Thursday, July 18, 2019

We have a racist in the White House


I try hard not to get caught up in the political news cycle of the moment.   I try to ignore it when the president of the United States does something that isn’t presidential even if it is at the expense of his presidency.  I try not to write about Trump or focus on what he does because I know that there will always be something new that he will do or say to show a different side of himself even if the side he is showing is the same side of his face all along. But there are times when despite my best efforts, I can’t turn away when the person that occupies the oval office does or says something that shows who he really is.  

Like many of us, I am no longer surprised when he says or does something that is so abhorrent in nature that you wonder if this is really coming from the White House.  I wish I could say that I am surprised.

But I’m not.

And while I am not surprised over the latest comments from the commander-in-chief that four Congress women of color should “go back to their countries” even though all four of them are citizens, I am no less appalled.

And like many of you, I am tired.

I am tired of a man who truly believes that he is above the rule of law and will therefore do or say anything to anyone simply because it comes to his mind to do or say it.  I am tired of the scandals.  I am tired of the name calling.  I am tired of his overtly racist policies of child separation.  I am tired of wondering what happened to the missing infants and teen aged girls.  But I mostly tired of the supporters who seemingly worship the ground he walks on simply because he appeals to the needs of tribalism.  I am also tired of the GOP which has rapidly become the party of Trump giving him a pass for everything he says and does.
I have never felt the need to write about a president as much as I have to write about this one.  No president has done so much damage simply because of who he is.  But who he is accompanied with the power of the presidency which makes for a scary combination.

It’s not that I believe that he will propel us into a national confrontation although that thought alone would be enough to keep me up at night.

What I believe is that he is on a mission to re-make the United States into an image of a white dominated country…a country were men of color were relegated to second-class stature.  He wants to take us back to a time where it was okay to talk down to women of color and then dismiss them as if they didn’t matter no matter how many degrees they held or achievements they may have accomplished.  Based on what he has already said and done, it appears to be his mission to stop the black and browning of this country and instead make it predominated by white people.  Even though he has stated that he has no problem with the LGBTQ community, he has attacked the transgender community in our military…and it won’t be long before he launches an attack against the rest of us that belongs to that same community.

He seems poised, ready to attack any unsuspecting victim at any given time.  In watching the news cycle, I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve heard, “Trump attacks” or “Trump lashes out” because someone may disagree with his policies, much like these four Congress women of color.
And here’s the funny part…we knew who he was.  We knew that he had a pre disposition to racist tendencies, was misogynistic, a sexist, thieving, a liar, Islamophobic, Xenophobic, Trans phobic, rude, ignorant, insensitive and chauvinistic.  And yet, he still has supporters.  He still has the GOP under his thumb.  What is frightening about all of this is not the rise of Trump per se, but that we are seeing more and more of the man that he has become.  Giving a man who has been surrounded by both “yes” people and money and mixing that with the power of the presidency is  dangerous.
Where other men that have been president had filters if someone disagreed with them, this one does not.  He does not have the restraints of someone who gives thought to what he will do or say if someone responds negatively to his actions.

But in order to have someone like a Donald Trump you must have people that enable him.  His supporters and the GOP have given rise to a man who is perhaps the most non-deserving man to hold the office.  And if you think that his behavior will get better over time, it won’t.  Over the last two years, you see him growing more emboldened by the day to say what he truly thinks even if it is not expedient to do so.

The four Congress women that he has attacked for the past couple of days were elected to do a job for the Democratic Party.  It is a system of checks and balances that is much needed to run this nation.  And yet, part of that job is calling out the president on the policies that he has implemented at our border.  The un humanitarian crisis at the border where men and women are forced into overcrowded detention centers where they are forced to sleep on the floor for nothing more than fleeing conditions that are life threatening is unconscionable.

Animal kennels have better conditions.

And yet, Trump will tell them that if conditions are so awful, go back to where you came from…the same language that he used to these four Congress women.

The language of an overt racist is to tell all people that he deems as “other” to go back to where they came from; that this is his land…a land that has been claimed by he and his followers because they too have the gall to tell others to get out of “their” country.

The simple truth of the matter is that this land does not belong to them exclusively.  It belongs to all of us.  White people do not have the right to claim a land that was never theirs to begin with.  History tells us this.

But here’s the real problem and a possible solution.  If Trump did not have access to the media; the same media that he has attacked and deemed the enemy of the people; would his actions change?  If the media did not cover every single thing he says, ignoring his tweets and his statements, would that make a difference?

Maybe.

But we in the media have a duty to report the actions and policies of the president.  So, what do we do?

I for one can ignore him.  I can go dark and not say anything about him.  But that’s just me.  I don’t know what to suggest for the rest of us

He still has a following. People still cheer him on.

And he will continue to behave this way until he is given a reason not to.  Because you see, he believes that no one will tell him not to.  Right now, there is no system of checks and balances in place.  There are no repercussions for his actions.

We are living in an age where we have a racist man-child holding the reigns of the most powerful office in the land.

But there is something that we can do about it.  We simply must wait until the time comes and do what we need to do to get rid of racist in the White House.

Until then, we must be patient.  And patience as we know is truly a virtue.

~ J.L. Whitehead

Sunday, June 16, 2019

It's time to walk in hope again!

We knew who Donald Trump was before we elected him.  We knew that he had questionable morals and that he didn't believe in loyalty to anyone...not his wife; not his office; not his party...no one...except maybe himself.

We know that power can corrupt an individual.  Power can also bring out the best in you...and it can also bring out the worst in you.

No one can argue that our current president was and is a person that is used to being surrounded by "yes" people and that he was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth.

We knew all of these things...and we elected him anyway.

As a result, we shouldn't be surprised of how he runs our government.  It shouldn't come as no surprise that nothing is getting done in congress.

"We are to treat each other with love and kindness with the rightful expectation that we should receive love and kindness in return despite our differences."  ~ J.L. Whitehead

I purposely took some time away from this blog to allow my mind to re-boot...re-group as it may.  I needed time away from Trump and Trumpism.  I feel like I've been on a bad roller coaster ride for the last two years and now I need time to get off.  I was living life through Trump and his tweets.  Now I'm looking at life through the lens of goodness, kindness and gratitude.

Life is about how we live as well as who we are.  We are to treat each other with love and kindness with the rightful expectation that we should receive love and kindness in return in spite of our differences.

 We have been fed a steady diet of hatred and division for two years...more if you count the civil rights era.  We have been forced to see hatred for what it is and thankfully, most of us reject it.  Still, there are those that make the deliberate choice to hate and embrace it because it anchors who they are as well as who they perceive themselves at being.

We need to understand that hatred is and will always be something that will crumble.  It will fall because you cannot keep your foot on the neck of people that deserve the same opportunities that this land has to offer.  No man has the right to take away the rights of his fellow man simply because they may not look like  you, worship like you, love like you or speak like  you.

Equality is not oppression even if it feels like that to you.

Instead, it is the opportunity to learn, understand and share in differences that make us delightfully human.  We can rejoice in our differences and understand what makes us who we are.

This sounds like a wish that will never come true because America has a track record of murdering the leaders that promoted messages of love, empowerment and equality.  But simply because we are witness to this doesn't mean that we have to accept it.

We have tried to succeed by allowing the worst in us to run rampant.  It is now time to allow the best in us to move forward and take his/her seat at the table.  Just keep in mind that the best in us will be up for a fight...a nasty, dirty bloody fight.

But I also believe that it is a fight that we will win.

So my friends...it's time to walk in hope again.

We got this!

~ J.L. Whitehead

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Our Love Affair with the Constitution

I've grown weary and tired of the Trump era.  Watching this fiasco of a presidency has worn me down.  Like many of you, I have sat on the sidelines watching in silent (and perhaps not so silent) horror as Trump has taken a sledgehammer to our democracy.  He has thumbed his nose at the constitution and boldly defied the norms and dignity of the office that he currently holds.

He has lied to the American people repeatedly, and then when asked about those lies, he lies again.
He has weaponized the constitution, using the laws to protect himself when those very laws were put in place to protect the person who is supposed to uphold the laws of this land.

We know this.

However, this isn't about him.  This is about us.  We need to ask ourselves what we need.  We need to understand that what is currently in place isn't working for us.  We see it clearly.  The massive tax cuts that was supposed to bring more wealth into our homes has failed to bring fourth the fruits that were promised.

We have a choice to make because (and I saw this to my husband all the time) life is about choices.  We chose the current occupant of the White House.  Well, some of us did.  But we can right our wrongs and chose again.

In many ways, what has happened to us as a people has happened to me personally.  Through each relationship that I found myself in has taught me what I wanted and didn't want.  It taught me what I had the right to expect as well as not expect.  It taught me that you had to give in order to get; and that sometimes it wasn't always about getting.  In fact, it was more about giving just as long as I knew who I was giving to because there are people that will take from you without returning a thing.

Our current state of political affairs is in chaos; but like most relationships, you are due a do-over.  You can change things.  You can change your state of mind and go into life, single and happy; learning from your past mistakes and moving forward until you meet someone else that will hopefully give you what you need.  They may or they may  not.

But you have a choice:  If they do, Bravo!  But it they don't...what do you do?  You lick your wounds and start again.

We have that choice...right now; to lick our wounds and start again!

We have the golden opportunity to declare what we want as an American people.  We can say that we want better than what our forefathers declared, because equality under the constitution was written for all, but not meant for all.  It was subject to interpretation.  So lets get it right this time and discern it correctly.  Let's apply the words in the constitution to every living, breathing man in the United States.

We have to keep our eyes on the prize.  We have to listen to the candidates that are in the Democratic party.  Hopefully, they will put forth the correct message.  They will speak to the people by being for the people.

We need to ensure that 2020 will be a time of true prosperity for the middle class, and that everyone is included in that definition.

We have to be something that has been lost these past two years.

We have to be for ourselves and the constitution.  We cannot afford to be simply against Trump!

~ J.L. Whitehead

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Land of the Free


I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment this morning when the thought crossed my mind of just how great the United States is.  I don’t know what made me think of this.  Perhaps it was the words of Meghan McCain when she eulogized her father stating in a direct rebuke of Donald Trump that “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”

And to a certain degree, she was correct.

But in my thinking of the greatness of this nation, I realized that although many have fought and died for this country, this is not the land of the free.  It is not the land where opportunities are equal for everyone.  And it is most certainly not the land where immigrants are welcome even though this nation was built upon the backs of those said immigrants.

This country is, and perhaps has always been the land of equal opportunity for a few; and if you were a woman or a person of color, your opportunity was limited.  It has always been this way…we just don’t talk about it.

It wasn’t until I saw the image of Donald and Melania Trump standing proudly with their hands over their hearts paying homage to the American flag that I suddenly began to realize that this simple gesture offended me.  It wasn’t because the gesture was being made by a man that didn’t understand the constitution of this great land.  And it wasn’t because this same man used that gesture as a weapon to attack the people that chose to kneel in protest to citizens of this same country being killed for belonging to a demographic that didn’t fit the ideology of mainstream America.  It wasn’t even because I didn’t agree with or subscribe to the meaning of the flag.  I know what it stands for and I respect that meaning.

The truth is that this country is great for a few, and the few that it is great for is divided into categories of those that chose to acknowledge that their majority has it easier than those that don’t look like them.  And then there are those that will never acknowledge this and instead will elect to keep things status quo.
It has always been this way. But it took the rise of Donald Trump to bring this to the surface.  There is a large portion of this country that want to keep the opportunities to excel and succeed difficult for minorities and immigrants.  They want to be assured that their population will always remain on top and get the first fruits of the land.  And I say this not as a complaint or a gripe, but rather as a simple statement of fact.

There are millions of white people that want to keep this land great as long as the greatness is kept for themselves.  The rise of a Donald Trump could not have happened without this thought process being in place because he represents what they have been thinking all along.  He has been known for telling it like is which is code for saying what they didn’t have the courage to say but now feel emboldened to act upon.
The nation has now been split as a result of this.  Political parties that used to differ in governing policies have now been pitted against one another, each being designated as the formidable foe.  The issue of race has been brought to the surface with those of us pitted against one another.  And this was caused by a man that believes that everyone must have an enemy.  There is no such thing as people working together for the common good.  He has exacerbated the worst in us in the guise of patriotism, something that I’ve said all along.
 
This land can be as great as we profess it to be although sadly, it will take so much more for us to achieve the level of greatness that we all hold dear.

The divisiveness that separates not just political parties, but the American people is symptomatic of a greater problem that needs to be addressed before we can move forward as a nation.
We need to realize that for generations, one denomination of the American people has deemed themselves as being better than, greater than and more deserving of the greatness that this land has to offer.

We must address the fact that the only thing that separates us is the color of our skin and that we believe that it is in that color what determines the level of success that we should have.
There are those of us who will say that this isn’t true; that if there are people of color that have achieved an astronomical level of success then they never would have achieved this without the opportunities in this land being given to them.

I am not saying that immigrants and people of color could never achieve a level of success that is often attained by our white counter parts.  What I am saying is that the playing field has not been level for everyone regardless of race, religious affiliation or ethnicity.  This land has often been declared a place where everyone could excel if they put their minds to it.

But the realty of this doesn’t ring true.  African Americans have only had their civil rights for fifty years.  Women have only had the right to vote for ninety.  Up until that point, this land was not equal for all and to a degree still isn’t.

We must first admit that this land has been a white man’s world; and to be damned with the needs of everyone else.  And while there are people of color in various positions of authority, it isn’t at the level that guarantees that every single person of color has the advantage of those doors opening.
Until we address this, we will always have the problems that we have been battling with for generations.  

Always.

We have never experienced a time in history where we have been more polarized.  We have never seen the rise of the ideology of white supremacy since the fifties and sixties.

And maybe history is repeating itself in that white people will fight to keep their self-imposed superior status as it has been in the fifties.

Or maybe we are seeing the last gasp of what was, and the door is being opened, albeit slowly, to the wonders and possibility of a truly diverse society…a society where everyone gets an equal share of the proverbial pie.  A pie that everyone should have enjoyed an equal slice of to begin with.

~ J.L. Whitehead