Time To Move Forward: Step Three

Time to Move Forward: Step Three

 

Strengthen the Democratic Party or Leave it: One undeniable truth exposed in the recent election was that Republicans despite all their alleged misgivings… voted Republican. They didn’t stay home… Democrats did. Leading Republicans called Trump a “con man,” said his actions were, “the definition of racism,” they called him a “sexual predator.” And still they voted for him. Given the size of the Republican base. A third party would have a difficult time in beating Trump in four years or Mike Pence should Trump choose not to run again.

That said it’s not impossible if there were a true coalition of like-minded people and groups that started now. A movement could swell to the point where it could defeat the Republicans. It’s not impossible but not the best option either. The best option would be to build on the infrastructure of the Democratic Party while changing it from within to reflect its membership.

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The next step forward requires new leadership within the Democratic Party. Harry Reid is retired and Chuck Schumer has taken his place. I don’t know if he represents real change but time will soon tell. In the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi wants to stay the head of the Minority Party. Others are challenging to take her place. The Democratic Party needs leaders that can appeal to the various constituencies that make up the Party, millennials included. Schumer and Pelosi have contributed much over time and been steadfastly loyal to the Party. I think they should move to advisory roles and let youth be served. The DNC needs a new Chairperson. Keith Ellison is one of several announced candidates. Howard Dean another. Let new blood be given a chance.

The Democratic Party is a coalition of many groups. They must resist the urge to focus for example on the White Working Class for example and ignore the rest of the coalition. What’s needed are policies that represent the whole Party and not just certain constituents. Democrats need a strong economic message and must exhibit no tolerance for voter suppression and the normalization of White Nationalism.

Lastly the process for choosing candidates must be fair. There must not even be the appearance of favoritism for establishment candidates and a rigged system. Let the Democratic Party select its candidates and not its leaders and donors. This means the DNC should not be in the business of helping determine the nominee or making rules favoring one candidate over another. It also means the Caucus states should consider holding elections for the populace instead of letting a limited number of people determine the winner.

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Democrats have a strategic advantage going into the midterms and the next Presidential Election. Donald Trump! Make no mistake he is already pursuing an immigration policy that will appease much of his base but most Americans will see it for what it is. When he and his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon develop policies that only help Americans of a certain hue. The rest of the Nation will take note. If he is effective in killing the Affordable Care Act and removing healthcare from twenty million people. If he builds a wall. If he enacts a massive tax cut for the rich as he promised. These things will alienate many Americans. He will insult foreign leaders, the media and anyone who disagrees with his views. He will demean women. He will send stupid tweets. The number of people reviled by Trump will only grow. What is needed now is a Party that stands for something to embrace them.

Should the Democratic Party fail to make positive changes, demonstrate transparency and reach out to all its members. It will be time for a change.

Time To Move Forward: Step Two

 

 

There is a great deal of discussion going on about White Supremacy becoming normalized. While we’re talking about Steve Bannon in the West Wing. We’ve overlooked that Voter Suppression has already been normalized and getting further entrenched daily. While some of the worst excesses in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas have been turned back. Dozens of other laws in those states and across the nation are being implemented without much challenge.

Right now, Republicans in the Congress and the State Legislatures wear their voter suppression efforts like a badge of honor. They stand at their podiums announcing their plans to “Protect our most precious right.” All the while decimating that same right for those likely to vote differently than them. Most of the time targeting minorities assumed to vote Democrat.

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Those that support Voter Suppression can hide in the shadows, unconcerned about the portion of the electorate they’re disenfranchising. Celebrated in their own circles for helping preserve their voting strength. This effort isn’t all about race. They also target students who trend Democratic. The goal is the preservation of control. It’s about power. That it affects minorities disproportionately is a side product. Some have argued with a straight face that a racist effect isn’t enough to overturn these laws, it’s all about intent. They weren’t targeting Blacks and Hispanics, just Democrats.

What must happen is that we create an environment where there is a cost to introduce a Voter Suppression bill anywhere and everywhere it occurs. Protest the individuals that introduce the bills and make clear that racist impact is quite sufficient to label them publicly racist. For whatever reason; they don’t seem to mind being racist, just being called racist. Protest the Supreme Court. Throughout American History that Court has done more to reject our rights than protect them. Their gutting of the enforcement provisions of the Voter Rights Act is much of the reason things are as they are.

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We must continue to follow the money. Track those donating to their campaigns. Especially the corporations and PAC’s. Make their donations to those who support voter suppression; an act of voter suppression on their part. We need serious boycotts. Targeted at first and then as comprehensive as can be sustained.

We must look at who is being effective and support those efforts financially. Rev. William Barber and the Moral Monday effort in North Carolina is an example. Conversely, organizations like ALEC that meet in the dark and help draft laws and take them from State to State must be called out. Secretaries of States and Governors should be targeted when they support Voter Suppression. When anyone supports voter suppression publicly it should be like Whack-A-Mole in striking them back down into their holes.

In Step One I talked about the need to remove White Supremacists from the West Wing and the rest of the Trump administration. As important as that is… it’s just a symbol. Voter suppression along with gerrymandering is the whole ballgame. It’s about Republicans being able to maintain power as their demographics dwindle. It’s about not having to win voters with policies but keeping voters away with differing views. It’s about never again seeing an openly racist, misogynist, sexual predator win the Presidency ever again.

Republicans Have Nothing To Say About The White Supremacist In Their Midst

Republican elected officials are refusing to address the issue of the White Supremacist in the White House. I’ve stopped using the more polite “Alt-Right” which suggests they just might be something other than what they clearly are. They are racist, Jew hating, Muslim hating, Black hating, Gay bashing White Supremacists. If you are at all unclear about this. Read the pages of Breitbart News which Steve Bannon, now the Chief Strategist for Donald Trump formerly ran and is now on leave from.

I watched Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and others refuse to address the question and pivot to some other subject they didn’t mind talking about. It’s apparently okay to have a White Supremacist in the West Wing and say nothing. Rather than risk the ire of the known to be vindictive Trump. Who likes people to say nice things about him.

I pray the media and the public keep asking about Bannon. Get them on the record. Make them say they don’t care about what it says about their President-Elect and their Party. Not the Party of Lincoln… The Party of David Duke.

Time To Move Forward: Step One

Enough! No more wallowing, pointing fingers and complaining about what a Trump Presidency means. We still have input into what happens the next four years. It’s time to move forward. Take concrete steps to deal with all things Trump. Over the next couple weeks I’ll outline several steps we must take for your own sake. That of your children and family. That of the nation.

 

Step 1. Draw The Line: Trump brazenly appealed to White Nationalists, Neo-Nazi’s, Skinheads and others during his campaign. Now he is installing them in the White House. We must not allow White Nationalists like  Steve Bannon, just named the Chief Strategist to the President, in the White House. He’ll have an office in the West Wing, and always have Trump’s ear. It is not acceptable for Bannon or any staffers of like persuasion to be part of the White House staff. This can only stand if we accept it. We don’t!

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Photo: NBC.com

We cannot allow Trump to brush aside our concerns about those with clear racist views on his team. Trump was clear about his plan to, “Make America Great Again” and winked to his followers that, “you know what I mean.” We must be equally clear in our opposition and making him understand this will never go away until he drains his own swamp.

Republican elected officials have said basically nothing about Bannon’s appointment, preferring the issue fade away. We must put them on the record as to why they are supporting White Nationalists in the White House. They must answer that question daily. We must make clear that if they stand with White Nationalists or even accept them within their Party. They lose forever any claim of being the Party of Lincoln. They become the Party of the Klan. The party of White Nationalists and Anti-Semites. The Party of Hate! They, along with President Trump and America itself will be tainted with the brush of racism and intolerance. America deserves better.

The media has become complicit in the normalization of White Supremacy. They generally ignored Trumps racism despite several examples throughout not only the campaign but his career. The media doesn’t deal with racism well, no matter how clear the example. When they let Trump’s surrogates come on their air and defend Bannon’s and Trump’s racist beliefs and go unchecked. They are part of the problem. The media depends on ratings and advertisers. When they allow racism to become normal, they must pay a price.

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Photo: Dailywire.com

Democrat elected officials cannot be allowed to become shrinking violets. They must take public and vocal stands to denounce this and refuse to deal with the Administration in any way until Trump cleans house. We know Trump never admits wrong or apologizes unless his back is against the wall. Time to put his back against the wall.

What can you do?

  1. Go to https://www.greatagain.gov/ and ask why important positions including the Chief Strategist to the President are being filled by a White Nationalists.
  2. Call your Congressman and Senator and ask if they’ve expressed their opposition to White supremacists gaining a foothold in the White House.
  3. When you observe any media outlets (including Fox News) purporting Bannon and his ilk to be acceptable. Contact them about their coverage normalizing White Nationalists and Anti-Semitism.
  4. Tweet! Donald Trump loves tweets. Be the biggest Troll you can be and let no positive Trump message go unchallenged. Ask about the presence of White Nationalists and how he could represent “all America.”
  5. Follow the Money! Find the corporations and Individuals funding the Trump Campaign and boycott them. Boycott the financial supporters of the Republican Party if White supremacists are associated with the White House Staff. They supported the Trump campaign when a White Nationalist was the CEO of his Campaign. They are not without guilt. Pressure them to pressure him to remove all those with ties to the Alt-Right. Squeeze them until they respond. Don’t let up.

I’m not suggesting this just for Democrats but also for Independents and Republicans. America will be better off when the staff reflects and appreciates all Americans. Not just the White ones. This is one case where if you are not against White Nationalists in the White House… you are for them.

 

Next: Step 2

CALM THE F*** DOWN!

I’m participating this month along with many other Bloggers in a month-long event where you publish a blog post every day. Part of the event is to read other people’s blogs. Follow those you like and be followed by those who enjoy your writing. I read a post yesterday that stopped me in my tracks. Like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Allow me to retort!

The post in question was written response to the protests around the nation in response to the election of Donald Trump for President of the United States. She claims to represent the “Millennial Psyche” and in a tongue in cheek manner reflected how things would be if people reacted to other things in life by refusing to accept the result. She (a 40-year-old White woman) summed up her post as follows:

“Hey America, let’s all get over ourselves and recognize that sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Sometimes we have to work really, really hard for stuff, and sometimes we’re going to fail. Sometimes our team wins (Cubs!) and sometimes they don’t (Bears). Some really unfair things are going to happen to us, and it’s going to make us sick and drive us crazy, but it just is. 
Just go love somebody else, especially if they look, believe, love or think differently than you. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a mandate from the Creator of the universe.

Now, my cherubs, go forth and take responsibility for thine selves and perhaps, most importantly, 

CALM THE F*** DOWN.”

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Photo: DNA

 

I also need to say that her blog post generated a couple comments. One indicted that her post expressed, “exactly what she was thinking.” Another mentioned something she thought particularly funny.

The writer of the post who I’ll call “Becky” has apparently decided that the protesters are rallying against merely the result of the election. It’s sour grapes. She has totally missed the point that protesters are speaking out against Trump’s promises and policies. They’re saying this will not stand. I’ve written before about people with no Skin in the game that are unconcerned about the impact on others of this result.

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Photo: Huffington Post

Some of the protesters are among the twenty million people that will lose their healthcare. Some are protesting the Alt-Right planting their flag in the White House. Even beyond the racism of Trump. Steve Bannon and others who are leaders of the Alt-Right will continue to have the ear of the President. Bannon was just named Trump’s “Chief Strategist. A White Nationalist will be helping guide the President of the United States. Reince Priebus who was just named Trump’s Chief of Staff has actively promoted Voter Suppression of minorities. Not just during the Presidential election but during his entire term as head of the RNC.

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Photo: True Viral News

Many are protesting his Immigration policy. Trump just added Kris Kobach to his transition staff. Kobach wrote the unconstitutional “Papers Please” laws implemented in Arizona and then thrown out by even this Supreme Court. Trump himself has advocated Voter Suppression during his campaign. Trump has advocated banning immigrants based on religion. He has advocated surveillance of Mosque’s. He’s suggested only Christians be admitted or at least be taken to the front of the line.

“Becky” is a wife and mother. I saw a picture with her family including 4 girls and a boy. Many of the protesters are mothers and fathers who refuse to accept the misogyny, sexual harassment and sexual assault that Trump brags about. A rape case that would have gone to trial in December was withdrawn because the Plaintiff was receiving death threats. Who among these protesters should “Calm the F*** Down?”

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Photo: KTLA.com

I’ve made it this far without once using the word privilege to describe “Becky.” I’m sure she truly does reflect the views of many millennials. Those who see only the frustration of the protesters and don’t see the fear. Fear of bringing “Stop & Frisk” across the nation. Fear of flooding their communities with police while simultaneously being clear that all lives do not matter equally. Many of the protesters know what Trump and Bannon mean when they say, “Make America Great Again.”

Then there are those who see Women losing their right to choose. Being punished if they do assert that right according to Trump. I haven’t even touched on his macho posturing with nuclear weapons and how he’d respond to various situations that could easily lead to war. His mob ties and Russian ties of his staff have already been documented. “Becky” wants us to “Calm the F*** Down.” Chill out! Accept that it is what it is.

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Photo: Roanoake Times

Guess what “Becky”? It’s just beginning. The protesters are not protesting because they lost an election. They’re protesting because they love their country and won’t stand by and let Trump lead it into the abyss. We never saw protests like this when Bush and Reagan were elected. Trump is an aberration, worse that all the rest.

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Photo: The Independent

David Duke celebrated a “great victory for our people.” The KKK is marching in North Carolina. Muslims and minorities have been assaulted across the country. Children are chanting, “Build the Wall.” Speak out against that “Becky” before telling others to “Calm the f*** down.

Feature Photo: Newyorkpost.com

Donald’s Disciples: Cali High School Student Distributes Deportation Letters To Minorities — Bossip

Deportation Letter “Prank” At Cali High School Outrages Student And Parents Welcome to Donald’s Disciples. A moment where we recognize how badly The Orange One has influenced America to hate…again. Today, we have a Shasta High School student in California who thought it HILARIOUS to hand out deportation letters to minority classmates. According to NYDailyNews,…

via Donald’s Disciples: Cali High School Student Distributes Deportation Letters To Minorities — Bossip

Why I Write… Because I Read

A former History teacher of mine asked me once why I write? He’d met my grandmother when she came to school to meet all of my teachers to find out why I was skipping class (to play bridge in the cafeteria for all reasons… it was Minnesota) and nobody notified my parents. My grandmother came because both my parents worked. She was the matriarch of the family and quite formidable. The almost uniform response was, “He’s such a nice boy we didn’t want him to get in trouble.” Tom Keljic  was surprised to hear I was missing  other classes as I never missed his and was an avid student. We found each other on Facebook and he began to read my posts well before my Enigma In Black blog came to be. He asked if my eloquent grandmother taught me to write and this was my reply.

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Photo: BookPeopleUnite.com

 

“I don’t know where the writing came from except as perhaps as a byproduct of reading. I learned to read at 4 and because I was above average height and could read I started school a year early. Psychologists suggest I might display some immaturity at times vs. my peers and at times I did.  In second grade there was a book report contest where I blew away the field in volume. In elementary school I walked 6 blocks to the library with regularity and was always reading books. In high school besides the regular curriculum I discovered comic books and could keep up with multiple fantasy universes although I had little interest in my own. In college I was introduced to the Harlem Renaissance and much more literature in addition to History, Calculus, et al.

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Photo: Rebuild Foundation

 

I graduated at the time all the Watergate related books came out which started my interest in politics. I can’t say anyone taught me to write, I would say that if you read enough you might not be able to contain it all and it will have to find a release in writing. It helped to have great teachers along the way who encouraged more than completing assignments but encouraged excitement about learning. Thanks for being one of them!”

For those of you with influence on young children. Parents, Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts.  Encourage them to read. Teach them early. Let them consider it not drudgery to pick up a book and explore worlds real and otherwise. Challenge them, reward them, but teach them. Have them write their own stories. They will be better prepared for the world as they grow up. Perhaps living in a world with great possibilities as opposed to one with strict limitations. Reading truly is fundamental. It’s never too late for adults either.

 

“I Have My Anger Back” | Jendella Benson

Media Diversified

To My Son

by Jendella Benson 

What is there to be said? I can only feel anger for so long until it ferments into the cold reality of endless despair. In the echo chambers of our social media spheres we are all shouting, all screaming, all crying the same thing. The hopelessness of such a familiar grief suffocates me, but outside of the safe spaces created by our collective mourning the world is evil and unfeeling.

I don’t know what to tell you. There are no rules that will protect you, but I’m reminded that they were never meant to. I can’t wrap you in cotton wool, or keep you as a baby clutched to my chest forever, so I will try my hardest not to let my fear infect you, but you have to know something: this world was built by boys like you, men just like you…

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Suicide By Trump!

By all accounts Obamacare is on life support… with a short time left to live. The Republican Party has vowed to destroy it since its implementation. Donald Trump vowed to get rid of it on Day One. Twenty Million people that weren’t previously insured; got Health Insurance thru The Affordable Care Act. It’s estimated of the Twenty Million that will now lose coverage. 75% either voted for Trump or did not vote.

Trump alone isn’t responsible for the death of Obamacare. On the day Barack Obama took office in his first term. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and others conspired to do nothing to support the first Black President. While they flip-flopped on dozens of other things; in this they were firm. Democrats altered Obamacare in several ways prior to passing the bill. In hopes of getting bipartisan support. For all their concessions they got not one Republican vote.

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Photo: Thefiscaltimes.com

Like every other large Government program. There were bugs that needed to be fixed. Adjustments that needed to be made. The obstructionist Republicans were unwilling, preferring to vote over 60 times to defund Obamacare in the House. Democrats were afraid to open the bill up for changes because it would provide Republicans an opportunity to try to kill it.

The media played its role as well. In the last weeks of the campaign it was announced that premiums would rise for people in the Exchanges ranging from small amounts to large. The media didn’t make clear that these increases affected less than 5% of the population and that subsidies would absorb many of those increases. Beyond what the media did not say. They allowed Trump and his surrogates to tell unchecked lies on their shows. A campaign of misinformation went unchecked as ratings was their only concern. There was never a comparison to how much healthcare costs rose each year prior to Obamacare. In most cases, increases were less than premiums would have gone up on their own.

Obamacare is hated by a significant portion of the population. The majority of whom including Trump, couldn’t explain what it is or how it works. Hating the plan is a proxy for hating the man behind it. It isn’t about “government overreach” or “socialist medicine.” It’s about not wanting to see Barack Obama credited with anything; anything at all. Part of “Making America Great Again” is destroying the legacy of a Black President. Taking away healthcare from Twenty Million is mere collateral damage in the War against the first Black President. When I say, “Suicide by Trump.” I speak of the millions who voted to rid the country of Obamacare when they themselves were the primary beneficiaries.

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Photo: Politico.com

Republican members of Congress destroy Obamacare while they enjoy the best Government Healthcare program in the world. Trump spoke of the negative impact Obamacare had on his employees until it was pointed out his people were covered by a company plan and not on Obamacare. There are people that will literally die from treatable and preventable diseases because they prefer to “hurt” Obama while killing themselves. Suicide by Trump!

Today, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he’d “consider” requiring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. He’d “consider” allowing parents to keep children on their plans until the age of 26. Both primary tenets of Obamacare. Maybe he’ll just rent out his name like he does for his hotels? Call it Trumpcare and claim it a raging success.

There will be people that live in excruciating pain for lack of proper medication and treatment. Some that will die when it could have been prevented. Those who cannot go see the doctor because their plan was taken away. Thank the Republicans. Thank Trump. Thank yourselves.

 

Featured Image: Thefloridahealthinsuranceexchange.com

No Skin In The Game!

The Democrat Party is not a monolithic body. Instead it’s a group of various interest groups working under the same umbrella to accomplish mutual goals. Allies if you will. After assessing the numbers after the Presidential Election; one thing became clear. All the allies didn’t come thru. The reason being they had no skin in the game.

Donald Trump was portrayed to be one of the worst nominees of a major Party to run for President. He began his campaign by claiming he’d “build a wall” and threatened immigrants and Latino families. Hispanics responded by increasing registered voters and turning out the vote. Trump disparaged Black Americans, threatened to flood their communities with police and to implement “Stop & Frisk” nationwide. Black voters showed up like they always have despite dozens of laws attempting to block or dissuade them. A lie was spread about apathy among Black voters. The numbers proved they showed up. Muslims voted for Hillary because their lives and future in this country depended on it.

One bloc of voters that did not show up was Millennials, many of whom voted for Third Party candidates. The votes for Johnson would have been enough to change the outcome in Florida and elsewhere. The majority of the millennials making that decision were white. For them there was no fear of a Trump Presidency. No family members under threat of being deported. No increased chance of being shot with their hands up with no chance of justice. Their privilege allowed them to let a Trump and his Alt-Right cronies into the Oval Office. No Skin in the game.

Then there were White Women who gave Trump a 10% edge despite all the Trump misogyny and admission on tape to being a sexual predator. Many women were indeed concerned about what it says about giving such an unfit individual such power. Trump may appoint multiple Supreme Court Justices during his term(s) and women’s rights may suffer as a result. The right to choose. Planned Parenthood and all the healthcare it provides in addition to abortions which were getting no Federal funds. Equal pay for equal work. All will suffer for your choice in the election. Assuming some of the things Trump has done and those he will do resonate somewhat with the women who voted Trump. What was it that made the difference that allowed you to vote Trump as opposed to Clinton? It wasn’t based on Trump policies as he pretty much had none. He has some promises with no visible way to get there.

I’m left with the conclusion that the real fear and suffering experienced by your Black, Latina and Muslim sisters didn’t matter to you. It brought back thoughts of Women’s Suffrage where the White leaders distanced themselves from Ida B. Wells and others who hoped the alliance would work both ways. It didn’t then and doesn’t now. Like the Southern Belles of the Confederacy you remained aloof to the real issues facing your darker sisters. You don’t have a fear for your son’s lives. You don’t worry about raids that might take away a family member. You need not worry about voter suppression, and the inroads of the KKK, Neo-Nazi’s and White Nationalists. These things are the concerns of others. You have no skin in the game.

When Trump talked about “Making America Great Again.” It doesn’t conjure up negative connotations to you as it does to those who know discrimination, lynching and fear. It didn’t bother you when Trump winked and nodded to the White Nationalist groups because when it comes down to it. They are your friends and neighbors.

I want to give a pass to the millennials who chose idealism over pragmatism. They’ll hopefully learn and maybe realize that when any of us suffer, they’re impacted as well. To the women who chose Trump. You’ll one day need allies to reach the goals that do matter to you down the road. Why should you get more than a shade and side-eye combo?

Featured Image: Saltlakeculinarycenter