donald trump

The Trump Effect on Interracial Friendships

faultline

Lucius Wilson

My friend Johnny is a middle-class white guy who grew up in a working-class neighborhood in the late seventies and early to mid-eighties. I am a black guy who grew up in that same neighborhood. In fact, Johnny and I grew up two blocks from one another. Johnny’s not a big man, but lean and strong with a crop of graying blond hair and piercing blue eyes, the kind of eyes that could go cold and lifeless in an instant if the situation called for it.

He is a tough working-class guy, years of growing up in the inner city made him and his brothers that way. Johnny and I met in the late seventies at Ferry Elementary school, classroom 103, our teacher was Mrs. Lewis, a pretty, black woman in her late twenties. Johnny is a good man, and honest man, honest almost to a fault at times, the kind of guy that if his wife asked him if the outfit she is wearing makes her look fat if he believes that it does, his answer would be a disastrous,

“Yeah hon, I think it does make you look a little thick around the waist.”

A spiritual man who certainly believes in a higher power, which is something I would attribute to his wife of over twenty years, Lisa. I know this man well, direct, honest, loyal, the kind of guy that sees things in black and white, there are no grey areas as far as he can tell. His belief is either it is one way or the other. On this point, my friend and I often disagree.

Although we stayed in touched and visited each other over the holidays and we talk on the phone almost every weekend are paths have diverged. I decided to pursue a career as a writer and he became a land surveyor. During the economic downturn a few years back, he often found himself out of work and struggling to make ends meet.

It was around this time that I began to hear bitterness creeping into his voice. He began talking about affirmative action, Immigration reform, border control, Donald Trump’s border wall, in short, he was sounding less like my friend that I had known most of my life and more like Fox News’s Sean Hannity, being African American I found his new views, well, new to me anyway troubling. In the years that we have known each other we rarely discussed politics, and even when we did we both seem to agree on the issues.

The Faultline became apparent when more NFL players decided to take a knee and protest a system of injustice and inequality of minorities and the Donald decided that he would weigh in. I had assumed like with most things we would see this episode in much the say way, I was wrong. My friend’s response to players taking a knee was surprising and honestly dismaying.

Over the years I had subconsciously stopped seeing him as a white guy, but hot-button social issues have a way of bringing race back to the forefront. I sat listening to him spewing talking points right off Fox News. Although he never served in the military (I did) he went on talking about how the players were disrespecting America and the men and women who served in the military, and how they should stand and honor the flag no matter what. As I listened to my friend who was beginning to sound a lot like Donald Trump It was clear to me that my America and his America were two totally separate places.

 

 

 

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General Kelly: The Man Behind the Facade

Donald Trump Awards Medal Of Honor To Vietnam War Veteran James C. McCloughan

White House chief of staff John Kelly (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

I didn’t know much about the man before he became the so-called grown up in the room in the train wreck that is the Trump administration. Former General and present White House Chief of Staff John. F Kelly looked the part of the stoic no-nonsense, call it like he sees it kind of guy. A steely-eyed battled worn soldier, a man of honor charged with reigning in the Trump circus. What could go wrong … right?

I didn’t vote for Trump I’ll admit, but this is my country and I hoped he could surprise me and the 3 million plus that voted the other way that he could bring the country together and maybe get something done for average Americans. Bringing in John Kelly seemed like a step in the right direction at the time.

The consensus on both sides of the political aisle was that this is the man for the job. He would not only protect the country from the disaster that is Donald Trump but maybe, just maybe, focuses the impish mind of the President on getting something done for the country.

Then came the botched condolence phone call and Kelly started talking and almost instantly the backlash from his false statements concerning remarks made by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, and his refusal to use her name, but instead choosing to refer to her as an “empty barrel” tarnished his once impeccable reputation.

In a matter of a few short weeks the myth, the legend, and the sterling reputation of John Kelly have been damaged beyond repair. On Oct. 19, the then seen but seldom heard White House Chief of Staff stepped into the white house briefing room to do damage control for his President, instead, he set off a media whirlwind.

In an attempted to defend Donald Trump’s calamitous condolence call to Myeshia Johnson the widow of fallen hero SGT. La David Johnson Kelly leveled false attacks against Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) Kelly accused her of fabricating the now corroborated account of the conversation and called her “An empty barrel”.

For days, and then weeks after the incident, many expected Kelly to if not publicly, privately apologize to Congresswoman Wilson for the attack. He refused to do so, and in true Trump fashion, he doubled down on his previous remarks.  In an interview on Fox, where else, Kelly was asked about the disparaging remarks he made about Congresswoman Wilson.

He was asked if he thought he anything to apologize for and the answer was pure Donald Trump, “Oh, no,” Kelly replied. “No. Never. Well, I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”

I thought John Kelly was supposed to be the one influencing Donald Trump, not the other way around. The real picture of John Kelly is becoming crystal clear rather it be his willingness to lie without apology, his lack of shame, or his outlandish belief that the Civil War was fought because of “lack of compromise” as he stated during the same Fox appearance.

Kelly also praised Gen. Robert E. Lee as being an honorable man during that interview, but the most striking of all his comments made was his insistence that “Men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand,” during the Civil War a reference that resembles the disastrous remarks made by Donald Trump after the Charlottesville’s Rally, where he defended neo-Nazis and white nationalists by saying that there were “fine people” on both sides of the protests.

Here is a news flash for General Kelly. Robert E. Lee was a slave-owning traitor to our country, he committed treason and fought to bring down our government in order to preserve slavery. Honorable men don’t do that.

As for the so-called fine men and women of the south during the civil war, they thought African Americans were less than human beings and that it was not only their right, but it was heavenly ordained to hold them in bondage. These are not the actions of men and women of good faith.

The façade that was the sterling General has fallen away and what we are seeing now is the mere man behind the myth. A much smaller man. A man with less gravitas. A man whose views and remarks resembles those of the man he works for.  General John Kelly may, in fact, be a good fit for the Trump administration but if that is so, where does that leave us as a country?

 

Trump’s Obama Obsession

trump-obama

I wrote an article a little while ago about Trump’s decision to end DACA and had a woman write to me that Trump ending this program was somehow President Obama’s fault. Obama’s fault? Trump has been President for going on eight months, it’s been a train wreck of a presidency no doubt about it, but he is President. Isn’t it about time that Trump starts being held accountable for what Trump does. His decision to end DACA was his decision.

Telling yourself that Obama is somehow the blame for Trump deciding to end DACA is at best laughable and at worse disingenuous. Trump didn’t have to do it. He did it first because he’s a coward, and secondly because the large portion of his base forced him to. This was about Trump keeping a campaign promise and trying to undo all of Obama’s accomplishments. He failed at trying to repeal the “Affordable Care Act” this is Trump’s proverbial second bite at the Obama apple.

The Trump administrations reckless and cruel decision will not affect Obama’s place in history, it may in effect cement his place in history. This shouldn’t be about Obama, because either way Barack, Michelle, and their children are going to be fine. The people who are going to be hurt by Trump ending DACA are the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who by no fault of their own are going to have their futures placed in jeopardy.

Donald Trump is obsessed with Barack Obama and is determined to try and erase all his accomplishments by any means necessary and if that means hundreds of thousands of young lives get ruined in the process so be it.