Monday, January 21, 2019

Last Call For Dr. King's Legacy

Another year of the Trump Era, where in America Donald Trump and Mike Pence making an "unannounced two-minute visit" to the MLK Memorial in DC to plop down a wreath and vanish so they can get credit for "promoting unity" while making sure that the base doesn't catch them in the act of believing black people are human, and it's the perfect metaphor.

Black people get 2 minutes out of 24 hours of Trump's time on the one day out of an entire year where America has to pretend there's racial harmony in a white supremacist country, where the current White House spokesman says Dr. King "gave his life" rather than "assassinated by white reactionaries".

And as always, Dr. King's Letter From A Birmingham Jail sums up the Trump voter and the Trump non-voter.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

Every year we bring that boil to the surface, every year we point out that the disease of racism and white supremacy that caused the boil is still infecting the country, every year we as a country pretend it's awesome being black or brown or not white in America because at least you people aren't slaves anymore, what else do you goddamn want from us.

The same people who King warned us about more then 55 years ago are the same people who allowed Donald Trump to end up in the Oval Office.  This is where the white backlash to Obama and the Civil Rights Movement in America has gotten us, the most racist president since Andrew Jackson.

I'm tired of America reverting to form.

Halfway Home, Or Halfway To Hell?

The Dr. Martin Luther King holiday this year serves as the beginning of Year Three of the Trump Era, and as WaPo's Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey remind us, the first two years were a disaster of mythical proportions and the next two will be an even larger conflagration.

Donald Trump was elected president partly by assuring the American people that “I alone can fix it.”

But precisely two years into his presidency, the government is not simply broken — it is in crisis, and Trump is grappling with the reality that he cannot fix it alone.

Trump’s management of the partial government shutdown — his first foray in divided government — has exposed as never before his shortcomings as a dealmaker. The president has been adamant about securing $5.7 billion in public money to construct his long-promised border wall, but he has not won over congressional Democrats, who call the wall immoral and have refused to negotiate over border security until the government reopens.

The 30-day shutdown — the impacts of which have begun rippling beyond the federal workforce into the everyday lives of millions of Americans — is defining the second half of Trump’s term and has set a foundation for the nascent 2020 presidential campaign.

The shutdown also has accentuated several fundamental traits of Trump’s presidency: his apparent shortage of empathy, in this case for furloughed workers; his difficulty accepting responsibility, this time for a crisis he had said he would be proud to instigate; his tendency for revenge when it comes to one-upping political foes; and his seeming misunderstanding of Democrats’ motivations.

Trump on Saturday made a new offer to end the shutdown, proposing three years of deportation protections for some immigrants, including young people known as “dreamers,” in exchange for border wall funding.

But before Trump even made it to the presidential lectern in the White House’s stately Diplomatic Reception Room to announce what he called a “straightforward, fair, reasonable, and common sense” proposal, Democrats rejected it as a non-starter.

Donald Trump is losing this fight, and each day that passes makes it more and more likely that he miscalculates with, at this point, negative room for error and really wrecks the country more than he already has.   Considering what's coming down the pike, Trump is going to break something badly, and it may very well be our democracy.  And yes, his base is starting to crack under the weight of his sins.

Two years ago, Jeff Daudert was fed up with politics. He wanted to shake up the status quo. He didn’t mind sending a message to the establishment — and, frankly, he liked the idea of a disruptive president.

But the 49-year-old retired Navy reservist has had some second thoughts.

“What the [expletive] were we thinking?” he asked the other night inside a Walmart here, in an area of blue-collar suburban Detroit that helped deliver Trump the presidency.

While Trump’s relationship with much of his base remains strong, two years after his inauguration his ties are fraying with voters like Daudert, the kind who voted in droves for Trump in 2016 in key pockets throughout the industrial Midwest and flipped previously Democratic states to him. The shutdown fight, as it has played out over the past month, is further eroding his support among voters who like the idea of beefing up border security, but not enough to close the government.

Many here, even those who still support Trump, say they hold him most responsible. They recite his comment from the Oval Office that he would be “proud to shut down the government.” When he said it, they listened.

“It’s silly. It’s destructive,” Daudert said, adding that all he knows about 2020 is that he won’t be supporting Trump. “I was certainly for the anti-status quo. … I’ll be more status quo next time.”

They didn't think they would be the ones to get hurt, just those people would suffer.  They were wrong, and black voters told y'all this, but. again, the cruelty is the point.

A Hat Lands In The RIng, Con't

Another Democratic candidate for Donald Trump's job in 2020 announced this morning, California Sen. Kamala Harris made it official today on GMA after rumors made her candidacy all but certain.

Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democrat and barrier-breaking prosecutor who became the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate, declared her candidacy for president on Monday, joining an increasingly crowded and diverse field in what promises to be a wide-open nomination process.

The announcement was bathed in symbolism: Ms. Harris chose to enter the race on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, an overt nod to the historic nature of her candidacy, and her timing was also meant to evoke Shirley Chisholm, the New York congresswoman who became the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president 47 years ago this week.

In addition, Ms. Harris will hold her first campaign event on Friday in South Carolina, where black voters are the dominant force in the Democratic primary, rather than start off by visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, the two predominantly white states that hold their nomination contests first. She will hold a kickoff rally Sunday in Oakland, Calif., her hometown.

For the first time, the Democratic presidential race now includes several high-profile women, with Ms. Harris joining two other prominent senators who have announced candidacies, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, has also said she is running, and more women could enter the race in the coming weeks.

Ms. Harris made her announcement on “Good Morning America” and also released a video aimed at supporters and other Democrats.

Here's the announcement video:

Harris is I think the largest threat of the field that did not run in 2016.  Former VP Joe Biden remains the favorite, although I certainly wouldn't call his lead prohibitive considering the already large field and the fact that Biden hasn't announced yet either.

But Harris does have some baggage to deal with from her days as California's Attorney General. Just a few days ago, Harris was blasted in the NY Times by criminal justice activist and law professor Lara Bazelon over her record, and while Bazelon made some pretty good points, the fact of the matter is Harris worked for change from inside the system ir order to achieve reform, and did make some serious changes.

The gripping hand on that is the fact that in a post-Trump era, we need a lot more than incremental change with a new president in 2020.  Harris seems ready, and she's certainly a better choice than Tulsi Gabbard.

We'll see.  Harris is very smart heading to SC first to win over black voters and especially black women, because believe me when I say black women will decide the 2020 Democratic candidate.


Related Posts with Thumbnails