Still Shaking My Head

306 –  232

What else is there to write?


A bully sees his end is near

In the 2008 primary campaign First Lady Michelle Obama said of Senator Hillary Clinton, “If you can’t take care of your home, how can you take care of the White House and the country?” It was a stinging reference to the Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs and how Hillary Clinton handled each situation. Donald Trump repeated these words today as he attacked the First Lady in retaliation for the way she has been hammering him on the campaign trail. In doing so he signaled three things.

First, he knows he has no chance of winning the election. Attacking the First Lady is a desperate act to save face because she’s been tearing him apart on the campaign trail without even mentioning him by name. Second, even at seventy-years old Trump demonstrates that he lacks the maturity to engage intelligently with ANY opposition. He’s not going to divide Senator Clinton’s supporters against her by dredging this up. And even if these comments or the communications revealed in leaked emails do happen to open old wounds, the people involved have the maturity and the fortitude to set their feeling aside long enough to ensure he never wins the election. Fighting for the greater good is not apart of the Trump fabric. And last but not least. Donald Trump is signaling that he is coming apart right before our very eyes.

A few week ago I wrote that his self-inflicted public demise was imminent.. justice, payback for everyone he has hurt in the past. I was wrong. When I think back about the lessons my mother taught me, I realize that I had misread things entirely. The truth is Donald Trump is reaping what he’s sowed over his lifetime. The irony in all this is he’s had numerous opportunities to make different choices; positive, life-altering choices for the very people whose vote he desperately seeks today. From African-Americans to whom he denied fair housing to Hispanics to whom he denied fair wages and disparaged at every opportunity.

Baring a significant change and I mean a spiritual change not a political one, his legacy will not be of a successful business man who lived the American dream but of an abuser of women, a bully, a sexist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic, narcissistic and racist bigoted bitter man, undone by his self-loathing.

I’ve laughed at the Saturday Night Live skits especially since Alec Baldwin started imitating Trump but since the Access Hollywood tapes surfaced that laughter is tempered by the shock of his depravity. I was already appalled about what I knew of his character but these new allegations combined with his own words leave me deeply concerned about this man. We all should be.

Donald Trump’s dramatic slide in the polls has prompted all of us to assume that it’s time to stick a fork in Donald Trump political aspirations and I think that more true than not. However, I still have enough empathy to wonder what will become of him after the election is over. His brand and reputation is ruined and this might have never come to pass if had he not run for President.

Stick in a fork in him but I think we should all say a prayer for Donald Trump. He’ll never admit it but deep down inside I think he really wants us to.

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

The 2016 Election and the African-American Vote

I watched CNN’s Smerconish this weekend which included guest Carol Swain from Vanderbilt University and Attorney Areva Martin. One of their topics had to do with Donald Trump’s condescending plea to African-Americans for their vote. I was so upset after listening to Carol Swain perpetuate Trump’s façade I had to write Mrs. Martin an email to thank her for pushing back.

I was also motivated to write and I decided to share a some of that email in this post.

“Clearly Trump and his advisors think he can use script writers like Kellyanne Conway to help him articulate his hateful rhetoric in a less threatening manner. The “new” Trump is trying to manipulate the emotions of African-Americans like myself, using the same themes that formed the plots of 1970s black exploitation movies.

I find it ironic the same man who bragged about knowing and having so many “words” at his disposal, suddenly needs someone to put the right words in his mouth.

Conway might be able to cram Trump into a package that’s more appealing to the Republican conservative base however, she can’t erase his history of misogyny and racism. And people of all ethnic backgrounds and orientations will never and should never forget.

And while I’m at it I would like to remind Mrs. Conway that real men respect women without strings attached.

A few weeks ago I speculated with family that Trump is frantically trying to divert speculation about his wife’s immigration status and his taxes by deliberately sprinkling the airways with red herrings. I still suspect that but I also believe his motives run much deeper. Just as Mitch McConnell and the Republicans never wanted an African-American President, the last thing Trump wants to admit is that female is a better fit to run this country than he is. He knows he’s going to lose this election and all he wants to do is leave behind a divided nation in his wake.

Yes, Trump knows words. And all they do is create controversy and pain”.



Every day is Father’s Day

Abuse and sexual assault issues are dominating the headlines these days and recent events involving former NFL players Ray McDonald, Ray Rice and Darren Sharper got me to thinking about my own family and how I think we (men) can start addressing these problems. Make no mistake, abuse is not an NFL issue, it is a global problem in society. I planned to make these issues the primary focus for my second blog post. However, as I was starting to write my first draft my nine-year old daughter plopped down on the floor of my office with a book to read until I tucked her into bed. I took a good long look at her, she just finished 3rd grade and before I know it she will be out in the world on her own. I started to wonder if I am doing enough to prepare her for the path ahead. Am I doing enough to educate her on how to avoid the type of man that only wants to control and take advantage of her? In my opinion the root cause of these problems is that these men have absolutely no respect for women. The result is that they have no idea how to have a relationship or communicate with a woman outside of trying to get her into bed. Compounding the issue is that these men are also having kids of their own and passing on their behavior thus, creating a vicious cycle of abuse and neglect.

Call me a mama’s boy or whatever but I’m glad that as I was growing up I was taught to respect women, it didn’t matter if it was a stranger or family member, “yes ma’am, no ma’am” is still part of my vocabulary and I open doors. My family taught me that manners would take me further than money and I believe that to be true today even as I approach the age of fifty. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it”. I am that child. We are all, that child and somewhere along the line one set of children fell through the cracks of life to become abusers or victims. I am trying to raise my daughter so that she knows how to make good decisions, what it means to give and receive respect. For me it starts by making sure she sees the admiration, love and respect that I have for her mother. That doesn’t mean every day is perfect, were not living in Xanadu but I believe its meaningful for her to learn about how relationships work using her mother and father as examples instead of picking up breadcrumbs from what she might see on television or the internet where there are no filters, but I digress. As I was reflecting how I am raising my daughter my mind raced back some nine years to the time she was born. At the risk of sounding cliché, it was the best day of my life.

My daughter was born at 1:47 AM Tuesday morning, February 21, 2006. Her due date was actually the 19th but I was secretly pulling for the 21st because 21 is my favorite number. I am thankful that God had the same plan.

It was about 11:00 PM, Sunday February 19th. My wife had already gone to bed a few hours earlier having grown weary of waiting for the moment. I was sitting on the couch trying to decide if I should take a nap or grab some microwave popcorn and watch Robert DeNiro in the movie “Heat”. My indecisiveness was for good reason. When the doctor tells you that your baby will be born on February 19th, you spend all day on the 18th waiting for the next day and when it finally arrives you’re sitting on pins and needles waiting for the moment, that signal that sends you running for the already packed suitcase to throw in the back of the car, the sweater she is supposed to the wear, the cell phone, Suddenly you’re halfway to the hospital and a pang of doubt hits you, “Did I let down the garage door?”, “Do I have the list of people I’m supposed to call?”

I talked to my kid a few times during my wife’s pregnancy every day this headphone mic gadget that placed on the woman’s stomach in order to hear the baby’s heart-beat. I figured that if I could hear her heartbeat then she could hear my voice and never forget it.

DiNiro is about to meet his end, and I hear my wife shuffle to the bathroom. And then it happened. A clear gelatinous liquid hit the tile floor with such a splat, I thought my wife was killing a bug with her slipper, “My water broke!!! I raced into the room and saw her standing there a little frightened and a little excited all at the same time. My first thought was to grab her suitcase, grab her sweater, make sure that I had my cell phone and whisk her off to the hospital. That’s what we practiced anyway. What actually happened? I have no idea but by the time we changed her clothes, called the doctors answering service, got confirmation of a bed at the hospital and finally checked into the hospital, it was 5:45 AM, Monday. For next 14 hours I would sit by my wife’s side answering email keeping our friends and family informed while watching the Law & Order marathon. Her water had not broken, it was just fluid which the doctors would eventually have to replace. We would sit there watching Law & Order until finally about 8:00 PM the decision was made to induce labor. And that’s when things “got real”.

The contractions came and went, violently against the backdrop of the familiar Law & Order theme song, you know the terse “dun, dun”. About 11:30 PM, our daughter’s heart rate dropped, she had become twisted in the umbilical cord; we considered doing a C-section then all of sudden it was like she was dancing, she untwisted herself………I remember the doctor screaming at my wife to push, “Push, or you’re going to be here all night!” That earned him a few hyphenated responses from my wife and I said something along the line of “What’s your problem” luckily the nurse was there to keep us calm and focused. It was a little after 1:15 AM and I noticed that I was sweating profusely a 68 degree room.

Suddenly her head began to crown and nurse asked “Sir, has anyone talked to you about what expect when you first see the color of your child?” I had no idea what the heck she was talking about but the short story is mixed babies don’t look mixed out of the womb until after the air hits them. Our nurse felt compelled to give me advance warning (too many fights in the delivery room) that if I was concerned, all I had to do was look behind our daughter’s ears.

Finally, at 1:47 AM she came into the world. I watched her yawn then let out a scream after the doctor smacked her little buttocks, then a strange thing happened, time froze for just a moment. You see newborn babies fresh from the womb don’t look resemble babies at all. They look like gargoyles made out of oatmeal and as they scream they are actually filling in becoming complete right in front of your eyes. I cut her umbilical cord and watched as they weighed and measured her. My wife was exhausted, she could barely keep her eyes open, she held our little girl few minutes and then drifted off to sleep. I gave her the first bottle, she was wrapped in blanket with a little beanie on her tiny head. I held my daughter in the crook of my left arm, her face was very close to mine as she drank from her bottle. Her eyes locked onto mine the entire time until a very familiar sound caused them to react, not look away but to kind of jump, “dun, dun” it was theme song to Law & Order.

I wish she could never leave the crook of my arm knowing the challenges that await her but she can’t be a little girl forever and the reality is I will have to let her go to make room for the next man in her life.

So how am I doing so far (after nine years)?

I have a deep appreciation for the unique and wonderfully, complex father – daughter relationship. I am doing the best that I can but I am praying every day for guidance to be a better father and husband; that I continue to earn her trust as her friend as well as her father.

I encourage every father to get engaged in the lives of their children so that together we can start to change this culture of abuse and violence.

2 Timothy 1:12