United States: The Power of the Presidency


Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. 

The majority of American citizens did not vote for Donald Trump; nevertheless, he is our president. He is our president because the Electoral College (which, at the very least, needs tweaking; or, in the opinion of many, needs to be abolished) awarded Trump 304 of its 538 votes.

Donald Trump Takes Oath of Office
Like many Americans, I boycotted the inauguration of President Trump. I did not go to Washington, DC. I turned my televisions to stations that did not broadcast the inauguration.

I chose to peacefully protest the installation of a man who was not elected by the people to the highest office of the land. I chose not to watch a man, who bragged about sexually assaulting women and who talks about women as if they are objects, as he was being installed as the President of the United States.  I chose to boycott a man who demeans and bullies American citizens who dare disagree with him. I chose to boycott a man who has so little knowledge of the history of this country and his countrymen that he has insulted John McCain, a Gold Star family, and John Lewis. Not only did he insult them, he has refused to apologize or reach out to these national heroes.  It should be noted that after insulting John Lewis, Trump invited Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King, III to Trump Tower, which seems to me to indicate that Trump thinks Black people are interchangeable. So, I chose to boycott Trump’s inauguration. I chose to boycott a man who seems to be intent on destroying our free press. I chose to boycott a serial adulterer, who tried to humiliate Hillary Clinton for being the wife of one man. I chose to boycott the installation to office of a man whose election was, reportedly, aided by a foreign power. I chose to boycott the installation of Donald Trump to the position of Commander-In-Chief; because Trump, according to all reports,  does not pay any taxes to support our military nor our veterans.

But, Donald Trump is the President of the United States. So, I listened to a tape of the inaugural address. During that address, President Trump proclaimed that he is going to “return the power to the people.”

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address

As the protesters have taken to the streets today, January 21, 2017, the people are sending President Trump (as well as those legislators who sought, through gerrymandering, to dilute the power of the people) a message. President Trump,  “we the people” did not give you our power and you do not have a mandate. We have a voice, and we are going to continue using it. You need to listen to us, because we will not be quiet.

America Ferrera Speaks at Women’s March
Women’s March on Washington, DC
Ashley Judd’s Speech to Women’s March

John Lewis Speaks Out in Atlanta

This is only the beginning! People, who are not legitimately represented by those who seek to govern them, will continue to rise up. We respect the Office of the President.  However, the President must earn our respect.

Just Picture It

Just picture it: Donald Trump in the White House raiding the treasury, while the Snow Queen intones in one of her many languages, “Let them eat cake.”

melania-trump-anderson-cooper

Melania Trump on CNN

This picture has been trapped in my brain since last night when I watched Melania Trump sit down for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to defend her husband’s “boy talk.”

My initial reaction to the Melania Trump interview was one of understanding. I was married for thirty (30) years. A marriage that produced two wonderful children, before imploding and exploding in divorce court. I understand what a wife will do to support her husband, what a mother will do to protect her child, what a woman will do to protect her family.

Melania is doing what she thinks is best for her son, herself & her husband, just as Hilary did many years ago. In the end, Bill was impeached. (Here, I could try to explain the difference between Bill Clinton’s behavior and the behavior that Donald Trump bragged about while on the bus with Billy Bush; but, deep down, I think that even ardent Trump defenders know the difference.) So, it appears to me that if Trump is elected president, the country will go through impeachment proceedings again. All because Donald Trump admitted that he, habitually, assaults women; and, according to his words, he will not be able to stop himself from doing it again. Also, once the genie is out of the box, you cannot put it back. The investigation and digging will not stop simply because Melania Trump said her husband is a “gentleman.”

So, while those in the Trump camp tell us that Melania is a private person who did not ask for nor expect to be in the spotlight, and who does not deserve public scrutiny; her marital struggles are no longer private struggles. Perhaps, if Melania had followed the Pat Nixon model (stand silently, stoically by one’s husband) rather than a variation of the Hillary Clinton model, she and her son could expect to weather the storm in private. But, Melanie chose to take a more modern approach in trying to protect her family. Unfortunately, she is at war with the wrong enemies. As I see it the enemies are not the outsiders — the left-wing media, the Clintons, nor those forward women who slip their telephone numbers to Donald right in front of her. It appears, based on Donald Trump’s words, that the enemy is Donald Trump.

The video of Donald engaging in “boy talk” with Billy Bush of Access Hollywood and, more recently, The Today Show (from which he was fired for participating in “boy talk”) can be found here.

After a good night’s sleep, my view of the Melania Trump interview has changed, somewhat.

Now that I’ve slept on it, I wonder if it took Melania Trump so long to come forward in support of her husband because she was busy memorizing the “speech” that she wrote herself, much like the speech she delivered at the Republican National Convention. Perhaps, like many Miss Universe contestants, Melania Trump is an aspiring actress. Last night, it appeared as if she was reading for the role of First Lady of the United States. Last night, Mrs. Trump told us that if we select her as the next First Lady of the United States; she will work to protect our children from the evils of the internet. Perhaps, she could start by forbidding one of the “boys” in her household from tweeting when he should be sleeping.

I cannot wait to see what SNL does with the Snow Queen, whose nudie pictures are “art work” and whose husband (at age 59) was egged on to engage in “boy talk” with Billy Bush.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in the first ever Commander-in-Chief Forum

On Wednesday night, September 8, 2016, NBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America sponsored a televised Commander-in-Chief Forum.  This forum, hosted by NBC’s Matt Lauer, provided an opportunity for each candidate to appear presidential while showcasing his/her command of foreign policy and readiness to command our troops.  Lauer and veterans posed questions to the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

Even as Matt Lauer tried to handicap Clinton by questioning her, ad nauseam, about her emails; she came off as a much better presidential candidate in terms of knowledge of the issues to be faced as the Commander-in-Chief, experience and temperament than Donald Trump. HRC was unflappable. That’s why I’m with her.

Donald Trump bluffed his way through the forum as he trashed the generals and advisors around President Obama. Trump also offered an aside that intelligence experts who briefed him were unhappy because President Obama is not listening to them.  (I’m sure he only shared this piece of gossip with his closest friends, since he refuses to share his plans to defeat ISIS with the voters, lest some foreigners should get wind of it.) In other words, Trump did not appear to possess the knowledge, the discretion, nor the temperament to be a Commander-in-Chief who could make me feel safe.  Besides, who wants a president who plans to let his daughter run the country, while he and his Melania (an acceptable immigrant) entertain Vladimir Putin in the Rose Garden.

I am not an expert. I am not a pundit. I am just a voter and that’s just the way I saw it.

View the full Commander-In-Chief Forum here and you decide. Commander-In-Chief Forum

Governor McCrory And NC Legislators Must Go

Recently, an editorial in The Virginian-Pilot entitled “For cause of N.C. woes, look beyond McCrory” suggested that we need not be overly concerned with voting Governor McCrory out of office. Rather, we should make changes in the NC Legislature, because the legislators are really the source of our problems.

I strongly disagree with this premise mainly because it seems to give Governor McCrory a pass for the ill he has done while in office. It also ignores the power of the executive branch of government, especially the persuasive power of the occupant of The Big House.

The Governor and many legislators need to go. The two (2) high-profile agenda items that the editorial laid at Governor McCrory’s feet include HB2 (the bathroom bill) and the rolling back of  voting rights or voter suppression. First, it is important to note that the HB2 is presented as a trojan horse, drawing attention to who is behind the bathroom stall, while directing your attention away from the real substance of House Bill 2. Easily the most important provision of the HB2 is there “to create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment And Contracting.” In other words,  Part 2 of HB2 regulates wages and hours of employment and sick leave compensation for workers throughout North Carolina.  Since North Carolina is a non-union state or a right to work for whatever the employer wants to pay you state, provisions in HB2 dealing with wages and conditions of employment, seem to me, of greater significance than who is behind bathroom stall #1. While the rest of the country is fighting to raise the minimum wage to a living wage or $15 per hour, Governor McCrory’s HB2 bill says companies in NC can pay workers much, much less. Provisions of HB2, also, make it illegal to file law suits in cases where people think they have been subjected to discrimination in employment opportunity based on race, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, etc. Think Lilly Ledbetter!

So far, everyone is so focused on who can use the bathroom (never mind that there are only a few Caitlyn Jenner’s in the world), that we are missing the bigger picture–wages and hours and equal employment opportunity for 99% of the people in NC are not on track to meet our needs and the needs of our children because of the policies enacted by NC Legislators and Governor McCrory.

The 2nd agenda item laid at Governor McCrory’s feet in The Virginian-Pilot editorial has to do with voter suppression —by limiting when the polls can be open and requiring stricter voter ID. So, if your 88 year-old grandmother does not have a driver’s license because she is no longer able to drive, she could be denied the right to vote.  Recently, the Federal Court of Appeals struck down McCrory’s voter suppression laws in the case of the NAACP v. McCrory.  The court found that voting laws passed by the NC Legislature and signed by Governor McCrory were discriminatory based on race.

Finally, if any part of HB2 is thrown out by, let’s say, the Federal Government, the rest remains in effect. That’s called locking all the doors and windows to keep people impoverished.

Yes, we need to vote out legislators who do not act in our interests. But, we cannot afford to leave Governors, like McCrory, in power because they, not only actively push forward legislation that is harmful to the general welfare; they refuse to use the veto pen.

The Virginian-Pilot editorial rightly noted that environmental protections were rolled back after McCrory assumed the office of governor. The editorial noted that Governor McCrory was formerly employed by Duke Energy, and that the water supply around the Dan River was polluted by a coal ash spill from one of the Duke Energy Facilities.  According to the editorial, Duke Energy did not suffer any grievous penalty (in other words, Duke Energy is still profiting), while I am sure the people around the Dan River are suffering irreparable harm.  The people living near the Dan River are forced to drink bottled water.  The people living near the Dan River cannot just sell their homes and resume their lives elsewhere. Perhaps, the Governor should fight as hard to protect the lives of the residents affected by the polluted Dan River as he is fighting to keep HB2 alive.

So, to my mind, Governor McCrory is a major culprit in harming North Carolinians in fundamental ways: by protecting a company that polluted the water that is necessary for human survival, by putting forth and fighting for a bill that makes it lawful to pay a wage less than a laborer is due for an honest days work thereby making it harder for people to feed their families, and by fighting for a restrictive voting law that would deny all men and women a say in their governance.

I vote that we clean house, including The Big House in North Carolina.

*****Updated 8/12/2016

President Obama Addressed the UN Security Council

I was depressed after listening to the President’s speech to the UN Security Council. While I understand that people with machetes, who aren’t afraid to use them, are a threat to all. An enlightened society where some can openly carry and shoot to kill unarmed Black men / women seems a more immediate threat to me and mine. So, because the President has been unable to put forth a plan to hold American citizens accountable for violence against other American citizens whom God created as a different race, because the President has been unable to formulate a plan to secure the safety (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) for the ethnic / racial minority in these United States of America; his words were tepid tea.

The President did mention Ferguson, Missouri as proof that he is aware that the United States of America has internal problems. However, he was unable to explain how our “enlightened” nation deals with our internal problems. Rather, it appeared that President Obama mentioned #Ferguson as a way of cutting off criticism “at the pass” from other countries.

Maybe the President’s rhetorical device worked with foreign leaders from around the globe; but, here, on “The Homeland,” it fell short. On the same day the President made an historical speech to the UN Security Council (meeting for only the 6th time at the Head of State level in history); Americans learned that an Ohio grand jury decided not to charge police officers for fatally shooting a Black man for shopping in a Walmart store while carrying a pellet gun he had picked up from the Walmart shelves.

Since the killing of unarmed Trayvon Martin, there appears to be a pattern of shooting unarmed Black men, with impunity, in this country. Perhaps these Black men are standing in for President Obama, for whom racist White Americans carry boundless hatred. Whatever the reason, the shooters of unarmed Black men, are generally cleared and deemed to have re-acted appropriately to a perceived threat of violence. The United States has long had a history of arresting Black men for DWB (driving while Black). Now, Black men can be legally shot dead for WalkingWhileBlack, #TrayvonMartin and #MichaelBrown, ShoppingWhileBlack, #JohnCrawford; or WorkingWhileBlack #EricGarner, choked on the street in New York for peddling cigarettes (possibly working at the only job available to him).

So, while I am sickened to see video of two American journalists beheaded by terrorists on the other side of the world, and equally sickened at descriptions of women and girls being abducted, raped, murdered or forced into marriage; I was depressed by the President’s speech to the UN Security Council. I was depressed because it appeared that the President only invoked #Ferguson Missouri as a preemptive strike against those who would dare criticize these United States, or “The Homeland,” as he now calls it.

When President Obama ran for office, he assured us that he could pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time. I need President Obama to recognize the threat faced by American citizens on “The Homeland” and come up with a plan to neutralize the threat. And, I need him to know that a mentoring program to show our young men how to pull themselves up by their boot straps will not neutralize or solve the problems faced by minorities in this country as racial minorities are not being killed by their boot straps.

I need President Obama to turn a portion of his considerable intelligence to protecting the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of Black men and women in this country. I need the President to convene great leaders/thinkers in this country, just as he convened the Heads of State of the UN Security Council, to mobilize and activate plans to neutralize the internal threats to American citizens. Perhaps, then the United States will be able to speak to others from a position of moral authority.