The 20th century’s greatest statesman was so wise on so many fronts, levels and issues.
His view that a nation must remember its past reminds me of something I saw while my wife and I were visiting friends in Germany in 2016.
Our friend took me to what they call in Nuremberg the “The Documentation Center.” What, you might ask, is the Documentation Center?
It is an exhibit that walks visitors through the Nuremberg war crimes trials that commenced shortly after World War II. Axis Powers officials were put on trial for their crimes against humanity. You know, The Holocaust … for example!
Our friend Martin told me straight up that Germany does not hide its past. The descendants of that terrible Nazi regime confront the ugliness of that era head on, he said. “We aren’t proud of it,” he told me. However, they put it all on full display for the world to see.
I came away from the exhibit moved and shaken at many levels by what I read and saw.
Five years later, the debate in this country centers on “critical race theory.” It speaks to the enslavement of human beings by other human beings. It poses fundamentally sound questions about the United States today remains a racist country.
These are not specious questions. They are legitimate. They deserve to be studied and discussed in our classrooms, in our dining rooms, in our living rooms.
A friend of mine in Amarillo posted a question on Facebook that wonders whether we should care about what pro football, hockey, baseball, soccer and basketball players think about police brutality.
I told him “I do” care. A lot.
Pro athletes are protesting the shooting of a young black man in Kenosha, Wis., who police shot at seven times, hitting him with four rounds in the back. The young man, Jacob Blake, is paralyzed; it might be permanent paralysis.
Meanwhile, a white teenager allegedly killed two protesters who were marching for justice in the earlier mentioned case. He walked past police officers with an assault rifle. He was allowed to go home that night. He surrendered the next day. I won’t mention the alleged shooter’s name because I don’t want to give him any more publicity than he deserves.
The first incident involved a man who was fleeing the cops. He had turned his back on them. They shot him with a Taser, then with a pistol. The other one involved a young parading down the street brandishing a rifle, yet no police officer thought to question him.
Again, the first man is black; the second man is white.
That is why the pro athletes are upset. It is why they are boycotting the games they are supposed to play.
It also is why their voices are worth hearing and heeding as they seek justice in an unjust world.
I tried for all I was worth to avoid hanging the racist label on Donald J. Trump.
This effort came in the wake of the individual’s history of hateful rhetoric aimed at African-Americans, Latinos and even Asians.
Trump has pushed me over the proverbial cliff with his latest birther non-response to questions that have arisen regarding U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.
Trump is a racist. There. I’ve said it. I also mean it.
Trump was given a chance yet again this past weekend to disavow the hideous lie that the first African-American/South Asian to run as a major-party vice-presidential candidate is not qualified because of her citizenship. He did not say what he should have said, which was: Of course she’s qualified and I welcome her to the campaign.
Trump danced around the question and said it was beyond his scope to comment. Ridiculous!
Trump fomented the birther lie about President Obama, the first black president of the United States. Now he’s doing the same thing to Sen. Harris. Obama was born in Honolulu; Harris was born in Oakland, Calif. They both are U.S. citizens. The discussion should end. The president, though, keeps it alive by refusing the declare categorically that this rumor is a racist rant.
Instead, Donald Trump takes his place among the racists.
Donald J. Trump just cannot bring himself to acknowledge what a majority of American southerners now admit … that the Confederate flag symbolizes racism.
Oh, no. Trump declares the flag is a symbol of “Southern history.” Well, yeah. It is that. The history, though, includes the Civil War. I know Trump has heard of it.
The war began when the Confederate States of America decided it wanted to form a new country. To do so it had to separate from the United States of America. Then the rebels fired on the Union garrison in Charleston, S.C. harbor. The war was on!
The conflict killed more than 600,000 Americans. Yes, I include the Confederate forces as “Americans,” even though they committed a treasonous act by taking up arms against the federal government.
Why did they go to war? Because their states wanted to keep human beings enslaved. They wanted the right to “own” humans as property. It’s been referred to euphemistically as a “states rights” issue. It is no such thing. The CSA wanted to retain the right to oppress human beings.
They fought the Union forces under the Confederate flag that Donald Trump — the man who has no understanding of history and its complexities — says represents “Southern history.”
The Confederate flag well might symbolize “history” to many Americans. To many others it represents hatred, oppression and enslavement. It is no coincidence that contemporary hate groups — the KKK, instance — flies the Confederate flag while spewing hate speech aimed at African-Americans.
Donald J. “Racist in Chief” Trump managed to step into a pile of dog doo yet again, tried to yank it out of the stinking pile, but it was too late … I venture to say.
Trump thought it would be clever to retweet a video of a supporter of his yelling “white power!”
Then he pulled it down. Deleted it as if it never happened.
As the saying goes, oops. I am not the first one to tell Trump this, but it happened. It’s out there. That makes social media as much of a curse as it is a blessing. You cannot unhonk the ol’ horn, Mr. POTUS.
Trump and his Trumpkin Corps say he didn’t see the video. He doesn’t know the guy. If it’s true that he didn’t see it, then how does it go out on his Twitter feed where it is seen by his millions of followers?
I am seeing this drama unfold from some distance, but given my history with Amarillo, Texas, it isn’t as far as many other communities on which commented regarding similar issues.
A local lawyer, Jesse Quackenbush, wants to open a Mexican food restaurant called Big Beaners. It has, um, drawn considerable opposition within the community. Why? The term “beaners” is perceived by many Latinos to be an ethnic slur. Some of us Anglos see it that way, too.
Quackenbush, known for his feisty and occasionally combative nature, isn’t backing down. He wants to open the joint in early July; I understand he pushed the opening date back a few days.
He said he isn’t going to change the name because he already has ordered restaurant supplies — napkins, cups, plates and such — with the name Big Beaners inscribed on them.
This story, it seems to me, is a direct result of the rising public awareness of racial and ethnic sensitivity that has been pushed to the front of our consciousness. I haven’t spoken to Jesse Quackenbush about this, although I do understand he is digging against the racism allegation.
I just would suggest that the term “beaners” is a term that has racist connotations to many of us who hear it. I wish he would rename the restaurant he intends to open.
We return to Amarillo on occasion to see family and friends. I guess I should just acknowledge that I won’t darken his door as long as the establish carries a name that I find offensive.
Bubba Wallace quite suddenly has become NASCAR’s most visible driver. He is the only top-tier African-American driver in the racing circuit.
It was thought for a few days that someone had hung a noose in his garage at the track in Talledaga, Ala., spurring outrage among drivers, their owners, many fans and politicians. Then we hear from the FBI that the noose had been in the garage since October 2019, well before Wallace and his crew took up space in the garage stall.
He had made his mark by calling for the removal of Confederate flags at NASCAR events. NASCAR heard him and took down the flags, which themselves in the eyes of many of us are symbols of hate, oppression and treason.
No hate crime has been committed, said the FBI.
NASCAR showed its love and respect for Wallace prior to the race the other day in Talledaga. Drivers and their crews escorted Wallace’s No. 43 car to the front of the line. The race started and Wallace led several laps before finishing in 14th place.
Wallace said he won’t be silenced by any threats. This particular threat apparently has been deemed a non-starter. The outcome of the FBI probe into what they found in that garage stall doesn’t diminish the message that a single driver sought to deliver about his sport. Yes, it was born in the South. Yes, too, the Confederate flag has been a key symbol at NASCAR events. Bubba Wallace simply has told us what many of us have known all along, that the symbol represents a dark and evil chapter in our nation’s history.
The young man deserves the love that has poured forth from his colleagues and from fans around the country.
So much for the “heritage” and “history” argument for flying the Confederate flag.
Let’s consider “hate” as well, shall we?
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only African-American driver among the top tier of drivers in the popular sport, recently led the call for NASCAR to remove the Confederate flag from its events. NASCAR listened and issued an order banning the flag that is the symbol of the Confederacy, the group of states that seceded from the Union in 1861 and went to war with the U.S. of A. They went to war because they wanted to preserve states’ rights to sanction the enslavement of human beings.
Not all of NASCAR’s base of fans is happy with the removal of the flag. They disagree that it symbolizes racism, that it merely reflects people’s respect for their “heritage” and the “history” of the nation.
Well, what do you suppose happened over the weekend?
Someone got into Wallace’s garage at a Southern track and left a noose. Hmm. Heritage and history … my a**!
You know what the noose represents. It represents hate in a raw, despicable form.
Let’s quit the crap about the Confederate flag symbolic importance to people’s heritage and the nation’s history. The flag represents a disgraceful chapter in America’s story.
Donald J. “Divider in Chief” Trump is going to make a splash — bigly! — when he resumes active campaigning for re-election.
He’s going to show up in Tulsa, Okla., on Juneteenth of all days. That’s June 19, the day African-Americans received word in 1865 that they had been freed from enslavement.
But … here’s the kick in the gut. Tulsa is the place where in May 1921 white supremacists massacred African-Americans in what became known as the nation’s most hideous racial confrontation.
It was far more than a riot. It was a full-scale assault on the black community in that city. It killed 36 people, 26 of whom were black.
And this is the place where Donald Trump wants to re-start his re-election campaign, which has been all but suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Astonishing, man! And reprehensible. Also despicable. I’ll throw in repulsive to boot!
I don’t buy the notion that Trump is totally ignorant of U.S. history or what Juneteenth means to African-Americans or what Tulsa means to those who abhor racial violence. Instead, I am going to endorse the notion put forth by former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who said recently that Trump is the first president in Mattis’s memory who doesn’t seek to unify the nation, that he works deliberately to divide it.
As I watch Trump re-start his campaign, I will do so with utter disgust that he would deliberately inflame tensions that already are smoldering from the anger created by the death of George Floyd, who was suffocated while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Gen. Mattis appears to be so correct, that this president has no interest in unifying the country.
Donald Trump’s response to the global pandemic has been chronicled thoroughly as a disaster, pure and simple.
Trump fluffed the initial response by dawdling and dismissing the COVID-19 threat. Now look at the toll just in the U.S. of A. More than 100,000 dead; more than 1 million sickened. Trump keeps yapping that he’s done better than anyone else on Earth.
It’s crap, man!
Now comes the response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minn. A police officer choked Floyd to death by pushing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck. Three other officers stood by. They said nothing. They watched as Floyd cried out, calling for his mother, begging for his life. All four were fired immediately by the police department. The now-former cop who killed Floyd is charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
What has been Donald Trump’s response to the latest crisis to dominate media coverage? Has he called for a national conversation on the way police treat African-Americans? Has he said anything more than a perfunctory expression of sadness at the death of a man at the hands of rogue cops? No.
He has called for police to get tough. He said he is considering bringing the full weight of the military to bear in quelling the riots that have erupted in cities throughout the land. Think of that for just a moment … good grief!
Trump has castigated governors for being “weak” in their response to this crisis.
The nation needs someone who can speak with calm. With firm kindness. With an understanding of the cause of the crisis along with how to respond to it.
Donald Trump’s one-dimensional reaction to the national turmoil that has erupted provides just another example of how unsuited he is for the job he inherited.