Sunday Snarky Snippets …

Sunday afternoon seems a perfect time to share a bit of snarkiness, don’t you think?  As usual, I didn’t have to look far to find some targets for my sharp tongue.


Don’t believe it for a minute

On Thursday, this headline appeared in The Washington Post:

Racial prejudice has declined as a reaction to Trump’s presidency, a new study suggests

Racial prejudice has not increased among white Americans since the explosive 2016 election, argues political scientist Daniel J. Hopkins. It has actually decreased by some measures, he found, possibly as a reaction to Trump’s unexpected ascension to the White House.

… Hopkins believes the study provides evidence that the racially incendiary rhetoric and policies issuing from Trump’s White House have pushed the majority of Americans in the opposite direction.

Unbelieving, my jaw dropped.  Sorry folks, but I’m not buying this one.  Look at the number of people clamoring for Trump’s horrendous border wall to keep out Mexicans and Central Americans … is that not racism?  Look at the people pushing for laws to remove protections from LGBT people … is that not homophobia?  Look at the people who denigrate Muslims … is that not Islamophobia?  And then this from the Associated Press …

Hate makes a comeback in the Pacific Northwest

White nationalism has been on the rise across the U.S., but it has particular resonance along the Idaho-Washington border, where the Aryans espoused hate and violence for years.

In 2018, at least nine hate groups operated in the region of Spokane and northern Idaho, including Identity Evropa, Proud Boys, ACT for America and America’s Promise Ministries, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Keegan Hankes, a researcher for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the number of hate groups is growing across the U.S., driven in part by a toxic political culture. The human rights group counted 784 active hate groups in the U.S. in 2014 and 1,020 in 2018. In particular, white supremacist groups are growing because of fears that the country’s racial makeup is changing.

That is an increase of 30% in just four years.  But racial prejudice is declining?  I think not.


How quickly they forget …

Remember back in November when I wrote about Cindy Hyde-Smith, the junior United States Senator from Mississippi who had said that if she were invited to a lynching, she would be “in the front row”?  It was discovered at that time that she has a history of making racist comments, and had posted this picture, captioning it with “Mississippi history at its best!” Hyde-Smith-rifle

When that news broke, a number of companies requested a refund of campaign monies they had previously donated to Ms. Hyde-Smith.

However, memories are short and this is, after all, the era of Trump, the era of white supremacy in the United States.  Hyde-Smith won her special election last November, despite her racist ways, and is now campaigning for re-election in 2020.  And the following companies are lining up to contribute to her campaign:

  • ExxonMobil ($5,000), the fossil fuel behemoth
  • National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors ($5,000), the trade association for distribution companies
  • National Chicken Council ($5,000), the trade association for the poultry industry
  • National Association of Realtors ($3,000), the trade association for real estate agents
  • American Waterways Operators ($2,500), the trade association for the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry
  • T-Mobile USA ($2,500), the telecom giant
  • Genentech ($2,500), the biotech company that makes Tamiflu and Boniva — now a subsidiary of Roche
  • Foley & Lardner ($1,000), a large legal and lobbying firm
  • General Dynamics ($1,000), the defense contractor and aerospace company
  • Resolute Forest Products US ($1,000), the American branch of a Canadian pulp and paper manufacturer

Hyde-Smith also received the legal maximum donation of $10,000 from Dirigo PAC, the leadership PAC controlled by Senator Susan Collins of Maine.  I’ll leave you to make of that what you will.


I though Japan had better sense …

Trump traveled to Japan this weekend (on our tax dollars) and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rolled out the red carpet.  Understandable, I suppose, given that Japan is currently experiencing an economic slowdown and Abe is hoping for a lucrative trade deal from Trump.  Still …

It began with a round of Trump’s favourite activity, golf.  I wonder if he cheated?  Silly me, of course he did!Trump-Abe-fatman

Trump-Abe-golf

Why am I suddenly reminded of that t.v. show, “Jake and the Fatman”?

Then there was the sumo wrestling “basho”, complete with a special new trophy, a 60-pound ‘President’s Cup’ trophy designed just for Trump to present to the tournament winner, Asanoyama.

Trump-sumo

Twins???

Trump-sumo-2

Trump-sumo-toonDinner was a lovely affair … wait!!!  We paid for Melania to go too???  I can’t afford a weekend trip to the Smokies and … Sheesh!

Trump-Abe-dinner

Presumably Trump and Abe managed to find some time to talk business, as Trump said …

“The prime minister and I talked lot today about trade and military and various other things. I think we had a very productive day.”

Your tax dollars hard at work.


On that note, I shall leave you with something to ruin your appetite so you don’t eat too much this holiday weekend …Trump-as-sumo

 

Open Letter to Donald Trump – #4

Dear Mr. Trump,

I have not communicated with you since February, as all my previous advice seemed to go unheeded.  However, today I am once again compelled to speak to you, and since what I have to say will require more than 140 characters, I cannot use your favoured method of communication.

During the course of the past seven months, you have had many, many opportunities to prove to the good people of this nation that you were of sound mind and fit to lead this nation of some 300 million people.  You have missed every single such opportunity, in fact have shown us the exact opposite and have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not of sound mind, and are incapable of leading this or any other nation.

While I have many a bone to pick with your behaviour, rhetoric and actions over the past seven months, today I will only address the most recent and most obvious example that you are not a man who can step up to the plate, not a man of honesty and integrity as your predecessor was, and are not a man who can accept the responsibility for his own words, actions and mistakes.

On Saturday, 13 August, this nation suffered a terrible blow.  We saw, in Charlottesville, Virginia, racism rear its very ugly head and groups of people acting with evil intent proved to us that the fight for justice, for equality, is no further along than it was sixty years ago.  Evil men armed with assault weapons roamed the streets, thugs incited crowds of peaceful protestors, and three people lost their lives to white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.  You were handed a perfect opportunity to respond to the fears of the nation, and yet, your response was neither timely nor appropriate.  You claim that “everybody” said your speech was “beautiful”.  No, Mr. Trump, that is a blatant lie.  I did not hear a single person say it was ‘beautiful’ and even members of your own party, people who, until Saturday gave you their full support, have said your speech was inappropriate, that you should have spoken boldly against white supremacist and other hate groups.  But you refused to do so, and we can only conclude that your reason is because you support the brand of hate that was in evidence on Saturday.  There can be no other reason.

You claim you did not give a timely speech because you were waiting for facts, but you eschew facts, truth has never mattered to you in the past, and in reality, it is obvious that it does not matter now, either.  You let your nation down.  You let the very people who voted for you down.  When you could have led, when you could have been strong and encouraged the people of this nation, you instead hid as a coward, then failed to address the issue at hand, blaming all rather than placing the blame on the shoulders of those who were responsible.

You defend your advisor, Steve Bannon, claiming that he is a “good man” and not a racist.  You are aware, as we all are, that Mr. Bannon is a member of the racist, white supremacist group that calls themselves the ‘alt-right’.  How, sir, does that make him “not a racist”?  Yes, Mr. Bannon is a racist, as are two of your other close advisors, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.  Your Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is a known racist.  You have surrounded yourself with proven racists, yet we are to believe that you are not a bigot. This is simply not credible.

When asked if you thought race relationships had gotten worse or better since you took office, you said “better or the same”.  How you could even say that with a straight face is beyond me.  We have had murders of Indians, Muslims and African-Americans.  We have seen Mosques defiled and destroyed.  Even your favoured state-media outlet, Fox News, reports an increase in hate crimes.  According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. increased by 86% in the first quarter of 2017, since your inauguration.  Both the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center have noted a significant rise in hate crimes since your inauguration, primarily against immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims, and LGBT people.  And yet, you do not address this issue, instead you spend your days making false promises that you have no intention of keeping, tweeting juvenile rants against those who, in your eyes, have failed to do your bidding, and tooting your own horn.

You have been given countless opportunities to do something positive, but every action, every message from you and your administration has been negative.  You are not the president this country needs in order to function as a democracy, and I am now convinced that you can never be.  You are not the president your supporters voted for, and even they are becoming increasingly disappointed in you.

In light of all the above, I am requesting, as a taxpayer, as a citizen of this nation, that for once in your life, perhaps the only time in your life, you put the welfare of 300 million people ahead of your own and step down from your position.  In essence, Mr. Trump, as one of your employers, I am asking for your resignation.  You have had seven months to prove to us that you were capable, but you failed miserably, so, in the words you have so fondly used hundreds of times … Mr. Trump, YOU’RE FIRED!

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen and taxpayer

P.S. In case you have misplaced my previous letters:

Open Letter to Donald Trump

Open Letter To Donald Trump – #2

Open Letter to Donald Trump – #3

Where Were They???

In truth, I had no intention of writing again about Saturday’s horrific events for a few days yet.  I wanted to step back for a day or two … needed to step back for just a breather.  But, every news site I visit, international or domestic, Charlottesville IS the news.  And as I perused, almost against my will, page after page, two things drilled so heavily into my mind that … well, here I am again.

The first thing that is bothering me is, with all the violence, the hatred, the threats, injuries and deaths, why were so few of the white supremacists arrested?  Why are they not running their tin cups along the bars and dressed in prison orange tonight?  In addition to the driver of the car that crashed into a crowd of counter protestors, three of the white supremacists were arrested.  THREE!  Three whole people out of a crowd that numbered well into the hundreds, if not thousands!

James Alex Fields Jr., 20 years old, the driver of the car that plowed into the crowd, killing one and injuring 19 others, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.  In addition to Fields, the other three arrests were:

  • Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
  • Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault & battery.
  • James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

Last month, the KKK held a rally in Charlottesville where 23 people were arrested.  There were no injuries or deaths related to that event, yet 23 people were arrested.  Compared to three this past weekend.  What the Sam Heck were the police doing???

According to an article in The Washington Post …

“Anger over how the police responded came from all directions and intensified after the death of a woman struck by a car that plowed into a group of counterprotesters. Experts said police appeared outnumbered, ill-prepared and inexperienced.

At one point, police appeared to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend to the injured. Complicating the dynamics was the fact that several dozen groups of armed militias — men in full camouflage toting assault-style weapons — were in the middle of the crowds.

Cornel West, the Princeton professor and writer who attended a morning church service at First Baptist Church in Charlottesville with a large group of clergy members, said “the police didn’t do anything in terms of protecting the people of the community, the clergy.””

Another report said that when violence first broke out, police stood on side streets behind barricades, but made no attempt to stop the melee. Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signor spoke out, justifiably, against Donald Trump for his inadequate, milquetoast response to the tragic events on Saturday.  I support Mayor Signer 100% in this.  But, I would like to see the mayor looking into the question of why men toting assault rifles in the middle of the city, threatening and browbeating others, and beating people with sticks and shields, were not arrested.  I expected to awaken on Sunday morning to the news that the jail in Charlottesville was filled to overflowing.  WHAT HAPPENED??? We have a right to know why those who threaten our very lives are not in jail!

Enter the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and its head, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions.  Sessions talked the talk: “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.” But will he walk the walk? I have doubts, as at this time, the investigation by the DOJ is limited to the homicide caused by James Fields.  A much broader investigation is needed, one that includes the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that caused the chaos of the weekend.

Granted it is early days yet, and the investigation could certainly be expanded in the coming days, but frankly I do not trust Mr. Sessions to do so, for it is a known fact that he, himself, was denied a judgeship during the Reagan administration based on his racist remarks and attitudes.

The other thing that struck me as I perused the news on Sunday was that the White House was busily making excuses for Trump’s lame, ineffectual response. Never before in my memory has a president and his entire administration been so out of tune with what the majority of the people in this country think, want and need.

The White House … and for the life of me, I wish they would stop with that, for I would like to know precisely who is saying what, and I am smart enough to realize that the White House itself cannot speak, so it was a person within the administration, but WHO???  The “White House” official defense was …

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

I don’t want to hear the “White House” defend, justify or explain Trump’s remarks.  I want to hear from Trump exactly what he meant.  I want to hear Trump come out and call a spade a bloody shovel, call this act by its rightful names:  terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.  I want to hear him say that he will do everything in his power to put down white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.  I don’t care what Kellyanne Conway or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or some anonymous “White House spokesperson” has to say … I want it out of the horse’s mouth, and if the horse is too damn cowardly to speak out against the racists that put him into office, then I want an apology from him and I want him to admit that he is not capable of doing the job and step down.  Period.

Saturday’s events were horrific in and of themselves.  But they were compounded by a lack of law enforcement on the scene, and an almost uninterested response from the man who the white supremacists put into office last November. As I have said many times of late, I thought we were better than this.  Today, I realize that, while some of us ARE better than this, and it is unfair to judge all by the actions of a few … still, as a nation, the way we will be judged by other nations … we are not better than this.  Can we be someday?  I don’t know … that depends on the path the leadership and the people take.  I am encouraged by the voices, previously silent, that are speaking out against white supremacy, against hate.  But is it enough, when we do not have humanitarian and compassionate leadership?  I do not know.

Behind Closed Doors …

It is not unusual for the Attorney General to speak at events and to various groups around the country.  Not unusual at all.  However, when the Attorney General speaks to a designated hate group that “specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage, and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally” 1, then it is highly unusual. And when the event is closed to the press, no venue information is published, and the Department of Justice refuses to explain why Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions is speaking to this group, Alliance Defending Freedom, then there is a problem.

Alliance Defending Freedom is the very group defending the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, whereby a Colorado baker, citing religious objections to homosexuality, refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.  Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.  Initially, the courts ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop, and they have followed the ladder of appeals all the way to the highest court in the land.

Jeff Sessions, throughout his 20 years in Congress, has consistently voted against LGBT rights.  In June 2006 he voted in support of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In December 2010 he voted against repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In November 2013 he voted against taking up a bill providing workplace discrimination protections for LGBT people. And twice, in June 2000 and June 2002, he voted against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include attacks on people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, a year after the Supreme Court struck down part of the now-defunct Defense of Marriage Act, Sessions co-sponsored a bill that would allow the state definition of marriage to supersede the federal definition.

The Human Rights Campaign keeps an annual scorecard of how lawmakers fare on LGBTQ issues. Sessions’ score, year after year: zero. And now he is the head of the Department of Justice. And last night at 5:30 p.m., he spoke to Alliance Defending Freedom in a secretive, closed door meeting at the group’s Summit on Religious Liberty.

I am not alone in my concerns.  The Democratic National Committee issued the following statement via email:

“You can judge a person by the company they keep and tonight – Attorney General Jeff Sessions is choosing to spend his time speaking in front of one of the country’s leading anti-LGBTQ hate groups. The Alliance Defending Freedom actively helped draft discriminatory legislation, worked to preserve laws criminalizing same-sex relations, and attacked the separation of church and state. ADF has been previously designated a hate group and Sessions’ appearance at this event, as the top law enforcement official in the country, brings in to question whether the attorney general intends to protect all Americans.”

Since being sworn in as Attorney General in February, Sessions has already taken an anti-LGBT stance when he, along with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, chose to rescind the Obama-era guidelines protecting the civil rights of transgender students, a move that was praised by Alliance Defending Freedom.

There is no information available regarding Sessions’ speech last night, so all any of us can do is speculate.  If Sessions planned to speak on, say, the way the DOJ works, or constitutional law in general, then why the cloak of secrecy?  Alliance for Freedom is typically quite outspoken and welcomes coverage of their events, so … why is this different?  The lack of transparency, coupled with the purpose of Alliance and the documented bigotry of Sessions has thrown up red flags and set off alarm bells for me.

Sessions’ bigotry goes far back, as I have mentioned before, to the racist comments that denied him a federal judgeship during the Reagan era.  How a man with so many prejudices became the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the nation is beyond comprehension, but in the current administration, perhaps not surprising.  However, to carry his personal prejudices into the job he has been given is a slap in the face to the Constitution, it is a slap in the face to the department he oversees, and it is a slap in the face to every single U.S. citizen.

I fail to understand how Alliance Defending Freedom is defending freedom.  This seems to me an oxymoron.  If a baker bakes a cake for a gay couple, how does that take away the baker’s freedom?  It does not.  He is simply baking a cake.  He may not agree with homosexuality, it may be against his religion, but the couple buying the cake are not hurting him in any way.  He is just baking a cake, the thing that he has chosen to do with his life.  If he refuses to bake a cake for a gay couple, or a black man, or a Muslim woman, then he, the baker, is a bigot, and there is no room in this nation, in this world, for bigotry, which is simply another word for unjustified hate.

Eventually I imagine we will find out more about Sessions’ speech last night, and I am willing to bet that most of us, those who value every human being, not just those who are white, straight, Christians, will not be pleased with what we learn. There was no reason for the lack of transparency here, as it is certainly not a matter of national security.  One can only assume that Mr. Sessions intends to operate beneath a cloak of secrecy so that We The People, who pay his salary, cannot know what our own government is doing to us. It is true that you are judged by the company you keep, and Mr. Sessions has chosen some nasty company to keep.

1 Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) 

Cleveland: Hot Town in the Summertime

It is going to be hot in Cleveland this summer.  The average temperature in July in Cleveland, Ohio, is 83°F, but I believe it will be much hotter than that this July.  It is going to be hot and it is going to be ugly.  Not that Cleveland isn’t used to ugly, but next month they are likely to get a triple-dose of ugly and hot.  Why?  The Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland from Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21.  Given that merely hearing the name of the presumptive nominee sends some people into a fit of rage, and given that the man himself incites rage and riots everywhere he goes, it is a pretty safe bet that there will be plenty of violence to keep Cleveland’s Finest on their toes next month.

As I mentioned, Cleveland is used to ugly, being ranked the 5th most dangerous city in the U.S. among cities with a population over 200,000 in 2015.  Their violent crime rate is 1,478 per 100,000 people and the murder rate is 14 per 100,000.  (Data courtesy of Law Street Media).  Look for those numbers to increase in 2016.

About 30 members from white supremacist hate-group, Traditionalist Worker Party, plan to attend in order to “make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs.”  This is the same group that held a rally in Sacramento, California last weekend where at least five people were stabbed.  In addition, another hate group with whom we are all familiar, the Westboro Church group, plans a “display of art” and has filed for a City Hall permit to use the city’s official “speaker’s platform” in Public Square for a half-hour beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19.  It remains unclear exactly what they are protesting.  Several other groups plan to attend to protest outside the convention hall, though most are smaller and not known for extreme violence.  What could possibly go wrong, right?

Although Cleveland claims to be well-prepared to deal with the additional 50,000 people expected to visit the city during the convention, some suburban police departments that were prepared to partner with Cleveland are now backing out, claiming the risk to their officers’ safety is too great.

Initially a “protest zone” near the site of the convention had been mapped out and hours that protests would be allowed were defined.  But enter the ACLU, who filed a lawsuit claiming the hours and the zone itself were “too restrictive”.  Banned items included backpacks, water guns, sleeping bags, tape and string.  Note, however, that guns will be allowed in the protest area.  Can anybody deny that this is a recipe for disaster?  And just out of curiosity, when did string become more dangerous than guns???  U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin threw out the original “protest zone” plan, sending planners scurrying back to the drawing board.  Changes in plans at this late date can only add to the chaos, as police departments have long since completed their plans for attempting to maintain order and will also need to return to the drawing board.

Generally speaking, cities vie for the honour of hosting an event of this magnitude.  It means extra revenue will be derived from hotel rooms, restaurant and bar fees, public transportation, sightseeing and other activities in which visitors might engage.  But in this case, I strongly suspect that the ultimate cost will far exceed the additional revenue and it may be a long time before Cleveland even wants to see another Republican, let alone host an entire convention of them.  I just hope the cost does not involve lives lost, but at this point, I would not be surprised at all.

Inside the convention hall, Quicken Loans Arena, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for security and no guns will be allowed except in the hands of law enforcement. It is unlikely that there will be too many unmanageable problems there, though I wouldn’t bet against it.

To add to the drama, there still remains a possibility, albeit a slim one, that the Republican National Committee will find a way to deny Trump the nomination, in which case Trump supporters have promised that total chaos will ensue.  I seriously do not expect that to happen, but it is something to keep in the back of our minds.

Perhaps the best thing for the city of Cleveland would be torrential downpours … constantly … for the entire four days of the convention.  It wouldn’t keep all the idiots away, but it would deter some.  As for me, I am happy that I will be nowhere within several hundred miles of the fiasco, reading about it all on my laptop and writing my usual snarky assessments.

U.S. Ranks #1

Donald Trump claims we need him to “make America great again”.  Well, apparently nobody needs to “make America great again”, as we are already #1, numero uno, numéro un, Nummer Eins, رقم واحد, Nummer een, 一番, worldwide!

Top ten most racist countries in the world:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Australia
  4. Rwanda
  5. Japan
  6. Germany
  7. Israel
  8. Pakistan
  9. Russia
  10. India

 

Granted, ranking such as this are tricky and there are several different sets of rankings, however I looked at several that I would expect to be relatively reliable, and 3 out of 4 ranked the U.S. as the #1 racist country in the world, followed by the U.K. and Australia.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. SPLC defines hate groups as those that “… have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”  By this definition, SPLC has reported that there are 784 active hate groups operating within the United States.  The groups included:

72 separate Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups

142 Neo-Nazi groups

115 White nationalist groups

119 Racist skinhead groups

113 Black separatist groups

37 Neo-Confederate groups

21 Christian Identity groups

165 “General hate” groups (subdivided into anti-LGBT, anti-immigrant, Holocaust denial, racist music, radical traditionalist Catholic, anti-Muslim, and “other”)

It seems to me that is an awful lot of hate going on in our nation.  Some of these groups are more lethal than others, some have never committed a racially motivated crime, but the fact that they exist is a sad enough statement about our country.

While one cannot blame the current crop of political candidates for the existence of 700+ hate groups, the fact is that the politicos and wanna-be’s are contributing to the environment of hate, and in some cases even encouraging it.  In Louisville, Kentucky last month, Matthew Heimbach, a 25-year-old white nationalist, shoved a young, black college student multiple times, screaming at her to leave. In North Carolina, several protestors attending Trump’s rally were escorted from the premises. While they were being led away by authorities, a white attendee sucker-punched a black protestor.  In Las Vegas, attendees can be heard screaming obscenities at a black protestor while he is being escorted from the premises. “Light the motherf***er on fire!”.  These are but a few examples of racist incidents that have occurred at Trump rallies.  Trump, rather than attempting to diffuse the hate, the racism, the violence, has encouraged it by telling his audience to “knock the crap out of ‘em” and offering to pay legal fees for anyone who does so.

It is not just Trump, either, although his racism and bigotry are more blatant than most.  At a recent event in New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his endorsement of Clinton, she teased him about taking a long time in endorsing her, to which he replied “Sorry, I was running on CP (coloured people’s) time.”  Two thumbs down to Mayor de Blasio, but two thumbs up to actor Leslie Odom Jr. for standing up and saying “That’s not [funny], I don’t like jokes like that, Bill.”  Ted Cruz: “It’s every bit as true now as it was then,” Cruz said. “We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.” (Former Senator Jesse Helms was against civil rights law and tried to block MLK Day from becoming an official U.S. holiday).  Again, these are mild compared to Trump’s acrimonious statements and the actions of his followers, but they bespeak of underlying bigotry, of intolerance based on nothing more than skin colour, or religion, or ethnicity.

Donald Trump claims that “The big problem this country has is being politically correct.” Ted Cruz and Ben Carson apparently agree with him.  I have to wonder if this is not a part of his allure.  With so many hate groups, so many in this nation apparently opposed to allowing people into this country who do not look, think, and speak like they do, does the racism of the political candidates hold appeal somehow?  Political correctness is defined by Merriam Webster as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.”  The definition I think sums it up best is “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”  In other words, quite simply put, a lack of rudeness. What, pray tell, is wrong with a bit of respect, a bit of decency toward our fellow human beings?

I do not understand bigotry of any sort.  I am not proud that our nation holds the number one spot of all 196 countries in the world.  It is not a record to be proud of, and I say “shame on you” to the public figures, candidates, and politicians who promote bigotry, either directly or indirectly.  Those people have the capability that most of us do not have, the capability to speak out against hatred, against bigotry in all of its many forms.  And many do, but the few who do not are to be rebuked, repudiated, for their failure to do their part in bringing cohesion to this nation.

A couple of links, in case you would like more information: