The forgone concussion of Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial only goes to prove what I have said since he first rode down that escalator, He tapped into the hearts and minds of the people who saw America changing becoming more diverse, more inclusive and they felt America was being taken from them. They felt so strongly about it being “our” America not “their” America that they rallied behind the man they felt would be their last line of defense in a way they never have anyone else. The rest of the GOP saw this and knowing that alienating his base would cost them politically and being the spineless cowards with no morals or principles they are they went along with it. Now they are so connected to it they know they can’t get out they know that for for all intensive purposes they are Trump and a vote against Trump is a vote against themselves.
Morpheus: This is our country Neo, everyone treated the same regardless of the color of their skin, gender, ethnic make-up, or religious belief. Individuals judged purely on the content of their character. Everyone has health care, and parents send their children to school unafraid they may become infected with the coronavirus or the victim of a mass shooting. Political leaders tell the truth and put the citizens’ well-being ahead of their agendas; corruption at the highest government levels is unheard of. There is no social or racial injustice. People walk down the street unafraid that they may be wrongfully targeted simply because of their skin color. Everyone is afforded the same opportunities regardless of their social, ethnic, or economic background. It seems too perfect, doesn’t it, Neo? You know something is not right, don’t you, Neo? You can feel it.
Neo: We’re living an illusion?
Neo: But why?
Morpheus: Is it so hard really to believe? Our democracy was designed to be where the power comes from the people, not a ruler or group of powerful individuals who would do whatever they want. It was founded on the belief that these truths are self-evident; all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Yet all that has always been an illusion, hasn’t it.
Neo: Are you saying our democracy has never been real?
Morpheus: What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about the people being the source of power or that all men are created equal, then real is simply a bunch of words written on a piece of paper. That America only exists in a series of oft-cited but rarely enacted words. A constitution to be held up to the rest of the world symbolizes the moral high ground we supposedly occupy. That America doesn’t exist, you’ve been living in a dream world, Neo.
This is the country as it exists today. Corruption at government’s highest levels. Blatant disregard for the constitution. The well-being and health of Americans were sacrificed for political gain. Racism and bigotry are alive and well and used by leaders to divide and conquer. Economic and social injustice roadblocks impede the pursuit of happiness for many. The few control the narrative and dictate policy to maintain their power and enrich their bank accounts—millions of citizens living in poverty and millions more without health insurance. Children forced to go to bed hungry, funding for education always under siege…. Welcome to the Desert of the Real Neo. Having seen all of this, I have come to realize the obviousness of the truth. Control. Democracy today is control, an illusion propagated by those in power to control the masses.
Neo: No. I don’t believe it. It’s not possible.
Morpheus: I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth.
A Capitol under siege
A Nation looks on in horror.
A world stares in disbelief.
The chickens had come home to roost.
America was founded on the principle that All men are created equal was a self-evident truth, while America has never fully realized that noble principle. It has made strides throughout its existence in an attempt to. For centuries racism, bigotry, sexism, religious prosecution have either flourished in the open or simmered beneath the surface. Over the last four years, the Trump administration has tapped into that hate to openly divide our country more so than it has been in the recent past. The mantra of Make America Great and Take our Country back code words to return to the good old days when the 25,000 Ku Klux Klan members marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in full regalia. When women couldn’t vote, had no control over their bodies, and stayed at home barefoot and pregnant. When the LGBT community knew its place was in the closet.
For years communities of color have said that there was racism in the system. This claim is hardly a surprise as any large group will inevitably have a few bad apples in its rank. But instead of addressing the problems, the cries went on deaf ears, shouted down by the blue lives matter crowd, and echoed by right-wing politicians and media as a condemnation of the police as a whole. Now today, a group of domestic terrorists with active and retired law enforcement among them are responsible for the senseless death of a police officer in the name of hate.
The ADL has been monitoring the activities of these groups both on and offline for years. They told Americans that we must take white extremists at their word. That their threats of violence were not just the internet chatter of crazies but a real danger, in 2017 after Charlottesville, a march in which white extremists threw Nazi salutes and waved swastika flags, as they chanted ‘Sieg heil!’ and “The Jews will not replace us.” and carried signs that proclaimed the ‘Jewish media is going down;’ ‘Jews are Satan’s children.’ President Trump’s response? He equated these racist white supremacists with counter-protesters who were there to stand up against hate by saying, “There were good people on both sides.” Subsequently, despite being given many opportunities to so, he repeatedly refused to denounce white Supremacist terrorism. When asked in 2019 when directly asked if there was a growing threat of white nationalism worldwide, Trump responded, “I don’t really.” And then, in his first debate with Joe Biden, he again refused to denounce it; instead, he responded directly to the Proud boys to “stand back and stand by.” Throughout it all, the silence from his defenders on Capitol Hill was deafening, taken as a wink and nod by white supremacists that they were with them. On Wednesday, January 6th, Trump and other right-wing politicians stood on a stage in front of a group of individuals, many of whom proudly displayed their racism and bigotry. They were looking for a fight; they needed someone to light the fuse, and Trump, along with other men and women who had sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, gladly obliged.
But for every action, there is a reaction, and this tacit approval of white Supremacists and their rhetoric has led to radicalizing a whole new generation—individuals who now feel emboldened to display their hate in broad daylight. Individuals who are willing to overlook corruption and believe any conspiracy theory spewed at them as long as those spewing it hate the same people they do, so much so that groups like QAnon, which not that long ago would be dismissed as far-right crazies, now have members who not only run for elected office but are elected. The result? Members of Congress openly state they don’t trust some of their colleagues and, as a measure of protection, have for themselves have instituted the mandatory policy of having to walk through metal detectors to gain access to the Capitol Building.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:
It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. It may even lie on the surface, but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions — especially selfish ones.
It is hard to believe that Trump’s Enablers and his hate-filled agenda did not see the truth. However, it is easy to believe that they choose to ignore it in their selfish greed for power. Whether they ascribed to that hate or not, their silence has made them no less responsible for the hatred that rages through the lifeblood of this country.
As a country, we once again stand at a crossroads. It will take courage and leadership to guide us through this dark period. It will take those we have entrusted with the governance of this noble experiment known as the United States of America to stand up to those who see only what they wish to see, be it right or wrong, as long as it continues their grip on in power.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said, Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But Conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take neither safe position, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”
It is time the majority of our leaders do what is right before the chickens come home to roost again.
I don’t like:
Seeing people getting hurt
Seeing innocent business owners watched their life’s work destroyed
Seeing a movement being marred by the actions of those who loot and riot only to enrich themselves or push the narrative in a negative direction for their depraved political gain
I also don’t like
Open season on African-Americans
Killers who mar the good name of most police officers by masquerading as them
But what I don’t like most of all is a President who does not speak to America but instead hides behind Twitter using the tragedy of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest it has sparked to post tweets designed to spread division, hate & racism. Tweets designed to motivate his base to harken back to a time when they felt America was Great. A time when “vicious” dogs were unleashed on protesters of racial inequality. Tweets designed to keep him in power to continue to “loot” this country of its morality and enrich himself.
Yet another unarmed young man of color hunted and shot down, yet another attempt to cover it up, yet another attempt to silence our voice Ahmaud Arbury was only 24 years old when his life was ended for what appears to be the unspeakable crime of jogging while black.
I have always identified myself as African-American. I embrace who I am and where I come from. I proudly tell anyone who listens to me that despite being stripped of our culture, our language, our very identity and sold into slavery, despite Jim Crow, despite the KKK and other groups that hate us, despite the economic and social inequality thrust upon us and a host of other roadblocks African Americans are as responsible as any other people in the shaping of America into the country it is today. Unfortunately, like many African Americans, I have been called a nigger; I have had the barrel of a police officer’s gun pointed directly at my face for merely throwing a football in the backyard of a friend who happened to live in an all-white neighborhood. Despite never being in trouble with the law and not dressing like the mythical stereotypical “threatening African American male,” I’ve been stopped for driving while black, stopped and frisked for no apparent reason, and seen white women cross the street at night when they have noticed me. Yet my story is a little more complicated than just the color of my skin. Adopted, it wasn’t until my late 30s did I discover I was half white. A DNA test courtesy of 23 and me confirmed that my DNA profile is mostly Nigerian, twenty-seven percent, followed closely at twenty-four percent Ashkenazi Jew. So, for the KKK, I’m the jackpot, you know, lynch one get one free. In totality, I’m Fifty-four percent Sub-Saharan African and Forty-three percent European. The bottom line is that no matter who my DNA traces back to, I’m always going to be who I am. Anyone who knows me or meets me should judge me based on my character, not the color of my skin, what religion I practice, my sexual orientation, country of origin, or a host of other factors we have invented to separate ourselves from one another.
In the very beginning of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes, Charleston Heston’s character Colonel Taylor wonders if that throughout the thousands of galaxies, millions of stars, if there is only one, a speck of solar dust we call Earth that has been graced or cursed by human life. He wonders if man, the marvel of the universe, still makes war against his brother and lets his neighbor’s children starve. At the end of the movie, Dr. Zaius informs Taylor that he has always known about the man and that he must be a warlike animal who gives battles to everything around him, even himself. Science fiction from over fifty years ago or reality from today? Because as we are getting ready to usher in the third decade of the twenty-first century, we are still waging war against each other, even letting our neighbor’s children starve, and always looking to give battle to ourselves. The ending of Planet of the Apes doesn’t paint a bright future for humanity, YOU BLEW IT UP, and it does not take much to suspend belief very much to see our future playing out the same way.
In the last few years, America has seen a rise in hate crimes as a percentage of Americans increasingly feel threatened by anyone who does not look, sound, live or worship the way they do. It has always been a simmering, but now with an administration that tacitly endorses it, remember a group that walked the streets of Charlottesville chanting the Jew will never replace us was said to have good people, it seems ready to boil over.Now is a crucial time we as a people must guard against our prejudices and make no mistake no matter who we are; we all have some biases dwelling with-in us. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided. I have heard a few of my Jewish brothers and sisters. Dismissing Black Lives Matter with comments as if they don’t want to be targeted, they shouldn’t commit crimes. I have heard a few of my African brothers and sisters dismiss anti-Semitic violence as overblown, angrily wondering why bigotry is seemingly only deemed a problem when it happens to the Jews and not when it happens to the African American community. I have heard both groups go after one another over the nonsensical debate about what was worse, the holocaust or slavery. I have witnessed African Americans and Latinos who loath each other as they fight over the limited resources afforded to them because of inherent social and economic inequality. It is precisely these divides that play into the hand of those who preach racism and bigotry. Keep them divided and fighting among themselves, they say it makes it easier for us to keep them down. Yet despite all of this, I genuinely believe, as I have said many times in this blog as time goes by, those who preach racism, bigotry, sexism, judge people based on their religion, or are homophobic are a dying breed. We must not give them any life by falling into their trap of fighting among ourselves.
We are the voice of the many.
We see no difference in each other.
We judge each other for who we are and what we do.
We unite as one people.
We are America!
And we are gaining in strength every day, and it’s just a matter of time before we defeat you.
”Go back where you came from.”
“If you don’t love it, leave it.”
Words of those who are the most unpatriotic among us,
words of those who would rather see a country divided against itself than united for the common good of all, words of those who don’t care if America ever truly lives up to the ideas on which it was founded on, words of those who hate, words of those who look to profit from humanity’s natural fear of the unknown, words of those who look to tap into, for personal gain, the innate prejudices that we all harbor with-in just waiting for someone to unleash it.
But they are only words.
We as a people must rebuke these words.
We as a people must come together through our actions to shout down those words.
We as a people must form a coalition of the righteous to defeat the hatred of those words.
We as a people must shout for all to hear:
Your words mean nothing!
Because I am here!
Because this is my country as much as yours!
Because I love my country, and I will continue to fight for the values it was founded on!
Because we as a people ain’t going nowhere!
GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM
African-Americans have long heard those words of hatred spewed in their direction by racist and bigoted individuals but they are not alone
Italian American immigrants heard it
Irish American immigrants heard it
Polish American immigrants heard it
German American immigrants heard it
Japanese American immigrants heard it
Mexican American immigrants heard it
Immigrants from various Caribbean Islands heard it
Catholics heard it
Jews heard it
Muslims heard it
And many others have heard it
Ellis Island officially opened this week in 1892, and would subsequently process more than 20 million immigrants from around the world, all seeking a better life in America. Just as our Founding Fathers intended. Millions of immigrants would travel to America, leaving the only home they ever knew behind. Many times leaving family and loved ones and in some cases risking their lives to experience this new nation and idea. To be a part of a society birthed in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all citizens are created equal, theoretically if not literally. For the Founders, immigration was a mutually beneficial process. The goal of which was to create a “melting pot,” in which immigrants successfully assimilate and become representative of our national identity, while also proudly retaining key aspects of their ethnic past. We are all Americans, but in this country we are free to honor the many traditions and customs unique to our ancestral homelands. It is without question what has made America great.
This Sunday a President who ran on the slogan of make America great again, but seems to believe that means dividing Americans more than any President ever has and turning his back on diversity, tweeted that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to the countries they came from rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to run the government. Predictably his base ate it up. Commenting that President Trump is the greatest ever because he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. This group of Trump supporters, the lowest common denominator, haven’t a clue as to what makes this country unique and special among the countries of the rest of the world. America’s greatness has always been rooted in its embrace, sometimes kicking and screaming, of diversity. As Speaker Pelosi bluntly said recently Ms. Pelosi may have offered the bluntest take on Mr. Trump’s comments when she said his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” “has always been about making America white again.”
The silence of so many Republicans on Trump’s blatant racism, sexism and bigotry dating back to the 1970’s when his real estate company was sued by the Department of Justice for racial discrimination to his administration’s systematic attempt to dismantle much of the gains made as a result of the civil rights and women’s movement is unacceptable at best and morally corrupt at worst. Their silence reminds me of a scene from the movie Star Trek Nemesis, it’s true if you look for it Star Trek always has the answers, when a Romulan commander says: Are you truly prepared to have your hands drenched in blood? He’s not planning to defeat Earth. He’s planning its annihilation. …And his sins will mark us and our children for generations. Trump is not planning to defeat the dreams of our founding fathers as it relates to immigration he’s planning its annihilation. And his sins will mark the Republican Party for generations.
I enjoy The Bill Maher show great guest stimulating conversation. Still, there was a time I stopped watching because It seemed clear to me that there can be no denying that his comments regarding Islam are at best the stereotypical misrepresentations of a group of people who number over 1.5 billion worldwide by ill-informed individual and, at worst the crazy ranting of a bigot.
I eventually eased back into the show, because let’s be honest, I liked it. But there was Maher on Friday letting slip yet another racial comparison when he asked Rep. Will Hurd from Texas, a black republican congressman, why he’s a member of the Republican Party … especially since he came from the CIA. Hurd replied, “I was in the CIA for almost a decade. I was the dude in the back alleys at 4 a.m. collecting intelligence on threats to the homeland,”… to which Maher commented, “That’s where they’d collect them, huh?” then added … “Wow, by the Popeyes chicken.”
It’s not the first time a comment has come from Maher that has made me think, hmm, that came out so naturally what other racist comments he makes when the cameras aren’t rolling?
As liberals, we continuously call out those on the right for their use of inflammatory rhetoric. We cannot simultaneously expect to pass to those we believe are on our side when they engage in similar tactics.
As as I have said in the past, words are compelling, and when spoken by someone with the celebrity of a Bill Maher, that power is multiplied tenfold.
While I don’t believe Maher is a bigot, I again am at a crossroads. Do I continue to watch his show? After all, I believe that bigotry large and small and those that preach it must be ignored, and Maher continued slips of the tongue causes me much pause.