Tag Archives: racism

Espy vs. Hyde-Smith: Race still matters . . . sadly

I do wish this weren’t the case, but race still matters in determining our elected leadership in many of our states.

I fear we’re going to see an example of it at the end of today when they count the ballots in Mississippi, a state long held up as an example where bigotry and racism run rampant.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is running for election to a seat to which she was appointed. The Republican is facing Democrat Mike Espy, a former agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a runoff election, with Hyde-Smith and Espy competing as the top two finishers in an open contest featuring candidates from both major parties.

It doesn’t look good for Espy at this moment. Why? Well, Espy is an African-American candidate. He also is known as a moderate Democrat, a thoughtful fellow with extensive government experience.

Hyde-Smith has been caught in a number of troubling incidents. She said just a few weeks ago that she would be on the front row if she were invited to a “public hanging.” Many substituted the term “hanging” with “lynching,” which of course sounds the siren to African-Americans who know what that entails.

She then offered one of those idiotic non-apologies, saying she is sorry to “anyone who was offended” by her remarks. She also had her picture taken in 2014 wearing a Confederate cap, packing a rifle under a caption that extolled the Confederacy’s glowing role in state history.

Sheesh, man!

Mississippi is a deeply Republican state. Espy is hoping to capture lightning with a record African-American turnout today, while winning roughly a quarter of the white vote. Will it happen? I hope it does.

Here, though, is one more kick in the gut: The third-place finisher in that earlier election was a Donald Trump sycophant, Chris McDaniel; most of the votes that McDaniel got are damn near a cinch to end up in Hyde-Smith’s column at day’s end.

Yes, we should all should be interested in this race, even though it’s down yonder in Mississippi. The winner will help write national laws that affect all of us.

Thus, I am pulling for Mike Espy.

Goodbye, AG Sessions … and, yes, good riddance

I feel the need to set the record straight about former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

I have spent some time commenting positively about on this blog for his decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe into the Donald Trump presidential campaign. He faced a clear conflict of interest when he took the job as AG because of his campaign role as a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump.

He was involved at some level with the Russians who made contact with the campaign. There were questions about an investigation. Sessions had to recuse himself because of the conflict of interest.

I applauded him for that singular act.

However, he shouldn’t have been selected AG in the first place. The man “earned” the nomination because he was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump’s candidacy.

Prior to his becoming a senator, though, Sessions took on a serious blot on his public service record.

He served as a U.S. attorney in Alabama. President Reagan nominated him in 1986 to a federal judgeship. Then questions surfaced about Sessions’s comments regarding the Ku Klux Klan. Witnesses testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Sessions reportedly had given KKK members a pass until he learned that they “smoked pot.” Four Justice Department lawyers testified they heard Sessions make racist remarks.

The committee eventually voted 10-8 against his nomination. It went to the full Senate for a vote and senators rejected Sessions for the federal bench.

What did he do then? He ran for the Senate in 1996 — and won! He served in the Senate for 20 years until Trump tapped him to lead the Justice Department. He didn’t stand out during his Senate years. Sessions, though, did manage to get embraced by Trump.

Am I glad he’s gone from the Justice Department? Yes and no. I am unhappy that his resignation now clears the decks for Trump to nominate someone who endorses his view about Mueller’s investigation.

Overall, though, I won’t shed a tear that he’s gone. His pre-Senate history was a deal breaker from the get-go.

Strange verb sets off ‘dog whistles’

I’ll admit that I don’t know Ron DeSantis from the man in the moon.

He is the newly nominated Republican candidate for Florida governor. He is running this fall against Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum.

OK, it has gotten a bit complicated.

DeSantis — a devotee of Donald J. Trump — just happened to say that Florida voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing Gillum as the state’s next governor.

Here it comes: Gillum is African-American. DeSantis’s use of the word “monkey” in a curious verb form has a good many folks wondering about the potential racial intent of using such a word regarding an African-American political opponent.

This particular word has gotten politicians and assorted public officials in trouble over many years. I need not chronicle for you why African-Americans — as well as many other Americans, such as me — find it at minimum careless.

At worst it reveals a hideous side of those who use such a term when referencing someone who happens to be a racial minority.

According to MSN.com: In a statement, Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for Mr. DeSantis, rejected the idea that the candidate’s comments had a racial undertone.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses,” Mr. Lawson said. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”

OK, a prepared statement from a political flack isn’t good enough. We need to hear from Rich DeSantis. In person. Live and in real time.

No ‘guarantee’? So, what is the problem?

I feel the need to give White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders the benefit of the doubt on her latest skirmish with the press corps/”enemy of the people.”

She was pressed this week about whether she could “guarantee” that there would be no tape recordings of Donald J. Trump using the n-word in conversation.

Sanders said she couldn’t “guarantee” such a thing. Some in the media have gone a bit catatonic in their response to what I thought was a realistic answer. They have wondered how or why she couldn’t — or wouldn’t — offer a direct answer to a direct question.

Consider a couple of factors here.

First, as press secretary, Sanders very well might not know every tiny detail of every little occurrence within the West Wing.

Second, she serves in a presidential administration led by a pathological liar. Donald Trump cannot tell the truth to anyone, or so it appears, at least to chumps like me. I am quite certain Sanders didn’t intend to question the president’s veracity by making her “no guarantee” declaration.

Sure, Trump denies ever using the n-word. He says it’s not in his vocabulary. Do you believe him? I … do … not!

However, her answer sounded to my ears to be about the most honest response she has offered while speaking for the president.

Do we need tape recordings to prove racist view?

Omarosa Manigault Newman has dropped a few stools in the punch bowl regarding her former boss and (apparently) former friend, Donald John Trump.

She says she has heard tape recordings of the future president using the n-word to describe “Celebrity Apprentice” contestants. He account has been backed up by illusionist Penn Gillette, who says he heard Trump say it in the moment.

She’s written a book about her time as a special White House assistant, a post she left when chief of staff John Kelly fired her. Newman recorded the termination that occurred in the Situation Room, which is a serious breach of national security protocol. That, however, is a whole other story.

But I have to ask: Do we really need to hear these recordings to verify what has been virtually obvious? I mean, consider the following.

  • Trump fomented the lie about our first African American president’s place of birth.
  • He also challenged Barack Obama’s academic credentials that admitted him to Harvard Law.
  • Trump denigrates the intelligence of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN News anchor Don Lemon and pro basketball superstar LeBron James … all prominent African American public figures.
  • The president calls NFL football players protesting police brutality — the players are virtually all black — “sons of bitches.”
  • And all the while, he declines to issue a categorical condemnation of white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis.

Does the president refer to white critics as being less than intelligent? Why in the world did he continue to promote the defamatory lie that questioned President Obama’s constitutional right to seek the presidency? And why can’t the president bring himself to condemn hate groups such as the Klan exclusively? He recently watered down such “condemnation” with that sterile “all types of racism” qualifier.

Again, I ask: Do we really need to hear these recordings to validate what many millions of Americans — including me — believe about the man who’s been elected president of the United States of America?

This individual is a racist.

Trump condemns ‘all types of racism’?

Donald John “Equivocator in Chief” Trump this morning issued a statement that condemned racism.

Not only that, the president chose to condemn “all types of racism.” I have been stewing over that qualifier for a good bit of the day and I have decided that Trump chose that language in his tweet for the same reason he chooses to suggest that nations other than Russia are attacking our electoral system.

Do you remember when he said in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., riot how there was blame to go around to “all sides”? Do you also recall him saying after the riot between white supremacists and those who oppose them that there were “very fine people … on both sides”?

You see, the president who portrays himself as the toughest guy on the block cannot deal forthrightly with those we all know are evil. He chooses to spread the blame around and, thus, lessen the impact of his remarks.

After that hideous press conference in Helsinki in June when he had the chance to confront Vladimir Putin over the Russian attack on our 2016 election, he had to issue a “clarification” of what he said. He stated initially that he didn’t know why Russia “would” interfere. Then the next day he changed the word “would” to “wouldn’t,” but then waffled by suggesting that other nations were doing it, too.

Now he condemns “all types of racism” on this weekend where the nation will commemorate the tragic riot that exploded in Charlottesville one year ago.

I’ll be candid. The only form of racism worthy of condemnation in this context is the type of the hatred against African Americans and other ethnic and religious minorities by groups such as the KKK, the neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacists. This discussion doesn’t include other “types of racism.”

So, when the president waters down his condemnation first by offering it in a sterile Twitter message and then adding “all types of racism” suggests to me that he doesn’t really condemn the kind of racism that is under discussion.

We are referring, Mr. President, only to Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

POTUS condemns ‘all types of racism’

The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!

There it is. Right there is Donald J. Trump’s statement condemning racism in the United States.

OK. What do we make of this? Is the statement going to be the president’s final word on the subject? It came, of course, via Twitter. He flashed it out there from his vacation home in New Jersey.

I so want to believe this is enough. I want to feel assured that Donald Trump won’t ever utter another insensitive statement, such as ridiculing foes who happen to be African-American by denigrating their intelligence. To black Americans, that represents the “mother of all dog whistles,” given that racists too often question the intelligence of African-Americans.

There, of course, is so much more the president can say about racism. He can fill in many blanks, telling us how we should deal with hate groups, those who commit hate crimes, those who afflict victims solely because of their race.

Moreover, he could say these things on live television. He could speak to us from the Oval Office. He could look us in the eye, enabling us to judge the sincerity by watching how he spells out he intends to “condemn all types of racism.”

This weekend we’re going to commemorate the year since the Charlottesville, Va., riot that killed a young counter protester. Klansmen, Nazis and other white supremacists marched to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

He spoke of “very fine people … on both sides” of that tragic disturbance.

Just maybe the president could find it within himself to acknowledge that he made a grievous error by lifting the hate groups to the same moral standing of those who protested against them.

That would tell me a great deal more about his commitment to battling racism than a sterile tweet.

Why now do we talk about POTUS and racial intolerance?

I came into this world more than 68 years ago. My first memory of anything takes me back to when I was around 3 years of age.

Over many of the next nearly seven decades I have been fairly politically dialed in. I have had a great interest in politics and public policy. I was able to shake Bobby Kennedy’s hand in May 1968, a week before he died at the hands of an assassin. I returned from the Army in 1970 and became a college campus volunteer for George McGovern’s failed campaign in 1972. I have been able to cover two national presidential political conventions.

Thus, I must declare that this time in our history — during the presidency of Donald John Trump — is the first time I can recall such widespread discussion of whether the president of the United States is friendly to white supremacist hate groups.

This upcoming weekend will mark the first year since the riot exploded in Charlottesville, Va., the incident that started with white supremacists protested the removal from a public park of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

It got ugly. Counter protesters challenged the haters. A young woman died when she was run over in the melee; a young man associated with the hate groups has been charged with murder.

Donald Trump has refused to condemn the white supremacists singularly. He has been virtually silent about the Klan and the neo-Nazis.

I was born during the Truman years. My first presidential memory is of Dwight Eisenhower. Every single president from Ike’s era has not been the subject of this kind of discussion.

Until now. Trump has broken the mold. He is the first president in my lengthy memory who continues to be associated in the minds of many Americans with those who espouse the kind of violence that the rest of us condemn with a full-throated roar.

We are witnessing a scary precedent coming from an equally scary president.

So … sad.

Is Donald Trump a racist? Examine the ‘evidence’

A reader of High Plains Blogger questioned an assertion I made about what I perceive to be Donald J. Trump’s racist tendencies.

This reader said there is “no evidence” of racist intent by the president of the United States.

Hmm. Let’s look at what I consider to be “evidence” of such malevolence from Trump.

  • Starting in 2011, Trump began questioning the birth of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. He continued the lie even after saying that the president “was born in the United States.”
  • Earlier, he actually questioned whether Obama, then a U.S. senator, qualified academically for entrance into Columbia University and Harvard Law. Obama, of course, is the first African-American ever elected to the presidency.
  • Trump’s real estate properties have been subject to lawsuits from residents who have contended racial bias against them.
  • In 2017, Trump attached moral equivalence between the white supremacists/Nazis/Klansmen and those who protested against them in Charlottesville, Va. He said there were “fine people … on both sides” of the dispute.
  • He has called U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a black member of Congress from California, a “low IQ person.”
  • He has called African-American football players “sons of bit****” because they kneel during the playing of the National Anthem at football games. He accuses them of disrespecting the military and the flag while they are protesting police policies against black citizens.
  • He calls Don Lemon, the CNN news anchor, “the dumbest man on television.” Lemon also is black.
  • He disparages pro basketball superstar LeBron James’s intelligence as well — after James announces the opening of a school in his hometown for at-risk children. LeBron James also is African-American.

There is “evidence,” therefore, of the president’s racist motivations.

It is disgusting and disgraceful on its face. Does he question the intelligence of white opponents? Why would he question the academic credentials of a future black politician who, by the way, was elected president of the Harvard Law Review while he was studying for his law degree?

And how does Donald Trump earn such full-throated praise in the aftermath of his hideous Charlottesville comments from the likes of Ku Klux Klan grand dragon David Duke?

All of this also provides ample evidence that the president is a racist. Pure and simple.

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.