Tag Archives: racism

Justice on its way for jogger?

The incident occurred in February. The nation only heard about it this week.

The outrage has been ferocious and by most accounts highly justified.

Now comes word that that two men involved in the shooting of a jogger in Georgia have been arrested, jailed and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

Yes, the two suspects are white; the victim is black. One of the men is a former sheriff’s deputy and former district attorney investigator.

This is a hideous story.

Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael allegedly shot a young African-American man, Ahmaud Arbery, in Brunswick, Ga. Arbery was jogging in the neighborhood when one of the suspects shot him to death.

It has fueled yet again the argument that young black men are in peril simply because of their skin color.

According to CNN.comAccording to a Glynn County Police report, Gregory McMichael, 64, later told officers that he thought Arbery looked like a person suspected in a series of recent break-ins in the area.

After they chased down Arbery, McMichael told police, Arbery and Travis McMichael, 34, struggled over his son’s shotgun. The elder McMichael told police that his son shot Arbery after the latter attacked him, according to the police report.
Obviously, I wasn’t there. But this whole story stinks like a rotting fish. It’s tragic that it took a dose of national outrage for the authorities to do what they likely should have done long ago. This saddens and sickens me.

Trudeau flap a symptom of left-leaning sensitivity

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Manitoba — I have given some additional thought to a story that has threatened to swallow Canada whole. It involves Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s posing in blackface a couple decades ago.

He has apologized. He sounds sincere to me. He has owned what he did, calling it wrong, insensitive and offensive.

However, the story won’t go away. Trudeau is running for re-election.

My take on it has crystallized a bit since I wrote an earlier blog post on this matter. I am beginning now to believe — as one of my dearest friends has posited already on social media — that Trudeau has become a victim of an oversensitive reaction of the liberal/progressive wing of the broad political spectrum.

Yes, we are now more sensitive to how blackface is perceived. It is wrong. Trudeau made a serious mistake when he went to a costume party slathered in black makeup, posing as “Aladdin.”

I do believe, though, that a sincere apology ought to be enough. He has vowed to say he is sorry to political leaders of color in Canada. Trudeau is a chastened young man.

The international reaction from some quarters has been fierce, too. Surprisingly — and to be honest, I am pleased to report this — a muted reaction has come from the White House where Donald “Pu*** Grabber in Chief” has said only that he is “surprised” by Trudeau’s predicament. He has made — so far — no substantial comment on the specifics of what Trudeau has admitted to doing. That’s fine, Mr. President. Do not even go there.

I hope this matter can be put away. Prime Minister Trudeau has sought to make amends. He turned a campaign rally into a town hall event in Saskatoon the other evening, fielding questions from constituents about the matter. I believe that’s an act of political courage.

I’m done with this story. On to the next thing … whatever it is.

Are some offenses beyond forgiving?

REGINA, Saskatchewan — The word in Canada is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blew it when he appeared in what has been called “brownface” back when he was a much younger man.

You’ve seen the pictures. He is posing with others while wearing what looks like some sort of Arabic costume. He is slathered in dark skin makeup. He’s got a big ol’ grin on his face. The picture just surfaced, but it has taken Canada by storm.

This story is giving me fits as I watch it unfold.

Trudeau, who is facing a tough re-election fight, has offered a full-throated apology. There was none of that “if I offended anyone” non-apology crap you hear from politicians on occasion. The man said he is sorry. He is ashamed of himself. He is ashamed of his conduct. He said he meant no racist intent when he did it.

Has the public accepted the apology? Hardly. I have watched the news and heard from Canadians — particularly those of color — say, in effect, that what Trudeau did in the 1980s is unforgivable. No apology is good enough. No expression of contrition is sufficient.

Is it fair to condemn someone for appearing at a party dressed in such a manner? Is it fair to hold a 47-year-old accountable for his actions as a much younger individual? I truly am torn by this.

Is this different than a similar scandal involving Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who had a picture taken of himself in black face standing alongside someone wearing what looks like a Ku Klux Klan outfit? Yes. It is. Moreover, Northam’s apology did not seem to go quite as far in its sincerity that Trudeau’s has gone.

You may spare me any epithets you might hurl at me for being sympathetic to a racist politician. I do not believe Prime Minister Trudeau fits that bill. I do believe the young man made a serious mistake that has seen the light of day.

He also has delivered what sounds to my ears like a sincere apology.

The issue now lies in the hands of Canada’s voters.

Good luck, neighbors. I’m glad I do not have to make that decision. We’ve got our own political weirdness.

Why the continual attacks on Barack Obama?

I feel like entering the discussion about whether Donald Trump is driven by some sort of racial animus against people of color.

Why now? Well, I keep hearing the president leveling gratuitous criticism of Barack H. Obama. He keeps yapping, yammering and yowling about Obama’s record, making untrue statements about whether Obama was “outsmarted” or overmatched when facing down world leaders.

He keeps trying to inflate his own record in comparison to President Obama’s two terms in office.

So I keep wondering, why does he feel the need to single out Barack Obama?

Is it because the black guy is smarter, more erudite, more nuanced, more sophisticated than he is?

Might it have something to do with the skewering Obama leveled at Trump a few years ago during the White House Correspondence Dinner, when Obama poked fun at Trump’s former role as host of “Celebrity Apprentice”? You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the president’s stand-up at the mic at Trump’s expense.

How does one explain Trump’s long-standing obsession with the lie that Obama was born in Kenya and was not constitutionally qualified to run for the office to which he was elected twice?

And how does one justify Trump’s phony assertion that Barack Obama didn’t perform well academically at Harvard Law School, or at Columbia University?

Trump now is president of the United States and he insists on mounting fraudulent attacks on President Obama. Does he beat the drum with the same frequency and intensity with, say, President Clinton, or President Carter, or President Johnson, or President Kennedy? No.

President Barack Obama gets the vast majority of Donald Trump’s barrages.

Is race a factor?

Hmm. Seems like it is to me.

If only POTUS could ever learn from his predecessors

Donald Trump ventured today to two American cities that are suffering intense emotional pain.

He went to Dayton, Ohio and then to El Paso, Texas, communities ripped to pieces by gunmen. One’s motives remain unclear. The other one, the young man who killed 22 people in El Paso, was fueled by hatred of Mexican immigrants. He drove to El Paso from North Texas intent on, as he told police, “killing as many Mexicans as possible.”

Donald Trump ventured to those cities today, ostensibly to lend support and comfort. It remains to be seen whether this president has a hint of compassion anywhere within him.

Indeed, he fired off Twitter messages blasting Democrats, the media, and assorted critics who said he was unwelcome, particularly in El Paso. Why? The Latino community has been subjected to insults and invective from Trump, and millions of Americans believe the shooter was inspired by Trump’s angry rhetoric aimed at the Latino community.

So … he came to Texas after visiting Ohio. Is this man capable of performing his unwritten role as Comforter in Chief?

I doubt it strongly.

I am thinking at this moment of a previous president who was damn good at talking exclusively to those who were in pain. Indeed, there have been many presidents who’ve exhibited that skill. President Reagan showed it when the Challenger exploded on liftoff; President George W. Bush stood among the rubble at Ground Zero and rallied the nation with the bullhorn and his arm draped around the shoulder of a firefighter; President Obama went to the church in Charleston, S.C., where a racist gunman killed nine worshipers and led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace.”

I want to talk about President Clinton. He had his Comforter in Chief moment, too, in April 1995 when the bomber blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The president spoke to us from his heart. He called on our better angels.

I am reminded at this moment of an anecdote that former U.S. Rep. Larry Combest once told me. Combest was a West Texas Republican congressman who opposed Bill Clinton repeatedly on policy matters. He voted to impeach the president in 1998.

However, Combest held a healthy respect for Clinton’s ability to hear you. Combest told me that the president possessed a unique skill of talking to someone as if the two of them were the only people on Earth. Combest said, “I know because he did that with me … in the White House.”

We need that skill now from the president of the United States. We do not need a thin-skinned individual who cannot cease sending Twitter taunts to his foes, or cannot stop dividing this nation along racial and ethnic lines.

Who’s the racist, Mr. President?

A social media friend of mine made a cogent and insightful observation about Donald J. Trump’s behavior and his comments about the state of affairs in certain Democratically run American cities.

Here is what my friend posted on Facebook: Things that make you slap your forehead. Why has Trump attacked the mayors of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta for crime, vermin and housing, but not the mayors of New York, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles? They are all Democrats. What could it be? Look up their photographs, as I did.

What is my friend’s point?

It’s as clear as it gets. The mayors of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta are, um, African-American. The mayors of NYC, Philly and Los Angeles are white.

My friend might be mistaken, though, on whether the president has been stone-cold silent about LA’s problems. I believe his point, though, is well-taken, in that Donald Trump — at best — spends relatively little emotional energy blasting white Democrats while unloading heavily on those Democratic politicians who happen to be people of color.

Is that the act of a racist politician?

Wasn’t it the comedian Arsenio Hall who used to poke fun at those things “that you make you go … hmm”?

This trend, though, ain’t funny.

Presidents must never denigrate communities

Donald John Trump won an election in 2016 to be president of the entire United States of America.

Why, then, can this individual say with a straight face that one of this country’s great cities in effect is not fit for human habitation?

The president has gone after U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represents a largely African-American congressional district in Baltimore, Md.

My memory at times fails me, but I am trying to remember ever hearing a president say the things that Trump has said about Baltimore. The very idea that he would chastise a community and its elected representatives using language such as what he used is reprehensible on its face.

He called Baltimore  a “rat- and rodent-infested” hell hole. No one should live there, he said. Why did he drag this issue into the sewer? Because Rep. Cummings, who has represented Baltimore for 23 years in Congress, has criticized the president’s policies. Trump responded by calling Cummings a “racist.” Of course, he repeated the idiotic mantra that he is the “least racist person” on Earth, which to my ears is the kind of thing that comes from the mouths of people with racist intent.

I simply cannot tolerate a president who denigrates communities in the manner that Donald Trump has done. He has castigated the leadership in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and now Baltimore. What do they have in common? They’re all governed by politicians who disagree with Trump.

They also have something else in common. They all are part of a nation governed by the individual who has heaped insults on them.


Twitter tirades reveal deep, sinister weirdness in POTUS

Mr. President, I feel the need to call you out on your latest Twitter tirade, this one against yet another politician “of color.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings is one of the smartest, most astute and erudite members of Congress. Yet you have decided  yet again to go after this fellow in a Twitter rant that questions the quality of life in his Baltimore congressional district.

Your latest rant — not unlike the one you launched against those four Democratic congresswomen (all of color, of course) — was intensely personal.

Oh, and I also noticed you decided to verbalize some alleged concern about President Obama’s “book deal.” You want the Justice Department to probe that matter … which also happens to involve the nation’s first African-American president? Is that right?

Give me a break!

I don’t object so much that you have decided to use Twitter as a forum to make policy pronouncements. That’s your call. What is troubling, though, is that you do so without informing your staff. You catch them flat-footed, unable to respond cogently on what flies into cyberspace from your (allegedly) smart phone.

You also seem hell bent on castigating individuals such as Chairman Cummings and the four members of The Squad in intensely personal terms.

If you would limit your Twitter use to making positive pronouncements, well, that’s one thing. The good jobs numbers are fine. The budget deal that takes the government shutdown threats off the table for two years also is worth commenting on; one can debate the merits of the deal, certainly. Hey, I’d even accept your use of Twitter to argue for your side of the argument.

This constant haranguing, harassment and hassling of politicians — particularly those who, um, represent ethnic and racial minorities is seriously frightening to me.

You were elected to represent all Americans, Mr. President. Your constant use of Twitter to split the nation along racial, ethnic and partisan lines is disturbing in the extreme.

You vowed to cut back on your Twitter use. You pledged to “unify” the country. You said you would act “more presidential.”

On those key pledges, Mr. President, you are zero for three. You are not making America great again.

So, just who is the politician who ‘hates’ America?

I cannot get past Donald Trump’s assertion that four members of Congress who criticize him and his policies “hate” the country they take an oath to protect and defend against foreign enemies.

Yes, the president takes the oath, too.

Who among them, though, has demonstrated faithfulness to their respective oaths?

Trump has gone to rhetorical war against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. They “hate” the country, Trump said, because of the terrible things they say about the country, its leaders.

But wait a second!

Have any of them sided with a foreign hostile leader in the argument over whether his government attacked our electoral system? Trump has done precisely that, denigrating our professional intelligence agents and analysts who say Russia attacked our system in 2016.

Who among those four lawmakers has said called a murderous tyrant a “smart cookie” and a man with whom he has fallen “in love”? None! Yet the president has said those things about North Korean despot Kim Jong Un, in whom he has placed his trust in a phony pledge to stop developing nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump has exhibited more signs of “hatred” toward the nation by his dismissing of experts’ and by his snuggling up to dictators than anything these lawmakers have said.

The president’s incessant lying insults Americans’ sensibilities at every turn. He accuses one of the lawmakers, Rep. Omar, of “anti-Semitism” and yet he says via Twitter that she is free to return to the country of her birth — which she fled when she was 12 to become a U.S. citizen. The president’s tweets are soaked in racist intent — and yet he has the audacity to level charges of bigotry against other public officeholders?

Donald Trump’s calculated effort to divide the electorate and to appeal only to those who endorse his rhetorical clap-trap is fundamentally more hateful than the criticism he is receiving.

Waiting for that first ‘go back’ insult to surface

If you still do not believe that Donald Trump’s “go back to where you came from” insult to four non-Anglo members of Congress wasn’t racist in nature, I want to share something with you.

Trump told four progressive congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib — to go back to their country of origin. Three of them were born in the United States; the fourth, Omar, was born in Somalia and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen.

I have been writing this blog for about a decade and for the past two-plus years I have been savaging Donald Trump fairly relentlessly. I detest this man’s presence in the White House — which is our house. I have said so repeatedly. He is unfit for the office. He disgraces the presidency. He is ignorant of the government. He flouts the law. Trump’s pre-politics behavior is scandalous on its face.

No one who has taken issue with my view of Donald Trump ever has told me to “go back to where you come from.” Why do you suppose that’s the case? Here’s my hunch: I am of European descent.

I am only two generations removed from southern Europe. My father’s parents came from southern Greece; my mother’s parents hailed from the tiny of portion of Turkey that sits in Europe. They didn’t come here from “sh**hole countries.”

Yes, I have taken my share of criticism. I accept that it goes with the territory. No one, though, has had the gall to suggest I should go back to where I came from, which in my case would be to Portland, Ore., a fine, cosmopolitan city in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America. 

Do you get my point? It is that the president’s tweets about the four congresswomen were inherently racist.

And yet … the vast majority of Republican lawmakers chose to vote against a congressional resolution condemning Donald John Trump for the disgraceful manner in which he has treated these congressional critics.

Does this mean Donald Trump is a racist? Well, you be the judge.