Lights! Camera! Action!…..Damned!

The Trump campaign teased that a major announcement coming, be there you don’t want to miss this. Media outlets speculated that finally after five years of innuendo and denial Donald Trump was going to announce that he believed America’s first Black President was born in the United States and perhaps even apologize for driving the ‘Birther’ movement.

As it turns out the event which was held at Trump’s new hotel and intended to honor veterans, quickly evolved into a rent free 30-minute infomercial for those same veterans to endorse Trump, while Trump took the opportunity to plug his new Washington hotel. And when it done, Trump uttered a short statement acknowledging President Obama’s citizenship while blaming Senator Clinton for stirring up the controversy. No wonder the stage collapsed shortly afterwards.

For months Trump has dangled the media on a string and frankly they have been willing participants, silent partners in his scorched earth effort to discredit Senator Clinton and legitimize the alt-right by advocating their message of hate under the Banner of the Republican Party.

But his latest manipulation may have taken things a bit too far. I watched Ashleigh Banfield invest a large portion of her show anxiously anticipating what Trump speech only to be left holding the bag along with CNN. She spent what time she had left expressing her frustration on the birther topic and the aftermath of Trump’s so called press conference. Like most members of the media she thought Trump would also apologize for actions. But we know Trump never apologizes. Wolf Blitzer and Brooke Baldwin followed suit. Meanwhile challenging Trump or his surrogates on his plans for the economy, immigration and foreign policy was once again pushed to the background (deservedly today) but it happens to often in my opinion.

I think networks finally understand that it’s time to stop following Donald Trump for sound bites and to start holding him accountable for the things that he does and the things that he says. It’s time to end the free ride.

It’s clear that by not apologizing and blaming Senator Clinton for the birther movement, Trump is not trying to garner the minority vote. He knows he can’t get it so his best alternative is to try to drive a wedge between Senator Clinton and minorities…Gee, who never heard of divide and conquer? But I digress. Accountability is the achilles heel of the facade that is Donald Trump.

He skillfully manipulates the talking points so that he avoids being challenged for material answers on the issues that are most pressing to Americans. He would rather criticize Senator Clinton health rather than discuss his health care policy. It is a certainty that he will implore the same tactics during the debates. Think about it. If the moderators get distracted dissecting his centrifuge of lies they could end up wasting 30-40 minutes of a three-hour debate. Trump benefits from having his biggest weakness, a lack of general knowledge of most issues hidden from the viewing public. People, I urge you not become distracted by his antics, the pointless filibusters and over the top declarations.

 

I’ve always believed that believed that Donald Trump is best described as a man of numerous contradictions, fueled by his insecurity and fears. He hates President Obama because he is a strong Black man that worked his way through the ranks and earned the Presidency. He hates Bill and Hillary Clinton because they stayed together despite the setbacks in their marriage and not only do people like them but they respect them. He has his name over numerous structures, brags about who knows, what he owns and what he done but yet he can’t do enough to earn the respect of people outside of his circle. Make no mistake, winning the election can never fill that void.

I firmly believe that Donald Trump is more interested in winning the Presidency as opposed to being the President. How can a man who has never given of his time or cared about those who are less fortunate suddenly have an interest in the latter stage? With each lie, each accusation that Trump makes about President Obama and Senator Clinton, he is making a public confession of his own offenses. His quest for this country’s highest office has made us all witnesses to a very public outward destruction of a man who deteriorated long ago on the inside. It feels like Trump is being set up for a very public failure, justice for so many people he has hurt over his lifetime.

Matthew 24:4-13

3 Simple Words

This has been sitting in my drafts since last April. It was originally intended as a tribute to my nephew who died on Easter Sunday. I was thinking of all the things I should have taken the time to say to him before he passed. They say time heals all wounds but sometimes healing is impossible without acceptance or in my case, restoration. I should have taken time to tell you how proud I was that you turned your life around. That you would enjoy being a husband and perhaps God willing one day, a father. That you had matured into a better man than your own father and most importantly, that I loved you. I think that why I couldn’t finish this post because if I had the chance to make it right with Josh I would say three simple words, “Please forgive me”. And there is the simple truth. I didn’t have the words. Until now I have been carrying around the guilt of knowing that day after day I choose to ignore the opportunities to take him under my wing, and then he was gone. But now it’s time to let it go.

We have all heard the cliché, ‘Life is too short’ but have you ever taken the time to examine what it means? In my opinion, it means that life is unpredictable, no man control’s their own destiny but we do have the freedom to make choices. And this brings me to why I chose to share this story. I think we all overlook opportunities where three simple words could make a difference in the life of a loved one or a stranger. And what better time to start than now, while the presidential election campaigning is underway.

You see over the last 18 months or so Donald Trump has been trying to make us all believe that the country is divided, that we need a hero, a savior, him. His campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” is a very dangerous racist dog whistle, not only because of the words which harken back to a time when minorities and women had fewer rights but also because of the history and character of the man behind them. Look closely at how Trump has run his campaign, denigrating Hispanics, Immigrants and keeping the Black Community at arms-length while feigning concern. If he could I believe Trump would revise the slogan to read “Make America White Again”.

Sadly, some people are buying into his act hook, line and sinker.

I’ve been trying to understand Donald Trump and I think I have finally figured it out. The issue with Trump is that he believes in nothing, and that why he demeans, lies and race-baits without a second thought. Listen to him carefully as he consistently bombards us with exaggerated proclamations of a crime ridden society, pending of acts of terrorism and nativism. He’s trying to tap into the darkest part of human nature and transfer his fears and insecurities to us.

And that is central to the problem with Donald Trump, he doesn’t earn respect by uniting people, he practices manipulation and panders in fear. He doesn’t lead people, he bullies them. If you take the time to closely you will see that the influence of Donald Trump is based on a façade empowered by a lack of accountability. When you believe in nothing, when you love no one but yourself, all of your interactions are false. Worse, it is impossible to empathize or display compassion. Trump is unfit to be president because simply put, he doesn’t have the words.

The Trump campaign machine wants to convince us that our country is in chaos. I don’t believe that and you shouldn’t either. You see, the strength of America is not found in a single person but in all people. America is by no means perfect. As a Black man who has experienced racism I know this is true. But I also know that I, we, live in the greatest country in the world. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I wouldn’t want to raise a family anywhere else.

I believe that we are at our best when we look past our differences and give of ourselves unselfishly without expectations. I challenge you to take a day off from your party affiliation, your fears or your prejudice and find the opportunity to say or exercise three very simple words and observe the difference it makes with your own eyes and ears.

I will listen   I can help   I love you   I forgive you   Please forgive me

Regardless of who wins in November we have to work together. I hope that you reject Donald Trump but I’m not going to encourage you to vote for Hillary Clinton; even though I feel she is the better choice. Instead, I ask that you accept this challenge as an opportunity to think differently about the way you engage the people you love, the people you come in contact with and the people you normally ignore. Practice being better to them one day at a time and encourage them to mirror your actions. And then ask yourself, which candidate has the words?

Proverbs 18:21, Hebrews 13: 1-2

What – the – hell, do I have to lose?

What – the – hell, do you have to lose?

A (supposedly) articulate and wealthy man stared into the television cameras and declared to me and millions of African-Americans, that our lives are hopelessly miserable and the only certainty in our futures was a violent death from being shot on the streets of our own communities.

His declaration gripped my heart as I stared back at him, thoughts of my family and the fate that awaited us swirled in my head. We were in desperate need of his saving grace because only he alone could save us.

Just kidding. I sneered in disgust because I immediately recognized the desperate ploy of a man trying to redirect our attention from the fact that it’s he and not us who is need of a lifesaver.

Donald Trump is losing this election. He’s losing it because at the outset, he dismissed the very people he needs to get elected. He ignored us, because in his world, people of color only exist as objects meaning he doesn’t see us at all.

Trump wants us to forget that until he started paying attention to poll numbers, he had no need to engage us, thus the reasoning behind my previous assertion that in his world we only exist as objects or in this case, as a metric. Trump knows that in order to win this election he needs to start courting African-Americans and Latino’s or at least appear to be for the cameras otherwise he’ll continue to lose ground with educated White voters.

Now you would think that someone who professes the ultra-acute business acumen and depth of ‘words’ as Trump claims, would skillfully engage and communicate with the African-American community. But how did Trump approach this? By talking down to and at us as if we have no idea how to live or take care of ourselves. To compound matters he did it from White communities with the smallest percentages of people of ANY OTHER color, nationality or race and he did it on more than one occasion, capped it off by asking us, “What in the hell did you have to lose?”.  Only George Constanza could be less schizophrenic nevertheless in hindsight we shouldn’t have been surprised. Donald Trump is being true to who he really is because in reality, people of color don’t exist in his world.

Let me be very clear. Trump’s campaign now led by Kellyanne Conway is attempting to repackage him into a caring, inclusive candidate who means to make America Great for everyone. The irony is they are approaching this task via the over used tactic of divide and conquer. By trying to drive a wedge between the Democratic Party and people of color by saying that the communities in which democrats have a large political presence are failing. I have news for you, the same can be said about communities where Republicans are the majority. The truth is that both parties have invested the majority of our money (tax dollars) and time in pointing the finger at one another for a range of issues from the war in Iraq to the economic crash of 2008. This, combined with the animosity arising from the election of the country’s first Black President caused a bottle-neck in our politics. Meanwhile our kids can’t get a decent education and our elderly can’t get access to health care. The parties simply refuse to work together thus, creating a vacuum on the Republican ticket which Trump has exploited to gain the nomination.

So, what the hell do I have to lose?

  1. My integrity
  2. My dignity
  3. My self-respect
  4. The respect and trust of others
  5. Being seen as a promoting bigotry
  6. A safe environment to raise my child
  7. A safe environment for my child to have a family of their own.
  8. Being seen as promoting misogyny.
  9. The possibility of living in a police state.
  10. The real possibility of civil or a world war.
  11.  <Fill in the blank>

With his question Donald Trump is telling us that our lives are so bad that setting aside our core values should come easy to us. He wants us to ignore his past and PRESENT and then turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy.

I reject that and I reject Donald Trump. I know some people are buying into the argument that Democrats have done little to nothing for people of color over the last eight-years but keep in mind that after President Obama won the Presidency, Mitch McConnell and the Republican party openly committed to make him a one-term president, thereby throwing up roadblocks at every turn. To this end, the Republicans are accountability for the last eight-years as well. I think that we can easily say that no President has ever been disrespected on the level President Obama was. Can you think of another time in history when a member of congress publicly accused the president of being a liar, let alone interrupt his speech? Or how about wagging their finger in the President’s face as if he were a 5-year-old child?

We have heard Donald Trump say that he knows words and has the best people and most recently, he accused Hillary Clinton of being a bigot. But what have we witnessed with his campaign so far? Racial smears towards Hispanics, openly offending women, a campaign manager arrested for assault, a speech writer who forgot to check for plagiarism, a campaign manager with questionable foreign relationships and most recently, the engagement of an individual known to pander to the alt-right and the mentorship of a man accused of sexual assault. What’s next?

I write this post as an appeal to your God given common sense and intelligence. In my opinion, we really only have one choice for President and that is Hillary Clinton. I know she has made some mistakes, I am very frustrated by the email issues and questions swirling around the foundation and the questions surrounding Benghazi. It’s exhausting. But I challenge you, show me a leader who has never made a mistake or had a lapse in judgement and I’ll show a leader overcome by the lip-service of those closest to them. Leaders make mistakes, but they learn from them. Leaders fail, but they pick themselves up and start again.

Take a moment to consider for yourself whether or not Donald Trump has any of these qualities then answer this question for me:

What – the – hell, do YOU have to lose?

Matthew 24