Comebacks and Cancellations- While Trump Flounders, Democrats Plan.

The White House had no one to send to Sunday’s morning news show lineups. Not a living soul was to be found.

The people working for the president are not in an enviable position. If they speak out on what’s right, they get fired by Trump. He seems to take a stand against anything that is right, on personal principle. If they do not, however, their careers will not survive this sinking wreck of a presidency. They’ll be sucked right down in its wake.

“To give you a sense of how reluctant Republicans are to talk about President Trump this week, not one member of the current Republican leadership in Congress agreed to come on the broadcast this morning,” Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said. Fox News’s Shepard Smith reported much the same, earlier this week, saying “Let’s be honest: Republicans often don’t really mind coming on Fox News Channel.”

This is not the only way in which reverberations from the Charlottesville tragedy have continued to rock the White House. Nine different non-profit organizations who were planning to hold gala fundraisers at the president’s private playpen, the Mar-a-Lago Club, have cancelled their events. The most recent cancellation was the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society, just this morning.

Kennedy Center Honors is an annual event held to honor those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American life and culture.  Traditionally there has always been a White House reception related to the celebration. Unfortunately this year, three of the five honorees,  television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade, announced their intent to boycott in protest of Trump‘s reprehensible comments on the matter of last weekend’s ordeal.
Not to be outdone, the president and Melania decided they would boycott the ceremony too.
This is a display of childishness one would reprimand a second grader for. But who can reprimand the President? Only We the People.

An all-but universal condemnation has fallen on Trump for the encouragement he tacitly gave the white nationalists. His tepid and dishwater response to the murder of Heather Heyer. in which he assigned blame to both sides equally, showed the whole world very clearly where his true sympathies lie. As Maya Angelou once wrote, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

ThoughtCo. com defines swing states as those in which neither major political party holds a lock on the outcome of presidential elections. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were three of the key states that helped propel him to the White House. Trump’s overall job approval ratings have dropped down below 40%, in those states according to a trio of NBC News/Marist polls. His support core, once so solid, is eroding further by the day.

In the meantime, we Democrats are holding double-digit leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania. And we’ve got them by a solid 8-point advantage in Wisconsin. To convert this temporal energy into tangible gains, our top think tanks have come up with a plan. To galvanize the vast majority of sane Americans, those of us who were rightfully horrified and sickened by the hate-filled abomination in Charlottesville, the following strategy has been outlined. Its name is #RiseAndOrganize, and its purpose is to get us up and voting.

Simple instructions are the best kind, because they are easy to follow, and that is what we’ve got to do. The most important thing of all is that we get out and vote. That’s what will give us Democrats the momentum we need to make a successful comeback. If we don’t do that, it will all be for nothing.

 In the best news Millennial Democrats has heard in quite some time, the Democratic National Committee has been moving fast and working hard, to make sure Heather’s noble sacrifice counts for every last bit it can. Some of her last words were, “If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.” If they thought we were outraged before, they haven’t seen anything yet. We showed up 40,000 strong in Boston yesterday.
The essence of the matter can be clearly seen in the statement released by the members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, when on Friday they announced they were all resigning. “Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions …,” the letter stated. “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this.” Magnificently stated.
As the new week begins, watch for trouble brewing Tuesday. The president is scheduled to be in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday evening for yet another “campaign” rally. The city’s mayor has asked Trump not to come. The possibility of clashes between ultra-conservative supporters of the president, and those who plan to protest the president’s arrival is very real. One thing, at least, seems absolutely clear: the human race is going through a very big change right now. What an amazing time to be alive.

 

Advertisements

The Swamp Drains Itself- Resignations and Racism

Donald Trump’s vacillation on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia has rocked his administration. Speculation has been rising that many top officials may be looking for a way out, including Gary Cohn, the chief financial adviser to the White House. Wednesday morning saw more than a dozen of the nation’s most powerful C.E.O.s joined a conference call. After a brief debate, an accord was reached. The Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forums were to be disbanded. This is a blow to a president who came into office boasting of his close ties with business leaders.

A whole galaxy of business executives broke ties with Trump on Wednesday. The day before, he enraged the nation by assigning blame to white nationalists and counter-protesters in equal measure for the riots over the weekend that left Heather Heyer dead. For many, that was the final straw.

America does not like Nazis. Foreign radicalism has never taken deep root over here. When fascism was running rampant like wildfire in all parts of Europe, a couple of organizations tried it here, like the Silver Shirts and the German- American Bund(which slapped a swastika over the face of George Washington and called it a flag). Their leaders ended up in prison for sedition and fraud, and that was the end of that. Many Americans, including the author of this article, had family members who fought to topple Hitler from his perch in Europe. Some of them did not come back.

However, not everyone is reacting with the sadness and shock the event deserves. On Thursday, following the wake of the Barcelona attacks that left 13 dead, the president was quick to condemn it as terrorism, but refused to apply the same word to the van that ran down Heather Heyer. “Call it whatever you want”, he said dismissively. Justin Moore, the Grand Dragon for the Loyal White Knights of Ku Klux Klan, said he was glad Heyer died in the attack. And sources close to Steve Bannon told NBC News that he feels on safe ground amid the turmoil surrounding the Charlottesville murder.

All of this is said to have many in the president’s close council in a highly uncertain state of mind. The gist of it seems to be, “How much more can we take?”  Many leaders involved in the administration thought Trump’s statement on Monday was sufficient. He condemned the hate groups by name. However, they were livid and sickened with Trump’s follow-up remarks on Tuesday, according to the offices of two CEOs. It seems likely that more resignations will follow.

Other Republicans, both in the government and in the business community, have expressed serious concerns that the president will be able to bring to the table the focus and will to enact tax reforms. The realization of this cherished issue, which many have considered the keystone issue of the presidency, is considered by them to be imperiled. This is almost certainly true. The presidential support required will be hard to muster, coming as it does at a new low of trust and cooperation between Trump and GOP members in Congress.

The term “draining the swamp” does not belong to Trump, but it has been made extremely famous by him in recent times. It refers to the cutting down of big government, a traditional goal of industry. It has not traditionally meant the leaving of 85% of government positions unfilled completely, though, as they were as recently as June.

The discipline many were hoping to see General John Kelly impose upon this unruly administration is proving to be a flop as well. Kelly was photographed on Tuesday during the president’s controversial press conference, head down and grimacing, as the president stood at his podium informing us that there were some “very nice people” among the neo-Nazis throwing up Hitler salutes and running down young women. The transcripts of the speech are a sickening jumble of evasions, half-truths, and attempts to change the subject. It does not seem unreasonable that we ought to expect better from the occupant of our highest office.

With each passing day, the process of governing the country is producing greater friction. The number of neutral people is growing very low. And the one heartening point of the week’s events so far has been the unbelievable turnout against racism, Nazism, and hateful extremism of all shapes and sizes. Richard Spencer has been having all his rallies cancelled. Confederate statues have fallen en masse from shore to shore(in spite of the President’s laments as to their absence), and bipartisan disgust has arisen in gigantic number.

This whole Charlottesville event, touted as the biggest white power rally in decades, will be chalked up as the worst net loss for Nazism since V-E Day in 1945. Far from empowering their base, and garnering support for themselves, they have accomplished nothing more than the committing of an atrocity and the destabilizing of their large orange Fuhrer’s already tenuous legitimacy. They have become the architects of their own destruction.

Soldiers of Misfortune- The Aftermath of Charlottesville

In the wake of the tragic events of the week, it’s easy to forget that true patriotism is defined by love, something America could use a good stiff dose of. Love of the country, love of its people, love of its magnificent lands. The nihilistic savagery of the nameless thug who murdered the martyr Heather Heyer in Charlottesville last Saturday is the malignant opposite of patriotism. In fact, it is a plague. It’s a cancer on the corpus of the country. And we are going to go through this, in every generation, until we find a way to excise it.

The duty of the good hearted and decent citizenry must hold fast to and keep faith with the time-honored values of decency and tolerance that have kept us alive from the beginning. From without and within, from the highest office of the land on down, we are under attack. We have only one another on which to rely. In addition to Charlottesville, we have seen the vandalism of Boston’s Holocaust Memorial and even the Lincoln Memorial. Hysteria will run rampant if we let it.  The far right neo- Nazis, their financers and inciters the Russians and their underlings among the Republican Party are all eagerly waiting for us to slip up and give them an excuse to repress us by way of naked force. This cannot be allowed. Citizens, we must rally.

The trouble in Charlottesville has been brewing for some time, over the attempt being made to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee in the center of its town. The statue has stood where it is since 1924, and tradition dies hard. However, in recent years, particular focus has been placed on pressuring the South to get rid of its old Civil War based relics, arguing that they celebrate the tradition of slavery and segregation that even today creates a very deep divide among the residents of that area. And in early April of this year, the Charlottesville city council voted 3-2 to finally sell it. 
Charlottesville is far from alone in having trouble with politicized statues. America has a lot of statues.

A few years ago, one W. Fitzhugh Brundage, a history professor at the University of North Carolina, embarked on a research project. Its goal was to determine how many statues and memorials his state had. There was not a  comprehensive national database, and this one was to serve as a model for the rest of the country. He figured there would be a few hundred, covering all American wars. Instead, his team found nearly 200 for the Civil War alone, mostly Confederate.

This places us in a very strained situation. The Charlottesville chaos indicates clearly that Confederate monuments are still something that many feel very strongly about, on both sides, and there are a ton of them. They’re everywhere. They are part of people’s daily lives. Everyone living in America today has seen many of them. What to do?

Some of the ideas proposed as solutions have traditionally been seen as cures far worse than the disease, but the savage events of late have started to change that.  An irresistible mass tear-down movement seems to have begun. Over the course of the last several days alone, statues have been removed from public view in cities everywhere across the South. In the infamous Birmingham, Alabama, a one-time segregationist stronghold, law forbids the removal of the monument, so the mayor has had it covered in plastic and plywood.

These kinds of measures have never been seen as worth the cost, in terms both of money and of civil unrest, but the events of the last few days have changed the game forever. Still, we must be careful. We don’t want to start a new Civil War by way of cleaning up the mess of the old one. The principles of nonviolence practiced by Martin Luther King, who had more cause than nearly anyone to hate the sight of Confederate statues, must act as our guide in this matter.

Moving forward, it will be necessary to exert the utmost caution and restraint as we steadfastly go about the task of remedying the ills of America’s often regrettable past. It is important to remember that our history is what is is, for better or worse, and that to suppress its memory entirely would be to risk repeating it. This is a big job, and it’s going to get rough. We will have to watch each other’s backs on every level, and to help keep each other in line. Emotions are running high right now beyond anything the nation has seen in more than fifty years. There is a way forward, but make no mistake. That path is a tightrope over an extremely vast abyss, and it will take all our efforts to keep from falling down into it.

 

Chaos in Charlottesville- Moving Forward

The violence that has rocked our nation in Charlottesville this weekend was reminiscent of the Civil War. Although our president would not condemn the white nationalist terrorism this weekend, Gov. Terry McAuliffe renewed his calls for white supremacists to leave the city, and even the country, in the wake of violence that saw the beautiful and brave Heather Heyer to an early grave. The same day, troopers had to be assigned to the governor’s travel detail, and two state officers were killed in a helicopter crash. 

On Saturday, McAuliffe told the demonstrators to go home. On Sunday he went further.
“Let’s be honest, they need to leave America, because they are not Americans,” he said. While those words are passionately spoken and help to convey the message of grief and sorrow that all of us are feeling, these events were all too American. The last eight years lulled many into a false sense of complacency as to the improvement of racial relations in America. This is a very old problem, however, and its roots go back much farther even than slavery. The topic is very large. For our purposes, we will be looking at race relations in the millennial era, from 1980 forward, with a brief look back at the most important recent events that set the context for them.
Particularly the War on Drugs should receive attention, as it is one of the most notable weapons available to the forces of reaction vis-a-vis the suppression of ideological and political adversaries. Other forms of new and subtle economic pressure and exclusion were also further developed, and applied by certain sections of white America to deny people from other ethnic backgrounds a share of the American dream. These methods included discriminatory hiring practices, rent control, and gentrification.
The first one to use the term War on Drugs was Richard Nixon. The concept was a political farce from the start, based on racism and a callous desire to remain in power at any cost. Nixon plotted this out during the 1968 campaign for the presidency because the opposition was comprised mainly of hippies and blacks, both perceived to be into drugs.  Nixon’s domestic policy advisor, John Ehrlichman later said, “We knew we were lying about the health effects of marijuana.  We knew we were lying about the relationship between heroin and crime.  But this is what we were doing to win the election.  And it worked.”

After being elected as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan quickly made himself a hero to conservatives with his crack downs on anti-war protests in Berkeley. During the implementation of these draconian measures, police brutality led to the murder of James Rector, shot and killed by police. After he was elected President, it was soon to be more of the same. This was to manifest in the official War on Drugs, personified best by the famous words of First Lady Nancy Reagan- Just Say No.

During the tenure of the senior Bush’s time in the White House, the war on drugs was running low on steam, although this did not stop him from intensifying his attempts to make his power felt in that department almost immediately. His famous War on Crack speech in 1989 sent a brutal message. During the speech President Bush pledged one billion dollars for the drug war because “we need more jails, more prisons, more courts and more prosecutors. The laws enacted shortly after this time created sentencing disparities along racial lines that would last for years to come, and have not been thoroughly fixed today. These disparities are still a weak point and a stressor on the stability and conscience of the nation.

The Obama presidency represented the highest watermark yet, in the struggle of people of color and women to assert their rightful equality in a country that had historically denied them. The fact of Hillary Clinton’s having won the popular vote, and without Russian aid, is another tremendous step in the right direction. That success has the forces of reaction up in arms. The status quo is altering, regardless of their attempts to preserve it.

The events of Charlottesville and many other events, both nationally and worldwide, are a sad and grotesque example of just how far radicals will go to avoid parting with a familiar idea. However, in the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, No lie lives forever. The rest of the civilized world has already long ago moved on from this awful way of thinking.

The death of Heather Heyer was not in vain. Already, the terrified organizer of this rally, the largest hate rally in decades. has been chased off the stage of his own conference. In abject cowardice and disgrace. He knows in his heart they have gone too far, and awoken a sleeping giant. The nameless worm who murdered her, gave her more power to change the world in death than she ever could have had in life. Let her name become our battle-cry, our clarion call to action.

Moving forward, we have got to remain calm. If this situation escalates too far it could lead to civil war. That said, however, we are also not going to be victims. That’s out. The NAACP has issued a travel advisory to women, people of color, and anyone with a disability to a specific State, Missouri, which is another sad first in a year that has been full of them. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that you can add anyone with long hair, an eccentric mode of dress, or license plates from any coastal state to be very careful in all of Middle America, to the list of people that advisory applies to. Look out for yourselves, and each other.

As we mourn the death of Heather Heyer, we mourn as well that things in our fair nation have come to this. We mourn that peaceful protest can no longer be counted on to remain so. We mourn that the President refuses to disavow and condemn her killer, choosing instead to rebuke “many sides” for that hideous act, as if the brave and beautiful woman who lost her life yesterday was on par with the savage who snuffed out her promising young life. But in our sadness, we will become even stronger. A hundred thousand will rise up in terrible anger at the thought of the outrage that has blighted our beautiful country. Chaos in Charlottesville will not last forever. When the dust settles, we will gently pick up the pieces, and lay our friend to rest, and move on.