Reflections of a New Blogger (Part Two)

 

 

Coming up on two months now and I have new observations:

 

  1. Still haven’t figured out a way to stop obsessing about the stats. I can instantly see how many people are viewing each post, whether they are exploring and reading other posts while visiting my blog, which ones connect and those that don’t. I suppose it could lead to my tailoring my posts to give the public what they want to read but instead it clarifies what I always suspected in that I pretty much write about what I feel like writing about which leads to the second point.

“Life, my ass, motherfucker! This is a business, and you ain’t too far gone to see that yet! I told you before, you’re not packin’ them in like you used to. No one digs your music but yourself.” Billy Sparks – Purple Rain

Billy Sparks

  1. I’m writing a particular thing that to this point almost nobody digs but me. It’s an online book, “The History of American (White) Exceptionalism” and I’m posting approximately one chapter a week, according to the stats, almost nobody is reading it. It’s long, it requires a lot of research, so far its about history which some people find boring. I’ve seen data about blog length and at what point readers lose interest, but I write on. I’ve learned so much about American history and the continuing narrative about how it was built literally on the backs of slave labor and indentured servants. While slavery officially ended after the Civil War, there has been something in its place ever since then to guarantee a perpetual lower class of minorities and poor whites to provide an economic advantage for the country and to enrich the already wealthy. Whether it was the Black Codes, Jim Crow or the current system of redistricting, gerrymandering and voter suppression. The system is rigged and people need to know. I will continue to write this until it’s conclusion in about 14 more chapters because I am learning so much. I’ve found that for every Civil Rights Act (of which there were many) or “Brown vs. The Board of Education” or Voting Rights Act, there has been a Supreme Court or Congress that whittled away all these rights until their impact was minimal. When I’m finished I’ll edit it and put it out in book form, even if self-published because I’m stubborn like that.
  2. People that think they’re smart, myself included, tend to think people will be swayed by their brilliance when what they’re looking for is a personal connection. I typically write about stuff and don’t always write about me hence the “Enigma” in the blog name. I’m working on that I promise. The things that have resonated the most were ones that were less facts and more feelings. I hear you.
  3. Send in the clowns. In some of my blog posts, I’m saying some fairly provocative things yet no one has disagreed… not once. On my Facebook page, I have trolls I can count on to liven up the discussion but they haven’t found their way to my blog. I encourage opposing views; it may sharpen my argument or I might even change my view. Test me in this!

That’s all for now. I’m thankful for those who’ve given tremendous amounts of support and encouragement.

Michelle Bachman: On a Mission From God!

Preface: This was written four years ago but is still highly relevant. Except for some specific references you could substitute several of the Republican “leaders” trying to appeal to their Evangelical base by telling them what they believe they want to hear.

 

A friend and former high school classmate responded to an article I posted about Michelle Bachman titled, “Michelle Bachman Blames God For 9-11 And Benghazi”. http://samuel-warde.com/2013/05/michelle-bachmann-blames-god-for-9-11-and-benghazi/  He inquired if I thought it noble that she and her family provided foster care to children in need? He asked if I thought she was a woman of faith. He wondered if I thought a person of faith had to remain silent about their faith because they decided to become public servants. Does it mandate and “establish” a religion for the constituency just because they are faithful witnesses to their beliefs? He noted his thoughts that much criticism of her could be due to out of context statements and misinterpretation of her positions.

Because I was time constrained, I initially gave her credit for assisting children in need and promised to respond fully later which is now. I’ll add that my friend and I both grew up in Minnesota, I was about 10 miles from the District she represents and came from a completely different demographic. I’m not sure where my friend grew up relative to the district but we each would have at least a vague concept regarding the District she covers.

I’ll respond to one of the last questions first. Michelle Bachman does get misrepresented in the media, statements are exaggerated and positions unfairly characterized as is likely true of every politician with a national profile. I think it amusing but unfair to characterize her as crazy with a “glazed look” because she was looking in the wrong camera in her infamous Tea Party Response speech following a State of The Union speech delivered by the President. I try to limit my criticisms to her actual views and things that truly reflect on her character as opposed to those things with no meaning. I have no sympathy for her though because she goes out of her way to mischaracterize others publicly without concern for the truth or the harm she could cause. She has repeatedly called the President “anti-American” with some half-hearted denials between attacks. She’s associated people with the “Muslim Brotherhood” with no evidence and was denounced by her party for doing so. She makes statements on subjects like global warming and carbon dioxide levels that demonstrate either a lack of the mental capacity to hold public office or a willingness to boldly lie to gain a political advantage. She has repeatedly stated that because carbon dioxide occurs in nature, it cannot be harmful. All those that have died from carbon dioxide poisoning (which is rarer and different than carbon monoxide like released in a car exhaust) will be happy to know they must be still alive.

Michele-Bachmann1

The first question related to her providing foster care for children. She and her husband have 5 children and have provided short-term care ranging from a few months to a couple years for 23 other children, all teenage girls for which she was paid by the State of Minnesota. Her home was legally classified as a treatment home. The Christian Counseling Center she now operates with her husband receives significant payments from the State and Federal government and has received several Federal grants. My willingness to credit her for her altruism is diminished somewhat by the fact it was a business. I know nothing about the profitability or whether or not she made personal contributions to provide care. I also wonder about what she might be teaching those girls given her penchant to at minimum exaggerate on topics and at worst lie and indoctrinate these girls with false beliefs.

I am not in a position to question her faith or that of anyone else. When she began her Presidential campaign she withdrew from the church she belonged to on paper (while not attending for over two years) and joined a new church closer to home. There are those who question some of her influences but I thought little of the attempt to criticize President Obama because of his relationship with others and won’t attack Michelle Bachman in that manner.

My title which includes the phrase, “On a Mission from God” was not chosen randomly but reflects something she often stated that “God then called me to run” for her House seat in 2006 and of the 3 day fast she and her husband had to “confirm it”. Now I’m all for fasting and praying, but submit that it is possible to draw a wrong conclusion about what one believes they are called by God to do. I believe there are tests that can help reveal whether something is truly God’s will. Is it consistent with His word would be among the primary ones and in my opinion many of the positions she takes have no foundation in the bible or any religion I’m aware of and therefore her statements whether she believes them or not do not appear to be faith-based but much more practical in appealing to a rabid base. Rather than refusing to cast the first stone she comes with an arsenal of attacks without factual basis which I will continue to point out whenever they occur.

Michele_Bachmann_by_Gage_Skidmore_5

To my friend, I would say that I actually weed out attacks on her that are without merit and don’t pass them along. There is no need to make up stuff about Michelle Bachman when the truth will suffice. I confess that I consider her representing a portion of my home state a blot on my record and will do what I can to keep the electorate informed of the facts regarding Michelle Bachman. I will celebrate in 2014 when she’s gone.

I don’t want to gloss over his other questions. A constituent is not bound by the faith of their elected official but neither should that official attempt to mandate that their constituents follow their faith. Michelle has what she claims are faith-based views on abortion and same-sex marriage yet she attempts to persecute those who believe or act differently than what her faith tells her. I don’t think it’s for her to judge (lest she be judged) and what her faith dictates she do need not be legislated to cover the rest of us. A politician can honor their faith and serve in government, I think she’s doing a particularly bad job of it and her faith seems to be quite changeable. A person of faith need not be silent, but to profess loudly your faith while advocating faithless policies just seems hypocritical.

 

 

Would You Buy a New Car From These People?

Brakes are important. One of the things one might reasonably expect when buying a new car is that the brakes work. My daughter bought a new 2016 Jeep Compass from Fields Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Sanford in Florida. She was excited at the time of the purchase but the thrill has long been gone. Within a couple weeks, the Automatic Braking System warning light and Traction Control light started coming on intermittently. She took the car back to the dealership where they serviced the car, declared it “fixed” and gave the car back to her. Not only did the lights come back on but she experienced problems actually braking which fortunately didn’t result in an accident. She returned the car to the dealership who kept the car for a week this time, partially according to one of the service tech’s because they had to order “over 2,000 of the same part” to meet demand. My daughter asked if there were a recall on the vehicle and they immediately replied no. Another tech later denied any order of 2,ooo parts. When reviewing the service record of the car she found the car had been serviced for the same problem with 7 miles on the odometer, before she bought the car.

2016 Jeep Compass

After they “fixed” her Jeep the third time, she picked up her Jeep after work when the service department was closed and found both lights were still on. When she called them early the next morning they indicated “there were no more loaner vehicles available to her” including the one she had dropped off the night before. After several phone calls, they ultimately picked up her Jeep at work, delivering her the same loaner they previously indicated wasn’t available. After another attempt to fix the vehicle they returned it indicating because the lights weren’t on at the time they test drove it, they had “cured the problem”. The lights did come back on and another braking failure occurred, thankfully again no accident.

lights in car

My daughter inquired of the dealership about the Florida “Lemon Law” and they directed her to an employee with alleged decision making authority without informing her of the process which involves notifying the manufactured by registered or certified mail of a demand to fix the car within a specific timeframe.

Lauren and Jordin smiling

Up to this point, Fields Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Sanford has been condescending to my daughter. Been unconcerned about the life-threatening possibilities that could affect my daughter and her most frequent passenger her three-year-old daughter. They’ve criticized her attitude, continually directed her calls to voice mail instead of connecting her to a person and what is the biggest concern, FAILED TO FIX THE JEEP!

jordin mad

If this is the way Fields Auto Group and its subsidiaries do business, I encourage all of you to consider whether or not to do business with them. Please forward, share, tweet and re-tweet, or re-blog this post until the vehicle is actually fixed, replaced or refunded in full. Contact them on Facebook  or Twitter You might also call their corporate sales office at (800)-625-6518 and ask why don’t they service the cars they sell? I Googled “Jeep Compass Traction Control Light” and found examples of people with the same complaint since 2007. Thanks in advance for your help in letting people know!

The History of American (White) Exceptionalism: Chapter Eleven

World War 1

 

White Exceptionalism was not unique to America. During World War One, it was on full display throughout the world. It is impossible to understand the impact of the war on minorities in America without knowing the thought process of America and European countries in the rest of the world. First the world:

World War One pitted the Allies (Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan and the United States) against the Central Powers (Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Austria-Hungary). This doesn’t include troops from Canada, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Australia and others. It also doesn’t show how European “colonies” were stripped of their resources and people to fight on both sides of the war. France for example, had a small population in comparison to Germany. It recruited over 200,000 people from its colonies to work in war industries and over 500,000 fought on its behalf along the Western Front wearing French Uniforms. France “recruited” soldiers from Madagascar, Indochina, and other West African colonies. More often recruitment meant “conscription” meaning France was able to take able-bodied men and force them to enlist in a war not their own. Between 1915 and 1916 out of 53,000 recruits from West Africa, only 7,000 were volunteers. When Britain recruited Indian troops, they only accepted the upper-level castes, propagating prejudice even as they selected those that would fight and die on their behalf.

On the other side, Germans tried to convince captured Muslim soldiers to resist their colonial masters. They were allied with the Ottoman Empire and the Sultan had asked all Muslims to fight Ottomans enemies. The “Half moon” concentration camp was designed to use propaganda efforts to sway Muslims. Their efforts mostly failed but they made a serious effort. It may have influenced in part the failure of the Ottomans to agree to the post-war accords and they continued fighting until they gained their own independence in 1923 as the state of Turkey. The service of Africans, Indians, Arabs and Polynesians in the war could be described as serving the needs of Europeans and Americans when needed. And then neglected after the war was won. In France and England, the foreign workers recruited to those countries to aid in fighting the war were now seen as competition for scarce jobs. Where once welcomed they were  discriminated against and forced into substandard housing areas. Ghettos were common in Europe long before America created theirs.

America changed greatly as a result of World War One. In civilian life, a shortage of white males created opportunities for women in factories and when they weren’t enough, the industrial north recruited Southern blacks to work in factories as well. This triggered the great migration which changed the landscape of the nation. Southern blacks were suffering the oppression of Jim Crow and having little or no ability to vote to make legal change. Comparing the job opportunities in the North and West to their problems in the South compounded with a boll weevil infestation destroying Southern crops made leaving the obvious choice for many. Black and Hispanic women were still relegated to primarily domestic work. Men however, were given access to higher paying jobs that transformed families and lives. Progress was dictated by need and not enlightenment.

On the battlefield, in April 1917, President Wilson stated, “The world must be made safe for democracy,”  framing the war effort as a crusade to secure the rights of democracy and self-determination on a global scale.

This pronouncement was met different ways in the black community. Many saw an opportunity to bring about true democracy in the US. The black press challenged America to achieve true equality at home as they fought for freedom from oppression abroad. Many black Americans saw their chance to demonstrate patriotism in the hopes it would be rewarded after the war. Others were either apathetic and had no fervor for a war they perceived to be not their own. Some like A. Phillip Randolph vocally opposed the war and encouraged blacks to resist which got them monitored by the Federal government.

Throughout the war, most blacks were relegated to segregated units. Most served in behind the lines support efforts but several units did serve at the front lines including the 369th Infantry Regiment known as “Harlem’s Hellfighters” which had 171 members receive the Legion of Merit. Corporal Freddie Stowers of the 371st Infantry Regiment was nominated for the Medal of Honor for bravery while being killed in action but his recommendation was “lost” only to be finally approved 73 years after he was killed.

When the war ended and the troops returned home the promises made to the black soldiers went mostly unfulfilled. In Russia, their equivalent of organized labor staged a revolution which American leaders greatly feared would spread. Competition for jobs not that the white men were home contributed to race riots across the country along with the growing resistance to Jim Crow by those who had fought a war to achieve freedoms abroad they didn’t find when returning home. Military service had exposed hundreds of thousands of black soldiers, even while serving in segregated units, to more accepting cultures than the place they called home.

Much change was initiated as a result of America’s participation in World War One. For all the differences in the country. The constant was that was minorities in America would be used and given opportunity when needed, and when the need was diminished so were their rights.

What Donald Trump Understands

There is a long list of things that Donald Trump does not understand. The list is long and normally his ignorance would have seen him removed from consideration for the Republican nomination for President. But the one thing he does understand has proven to be enough to attract enough of the Republican base that he steamrolled 16 other candidates to finish on top and now has a chance to become our next President. To those who are supporting Donald Trump, you know the following:

 

  1. Donald Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about foreign policy. He has no beliefs you can count on. Everything he’s said regarding Mexico, Muslims, China and the few other countries he can name, is contradicted by something else he’s said on the same subjects. He says he is anti -war, yet he has a secret plan to destroy Isis which has no specific base of operations and is spread out amongst nations all over the world, mostly living in major cities intermingled with the civilian population. Ask him how much his wall will cost? How will he make Mexico pay for it? You know he has no plan but you don’t care.
  2. You know Trump has little respect for women. He cares little about them besides their appearance. He calls them “dogs” and rates their bodies. He calls out Hillary for allegedly “enabling” Bill Clinton yet you ignore that he himself is a serial cheater. He want’s credit for giving one of his wives a large role in a casino yet he paid her one dollar a year as salary.
  3. You know he doesn’t really tell it like it is. He lies! Not just an occasional lie but pretty much every public statement he makes is full of lies, many of which have already been disproven. He lies, you know he lies and he knows you won’t care.
  4. You know he doesn’t understand the economy. Being fair I’ll give him credit for taking advantage of tax loopholes and using eminent domain and using the system to enhance his personal wealth. But he has no clue as to how the economy operates, which you know, and it doesn’t matter.
  5. You know he doesn’t hold traditional Republican values. I’m not sure that he has many values at all but he certainly doesn’t believe in the conservative values the party claims to espouse. He just joined the Party, has threatened Party leaders throughout his campaign including possible riots at the Convention should things not go his way.
  6. He has no plan to replace Obamacare, you know his promises are not backed up by any coherent plan and you might not be able to state what specific promises he’s even making other than to be “the best” and “making America great again” and “winning”.

Trump one crowd

You hear a lot about people voting against their interests. I don’t think Trump supporters or most voters actually vote against their interests. Outsiders simply fail to dig deep enough to find out which interests they care about more than those you think they could be considering.

Trump white privilege

A Donald Trump Presidency would be a failure on so many levels for most Americans yet many would see him as a champion. Because for all the things Donald doesn’t understand, he knows the loss of white privilege. When he says he’ll “make America great again” he’s clearly saying he’ll reverse the gains made by minorities at the expense of white males. Of course, he’s disregarding that minorities have never had a level playing field in the first place and any gains were to simply get closer to even. His supporters understand that Donald Trump will stand up to any effort that diminishes white people which he lets you know as he bashes Mexicans and “the Blacks” and Muslims and China and Japan, and, and, and.

Trump injured protestor

 

Donald Trump is xenophobic, he says “America first”. You not only know this but you like it. Donald Trump is clearly racist. He’s counting on you not to care. To vote for Trump is to convince yourself to ignore all the things you know he doesn’t know, in favor of the one thing you’re certain of.

The Doctor Is In

 

 

In England at Buckingham Palace, a special flag called the Royal Standard is flown when the Queen is in residence. I suppose this would notify anyone entering to take extra special consideration due to the possibility of encountering the Queen. In the United States, any Air Force aircraft carrying the President is called Air Force One and any Marine helicopter is called Marine One which announces the significance of the traveler on board. At Fisk University, a far less formal tradition would let you know of the presence of Dr. L.M. Collins in the library.

Fisk Library

When entering the library, with little fanfare Doc would simply place his hat on the counter as he headed left to the elevator that took him to his second story office. My personal experience is that I can’t recall ever entering the library without noting whether or not the Doctor was in. One could be invited to his office by appointment, sometimes summoned or one could just drop by, taking the chance that the line of students wouldn’t be too long. Upon entering the office one is struck by the limited space, overwhelmed by books everywhere seemingly growing out of the walls and piled on many surfaces. Many a student left with a book they didn’t have on the way in as there was little in his collection if anything that he wouldn’t freely share.

doctor collins graduation

I often wondered about his hat, if there were a single hat of which he took the same meticulous care as he did the El Dorado that sat in the driveway of the cottage where he resided during most of his Fisk years. He sent me on an errand once, asking me to take the El Dorado which made me both appreciative that he’d thought me responsible but also fearful that any harm might come to his car while in my possession. This would have been about 1977; the car was already 7 years old and had only 5,000 miles on the odometer. Doc Collins walked most everywhere he went.

friendmobile

 

 

Pictorial evidence showed he actually had a number of hats over the years. Some came with a band, some tweed and others plain. There are words you could never associate with a Dr. Collins hat; dirty, crumpled, faded or pretty much anything with a negative connotation. And when he placed his hat down when he entered the library, there was no question it would still be there when Dr. Collins came to retrieve it for who would dare take that hat?

My memories of Dr. Collins are forever with me and in his passing, I’m not so much experiencing a loss for myself but sadness for future Fiskites who won’t be blessed with his presence. They won’t know to glance left when entering the library and feel just a little bit better in knowing that the Doctor is in!

Friend

In Loving Memory of Dr. Leslie M. Collins –  February 23, 2014

 

My Friend Donald (Part 2)

 

 

Four years ago I wrote about My Friend Donald (Part 1) after he was publicly embarrassed at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. It was there that he was mocked by President Obama and he had no choice to do anything other than sit and take it. In all the years of our friendship, Donald was never good at hiding his emotions and on this occasion, the whole gamut was on display. He showed fury, scorn, disgust, hatred… and then he smiled.

Obama Trump

What I feared for then. Was that my friend would fade into obscurity, unable to face the public in the boastful way which had once been his trademark. He had been publicly abused by a man he frankly didn’t like very much. Worse yet it had been recorded for posterity’s sake and would be seen over and again by millions, with Donald Trump as the butt of the joke. I thought of reaching out to Donald then. But our relationship was not such that I felt I could be helpful, I could only remind him of his pain.

Looking back, I see I underestimated the force of will of Donald Trump. He turned deep humiliation into motivation and it was then at that dinner, at the moment he smiled. That he decided he would become the President of the United States and undo all that President Obama had accomplished in eight years. He thought about running in 2012 but recognized that after the President was successful in killing Bin Laden there was little chance of usurping the hated Obama that year, but Donald was a planner. He would start sowing the seeds for his 2016 campaign. He was as motivated as he could possibly be, I’m saddened to say he was fueled by hate.

Donald Trump Decision

You have to know Donald like I knew him to understand where he is coming from. He has kept a mental list of all those that have ever stood in his way and he would use his Presidency to get revenge. He hated the Federal Government that had once sued him for refusing to rent to “the Blacks” in one of his housing projects. Despite his present claims that he “never settles”, he did this time for millions of dollars and it still eats at him.

His hatred of the media stems from an event that took place before his birth. The New York Times ran an article mentioning his father Fred, had been arrested along with 6 others in a violent clash between police and the KKK. They even printed his home address in the paper and pointed to the fact that all 7 men were represented by the same lawyer as if that was supposed to mean anything. His present response to that event is that “it never happened” which if he repeats enough will make it go away in his mind.

Donald never really got along with minorities. He considered himself a good athlete yet the few Hispanics he knew always wanted to play soccer and he never got the hang of the game. Not only was he not good but he felt they verbally abused him in Spanish which made the insults all the worse because he didn’t know exactly what they were saying. His list was growing and he knew one day he would implement “the big payback” although at the time he didn’t know what form it would take.

By the time he got to military school. Donald did pretty well with the girls in the rich kid with a nice car kind of way. He began to suspect that none of them liked him for him and only for his money which came from his father and hadn’t been earned himself. It got back to him some of the things that were said behind his back so his “revenge” against women would be sleeping with as many of them as he could. To his credit, he never claimed to have slept with anyone he didn’t. He did never fail to name all the women that he felt wanted him and claim he could have had them which could never be disproven. Donald eventually developed a “type”. Tall, blonde, Slavic and who viewed him as means to and end whether in terms of enhancing their modeling careers or becoming a trophy wife. They also have in common an unwillingness to talk about him (much) when the relationship is over lest the money stop flowing.

For the moment, Donald seems back on top of the world. He’s the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party he and his children only recently joined so that he could become President. The Democrats his views were more in line with would never have had him. With the Republicans, there were enough people like him, that thought the same way, that he could get far. His campaign slogan says it all, “Make America Great Again”. I’d love for someone to ask him exactly when “again” was so we could clarify what he means. The beauty is that people can fill in the blanks with the one constant being when America was whiter.

Nevada-KKK-anti-Trump-protest-1

 

I won’t talk about his politics. I worry about how things end this time for my friend. For all that Donald Trump does not know which is a long list. He knows what being a loser is. He can try to salvage some pride by claiming he received more Republican primary votes than any other man in history. He can claim to have led a movement which is true but I might phrase it differently. My friend Donald made it acceptable to be overtly racist. He made it okay to be homophobic and xenophobic and to advocate a me first attitude that he has personally always lived by. Should he lose, an ordinary politician would attempt to rewrite history and attempt to salvage his pride. But Donald knows losers, and would never believe the hype, even if he were the one spewing it.

There is the other more remote possibility that he could actually win. Donald wouldn’t fare well as President because Congress wouldn’t simply do as he says and that would be a problem. He won’t be able to mock them into compliance because Congress is almost immune after being mocked by the whole nation during the past several years. He would find being President lonely and sad. He would become known as the least effective President ever, and he would respond on Twitter.

It shall not end well for Donald either way. I want to let him know that I am now, and shall forever more be… his friend