot killed a young woman and injured scores of others. Moreover, it prompted an intense national discussion about how we commemorate the Confederate States of America.

AISD board members agreed to discuss and consider changing the name of the school. Then they choked. They fumbled. They missed their chance to send a powerful statement that this community would take a proactive step that removes the name of a national enemy from one of its public buildings.

“Lee Elementary” does not do a single thing to promote that notion.

So … here’s a thought. The AISD board represents a constituency that appears to oppose the non-decision the board made on the naming of a public school.

Perhaps the AISD board members can reflect just a bit on the nutty notion they thought would eliminate a community controversy.

This so-called “name change” didn’t do anything of the kind.

There’s not a single thing wrong with acknowledging a mistake, AISD trustees. Nor is there anything wrong with taking measures to repairing it.

AISD chokes when given a chance to make a big statement

I had high hope that Amarillo’s elected school board of trustees would do the right thing when it decided to consider changing the name of one of their elementary schools.

Then a slim majority of the board dashed my hope. Sigh!

The Amarillo Independent School District board voted 4-3 to alter the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School to, um, Lee Elementary School.

There had been considerable community chatter about a school that serves a large African-American student base carrying the name of a Confederate army general who led forces seeking to allow states to retain the enslavement of human beings.

Many of those voices came to the school board meeting Monday night to be heard. They spoke out. A large majority of the voices gathered in a packed AISD administration building meeting room spoke against “Robert E. Lee Elementary School.”

The non-decision by the AISD board is disappointing. It borders on shameful.

Trustee James Allen — the lone African-American on the board — had pitched a perfectly reasonable option: Change the name to Park Hills Elementary School, which would be consistent with AISD’s current building-naming policy of identifying schools with the community they serve.

Did the board follow Allen’s lead? Nope. They wanted to “compromise” by dropping the Confederate traitor, er, general’s first name and middle initial from the building’s name.

As if that would wipe away the connection between a local school and the darkest, bloodiest period in our nation’s history? Please.

The national discussion about these name changes had found its way to Amarillo. I hoped our community’s elected school board would take up the cudgel and declare that it, too, would stand on the right side of history.

Sadly, AISD did nothing of the sort. Its board choked.

I’m out!

This is proactive leadership? Hardly

Amarillo’s public school system governing board had a chance to do something courageous. Instead, in a 4-3 vote, it decided Monday night to take a significantly more timid path.

I’m still shaking my head in amazement.

The Amarillo Independent School District decided to remove “Robert E.” from the name of a school that carries the name of a Confederate States of America army general. Beginning with the 2018-19, the school formerly known as Robert E. Lee Elementary School will be known as Lee Elementary.

There. How does that go down?

AISD had decided to consider changing the name of the school in the wake of serious national discussion about whether Confederate figures should be memorialized at all. It all came to a nasty head this past summer in Charlottesville, Va., when white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis instigated a tragic riot when officials there wanted to remove a statue of Gen. Lee from a public park.

The debate found its way to Amarillo, where the school district is home to a school named after the same general. That school sits in the middle of a neighborhood comprising a significant African-American population.

Why the question? Well, Gen. Lee led an army against the United States of America during the Civil War. He fought to protect states’ right to allow the enslavement of human beings, who — I need to stipulate — were black Americans.

I favor removing Lee’s name from that public school building altogether. An AISD board majority feels differently.

Here is what Panhandle PBS posted on its Facebook page about AISD’s bizarre “compromise”:

Learn Here: Amarillo ISD’s board has voted 4-3 to drop “Robert E.” from the name to just Lee Elementary. Board members Jim Austin, Scott Flow, Cristy Wilkinson, and Renee McCown voted in favor of the partial name change, which was viewed as a “compromise” idea during the months of discussion. The motion was made by Cristy Wilkinson, and the change will go into effect in the 2018-2019 school year. Scott Flow seconded the motion.

James Allen, John Betancourt, and John Ben Blanchard voted against, wanting a complete name change after the surrounding neighborhood, Park Hills.

The vote came after an hour of public comment during which 25 people spoke on the issue, with only six in favor of keeping the name.

I am puzzled by this non-decision. How in the world does keeping the “Lee” on the building address the concerns of those who believe it somehow honors the name of a man who fought to destroy the United States — for the purpose of keeping human beings in bondage?

Did the slim school board majority conclude that hiding the full name of an enemy of the Union would somehow make it disappear all by itself?

I believe the AISD board of trustees has made a mistake.

Amarillo school may get an ID change

Amarillo public school officials are about to jump with both feet into a national debate over the naming of public buildings after Confederate icons.

At issue is the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School, which sits in the midst of the city’s African-American community.

Amarillo Independent School District trustees are going to discuss on Monday whether to change the name of the school.

My own preference? Change the name.

This entire Confederate name-change discussion erupted in the wake of that riot in Charlottesville, Va., when counter protesters clashed with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen who gathered to protest the taking down of a statute of Gen. Lee.

The Amarillo NAACP chapter favors changing the name. No surprise there. NAACP chapter president Floyd Anthony says Gen. Lee’s name on a public building that serves a hugely African-American student body — and their parents — is a slap in the face to those residents.

He makes a good point.

Gen. Lee led the Confederate States of America army that fought against the United States of America. They committed an act of treason by seceding from the Union. Why did they secede? They fought to something called “states’ rights,” which was code for allowing states to continuing the enslavement of human beings.

They were black human beings.

The war killed 600,000 people. It was the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history.

More than 150 years later, the vestiges of that war remain with these public monuments to the men who stood foursquare against the Union.

And spare me the “heritage” argument. The Confederate battle flag has become the very symbol of hate groups such as the KKK. Do we want to honor the Klan? I think not.

To the Amarillo ISD board members, I wish them good luck as they ponder their potentially huge decision.

I hope it’s the correct one.

Retirement liberates GOP senator

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is a free man these days.

The Tennessee Republican has announced his impending retirement from the Senate — and is now free to speak his mind.

Take, for example, his statement this week about three of Donald Trump’s key advisers and how they manage to save the United States from the “chaos” created by the president.

He spoke of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly. These men, said Corker, are managing to maintain some semblance of order.

Corker speaks out

Corker didn’t wait to announce his retirement before speaking candidly about Trump. After the president’s hideous reaction to the Charlottesville riot — including the “many sides are responsible” comment — Corker said the president “hasn’t yet demonstrated” the competence he needs to lead the nation.

Now this latest critique in which he said, “I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

Oh, and of course we now have Tillerson reportedly firing off an enraged comment in a meeting that he believes the president is a “moron.” It’s also been reported that Tillerson attached a descriptive and profane adjective in front of “moron.” He has not denied saying it.

There you have it. A president with no prior government or public service experience of any kind is now leading the world’s greatest nation. Except that he’s incapable of exhibiting the temperament he needs to avoid the “chaos” that he invites whenever and wherever possible.

Trump’s fans applaud him for “telling it like it is.” Now such much-needed candor and honesty are coming from the mouths of the president’s “allies.”

Retirement can be a liberating experience … don’t you think?