Tag Archives: KKK

Unity remains a distant goal

Donald Trump vowed to deliver a speech this past week that would “unify” the nation.

It didn’t happen. He didn’t deliver. His State of the Union speech was met with disdain from roughly half of the room in which he spoke and about the same percentage from Americans at large, those of us who watched the speech from far away, on our TV screens.

It now begs the question: How are we ever going to be unified?

I believe it starts with the president of the United States.

We have one individual with a political constituency comprising the entire nation: it’s the president (and yes, you can include the vice president, too, given that these individuals run as a ticket).

But the president stands behind the bully pulpit. He is the one we listen to. He is the one with the message, the policy, the principles we look for. The president also is the one who is capable of delivering the message of unity.

It’s been one year and about two weeks since Donald Trump took the oath as president. How much has he done to unify the nation?

Practically nothing!

He blasts congressional Democrats for failing to cast any votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The president ignores — he didn’t forget — that not a single Republican cast any votes to approve the ACA back in 2010.

Trump continues to pound away at the media, calling journalists the “enemy of the American people.” He undermines the media for reporting what he calls “fake news.” He plays directly to the base of supporters that continues to support him — no matter what!

The president uttered that hideous assertion that white supremacists/Nazis/Klansmen comprise “fine people.” Who in the world actually believes that utter crap — other than the president?

At his State of the Union speech, the president uttered a remarkably divisive comment, declaring that “Americans are dreamers, too.” How does someone who proposes to unify the country poke his proverbial finger in the eye of those U.S. residents who were brought here illegally as children but who want to forge a path toward legal residency and even U.S. citizenship?

How can we reach a unified state? It must begin with the president. It’s the president who must set the tone.

It is not enough to declare your intention to unify a badly divided nation. It is incumbent on the head of state to deliver unity in the form of rhetoric that seeks to calm the storm.

The unity that Donald Trump proclaims he wants remains far in the distance. My fear is that this president is incapable of getting us to that point. He cannot function in such an environment.

Does the president ever surprise us?

The more I think about it, the less surprised I get over the epithet that flew out of Donald John Trump’s mouth earlier this week.

I refer to his questioning why the United States accepts immigrants from “sh**hole countries” such as Haiti and those in Africa.

African Union member states have called on a retraction and an apology from the president of the United States. Democratic politicians in this country are howling about the racist-sounding rant the president leveled during a White House meeting to discuss immigration issues.

But this comment merely is the latest in a disturbing pattern of behavior that Trump has demonstrated for many years.

He questioned Barack Obama’s legitimacy as president; he called white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis “very fine people”; he said an Indiana-born federal judge couldn’t adjudicate a case because of his Mexican heritage; he has attacked a Muslim Gold Star family; he called Mexican immigrants criminals; he called for a ban on all Muslims entering this country.

And on and on it goes. Seemingly forever.

He cannot control his impulse to denigrate groups of people. He seems always inclined to target darker-skinned people or non-Christians. He plays solely to his political base.

Why is it a surprise, then, that he would blurt out an epithet about “sh**hole countries comprising dark-skinned citizens?

It’s not. The surprise would come if Trump ever could find a way to offer a word of kindness and compassion for those who want to come here in search of a better life.

I do not expect that from Donald Trump.

Once more … about immigrants

I cannot resist offering another comment on that unpresidential epithet about immigrants from Haiti and Africa.

It might be my final comment. Then again, maybe not.

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump’s fit of pique earlier this week about immigrants who come here from s***hole countries hits me personally.

I am a direct descendant of Americans who chose to come to this country from a part of the world that once was considered a s***hole. All four of my grandparents were ethnic Greeks. They risked all they had to come to this country in the early 20th century.

What I haven’t discussed in this blog is how Greeks were treated by other immigrant groups with whom they lived in the Land of Opportunity. Perhaps you are aware that groups such as the Ku Klux Klan sought to intimidate Greeks who had settled in the United States. The Klan considered Greeks to be, um, subpar.

I will not equate what happened to those early Greek-Americans with what the Klan did to African-Americans at the time, or even to Vietnamese immigrants who came to this country in the 1970s after the end of the Vietnam War. Please know, though, that some Americans thought little of immigrants who came here from southern Europe.

They were thought to be from a s***hole place.

Discussion about immigration always catches my attention. It is because I grew up with a keen awareness of my ethnic background. My grandmothers particularly were keen to instruct my sisters and me about our heritage.

They were proud Greeks and they imbued that pride in all of their grandchildren.

So, when the president of the United States disparages immigrants who come here willingly from s***hole nations, he raises my hackles. Donald Trump’s racist ignorance might not raise the hackles of other Americans. Whatever. We all have our own consciences and I wouldn’t dare interject my own values into another American’s heart or mind.

I simply will express my utter outrage that the leader of the world’s greatest nation has chosen to play favorites with those who want to craft a better life for themselves and their descendants.

My grandparents would be appalled.

***

Here is part of the inscription inside the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The president has dishonored those time-honored words.

Trump cements a racist pattern

OK — and if you’ll pardon me for saying this — let’s “tell it like it is.”

Donald John Trump has exhibited a clear pattern of racist views.

The president today said the United States needs to curb immigration from “s***hole countries” such as Haiti and those in Africa. He then said we need to encourage immigrants from, oh, Norway.

We are witnessing yet another demonstration that the president of the United States has racist thoughts. He has revealed yet again what lurks in what passes for this man’s heart.

It fits a pattern.

  • He called white supremacists, Klansmen and Nazis “fine people” after the Charlottesville, Va., riot this past summer.
  • Trump insisted for years that the nation’s first African-American president was born abroad and wasn’t legally entitled to campaign for, let alone, occupy the office to which he was elected twice.
  • When he announced his campaign for president, Trump said Mexican immigrants were rapists, murderers and drug dealers.
  • The five young black men who were acquitted of raping a white woman in Central Park many years ago should be executed for a crime they never committed, Trump said; he’s never apologized for that statement.
  • The professional football players who kneeled prior to games to protest police conduct against black Americans are “sons of b******,” Trump said.
  • Trump has said Haitians “all have AIDS,” and said Nigerians live “in huts.”

This is the man elected president of the United States? This individual is supposed to represent the very best of the greatest nation on Earth?

I am tired of dancing around the issue. It’s time to call this man what he is. He’s not just a pathological liar. He is a racist.

He’s also a disgrace.

Still waiting for unification

Has it only been less than a year since Donald J. Trump took the presidential oath of office?

Gosh, it seems like so-o-o-o much longer. Does it to you? No need to answer.

I recall so vividly one of the many promises the then-president elect made during the transition into power. He pledged to “unify” the country ripped apart by one of the most divisive, hateful, spiteful and insult-driven presidential campaigns in history.

How’s he done so far as his first year in office approaches?

Umm, not too well.

His fellow congressional Republicans have sought to govern without any help from congressional Democrats. The president has cheered them on.

The only phrase from the new president’s dark, dismal and desultory inaugural speech mentioned “the American carnage,” and how he intended to stop it “right here and right now.” Has it stopped?

Nope. We’ve seen massacres in Orlando, Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs. How has the president responded to them? By blaming Democrats.

The Charlottesville riot perhaps is the nadir of the president’s plan to “unify” the nation. He talked of “good people” among the white supremacist, Nazis and Klansmen who gathered to protest the taking down of a Confederate memorial.

How many “good people” have you ever met who belonged to the KKK, or offered that stiff-armed Nazi salute? I know the answer to that one.

The conservative media are now leading the chorus for the president to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, whose “Russia thing” investigation is proceeding with all deliberate speed. Is that a unifying component? Hardly.

Let’s sum it up.

The nation is as divided as ever. Maybe more so since, oh, the Civil War or the Vietnam War. The president who vowed to bring us together hasn’t made the grade.

The honeymoon he was supposed to get when he took office vanished the moment he began — on Inauguration Day — offering that dark view of the world’s greatest nation.

Unity? We’re far from it, Mr. President.

Who should go? DACA residents or neo-Nazis?

Here it comes. I feel a raging rant boiling up. I know it won’t fly, but I must  get something off my chest.

Some of the very Americans who are angry at those who came here illegally as children, those who qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals law, also represent an ideology against which this country went to war.

I refer to the neo-Nazis, the morons who hate all immigrants, particularly those who aren’t of European descent.

On one hand we have DACA residents, many of whom came here as toddlers or younger. They have forged good and productive lives as Americans. The U.S. of A. is the only country they know. Donald J. Trump has decided to rescind the executive order that granted them temporary protection against deportation. They might be rounded up in six months and sent packing if Congress doesn’t come up with a legislative answer.

Those despicable neo-Nazis want them out immediately if not sooner.

If I were King of the World, my preference would be to deport the neo-Nazis over the DACA residents. Yes, yes. I know. They have the constitutional right to express their political views, no matter how vile and disgraceful they might be. The neo-Nazis take the despicability cake by a mile!

While I’m at it, I’ll throw the Ku Klux Klan onto that dung heap, too.

My father went to war against the Nazis in 1942. He was among the Greatest Generation that saved the world from the tyranny espoused by the Third Reich and the Nazis that murdered roughly 6 million Jews in Europe. Nazi soldiers, sailors and aviators tried to kill Dad  on multiple occasions.

This is the ideology that some so-called Americans choose to honor with that hideous stiff-armed salute?

Who is more preferable to have walking among us, I ask? Those who have lived in fear because of something their parents did or those who speak as champions of an evil, tyrannical ideology?

There. Rant over. I feel better.

Where has Dick Cheney been hiding?

Paging the former vice president of the United States, Richard Bruce Cheney!

You might recall — as I do — that Dick Cheney was a vocal, frequent and occasionally obnoxious critic of President Barack H. Obama. Yes, throughout Obama’s two terms as president, Cheney was making himself available on TV and radio talk shows to tell us how the president was endangering the nation, that he was the “worst foreign policy president” in U.S. history.

So, Obama leaves office. Donald John Trump Sr. takes over. Trump has made a mess of a lot of things.

The Russia matter? Allegations of collusion with the Russians? North Korea? Declaring that an aircraft battle group was steaming toward Korea when it actually was traveling in precisely the opposite direction, from Australia into the Indian Ocean?

Then we have the domestic stuff: Charlottesville and the president’s seeming cozying up to Nazis and Klansmen; the transgender ban in the U.S. military.

Where is Cheney? Mr. Vice President, have you nothing at all to say about the new president? You were pretty damn quick on the verbal trigger when Barack Obama was the man in charge.

It’s not that I necessarily want to hear what the former vice president has to say. It’s just that the current political debate seems so quiet without his voice.

GOP taken over by ‘this hateful man’

We haven’t heard much from John Danforth since he left the U.S. Senate.

The highly respected former lawmaker — who also happens to be an Episcopal minister — has weighed in heavily against the president of the United States.

Sen. Danforth is urging the Republican Party — to which he is a member — to toss aside the principles espoused by Donald John Trump Sr., who he described as “this hateful man” who promotes division and disunity in the nation he governs.

One must accept that political figures from opposing parties are going to criticize those in high office. Danforth’s critique, which he offered in an essay published in the Washington Post, is another of a stunning array of criticism coming from politicians within the president’s own party.

It makes me ponder whether Trump actually is seen by Republicans as one of their own. Or is he a major-league anomaly, a political freak who elected president by a series of flukes that no one saw coming?

Danforth has laid down an important marker for his fellow Republicans. He writes of Trump: “He stands in opposition to the founding principle of our party — that of a united country.”

Read Danforth’s essay here.

Look back just a few days to the rhetoric he has spouted. He talked of “many sides” being responsible for the violence in Charlottesville. He doubled down a few days later by declaring that “both sides” were at fault and that “both sides” had “good people” clashing in the Virginia community, which brings to mind the question: What kind of “good person” marches with Klansmen, Nazis and white supremacists?

Such language from the president drives huge wedges between groups of Americans, which is what I believe Sen. Danforth seeks to underscore in his essay.

“For the sake of our party and our nation, we Republicans must disassociate ourselves from Trump by expressing our opposition to his divisive tactics and by clearly and strongly insisting that he does not represent what it means to be a Republican,” Danforth writes.
Nor does he “represent” anything about the presidency of the greatest nation on Earth.

ESPN spooked beyond all reason

The executives who run ESPN have been bitten by the bug that gives human beings a case of the heebie-jeebies.

The bite came from that riot that erupted two weekends ago in Charlottesville, Va. Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and assorted white supremacists gathered to march against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park; counter protesters showed up, too, and a clash commenced. A young woman was run down by someone who allegedly has white supremacist sympathies.

How did ESPN react to all of this? It pulled a sportscaster who was scheduled to call a college football game this weekend between the University of Virginia and William & Mary College. Oh, yes, UVa is located in Charlottesville. The sportscaster’s name: Robert Lee.

Good grief, ESPN! Get a grip here.

I consider this to be a serious overreaction. Yes, the issue at hand also is serious. ESPN wants to remove any potential for controversy or conflict. So, it yanked a young man with the name Robert Lee off its broadcast? ESPN issued a statement: “We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue.”

Please.

I have an option for ESPN to ponder: Refer to him on-air as Bob Lee, or Bobby Lee, or Robby Lee. I suppose I also should mention that Lee is of Asian descent.

I believe ESPN has gotten spooked beyond what is reasonable.

Not much peace and harmony in that speech

That didn’t last long, not that anyone really and truly anticipated it would.

Donald John Trump Sr. spoke briefly on Monday about the need for America to heel the wounds that divide it, about how returning heroes fighting overseas to defend us need to return to a country where all Americans love each other.

Then came last night’s campaign rally. The president donned the brass knuckles yet again and tore into: The media, critics of his responses to the Charlottesville riot, the two U.S. senators from Arizona, those who oppose his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats in general, key congressional Republicans.

He tossed in a few insults along the way. Yes, the president reverted to form. Trump showed us once again — as if we needed reminding — that his version of “acting presidential” bears zero resemblance to what the rest of the nation understands that term to mean.

I’ll give him a sliver of credit at least for declining to pardon one of the nation’s most divisive lawmen, former Maricopa County “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio, who has been convicted in connection to his harsh treatment of illegal immigrants. Trump, though, did seemingly imply that a pardon was pending; so, we’ll just have to wait for that act to puncture the national mood with even more collateral damage.

Another bit of good news? No one was seriously injured outside the hall during the protests that were mounted against Trump’s speech.

We’re only seven or so months into Trump’s term as president. We have three more years — maybe — remaining before the next presidential election cycle.

Acting “presidential” used to mean that our head of state lifted our spirits, comforted us in times of trouble and appealed to our higher ideals.

Those moments are gone — at least for as long as Donald Trump occupies the Big Office in the White House.