How the GOP scapegoats Donald Trump for the attacks in Charlottesville

I was raised in a family whose origins began in the southern United States, like many other African-American families.  Like so many others, my family survived the pre-civil rights south.  Some part of that survival took careful planning. Some of it was pure luck.  I share that to help you understand why this week has been an emotional black hole for me, from the beginning of the racist attacks in Charlottesville to the time it has taken me to write these words.  Each day the exhaustion is compounded by the battle over whether the appropriate sentiments of disgust and despair have been uttered by Donald Trump.  It is an important question, but is it the only question we should focus on during this critical time?

While we focus on #Trump’s weak assessment of the attacks in Charlottesville, and an astounding double reversal of blame, which effectively supports white nationalists, there are other words I hear that speak louder to me than Trump’s.  I still hold my uncles’ stories in my head, told with laughter, lived in pain.  I remember the story of the uncle who crossed a pasture, running to avoid an angry bull, taking the dangerous run to get home before dark. He feared the sundown laws more than he feared the bull.  I was too young to realize the absurdity of laughing that risking his life in that moment saved him from a worse fate.  I remember the discussions about the stores my light-complexion mother could safely enter, while her darker-complexion brothers had to wait outside. I think about the legacy of Emmett Till and thank God that my uncles weren’t falsely accused of speaking to white women while they waited.  As sad as their stories of terror and discrimination were, I realize that their stories could have been worse, told by my mother – remembering brothers no longer alive to share their own testimonies.

Shortly after the Charlottesville attacks began, the hashtag #ThisIsNotUS began trending.  The hashtag is interesting in its effect as much as its viral status.  The tag created a sense of open expression for those who believe that we are a better nation than the events on display in Charlottesville – when white pseudo-supremacists attacked a diverse group of Americans.  The hashtag opened expression for persons of color whose lived experiences remind us that #ThisIsTheUsYouDidntKnowStillExisted, sadly.  To a lesser extent than in the past? Certainly, but the virulent strains of racism which negatively affect the lives of people of color have only been modified in terms of degree of existence, barely modified in terms of degree of impact (more on that, another time).  The hashtag has also opened expression for alt-right pseudo-supremacists to try to defend themselves against their heinous acts, and for conservatives trying to defend their party by distancing themselves from the pseudo-supremacists.`

Not that they would care, but I have my own list of #GOP heroes I have placed on  #TheResistance honor roll.  They are GOPers who routinely  stand up to Trump without fear, and without hesitation.  Some are individuals who are granted public forums to discuss their concerns, others are social media heroes.  I am disheartened by the fact that not one of them seems to understand that the violence in Charlottesville is a problem because it is directly and indirectly indicative of what the #GOP has become over time, and not in the moments after Donald J. Trump took office.  The #GOP’s decades long rhetoric about the poor and about minority groups was the powder keg.  #Trump and his alt-right goons have only served as the proverbial lit match.

For decades the republican party traded progress for power.  Wrapped in what the #GOP has claimed as “party policy” is a continuous stream of coded attacks against citizens of color devised to achieve the party’s end goals. Whether the codes were intentional or unintentional is irrelevant, given the outcome.  Those attacks have created a sense of aggrievement in White Americans who were led to believe that “liberal policies” went too far in helping  the poor and persons of color – often conflated as one in the same. The “unwarranted” support for the poor, and for minorities, robbed White voters and their communities of opportunity, the Republican party line implied, when not directly stated.

White-voter-aggrievement appears to have more to do with Republican rhetoric than liberal policy or liberal actions focused on minority communities:

Angry southern Democrats who felt betrayed by the party’s movement toward civil rights were taken in by the Republican party in the 1950s and on, most especially after the 1964 civil rights act.  The #GOP has been playing to the racial resentment Southern Whites have felt since the act was passed, including failing to condemn Atwater’s southern strategy.  The “Party of Lincoln” welcomed the fleeing Dixiecrats, trading the support of loyal African-American voters. What values and beliefs did the Republican party believe the Dixiecrats would bring to the fold?  Which voters did they think the anti-integration politicians would bring with them?

Reagan and Dole are credited for openly standing up to the racist elements of their party and boldly stating that there is no room in the Republican party for bigots, for people who espouse values that are antithetical to American values.  Dole, in particular, pointed to the exits during his convention speech and unequivocally asked racists to make use of them.  They deserve credit for standing up.  The bigger question is why the statements had to be made in the first place.  What is it about the Republican party that causes the periodic need for tamping down openly divisive and hateful rhetoric from members of the party?  What is it about Republican policy and ideology that continues to draw those individuals to it?

Remember that Reagan’s push back against racists is also countered against his “welfare queen” analogy.  Who was she? ” She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.”, according to Reagan, as he explained the need for welfare reform. She was racialized, of course.  To the public, she was the African-American woman living multiple generations on welfare.  She was unwilling (more than unable) to care for herself and the numerous children she continued creating – children raised without fathers in the household  She was a burden on the hardworking tax paying citizens of this nation.  On one hand, Reagan told the party to reject racism and open displays of hostility toward minorities.  On the other hand?

Similar examples are available in every prior and successive Republican administration.   Republican politicians continue to serve as grand marshals of the aggrievement parade by telling some new version of the welfare queen story, without adding the following:

  • Most people who are impoverished are working – they are not collecting payments, sitting on their asses, happy to live their lives on welfare.  They periodically need support to help their families survive tough economic times  until they can land on their feet, again. Staying out of poverty is hard, but individuals who are impoverished keep fighting.
  • Welfare does not make one “rich” by any comparative American standard.  There is no incentive to stay impoverished.
  • Persons of color are disproportionately poor, but are not the only poor who receive welfare benefits.  Many of the aggrieved have most likely received support, or live in places with relatively few minority status individuals, and still have high levels of need and support.
  • People living in those “liberal places” that support “liberal policies”, such as those living on the east and west coasts, are also strong contributors in terms of paid tax dollars.  They often pay more in taxes than they receive by way of federal services and support.  Those who attack liberal policies and programs often live in places that receive more in federal support than they pay in taxes.
Per Capita Spending Taxes
Source: John Tierney, The Atlantic Monthly , May 2014

 

Can you be against the notion of welfare without being racist? Sure. I have yet to hear anti-welfare rhetoric that is not also racist, stereotypic, and just plain hateful.

How else have Republicans traditionally contributed to rhetoric meant to amass votes, despite the likely outcome of heightening division?

Trending job loss in fields such as coal mining were tied to liberal policies favoring “the other”, as well as extreme liberal environmentalism.  Instead of acknowledging the role of automation meant to increase productivity and profit, liberals – who were heavily focused on minority communities, were to blame. Instead of acknowledging the reduced need for coal because of more efficient resources such as natural gas, liberals were to blame.

Books such as “Hillbilly Elegy” were embraced by the media as helping all of America understand the plight of White American Trump voters, whose woes were economic (by implication) and not racial.  I believe that the author J.D. Vance is honest in his assessment.  I believe that commentators such as Krystal Ball and politicians such as Bernie Sanders, believe this.  The wholesale dismissal of the role of race, however, is something I find deeply troubling.  Individuals in those regions of the country lost coal producing, and other manufacturing jobs, for the reasons identified above, among others, and because they had them in the first place – something no one points out when the attacks on liberals, liberal policies and “the other” begins.

Were more minorities hired in those positions they, too, would experience high degrees of unemployment in those same regions of the country.  Republican politicians routinely imply that White voters were intentionally left behind by liberals who only cared about identity politics.  Political pundits and some progressive politicians have claimed the same.  It is odd that these same voters are represented by red state politicians who failed to see the tide turning, and failed to help create other employment opportunities.  Instead, Republican pols have used identity politics, as well, in coded, implicit, and often racist ways.

Minority status individuals are often disproportionately represented in under- and unemployed communities and they were not, largely, charmed by #Trump’s rhetoric. They were not largely chanting “Build that Wall”, or engaging in racist/sexist chants during political rallies.  Trump’s appeal is not primarily  economic, in my opinion, given the average income of Trump supporters and the economic diversity in his alt-right crowds.  It is a point that I don’t believe was lost on the #GOP and the #RNC in the race to trade progress for power.

This group is aggrieved and feeling as if they are under attack because they have been told by the republican officials who represent them that they SHOULD feel aggrieved and that they ARE under attack, by liberals, liberal policies, by minority communities who are coming to take what is theirs – no other explanation needed as the truth is not politically expedient.

Other moves in the republican trade of progress for power?  Most are self-explanatory:

Republican officials who promoted racist, stereotypic, policy suggestions that would have done little to reduce the effects of poverty on minority households.  Who could forget Newt Gingrich’s proposal that janitors in schools be fired and that poor teens take their places in cleaning schools?

“This is something that no liberal wants to deal with,” Gingrich said. “Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. ..

Note that he referenced “neighborhoods” and not “rural communities”.  I guess internships with local businesses and jobs that would allow teens to save for college would have been a bit much for the kids in those “neighborhoods”.  Kill the wage-protecting unions and place teens in those positions. (Not)Brilliant?

Republicans failed to stand up to racist attacks against President Barack Obama.  They didn’t stand up to the noose-hangers, the birthers, those who led the birthers, the racist joke tellers, and a host of others who were either voters or elected Republican officials who demeaned President Obama for eight years, using an obviously racist lie.  The aggrieved lived eight years believing that an interloper had taken control of the federal government and created policies and programs that disadvantaged them… such as Obamacare.  Their elected pols neglected to tell them that Obamacare also benefits rural (largely White) communities, the same communities that are now finding it difficult to continue without Obamacare.

Romney sought support from the chief birther, Donald Trump, semi-legitimizing Trump, despite his obvious racist birther movement.  The party should have cut ties with Romney when that happened.

Birtherism is not the only racist language Republicans are comfortable using.  Who can forget the “Plantation talk” which permeates the party, even recently in the Osoff-Handel race?  The notion of being on a voter plantation apparently does not extend to White voters who reliably vote republican each year – even in the reddest red states where education attainment is low, on average, incomes are low, health care outcomes are dismal, and teen pregnancy rates are high.  If there is a plantation that should be avoided… Well…

Trump entering the race referring to Mexican immigrants as rapists, murders, and drug dealers, despite the fact that the data tells us just the opposite – that crime rates are below the national average in immigrant communities.  Instead of cutting him off at the knees, Republican politicians traded progress for power, indulging him, complimenting him, hoping to curry favor with his largely uncritical voting base… until it was too late and they realized that he would become their nominee.  Never let it be said that the Republican party learns from its mistakes.  They doubled down their support during the general election, despite Trump courting the “frog-loving alt-right” and his increasingly erratic behavior.

Paul Ryan recently promoted “building that wall”, while on horseback at the border.  The man who once said that Trump’s language was indeed racist, joined him in advocating building a wall against people who have done little to harm us.  The Wall is Trump’s signature promise based on a false racist claim.  Well done, Speaker Ryan.  Another epic failure.

I am disheartened when I hear Republicans champion their party and its heroes as anti-racist, and fault Trump for everything that is happening now.  Why?  For me, it is the surest sign of a party that is unable and/or unwilling to change.  It is a party looking for a scapegoat and #Trump is as good as any, for now.  For people of color, it is a temporary reprieve, since we are usually the party’s scapegoat.  As stated earlier, Trump is the lit match but that match would burn itself out, if not for the powder keg the Republican party provided.  This was a partnership, an ugly, hurtful partnership – a long time in the making.

Will Charlottesville bring about a real change in the Republican party? I would like to think so, but for now, I doubt it.

 

Fear the Walking Dead – I’m out, friends

FTWD Logo.pngThe die is cast!  What began as a story about a dysfunctional blended family struggling to survive the undead apocalypse has become the story of the survival of the Clark family. The Manawa family (Liza, Chris, and now Travis) are gone.  I am all for writers having the courage to take on major character deaths and shocking fans with the unexpected.  Travis’ death, I fear, represents so much more than that.  Travis’ death feels as if it was the moment #FearTheWalkingDead  jumped the shark, an entire herd of sharks, and fell short. There are promises that we will  learn the identity of the gunman taking Travis’ life (best guess: Ofelia).  Worrying about “the reveal” plot point falls short of the implications or the loss of this particular character.

What I have always found interesting about the blended family is that that Manawa side often softened and humanized the Clark side.  I have never been a fan of the Clark family, though saw that there was a necessary use for them.  They were hard, unhappy, and narcissistic – made for survival in the new world.  Alicia, the perennial understudy in her own life, was the most sympathetic and even she was too caught up in her own feelings.  No scene exemplified Alicia’s inability to get out of her own head, and her own pain, than those of her disclosing identifying  information to a voice over the radio.  The voice belonged to a young man she didn’t know, but someone she reached out to in her loneliness and in the weariness of dealing with the constant drama between her mother and brother. He made her feel special and wanted.   Her unreported disclosures nearly cost all of the survivors their lives as they first had to fight off  her radio-love’s pirate crew, and again as they risked their lives, on Madison’s insistence, to rescue her from the hijacking gang.

Manawa.pngIt was easy for viewers with our own moody, sullen, emotional teens at home to immediately recognize how well-acted the character was – but (pre-Chris) we tuned her out for the sake of our own survival. Post-apocalypse, Chris appeared to be there to mirror Alicia’s teen angst and to help us see her as more insecure than narcissistic and angry.  Chris’ later rage at her once again softened and humanized her, as a survivor. The girl with the physically present, emotionally absent, mother learned to stand up for herself. Alicia later transformed from a self-focused, obnoxious, teen to a young woman whose wisdom was hard won.  She was again alone as the rest of her clan never changed.  My interest in Alicia’s transformation increased as my interest in Maddie and Nick decreased exponentially.  Scenes with Maddie and Nick became fast-forward material.  Nick, equally as self-indulgent as his much younger, teen, sister, never found an appropriate coping strategy.  He identified with the dead because he was one of them, in some ways. He was never fully socially connected to, or emotionally bonded with, those around him.  He was a scavenger, a survivor, and saving himself was his first priority, even if he hurt others to do it.

Maddie is worse.  On the surface she seems connected.  In reality her connections are always about her needs. ]Nick’s addiction was at least, in part, explained by his worldview of always being alone and never wanting to deal with his life (as we learned in season 2).  We have no real history for Maddie other than hints of a difficult childhood. We are left with a woman whose entire life centers around her needs, her desires – all others be damned.  She is unable to parent Nick, given her LIza Chis.pngneed to control him.  She is unable to parent Alicia, given her need to control Nick. She is unable to be a true partner to Travis, given her focus on her relationship with her son. She is unable to understand Chris’ inability to trust or love her, given the fact that her relationship with Travis is all about her son and not about encouraging Travis’ relationship with his own son.  When Chris needed her most, Maddie wasn’t there for him.  The rationale was supposed to be clear.  She had to protect her children, most especially Alicia, against an emotionally and psychologically wounded Chris.  The trouble with that argument is that we’ve seen her put Alicia’s life at risk to save Nick, time and again, no matter how bad things were or how great the risk was to everyone else. Nick had to be saved no matter who had to be sacrificed to make that happen.  That brings us back to Travis.

Nick made a choice.  He chose a new family, a new group, and abandoned his mother and sister in Mexico, during one of the most dangerous situations the family had yet faced.  He was not concerned about whether they lived or died.  He was finally happy while away from them  For Nick, Madison’s greatest sin was that by destroying the Abigail estate, she had once again taken from him his place in the world.  His departure gave the mother and daughter time to begin to heal.  Travis’ own departure from the dysfunction of the Clark family, gave him the opportunity to put his son before Nick and the Clarks, for once.  Travis finally realized how deeply affected his son had been by Liza’s death.  Prior to Mexico and the Abigail estate, Travis’ focus on tracking Nick from drug den to repeated rehab stints made it almost impossible for him to really know Chris and what he needed.  Think about how long it took him to realize that his motherless son not only lost the one person who always put him first, but he then lost his home, and everything else that gave him a sense of purpose and place in the world.  By the time he finally made the choice to put Chris first, it was too late.

Travis Chris 2.pngChris’ death precipitated the return to normal we’d come to expect from Travis.  His role, for as long as the show has aired, was to “contain” Madison, to protect her from her worst impulses and to humanize her as merely a mother fighting to save her son – even when she killed others, destroyed communities, and put her other loved ones at risk to make that happen.  There was Travis, the voice of reason – even in deep stages of grief, taking Madison’s absurd and reckless impulses and giving them a moderating shape and form.  They were free and clear of the hotel community.  Travis, Alicia, and Maddie had the chance to start over and move forward.  We knew it would never be enough for Maddie, though it was clear that a new start was what Alicia and Travis needed. Travis, who was still grieving the loss of his son, would again have to risk his life to help save Madison’s son.  Alicia would also have to go along for the ride. The season premiere opens to the surviving members of the Clark-Manawa family being held captive.  Madison’s plans to find Nick led to yet another risky capture. In the end, Madison, Nick and Alicia barely made it out alive.  Travis?  Dies.  The bullet that takes his life is a reminder that not following Madison’s hare-brained search for Nick might have led to Travis being anywhere but on the helicopter, taking sniper fire.

Travis Chris 3

I am out, dead fans.  I have no doubt that Alicia will become the new Travis, in some ways. Her role will be to soften Madison and try to tamp down her reckless tendencies.  Alicia will have to sacrifice herself for her mother, for Nick and Luciana, for the love of anything that will make her whole.  I hope I am wrong, but I don’t plan to stick around and watch it happen. I am not channeling my inner Alicia 1.0, emotional and lost in my own feelings.  I am a day one Walking Dead/Fear the Walking Dead fan and have come to accept difficult losses.  Travis’ loss isn’t just about the loss of a major character, it is the figurative loss of the soul of the show.  Hopefully the writers will find it, again, but until then…I’m out.  I am counting on you continuing #FTWD fans to keep me updated.

 

How Putin just destroyed Trump’s argument for declassifying info among “friends”.

Are we SURE Putin is a Trump pal?  Unlike Donald Trump, I firmly believe all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that state in the affirmative that Putin interfered in the U.S. election with the goal of helping Trump win.  Unlike Donald Trump, I also believe the same agencies that agree that Putin is not, and will not be, a U.S. ally. as he continues to work against U.S. interests in the world  There are times when I am not even sure he is a #Trump ally.  If Putin is the master tactician he is reported to be, you have to wonder about his offer to make available the recordings made in the Oval Office during the visit with Lavrov and Kislyak.  The timing is especially curious since he has admitted to declassifying sensitive information.  The effect of this offer is even more interesting, to me.   It’s a little sloppy, don’t you think?  According to ABCNews

Russia’s state-run TASS agency confirmed that Putin offered to release a transcript of the talks between Trump and the Russian envoy during their May 10 meeting at the White House if members of Congress ask.

 

The tapes would be unedited, I’m sure.  What is Russian for “wink”?  There are bigger issues than whether or not the tapes are unedited.  The offer, on the surface, appears to be an attempt to help Trump,  but does it really do that?  There are three critical concerns that should be raised by this offer:

1 – The offer is a reminder that Putin pulled Trump’s strings and as a result the White House complied with Putin’s request and disallowed the U.S. press to be present.  That left state-run Russian media to record. Was TASS granted full permission to record?  Who granted that permission?  Who else knew this was happening?  Were there dissenting voices? What forms of journalism were approved? Print? Audio? Video? To date it has appeared that print photography was the only approved media access.  Surprise?

2 – Trump was shamefully unaware of the gravity of meeting in front of the Russian press without the protection of the American press.  Were there other protocols that may have been ignored.  Is it routine to check equipment before and after visits?  If so, was this done?  Who physically carried TASS media equipment?  DId TASS carry and record as they moved through the White House?  Would they have been able to record if the US media was present?  Trump is far less friendly with American media than he is with Russian media.  If the U.S. media was present, I would venture a guess to say that no one would have been granted permission to record the sessions – again, assuming TASS was granted permission and didn’t simply record without the administration’s knowledge.

Imagine how different the outcome would have been if U.S. media would have been present.  Would an American journalist have detected the various forms of information gathering taking place in the Oval Office?

3 – This recording means that instead of the strategic meeting on terrorism the White House and surrogates claimed it to be, Trump spoke openly of material so sensitive that members of Congress and other government employees, including intelligence offers, did not have access to it.  Why would a strategic meeting about terrorism take place under the watchful eyes and listening ears of TASS?  Even if you buy Trump’s argument that he declassified the information to support his (not our) allies, why would it take place in such an open forum?  He would never hold a strategic meeting in front of the American meeting, for good reason.  Putin’s offer has made it clear that this was simple carelessness on #Trump’s part.  Nothing less and, hopefully, nothing more.

With friends like Putin… as the saying goes.  Woe is Trump when Putin decides he is expendable.  What other recordings are waiting to be released?

Don’t worry, the Democratic Party has your back!

Trump and Handlers.pngConservatives have spent much of the last day attacking the media for daring to report the Washington Post’s  breaking news that Donald J. Trump revealed sensitive information to the Russian government via his meeting with Russian diplomats Lavrov and Kislyak.  At the time of that meeting, given #Putin’s directive that #Trump was not to include the American media, most of us probably worried that the worst that would happen is that the true purpose of the sensitive equipment the Russian media brought into the oval office would be revealed – to our detriment.  That now seems like such a small, innocent, useless, concern.  Putin didn’t need pictures. He only needed the man whose election he aided.
While conservatives shook their fists in fury at the “liberal Trump-hating media” for attacking him, most of us realized the implications of the Washington Post’s work. We quickly realized that Trump had once again put the safety of the U.S., and U.S. assets, at risk.  On cue,  he sent surrogates to lie and cover his trail, this time in the guise of the respected National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMasters.  Cognizant listeners knew that this was yet another in a long string of lies, despite our respect for McMasters.  We are hard pressed to believe anything that comes from the #Trump White House.  We are also hard pressed to believe that his surrogates are unwitting liars, given the pattern.
Trump falters, his surrogates lie, the truth comes out (often from Trump himself, as he undercuts his original message). The man who can’t admit fault will never keep a lie quiet because it is a tacit agreement that he has made a significant error, one from which he has to hide. He will never do that and this time is no different.  While McMasters read a non-denial denial meant to protect the Trump from his own recklessness, Trump followed up McMaster’s comments with the following tweets:
Admission 1
You might want to note that Kislyak wasn’t listed as part of the “openly scheduled meeting” nor was his name included in the official summary of the meeting, though the Russian media images show him there.
Admission 2
Then came the standard attempt to deflect blame and point the media, and an all too compliant Republican congress and Republican voters, in a different direction:
Admission Clean up
The LEAK is not the problem.  The recklessness of a man who ran for office, seemingly, with the intent on destroying President Obama’s legacy even if it hurt the nation, IS the problem. Trump was never ready for this job.  He has only been able to talk about the legacy he wants to destroy but almost no movement in the direction of the one he wants to build.  He has been able to keep the media (with the exception of the Washington Post) pointed in the wrong direction for nearly two years as he continues to make increasingly dangerous errors.
As I type this, I am listening to a preview of Anderson Cooper’s interview with Sally Yates.  He is asking her about Trump’s allegations that she leaked sensitive information to the press.  The failure of the mainstream press to do its job continues –  most especially by ignoring what are obvious lies from this administration. Investigate the lies? SURE.  Stop airing them as if they have credibility worthy of open denial.
To the media that continues to indulge this president, to the Republican congress and voters, to the devoted Trump supporters who continue to hang on to your belief that things will get better if Trump is simply given more time:   YOU were warned.  You were warned that Trump has NO IDEA what his job is and what it means. He told you lies you wanted to hear and you swallowed them, gladly.   His lies nourished fears and petty grievances but they also did something else.  Those lies told us exactly who this man is.  The focus on grievances outweighed the focus on the gravitas he lacked, for far too many voters.  Everything he has done wrong since in office was telegraphed through the primary and the general election.  The press, which has lost its curiosity about the 22 million missing Bush emails, focused on 33K Clinton emails and an unhacked server.  Voters and Republican politicians who called Trump’s impulsivity and unpredictability a sign that he would keep our enemies guessing now realize, I hope, that those traits are life-threatening and highly predictable for our enemies.  Putin knew EXACTLY what was doing to send to flattering handlers to meet with Trump.
Mission Accomplished.png
To the media that failed to do its job during the primaries and general election and to Trump voters, that he put YOUR family at risk is on you. That you helped him put MY family at risk is on me. I am going to help register every person I can. I am going to donate to every vulnerable R seat I can. I am going to remind everyone I know and people I DON’T KNOW what a disaster the Republican party is.
Enough with party before patriotism. ENOUGH with nursing petty grievances instead of protecting our Democracy.  If the media and Republican voters can’t get it together for the sake of this nation, don’t worry, the Democratic party will protect you from yourselves and this nation against her enemies. We always have.

Trump whimpered in Mexico, Roared in Arizona

U.S. FlagI missed most of #Trump’s pep rally masquerading as a policy speech.  More than policy, I heard more, unenforceable, promises to people who revel in scapegoating hardworking people. The point missed by the candidate , and the easily excitable crowd cheering him on, is that the behavior of undocumented immigrants is fully American, even if their legal status isn’t.  Below are the questions I wish someone would ask @realDonaldTrump.  Some may have been answered during his deportation rally and I missed it. I doubt it.

20 Questions for Trump:

  1. Are you concerned about immigration from places other than Mexico?   That has to be the case since immigration from Mexico is down, and deportations are at an all time high?  Which group of immigrants is next to go?
  2. If the deportation of undocumented Mexican immigrants takes place, first, and the wall is built after that, what is to stop deported individuals from crossing back?
  3. Will the U.S. deploy a full military force at the border until the wall is completed?
  4. Who staffs the deportation force? Surely not our highly skilled brave men and women serving in the military now.
  5. Would force members be assessed to  make sure they don’t hold inherit biases against Mexican people?  How would you handle the abuse of immigrants in your care?
  6. Are we to bill Mexico for the cost of the deportation force, as well?
  7. How do you think Americans will feel about seeing “deportation forces” moving through their neighborhoods?   You will avoid having the force wear brown shirts, won’t you?
  8. Are you concerned, if God slept and you were actually elected, that seeing the force in action will lead to the public realizing you have militarized American communities? Wouldn’t that lead to Americans rejecting you and your immigration policies? Impeachment?
  9. What happens to the U.S. citizen children of the deported? Where will they go if not with their parents?  And… are we to bill Mexico for their care?
  10.  Given the fact that crime rates among undocumented immigrants is lower than the crime rates of U.S. citizens, wouldn’t it make more sense to let Mexican immigrants stay and try to deport violent convicted criminals and many members of congress?  Don’t worry about the U.S. Constitution, you seemingly never have.
  11.  How do we account for the economic collapse when you deport individuals that you (allegedly), and others, have relied on as inexpensive labor?  (Exploitative, at best) .  Who shows up to do the work they were doing?
  12. Who replaces the lost dollars in the economy when they are no longer here to pay for the goods we are not buying?
  13. Who else will pay into to social security without getting a dime back, helping to subsidize social security for U.S. citizens?  Again, exploitative.
  14. Do you have any  idea what the exact financial costs of your proposals are?  How about human costs?
  15. How the hell are you going to pay for ANY of this? You will be doing exactly what the #GOP claims it hates, spending first, paying later.  You will be spending money Mexico will never pay.
  16. Does this mean you have to cut the costs for other programs?
  17. Which programs would you cut to cover the costs of “the wall” while the U.S. waits, for endless generations, for repayment from Mexico?
  18. What happens when Mexican immigrants begin arriving by sea (along the California and Texas coastlines)?
  19. Are penalty and interest payments going to be assessed against Mexico?
  20. Can Mexico declare bankruptcy and have that debt wiped clean?

The devil is usually in the details.  For Trump it rides in every word he speaks, even if he has no idea what he’s saying.

The alt-right was always one step away in the GOP

This past week, Hillary Clinton said THIS:

I don’t disagree with Secretary Clinton that Donald J. Trump receives credit for opening the door to the white supremacist/ alt-right movement (or the “so-called alt-right”, to quote Andrea Mitchell… so-called? How about self-identified????).  I would contend two additonal points.  First, the door was partially opened, when Trump got there. That’s how he made his way in.  Second, Trump’s additional “crime” is in taking the door off of its hinges and posting the “welcome” sign for supremacists when he was done.  The #GOP unlocked that dWelcome Signoor long ago, making room for Trump,  when it first nominated Goldwater , who virulently  opposed the civil rights bill.  The party has been toying with Goldwater-esque politics at varying depths since then.  

In reality, the #GOP has always tolerated racism from its candidates, as long as racism was carefully coded, enough so to allow a plausible deniability of anything untoward taking place.  The sentiment had to be “warm” – accompanied by a smile,  none of the bile dripping, vein popping, raging racism of the pre-civil rights movement.  It had to have finesse, and be described as benevolently patriarchial “concern” for minority groups.  It had to be inconsistent enough to create a sense of cognitive conflict by having its actors behave in ways that seemed to run counter to the charge of racism.  It was ok to hire individual minorities.  It was not ok to ensure equal access of opportunity for ALL minorities.  

Below are some of the #GOP’s greatest hits.  If they need explanation, you should talk to some of your progressive friends more often:

Richard M. Nixon (whose tendency toward grievance counting and vindictiveness is  often viewed as having the most direct connection to Trump’s brand of modern Republicanism)

The Nixon legacy: 

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

John Erhlichmann to Dan Baum, 1994

You tell me, did it work?  It would be easy to believe that Erhlichmann made it all up.  How could the Nixon WH view minorities, African-Americans, in particular, as being the enemies of the Republican Party?  Many African-Americans were still registered members of the party, right?  He won an enviable 32 percent of the African-American vote despite his reported disregard for African-American people.  The problem for those who are in denial regarding Nixon’s racist disposition is that there are over 265 hours of audiotape from the Nixon White House,  which confirm his prejudices against African-Americans,  Jewish-Americans, and many others.

 If you follow this Miller Center link, and listen to more of the recordings, his comments about  minority groups will make your hair stand on end. 

Ronald  Reagan  (who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968)

Source: Bill Moyers

Those comments are only shocking or confusing to those who supported Reagan.  To those who understood the real issues of poverty in minority communities, those comments were sad and unnecessarily divisive.  If this helps (current data, but consistent over time):

Income Spending Chart

Source:  NPR

Why is spending on food higher for low income people?  Impoverished and lower income people have household budgets, too, they aren’t buying steak and lobster.  They tend to live in communities, which rely on more “mom and pop” stores instead of major chains. Major chains have more buying power to pass lower costs on to consumers.  They offer fresher produce and more product choices. There is a huge grocery gap in our communities.   Low income individuals spend more money for food, but are able to buy less.  “Young Bucks” buying steak and lobster with food stamps while everyone else eats hamburger is more a figment of the racist and classist imagination than it is reality.

Consciously or unconsciously, Reagan’s supporters make a distinction that I refer to as the politicized Reagan vs. the projected Reagan.  Politicized Reagan is the person his non supporters see and judge based on the legislation he did (or did not support), and the rationales he gave – including the refusal to support sanctions against S. Africa. It is not always clear whether his choices were politically motivated or reflective of his true beliefs, but at some point it no longer matters.  He supported the frighening Goldwater,  fought civil rights legislation, was PUBLICLY unclear of whether he thought MLK, JR was a communist sympathizer, engaging in dog whistle politics despite the truth of the lives of minority people.  Of Dr. King, Reagan  wrote, to Gov. Meldrim Thomson (member of the John Birch society): “On the national holiday you mentioned, I have the reservations you have, but here the perception of too many people is based on an image, not reality. Indeed to them, the perception is reality. We hope some modifications might still take place in Congress.”

 The proejcted Reagan is the man I think his supporters, who were typically not impacted by his more unsavory beliefs and policies,  have chosen to believe in – despite all evidence to the contrary.  I see a  revisionist approach to the man, one which allows his supporters to view his  values as non-racist or non-harmful.  After all,  he was merely seeking to help minorities help themselves, wasn’t he?  They see him as someone who couldn’t have held racist sentiments because he occasionally said nice things about minorities  or displayed some act of contrition for a lousy thing he’d said or done.  I think it’s worth noting that Reagan’s most openly positive PERSONAL actions, regarding race, reported in the link above, occurred prior to his political transition.  As President, he spoke about overt acts of racism that he found troubling.  None of those feelings stopped him from promoting the false notions of welfare queens and young bucks buying steaks with food stamps.

10 Real Facts About Ronald Reagan That Republicans Never Choose to Admit

 

Jesse Helms (who attempted to filibuster the bill which created the MLK, Jr. Holiday)

“White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.” – Ad created by campaign strategist Helms and friends for the blatantly racist (and successful) U.S. Senate campaign of Willis Smith in 1950. During the same campaign, Helms described UNC as “the University of Negroes and Communists.”  Creative Loafing 

The Helms Center denies any involvement, officially or unofficially, in the Smith campaign.  Then there is this:

Helms gained a political following in the 1960s as a commentator on Raleigh’s WRAL-TV and the Tobacco Radio Network with his denunciations of the civil rights movement, liberalism and communism.  As a senator, he explained that he voted against Roberta Achtenberg, President Clinton’s nominee for a Housing and Urban Development position, “because she’s a damn lesbian.”

“Let it GO! “, you say.  Everyone was racist, sexist, and homophobic in the 1950s and 60s, you say.  Well, that’s WRONG, I respond. Not everyone was racist, sexist, and homophobic.  That’s one of the reasons there was support for the Civil Rights bill and cross cultural participation in the movement.  Jesse Helms did not give up his beliefs after the Civil Rights movement (which he opposed). 

Same source:

When Helms encountered protesters during a visit to Mexico in 1986, he remarked: “All Latins are volatile people. Hence, I was not surprised at the volatile reaction.”

Let’s not forget his reported comments to Orin Hatch about Carol Moseley-Braun (D), the first elected  African-American female U.S. Senate, serving from 1993 to 1999:  “Watch me make her cry. I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing ‘Dixie’ until she cries.”  The Helms Center,  of course, reports the interaction as much more  friendly. It adds that she heard his comments to Hatch and told him that his singing would make her cry if he sang “Rock of Ages”.  Awwww, see, racism can be warm and friendly too, depending on which side of that interaction you’re standing.  No need to realize that CMB managed to defuse an awful situation with humor…. just so those associated with the Helms Center know, slaves did not sing in the fields out of joy.

Strom Thurmond (who left the Democratic Party because of its support for 1964 Civil Rights Act)

His most famous quote – the unsanitized version?

“I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigger race into our theatres into our swimming pools into our homes and into our churches.” 1948

The quote is reported with either “Nigger” or “Nigra” being used.  Which matters more? Neither.  What matters more is that by the time he uttered those words, Thurmond was the father of a 23 year old African- American woman named Essie Mae Washington-Williams.  He’d kept her hidden from the public.  Thurmond fathered her when he was 22 years old and Ms. Washington-Williams’ mother, Carrie Butler, was 16 years old and a maid working  in the Thurmond household.

When his daughter was 32 years old,  the then-Democrat, Thurmond had successfully filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act by speaking for more than 24 hours.  Would it surprise you to know that he supported Barry Goldwater in 1964?  No?  It shouldn’t. He did.  He also worked aggressively for Richard M. Nixon in 1968. 

Slate outlines the reasons why Thurmond’s later actions should not be treated as a repudiation of his earlier beliefs.  For me, the fact that he died, never acknowledging his daughter is sufficient.  She set the historical record straight, on her own, six months after her father’s death.

Steve King

For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.” July 2013, referring to Dreamers.

Calves the size of cantaloupes?  75 pound bags?  Ok, Whatever, Steve King.

(While in Cleveland, Ohio,  July 2016):  “This whole ‘white people’ business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie. I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute to civilization?”

I’m sure if he’d just asked anyone who studied African-American history, or anyone who knew anything about that city, that they would have told him about Kentucky born Garrett Morgan, who made Cleveland, Ohio his home: Inventor of the first safety hood, one of the first stop lights, and a host of other inventions.  King’s race baiting comments are too numerous to name.

Paul LePage

Everything you need to know about this guy is summed up in the following statement: 

In addition to the GOP’s stand out all stars, above, there are the assorted bunch of racially insensitive characters (elected at all levels of government) whose actions mirror the above, to varying degrees.  I do not believe that all of the above are equal in terms of the depth of vulgarity of their approaches to race and racism.  I do believe they are tied to an ideology that binds them to the Republican party.  As stated earlier, Trump didn’t open the door to the alt-right, he just took the door off the hinges so that they could move about freely.  It is up to GOP voters and supporters as to whether the door is closed, or if they leave it open and allow the alt-right to eventually burn the party down.  The constant denial of its troubles with race will mean that the door can never be properly secured to keep out the fringe. If the party doesn’t start to look deeply into its soul  and then take action, it will never again be the party of Lincoln, in the way that it has hoped to be.  Their refusal to take action after the 2012 autopsy tells us that.

Let’s hope that post-Trump,  things change for the better.

 

 

The Gift of Privilege – the Joe Scarborough/ Mainstream Media edition

VOTE imageAnyone who knows me knows that I had FINALLY come to my senses.  I stopped watching @MorningJoe and saved myself the frustration of waiting for his uber-partisan switch to be flipped.  Election years have been the worst.  Scarborough seems to pride himself on being equally critically of “both parties”. If ever I have the time, I will gladly present a counter to that belief.  It is not yelling at both parties that is the indication of fairness, it is the level of analysis and focus on the severity of the issues that count.  That Scarborough,  and most of his colleagues, still suffer from False Equivalency Syndrome (FES) goes without saying, but so many others have said it so well, for so long, why not include that wisdom?

What should also be said is that FES seems to prevent members of the media from examining their own, personal and professional, hiases that may hinder their ability to identify the real issues that divide voters.   Superficial analyses of cultural concerns and attitudes, based on false equivalencies, do more than annoy readers; they potentially turn over power to individuals who should not have it, distort history, and often place vulnerable communities at even greater risk.  More on that, later.

Admittedly,  I have been watching #MorningJoe at least twice a week over the last several weeks.  Why?  I was curious about how Scarborough and his colleagues would handle the revelation of #Trump’s character and the public’s increasing rejection of #Trumpism.  FINE!  I also watched to gloat because it was pretty clear to many viewers, very early on, that the #TrumpTrain would derail for the obvious reasons.  I was stunned to tune in and hear Scarborough chastizing the media for zeroing in on #Trump’s dark, weak, and overly dramatic (thoroughly inaccurate) portrayal of America as a nation on the decline.  His convention speech suggested a nation beseiged by race wars and hand-to-hand combat in the streets, an economy in stark decline, financial institutions  on the verge of collapse, and himself as the great savior.  If you are old enough to remember the term “Helter Skelter”, you are old enough to understand why Trump’s convention speech took on an air of madness for some of us.

U.S. FlagScarborough’s reported relationship with Trump has always been uncomfortable, for me as a (then consistent)  viewer. It made me uncomfortable enough to cause me to become an ex-viewer .  To tune in, again, and see that he seemed to still have hope that a deeply flawed candidate such as Trump might yet connect with the American public  was even more disturbing.  To whom would Trump’s words connect and what would that mean for the rest of us?   That apparent hope gave me the greatest clarity,  yet.

The problem with the media, not just Scarborough, is that they do not possess the sort of understanding of diverse groups that would, and should, have made them more skeptical of this candidate from the beginning.  A Trump win is not one that bodes well for nonwhite individuals, nor for those who are LGBTQA, nor for those who have disabilities, who are recent immigrants, nor would it be welcome news for women who value the progress society has made toward reaching equality.  African-American voters, in particular,  have been dismissed as voting on the basis of soaring rhetoric and simple affiliation.  Give us more credit than that.  We have long memories, and despite our varying levels of economic and educational successes (overlooked by the pro-Trump crowd), there are some experiences that are so common to so many of us, that we know bigotry when we see it.  We know danger when it is headed our way, even if it smiles and laughs, and calls us “friend”.  We have a shared history that tells us  to pay attention to actions, not just words.

Scarborough, along with cohost Mika Brzezinski, touted a personal history with Trump as the reason they saw him as a good man, a man whose success was easily explained.  Had they  missed Trump’s legal issues regarding housing discrimination?  Are they absolutely clueless that this sort of behavior extends far beyond not being able to move to a nicer apartment?  The exceptionally talented Bomani Jones wrote the following of Donald Sterling, but he may as well have written it about Donald J. Trump and every other person guilty of housing discrimination:

Discrimination in the housing market has been crippling to the attempts blacks and Latinos have made to empower themselves economically. The worst examples are in the sales market — there’s a wealth of urban economic evidence showing how the inability to buy homes has affected the black-white wealth gap — but such behavior in the rental market is just as damaging. Consider that, frequently, moving to a fancy neighborhood like Beverly Hills provides the best chance a family has at placing its children in decent schools, something we all can agree is pretty important.

People tend to think of the more annoying manifestations of racism, like how hard it can be for non-white people to get cabs in New York. But in the grand scheme, stuff like that is trivial. What Sterling is accused of is as real as penitentiary steel.

We KNOW that when this sort of discrimination occurs, some of our children are missing out on an opportunity to improve their educational outcomes.  Their parents will later be admonished for not working hard enough to improve their circumstances by moving them to better schools.  We KNOW that some children are left fighting their way through tougher neighborhoods.  Their parents will later be accused of not working hard enough to protect them and for accepting community violence.   We KNOW that some of us will lack access to jobs that are better paying because of the inability to move into the communities where those jobs exist.  They  will later be accused of not actively trying to improve their lot, but waiting for a handout from the government.   We KNOW that who you know often matters as much as what you know and some of us aren’t granted the same opportunities to estalblish and broaden helpful social networks for our children and families.  The Sterlings and Trumps of the world will rarely ever be accused of doing harm or damaging society because of their own personal and moral failings.  That accusation will be left for their victims.
More importantly, we know what it means when someone who is guilty of the above  behavior has to sign a pledge to not do it again.   Does most of the media understand it?  While the media is establishing a false equivalency between “unlikable” Hillary Clinton and “unlikable” Donald Trump, how many of them will dig deeper into the truth behind that data and what “unlikable” means in terms of outcomes for individuals and communities, in the long term?
 Were Scarborough and Brzezinski unaware that the candidate called for the execution of teenagers accused of raping and assaulting Central Park jogger, Trisha Meili?
Trump CP5 ad.jpg
The NYTimes covers this issue and a smear campaign in which St. Regis Mohawks were targeted by the candidate just over a decade, later.  They were targeted with ads which stated that, “The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented.”  I guess it worked so well in the CP5 case, why change the tactic?
We now know that the Central Park Five were innocent.  To be fair, it seemed clear to many, even then, that they were innocent.  Rather than apologize for his harsh treatment of five exonerated young men, the youngest of whom were 14 years old when accused, Trump continued to defend his belief in their guilt:
Trump CP5 response
Alternet.org discusses more of the candidate’s anti-black bigotry
This isn’t just about #Trump getting it wrong. This isn’t about major pitfalls in a campaign run by a novice too green to pivot, too inexperienced to be politically correct.   This is about a candidate’s  longstanding pattern of presenting negative and false images of people of color, a history denied by pro-trump supporters and largely ignored by the media, even after his false comments about undocumented Mexican Immigrants.
Those comments were treated as being indicative of a “new Trump”, one  willing to say anything to win an election.  Thankfully,  FES does not influence the reporting of all issues at all times and there has been some (limited) coverage of racially charged campaign comments that are consistent with his pre-campaign history.  Rather than worrying about appearing “fair” in the eyes of Trump supporters, what about being fair to diverse communities and covering our concerns as lived  history, not simply concerns of party affiliation?  Why not confront Trump and his SPOX more often with serious questions about his behaviors and asking whether they have evidence of a real change, significant enough to erase his sordid past?
It should also be noted that his actions in the Central Park Five case are deeper than “getting it wrong”.  It reminds many of us in the African- and Latino-American communities of how infrequently the media challenges indiviuals of privilege on similar actions and comments.  Does Mr. Trump know how many people of color have been falsely accused and convicted of crimes, often based on evidence that wouldn’t be sufficiently used to expel a child from school?  Is he aware of how perception can impact conviction rates and carry more weight than evidence?  Does he care how his actions have contributed to the pain of many families of color who have suffered as they have watched beloved children and family, those they know are innocent,  be convicted  and sentenced to life in prison, or even receive the death penalty?  The Innocence Project provides more data.
Whether or not they are apologists, listening to @JoeNBC and Mika this past week, felt like listening to  every privileged apologist for racists & racism I have ever met.  They refuse to believe that despite THE RECORD, it is more likely the case that they either wore blinders in Trump’s presence, did not fully understand racism when they saw it,  or that they were protected from his behavior because they were not the targets of his beliefs. Any of the above is more likely than the likelihood that racism (or any of the other -isms) the candidate displays is the result of a change in situation.Any of the above is more likely than a recent change in nature (especially  in the nature of a man who brags that he hasn’t changed since he was 8 years old).  I was fortunate enough to watch when frequent guest,  Donny Deutsch, participated.  Deutsch was exactly right in asking how well anyone actually knows Trump as he listened to the denials that the man was a racist and that his beahvior was an act.  He wisely asked how many people sitting around the table could say the things Trump said if they didn’t believe them.  Sadly, Joe Scarborough  stopped him  from allowing that meaningful dialogue to take place.
 I have also felt equally betrayed by the members of the media who praised Trump for staying on message while reading from a teleprompter, as he challenged  African-Americans on what we had to lose by voting for him.  They did so without considering the weight of his racist message on African-Americans.  Rather than praise Trump’s ability to stay on message, where was the outrage that he treated all African-Americans as a monolithic group, all of whom must be impoverished, all of whom are sending children to “failing schools”, all of  whom are unemployed, etc
What do we have to lose?  Let me count the ways!  I doubt that a man whose campaign is a study in transitioning a major political party to a racial Nationalist party has the right to ask that question.  Just as many voters were taken in by the legend of a “man of the people” who just happens to be a successful billionaire businessman, far too many members of the media may have been taken in as well.  The media is failiing those of us most at risk under a potential President Trump.  Most of the media won’t have to experience the same risks, and will have the luxury of continuing to nurture its FES while failing to question #Trumpism and its implications.
Below are just a few examples of the questions the media might, broadly,  ask differently without FES:
1. Without @Potus saving the auto industry and passing the economic stimulus over Republican’s objections, what would the likely rate of unemployment and rate of economic growth be at this time?
Follow up: Which Republican plan would have led to a faster economic recovery?  WAS there a Republican plan for economic recovery?
2nd Follow up:  Are there comparative business practices on the #Trump side that would tell the public how he would have handled an economic crises differently?
2.  Rs complain that the economy hasn’t grown fast enough. Do they have examples of faster rates of growth under a Republican President or under Republican congressional control, given an economy as broken as the one Obama inherited?
3.  How can a Presidential candidate whose history with communities of color is so antagonistic be expected to serve those communities, now?
4.  #Trump has had a direct hand and denying access to opportunity for families of color through his rental policies.  Several former Apprentice stars are concerned about his racially tinged comments and behaviors as well as their concerns earned while working with him, including Randal Pinkett, Kwame Jackson, Tara Dowdell, Marshawn Evans Daniels, and James Sun and  Kevin Allen, .  He currently counts as part of his inner circle  individuals with connection to the white supremacists movement, including Steve Bannon.
What concrete evidence can Trump provide that makes apparent his committment to diversity, immigration, sex and gender diversity, disability status, and other groups?
5.  Will Trump commit to never hiring a nationalist or a person who is anti-LGBTQA in his administration, if elected?  If weeding out bias is good enough for his “Extreme Vetting” process, it should be good enough for his cabinet.
6.  What are the assurances he will give to all Muslim-Americans that he will make sure that they are protected under the constitution and are free from harm?     How will he ensure their safety after the rhetoric of the campaign season?
7.  Trump claims to have never mocked a person with a disability (collective eyeroll, friends).  Has he ever given thought to the disability community, laws affecting the daily existence of Americans with disaibilities?  What changes would he make to current ADA and other laws that would protect persons with disabilities?  What legislation would he work to have introducted to congress?
8. To whom does Trump believe he owes and apology?  #POTUS for the birther attacks and demands to see all of the President’s documentation, including college transcripts?  The above cultural groups?  The Central Park Five?  The St. Regis Mohawk?  The Khans , all Gold Star families and all individuals currently serving in the military or who have ever served?  If they are not all on his list, why not?