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Four Decades Along the Rainbow Road

A look back at my work with the LGBTQ community. I first became active in the gay rights movement in 1980 when I launched my LGBTQ jo...

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Trump's RACE to the Bottom


Of the myriad character flaws that make Donald Trump unfit both as a president and as a human being—corruption, narcissism and vindictiveness, to name a few—the one that is the most troubling is his racism.  For decades Trump has been consistent in his racism from the Central Park Five to leading the birther movement against President Obama to his involvement in discrimination against African Americans in housing. #hocopolitics

Since his descent down the Trump Tower’s escalator to announce his presidential bid in 2015 when he called Mexicans “rapists,” Trump had given the country and the world for that matter a preview of what his 2016 campaign would be about and provided a glimpse of what his presidency would be like.  

While Trump has continued his descent as a racist, increasing numbers of Americans are ascending, rising to the occasion, especially in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd and other unarmed Black individuals at the hands of the police. He and most of the nation are moving in opposite directions. The mainly young protesters comprised of all races and backgrounds formed a beautiful mosaic of people trying to bring justice to our society.

Trump can herald his administration’s few accomplishments vis-à-vis African Americans all he wants, it still boils down to one indisputable fact. Trump is a racist and a white supremacist.

I want to be clear, not every Trump supporter is a racist, but many are. He has given hope and life to a white nationalist movement in the country that had been percolating under the surface and in the shadows. His comment in the wake of Charlottesville where neo-Nazis marched with torches chanting anti-Semitic and anti-Black slogans as “very fine people on both sides” was a dagger to the core of the American conscience.

A despondent Trump arrives home following
embarrassing Tulsa rally

He has characterized African countries as “shithole countries.” He called majority Black Baltimore “a rodent infested mess.” He uses the term “thugs” referring to Black males. He frequently calls Black female journalists “nasty.”

Trump’s response to the murder of George Floyd reinforced his racist reputation.  As people took to the streets to protest police brutality the likes of which we have not seen in a half century, Trump labeled the mostly peaceful but angry and determined protesters who were exercising their First Amendment rights as “anarchists,” “rioters,” “arsonists,” “looters” and other disparaging names. 

Yes, there was arson, looting and destruction. But the Black Lives Matter movement and other leaders quickly condemned those acts, and the perpetrators comprised a very small portion of those protesting. They were mostly outside agitators and criminal opportunists who did not represent the largely peaceful protesters.  

Rather than demonstrating sincerity in the desire for much needed police reform, Trump stepped back 50 years and took a page out of another racist president’s playbook. He started tweeting and conjuring up Richard Nixon’s call for “law and order.” Yet, Trump did not condemn the instances of police violence occurring in the streets against the protesters.  Moreover, he seems more concerned about preserving the statues of Confederate soldiers.

With his presidential reelection campaign looking downtrodden, he is using another Nixon-Agnew trope “silent majority” whom he hopes will save his floundering chances. Trump has decided to bank on this group by playing the race card. He knows his base, and they eat this up.

To that end, he retweeted a video, since taken down by him, whereby one of his supporters chanted “White Power” during a protest in The Villages in Florida—a key swing state. Trump had sent this to over 80 million followers on Twitter on June 28. It is shown below. 

“Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!” he wrote in the tweet.

Trump’s racism is disgusting. He has numerous character flaws but this is his most vile. With every passing day, there is no bottom to his descent.



A good article here on Trump's using racism as an election strategy.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Unmasking Trump’s Biggest Mistake


From his candidacy for president through three plus years in office, Donald Trump has made a host of mistakes. Some have been in the process of governance like the pointless Trump shutdown, separating families at the southern border, the Muslim ban, his response to Charlottesville, his blundering of the coronavirus pandemic response, his taking the wrong position on the George Floyd murder-inspired Black Lives Matter protests, as well as other instances. #hocopolitics

He also made a number of political miscues along the way, such as demeaning the late Sen. John McCain, making fun of a disabled journalist, calling Mexicans rapists, insulting a Gold Star family, and more recently his stroll to the St. John’s Church with Bible in tow for that infamous photo-op after law enforcement broke up a peaceful demonstration using tear gas and other weapons.

So far, Trump, who had been impeached but not convicted for abusing his power to pressure an ally for personal political gain, has more or less weathered the storm, hanging around within single digits of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in most polls.

But President Trump has made one mistake that arguably is his biggest to this point, and that will do more damage to him politically than any of the others. To put it simply, his dismissive attitude towards wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic could have an oversized effect on his reelection prospects not to mention adversely impacting the health of large swaths of the population.

Trump needs a strong economy to make the case for reelection but pesky COVID-19 put a halt to that. The ensuing stay-at-home orders provided by his own administration and the nation’s governors closed most businesses, sent well over 40 million folks out of work and plunged the economy into a recession. For this reason, Trump had first denied the seriousness of the pandemic and eventually downplayed it so that he could pressure governors to open their states’ businesses sooner than health officials advised. Remember, for Trump, "it's the economy, stupid."

While some states are seeing their rates of infection decline, the Sunbelt is experiencing a marked rise. In this environment of “re-opening the economy,” it is more incumbent than ever to practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and to wear face masks to at least mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Somehow, these common sense precautions have been politicized by Trump, who refuses to wear a mask in public.  His followers take his cue and view wearing masks as a sign of “weakness” putting everyone around them at risk. To be fair, some of the Black Lives Matter protesters have eschewed masks but that appears to be more of a personal decision (albeit a risky one) rather than following the President’s example.

Early on, when there used to be briefings from the White House Pandemic Response Team, Trump never wore a mask on the podium and was in close proximity with other members of the team. He continues to go without a mask in subsequent public outings, and his supporters are following him. For his part, Vice President Pence tweeted a photo (pictured) of him since deleted at a campaign headquarters in Virginia with no masks in sight.

The biggest test to date is Trump’s upcoming political rally in Tulsa, OK on June 20. The planners have not mandated the use of face masks and we know the thousands of expected rally-goers will not wear masks so they could piss off the liberals.  Those attendees will have to sign a waiver so that they cannot sue the Trump campaign if they are stricken with the very virus they seem to deny.

Nonetheless, Tulsa’s health director is concerned for the well-being of the attendees and the president himself.

“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department, told the Tulsa World. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”

We’ve learned this much about COVID-19.  It doesn’t care about party affiliation or the righteousness of causes. Instead, the virus is hell-bent in finding a host and to penetrate his or her lungs to decimate them. Masks help prevent the spread, and without a workable therapeutic or a vaccine, Covid-19 is going to be around for quite a while.

By Trump’s not taking the coronavirus precautions seriously like wearing a mask, he is putting his own base, his own voters, his own people and everybody who are in contact with them in danger. The further spread of COVID-19 will slow down the re-opening of the economy if not set it back altogether as the public will be less likely be sufficiently comfortable in patronizing those businesses. Therefore, Trump’s cavalier approach will not help his reelection chances since the economy is unlikely to bounce back under these conditions.

Wearing a mask is the prudent thing to do but Trump doesn’t see it that way. It’s his biggest mistake thus far.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Russia, If You're Watching


Dear President Putin,

I know you and your associates are toasting each other with glasses filled with Stolichnaya at the images of the U.S. being torn apart. Once again, a cold-blooded murder of a Black man at the hands of a white police officer has triggered unrest throughout our country.  The footage of the protests is heartbreaking to us because the anger was a result of this senseless tragedy, one that has been repeated for too long, but it must be heartening to you.

Your goal to sow discontent in the U.S. is working. So while the glasses in Russia are clinking now, please know it won’t last.  #hocopolitics

As you are well aware, you helped Donald Trump get elected as President. While he calls the “Russian thing” a “hoax,” we know better. Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, though limited because of a bureaucratic impediment that prevents a sitting U.S. President from being indicted and whose investigation had been under a direct threat of abolishment by President Trump himself, confirmed what our intelligence agencies concluded. The Mueller Report found that the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and “violated U.S. criminal law.”

Accordingly, 26 Russian citizens and 3 Russian organizations were indicted. The investigation also led to indictments and convictions of Trump campaign officials and associated Americans for unrelated charges. The report relayed two methods by which you guys attempted to influence the election: 1) a robust social media campaign to damage Mr. Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton and 2) the hacking of email accounts by your own GRU and the release of the consequential damaging information by WikiLeaks also to damage Mrs. Clinton. But you know all that.

Thus, Mr. Trump squeezed by with an Electoral College victory though the majority of voters preferred his opponent. With him in the White House, you have what our intel folks refer to as a “useful idiot.” You knew he would be so tethered to his business holdings so that he would put his own interests ahead of our country’s. You knew he would ensure that our Congress and related departments would not be too harsh on your country in retaliation against your interference in our democracy.

Many Americans believe that Mr. Trump as well as leading Senate and Congressional Republican leaders, such as "Moscow Mitch" McConnell, have been compromised by your government and/or have received laundered money in the form of donations for their campaigns. This explains their determined opposition to safeguard our upcoming election and allowing you to repeat the same operation with impunity.

You also helped install Mr. Trump because he is a divisive figure by nature and would cause chaos in our country. In the three and a half years in office, he has validated your assumptions.   

He has never attempted to unify our country; he only serves his base of support. President Trump vehemently attacks the opposition and attacks our free press. Sound familiar, President Putin?

President Trump has served you well by keeping the chasm in the U.S. deep and wide. At no time during his presidency did a majority of Americans approve of him as President.  This divisiveness has continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic whereby he was slow to react to it, failed to develop a national strategy to address it, assumed no responsibility, and blamed everyone else.

The divisiveness is on full display during the protests concerning the murder of George Floyd. To be
Murder victim Goeoge Floyd
clear, the scourge of systemic racism has existed long before there was ever a Donald Trump.  But throughout his career, he has fomented racial animosity with his calling for the death penalty on wrongly accused Black and Latino men in the Central Park Five case, amplifying the birther crusade against President Obama, his reference to neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people,” separating kids from their parents and placing those kids in cages at our southern border, and speaking down to African American journalists among other instances.

He has given a voice to extreme racist groups and individuals whereby they can display with pride their Confederate flags and symbols and at times, swastikas, without any condemnation from our President. White nationalists know President Trump has their backs.

During this sad chapter in our history, instead of rallying the country and attempt to heal it by promising vigorous police reform, he calls for “tougher” response by our state governors.

President Putin, with your puppet Donald Trump doing your bidding by keeping our nation divided and in the throes of chaos, I understand why you are celebrating. However, we expect Mr. Trump will be defeated by Joe Biden in November and with that, we hope the demise of Trumpism will also occur. Our country will slowly heal, come together through competence and a renewed determination, we will once again be the United States of America.

Then it will be our turn to toast with glasses of Stoli.