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.

#SELMA50

The Puzzle: “Darren Wilson told investigators he was trapped in his car by Brown, New York Times reports”

Darren Wilson told investigators he was trapped in his car by Brown, New York Times reports.

I find the leaks coming out of  the Ferguson grand jury that has been meeting to determine if charges should be brought against Officer  Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown puzzling.  Many people seem puzzled as to the source of the leaks.  As a news junkie, rather than a lawyer, I consider the source of the leaks less relevant than the content of the leaks.  Yes, I know the Ferguson grand jury proceedings are supposed to be conducted with utmost secrecy so as to insure “confidence” in the system (something like the trust insured by a jury of your peers or the transparency of The Sunshine Laws). Nonetheless, I am not puzzled by the fact that there were leaks, nor by the identity of the leaker. Rather, I am puzzled by the information that was leaked.

I am puzzled by The New York Times report that Officer Wilson testified that Michael Brown reached into the patrol car, punched the officer in the face and scratched his neck, while reaching with his right hand for the officer’s weapon.  I am puzzled by this.  Where was the officer’s weapon when Michael Brown reached into the car? Was the weapon in the officer’s holster on his hip, in the seat next to him, on the dashboard, in the officer’s hand?  I find the visuals to be confusing. If the gun was not already in the officer’s hand, why was the officer unable to use his hand to fend off Michael Brown or punch him in the face? If the officer’s hand was empty, why was he unable to subdue the teenager?  I am puzzled because it seems that a trained law enforcement officer, Officer Darren Wilson, lost an arm wrestling match with a teenager.

I am puzzled. The first leaked reports about the alleged injuries sustained  by Officer Wilson asserted that the police officer suffered major injuries, including a broken or fractured eye socket.  According to Snopes.com, reports that Officer Wilson suffered a broken facial bone and fractured eye socket are false. As a matter of fact, according to Snopes.com, images of Jim McNeil, a motocross rider injured in 2006, were circulated through social media to prove that Officer Darren Wilson had been seriously injured by Michael Brown.  Since that was all false, I am puzzled as to the true extent of Officer Wilson’s injuries.

I am puzzled because in leaked reports of Officer Wilson’s testimony to the grand jury, Officer Wilson states that he feared for his life.  I am puzzled as to when the officer feared for his life.  Was he fearful when the teenager turned and ran away?  Did Officer Wilson call for backup before exiting the patrol car?  Was Officer Wilson’s use of deadly force warranted by the circumstances?

I am puzzled. Did Officer Wilson file an incident report on August 9, 2014, the day he killed Michael Brown?  Had Officer Wilson filed a report of the incident by the following week, or the following month? If not, why not?

I am puzzled as to why Missouri Governor Nixon feels the need to appoint a Ferguson Commission to Address Inequality.  If the Governor is aware that there are problems of inequality, why did he not address the inequalities in the judicial system by appointing an independent prosecutor to handle the Darren Wilson case, especially in light of prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch’s conflict of interest?

I am puzzled.

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.