“What The Aitch Do You Have To Lose?”

It’s time to Break It Down!

Though it’s been three weeks since I’ve written about 2016 Presidential Politics, the Campaign has indeed continued apace. Both Parties have held their respective Conventions and are gearing up to do battle for the next seventy days or so.

For her part, Team Clinton continues, and I would expect will for the duration of the campaign, to absorb hits about her use of email, this time involving the Clinton Foundation. Mr. Trump has gone so far as to refer to emails that appear to connect the Foundation, Secretary Clinton, and wealthy donors seeking meetings as evidence of a Pay-to-Play scheme. He has called for a Special Prosecutor to be named to investigate the matter. Needless to say, that would be a very convenient outcome, from his perspective.

For his part, Team Trump has found itself in an interesting position. After having an eventful, though largely positive (for him) Republican National Convention, he received a significant 6-point bounce the following week that saw him surpass Hillary in the Polls going into the week of the Democratic National Convention. Then came the Democratic Convention, which brought its own 7-point bounce, which catapulted Mrs. Clinton back into a lead in most Polls.

Then things really got interesting. The Trump Campaign hit a number of sour notes, including one with a Gold Star Family. The offshoot in summary was many of the Polls were unkind to Mr. Trump. He trailed by double digits in several, including in some states where Republicans are expecting to contend, or even to have a slight advantage, such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

It is clear the Trump Campaign found these developments unsettling. So with roughly 80 days to go before Election Day, Team Trump undertook it’s second significant shake-up and installed it’s third new Leadership Team. This time Paul Manafort, who in the spring replaced Corey Lewandowski as Campaign Chair, was displaced on August 17th, by the duo of Kellyanne Conway, Campaign Chair, and Stephen Bannon, Campaign CEO. Conway is the head of her own Polling Firm, and Bannon is a former executive at Breitbart News.

I may be one of the few people who truly believes this is still genuinely a race. I absolutely think Donald Trump continues to have a viable shot, no pun intended Second Amendment people, at becoming the 45th POTUS. Let me be clear, I think Mrs. Clinton will win. However, today anyway, I feel given the amount of time left, and the number of unknown variables that may still impact the outcome, Donald J. Trump still has a puncher’s chance. And he’s obviously going to keep flailing away.

Today though, I want to take a moment to examine one of Mr. Trump’s most recent cavalier (in my opinion, anyway) premises. This should not take long. Last Thursday, Donald Trump came to Charlotte, NC and among other things launched his initial pitch to African Americans. The next day in Dimondale, Michigan, Trump continued to hone, refine, and embolden his pitch to the African American community. Recent polls suggest he is polling 1 to 2 percent nationally among African Americans, and actually zero in a couple of swing states, Pennsylvania and Ohio. With metrics like that, it is easy enough to understand why he would consider targeting, again, no pun intended Second Amendment people, African Americans as a group with whom he would like to expand his support.

With that disclaimer, it is important to note a couple of distinct issues:

  • The first is that Mr. Trump chose to issue his most passionate plea to date for African American support in, as I noted above, Dimondale, Michigan. Dimondale, according to the 2010 Census is 93% white, and includes 9, as in one less than 10, African Americans, which translates into .73%. To be clear, that is less than three quarters of one percent.
  • The second point I want to elevate is the language Mr. Trump chose to use to implore support among African Americans. He said, and I quote, “What the hell do you have to lose?” That is the more indelicate version of today’s title. Fine, call the title politically correct, if you must. But to be sure, the larger point here is, whether Donald Trump, his surrogates, his supporters, and his newly minted Campaign Leadership Team realize and appreciate, there are millions of African Americans who not only take great exception to the brazen temerity of the query, but who would be happy to respond…if only he would come to some location that actually presented him with an audience of living, breathing African Americans.

While I think the question is disrespectful, he upped the ante on the downright ludicrous by insisting if elected, in his 2020 reelection bid, he would actually garner more than 95% of the black vote. OK, if, as Mr. Trump eventually claimed, his insistence that President Obama founded ISIS was sarcasm, his black vote assertion, on its face, is sheer hyperbole. President Obama, in his reelection bid attracted 93% of the black vote. For Mr. Trump to fix his mouth to say he would better that is laughable. Hilarious in fact!

This has been a fairly popular discussion over the course of the past several days. In winding down this conversation, I will leave you with three responses, including one of my own, to Mr. Trump’s presumptuous sounding question. Before I get to the responses, let me expand on the meaning of “presumptuous sounding.” It is a fairly common consensus that Mr. trump is really not seeking to expand or increase his support among African Americans. Instead, he is executing a strategy to increase his level of palatability among white voters, many of whom have expressed the notion that he is not Presidential, that many of his rants are racist and or bigoted, and that his proposed Muslim ban and wall separating us from Mexico are in a word, contemptuous.

Now, here are responses from two of my friends and me regarding “what we have to lose:”

  1. JW said, ”Donald Trump paints a bleak picture of Black Americans and asks, “What the hell do you have to lose?” Join me in the self portrait of a Black man’s what’s to lose challenge: This Black man is a comfortably retired Ph. D, all five kids college educated, two with advanced degrees, living in a country club community, multi-lingual, no arrest records, a registered Democrat and veteran. What’s to lose? My standing as an intelligent individual with a full serving of political integrity. Chime in brothers…”
  2. KW said, ”Trump’s assertion requires critical analysis. Let’s start with my immediate family: I am a product of Detroit public schools. I have three college degrees including a Masters Degree in Organizational Management. My wife is a product of public schools in her hometown. She has two college degrees including a Bachelors of Science degree. One of our daughters graduated from college at the age of 17! She earned two more degrees from UCLA (a public university). Our oldest daughter has three college degrees. Our 22-year-old son has two college degrees and will earn a third degree in May 2017. Our youngest daughter earns her first college degree in May 2017 and she will be 19 years old. So: earned degrees in the Williams household: 13 to date with two more expected in May 2017. Oh, I forgot. That’s impossible because we are all Black. I also forgot to mention all 13 degrees were conferred with honors ranging from Cum Laude to Summa Cum Laude. Trump: Get away from me with that minutia. You embarrass Republicans and Americans. BTW: what college did your wife graduate from??? Feel free to share this. I wrote and approved this message.”
  3. I said, ”African American, two degrees, 34+ year career in public service, retired, blogger, with some definite ideas about what’s at stake if African Americans and America gamble on Donald Trump. I think Mr. Trump is simultaneously pandering to blacks while enflaming the white racist voting bloc, in an effort to offset the lack of support he is sure to garner from us. Such racist and bigoted appeals are certain to harden the shell that already makes life challenging for black folks trying to navigate our society. And then, there is this… Of course you already know this, but you may not have seen it here.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/opinion/why-blacks-loathe-trump.html?_r=0

In case you were contemplating whether Donald Trump is sarcastic or just full of…call it hyperbole (to keep it clean), this discussion sums it up pretty well, in my opinion. In fact, the post responds even more cogently to the inquiry, “What The Aitch Do You Have To Lose?”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com.

Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”

Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

 Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/19/politics/donald-trump-african-american-voters/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kellyanne_Conway

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Manafort

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corey_Lewandowski

http://censusviewer.com/city/MI/Dimondale

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/20/its-hard-to-imagine-a-much-worse-pitch-donald-trump-could-have-made-for-the-black-vote/

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/opinion/why-blacks-loathe-trump.html?_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-black-voters_us_57b77ac1e4b03d5136888aaf

http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-colbert-donald-trump-black-voters-2016-8

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/donald-trumps-poor-pitch-to-black-voters/

Obama Plays the Inexperience Card

It’s time to “Break It Down!”

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY “BREAK IT DOWN!”

Last week, in the spirit of the Olympics, I reprised a Gabby Douglas story from four years ago, primarily due to the fact a number of folks just couldn’t let it go, when it came to Gabby’s tresses. Today, partly due to the Olympics, which are now in full swing, and partly to acknowledge the anniversary of “Break It Down,” I am revisiting my inaugural post.

Tempus fugit (Time Flies)!  Saturday will mark another significant milestone in the life and development of “Break It Down!”  I initiated this blog August 20, 2007, on a lark…almost a dare.  That was nine years (and 476 editions) ago.  Having related the story several times over the past several years, I will not repeat the complete details today.

I will note that on that summer’s eve, I contemplated, in five paragraphs, the experience, or in reality the lack thereof, of then Senator Barack Obama, as he navigated the early stages of his historic Presidential Campaign.  The prodigious parameters of that history were not evident at the time.  To be sure, over the next 14-½ months, he bested the odds and won not only the Democratic Nomination, but also the Presidency.  In so doing, my lack of conviction, along with that of many others, in Mr. Obama’s ability to claim the nation’s biggest political prize exposed for what it was; a patently errant assessment.

I want to make one more note about the blog.  In addition to this week marking the Sixth Anniversary of Break It Down, this week’s post commemorates the Four-year Anniversary of my using WordPress as my primary Host Platform.  The link, http://TheSphinxofCharlotte.com is simpler and more straightforward than the Blogger (Blogspot) link, http://TheSphinxofCharlotte.blogspot.com.  The site design and presentation at Word Press is cleaner, and less busy than the one at Blogger.  Please note, while I may migrate Break It Down exclusively to WordPress, the blog remains available at both sites for the foreseeable future.

So this was the message in Post #1, five brisk paragraphs and a sign-off:

In an apparent calculated act of derring-do, Obama declares the virtue of inexperience. Gotta love it!   ;-)

Personal footnote of recollection: I recall Jimmy Carter running the “anti-Washington” (i.e., lack of Capitol Hill experience) campaign in ’75-76. You know what, it worked.

The problem was, once JC sent all the reigning bureaucrats & policy wonks home, he was left with an assembly of newbies who didn’t understand how to get things done in DC. The result was a very smart guy, genuine humanitarian, and erstwhile successful leader presided over a disastrous presidency, fraught with innumerable policy failures (see the Shah of Iran, double-digit inflation, & the outrageous Interest/Mortgage rate morass) and public relations gaffes (remember the killer rabbit, and the failed helicopter gambit).

Fortunately for him he was able to live long enough and subsequently do enough good deeds to distance himself from most of an unremarkable tenure as a one-term president, followed by a resounding defeat by that cowboy actor Teflon guy.

Of course none of that has anything to do with Obama…except in the unlikely even he prevails, let’s hope he doesn’t take that inexperience thing too far. As W constantly reminds us, getting to the White House is one thing (after all, he’s done it twice), providing prudent and effective leadership once there is quite another.

’06!

Posted on Mon, Aug. 20, 2007

Just for perspective, see a story the news carried on the subject that day:

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS DEBATE IN IOWA

Obama posits virtue of inexperience

What rivals criticize as naiveté, he presents as break from status quo

MIKE GLOVER

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa –Democrat Barack Obama on Sunday tried to parlay his relative lack of national experience into a positive attribute, chiding his rivals for adhering to “conventional thinking” that led the country to war and has divided the country.

In their latest debate, the candidates also said they favored more federal action to address economic woes that have resulted from a housing slump and tighter credit. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the current financial crisis “the Katrina of the mortgage-lending industry.”

Prodded by moderator George Stephanopoulos at the outset of the debate, Obama’s rivals critiqued his recent comments on Pakistan and whether he would meet with foreign leaders — including North Korea’s head of state — without conditions.

“To prepare for this debate I rode in the bumper cars at the state fair,” the first-term senator from Illinois said to laughter and applause from the audience at Drake University.

The debate capped an intense week of politicking in Iowa, an early voting state in the process of picking a nominee. The Iowa State Fair is a magnet for White House hopefuls each presidential election.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., directly addressing a question about Obama’s relative inexperience, said: “You’re not going to have time in January of ’09 to get ready for this job.” Dodd has served in Congress for more than 30 years.

Former Sen. John Edwards said Obama’s opinions “add something to this debate.” But Edwards said politicians who aspire to be president should not talk about hypothetical solutions to serious problems.

“It effectively limits your options,” Edwards said.

Obama said he could handle the rigors of international diplomacy and noted that many in the race, including Dodd, Edwards and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Biden, voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2002.

“Nobody had more experience than Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and many of the people on this stage that authorized this war,” Obama said. “And it indicates how we get into trouble when we engage in the sort of conventional thinking that has become the habit in Washington.”

The debate, hosted and broadcast nationally by ABC, took place less than five months before Iowa caucus-goers begin the process of selecting the parties’ presidential nominees.

As we reflect upon the Campaign of 2008 it really does harken the recognition of how swiftly time and events pass.  Indeed, I am reminded, especially, of how a supremely confident Senator from Illinois approached his moment.  I shall always recall that it propelled me to write the words, “Obama Plays the Inexperience Card!” Needless to say, he has gained an enormous amount of experience in the intervening years.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com.

Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”

Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

My Name Is Gabby Douglas: I Am Not My Hair Redux

It’s time to Break It Down!

Originally posted on 8/8/12, during the Summer Olympics in London.

Four years ago, I wrote a post that ordinarily would have feted Gabby Douglas on the occasion of her having won two Gold Medals.  She exercised her considerable and magnificent skills to render stellar performances in winning both an individual Gold Medal, as well as a Gold for the all around best performance in Women’s Gymnastics.

Instead, due to a perverse spike in news coverage, I decided to write about a case of black hair shaming of Olympian Gabby Douglas. She was subjected an all out Twitter assault as a result of her appearance at the London Games. We are now a week into the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, and Gabby is back on the scene as a member of a dominant American Gymnastics team, and inexplicably, once more, on blast. Her hair is front and center, yet again. Since my thoughts on such self-debasing behavior haven’t changed one iota, I decided to re-post the August 8, 2012 Edition of “Break It Down!”

I am going to leave the 2012 story, unredacted, below. But I do want to at least address briefly this doubling down, if you will, on Gabby and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Hair Day. If the uproar in 2012 was disappointing, and it surely was, then this week’s meltdown is disappointing on steroids. That is to say, in the unlikely event, anyone under the sun did not know better in 2012, in the name of everything that is not arrested development, having gone through 2012, they should know better by now.

Today, as then, it is largely a Twitter upheaval. I am not going to link the comments this time. If you really must know, consult your favorite Search Engine, or of course, Twitter. With minimal effort, you can find all the sobering ugly details.

Lots of people have a fundamental issue with natural hair. Put a microscope on that and take a closer look, and many African Americans have an even larger problem with it. Refine the review even more narrowly, and it is a near certainty that African American women as a group, not every single one of them, of course, have an even greater problem still…with natural hair.

First and foremost, I am not picking on black women. My mother was a black woman, God rest her soul. I love black women. I even understand the notion that the issue of hair is one that black women take quite seriously. That is especially true when  the subject is themselves, or other black women. In a way, it is fair submit, black women view this through the prism of a Sovereign Sisterhood, and they enthusiastically seek to protect their brand. And yes, I put it that way largely because much, if not most of the chatter has emanated from black women. In full disclosure it is worth noting, at least this time, substantial pushback has been reported.  Of course, if you know me, you know I have an affinity for natural hair…my own.

The thing is, my beautiful Nubian Queens, Gabby is still, and always will be your sister. However, in this moment in Rio she is a 20-year old athlete, singularly focused on going for Gold. By the way, that means she was only 16 when she was subjected to this madness in London in 2012. At any rate, to wind this down, Gabby is on a business trip, and her athletic prowess and execution are the story, not her edges. Besides, Black Hair Matters! The End!

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can thank the Gabby Hair Haters; otherwise, I’d be writing about the defection of 50 National Security experts from the ranks of Trump voters, and his controversial Wilmington, NC Rally dog whistle statement about “the 2nd Amendment people,” and how they might intervene against Hillary Clinton…or any Supreme Court Nominees she might submit, and/or how Hillary is still trying to come to terms with answering questions about her email and the fact that the father of the recent Orlando shooter was seated behind her at a recent Kissimmee, FL Rally. Not to worry; we have nearly 3 months left to explore what’s happening with the campaigns. Undoubtedly, we will return to politics.

Meanwhile, GO TEAM USA!

There is no doubt Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas is a star in the vast firmament of gymnasts!

I promise to make this short and sweet.  Ok, maybe short will have to do.

It is possible; I might have been persuaded before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic games, to believe that I would craft a post about the games.  However, under no circumstances could I have imagined it would have been about gymnastics, Women’s Gymnastics no less.

I’d like to say Gabby Douglas’ history-making performances made the difference, and served as the catalyst for my choosing this topic.  Alas, sadly in fact, while her performances were scintillating indeed, it was not her mastery of the craft, or her superlative artistry that sold me on this topic.

No, it was not that an amazing athlete plied her skills with power, poise, and precision that caused me to choose this topic, though she was amazing and her routines were powerful, poised, and precise.  It was not the history-making nature of her performances; yet she was the first African American to win Olympic Gold Medals in both the individual and team all-around competitions.  And it was not that Gabby blended seamlessly with the other four members of the Fab 5 to turn in a series of sterling performances for Team America, despite the fact she did…in fact, she was, or did, all of the above!

I decided to write about Gabby’s Olympic exploits because so many of her “Sisters,” and I use the term guardedly, shamed themselves by deciding to make a spectacle of themselves, rather than revel in Ms. Douglas’ spectacular accomplishments.  To put it tersely, a group of “Ugly Americans,” far too many of whom were African American women, elevated Gabby’s hair to “News of the Day” status, when all she did was show her Championship mettle.  I love black women, but “Sisters,” this was, to put it mildly, “not your finest hour.”

As I thought about the conversation which trended in the Twittersphere and proliferated on other social media for several days, India.Arie’s tune, I Am Not My Hair came to mind.  Released originally, November 15, 2005, the nearly 7-year old standard should be required listening for each and everyone who got “caught-up” in Olympic Hair-gate.  Gabby’s hair, her ponytail, and/or her kitchen (and y’all know what I mean…if you don’t, see definition #3), simply should not have been a concern.

Gabby went to the London Olympics to compete with her teammates and peers from 204 countries around the world.  She was tasked with vying for medals against the world’s best in their respective gymnastic disciplines.  That she won two Gold Medals confirms that she passed her tests with flying colors (Red, White & Blue, of course).

Gabby’s combination of performance and personality has spurred analysts to predict she will cash in on a marketing bonanza once she returns stateside.  As a matter of fact, her likeness appeared on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box the day after her individual Gold Medal triumph.  It is anticipated that she will earn millions in endorsements, trading on her historic Olympic success.

My short-term prediction is that when we see Ms. Douglas next, in her post-Olympics life, she will be appearing on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and the TV circuit in general.  Moreover, to the great pleasure of her recent critics, she is certain to be elegantly coiffed, splendidly dressed, and looking like a million bucks…which she’ll be worth…literally.

Can’t you just imagine Breakfast at Gabby’s?  You can be sure, in this version of the story, her “kitchen” will feature prominently, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes; along with her smiling picture, (laughing all the way to the bank, eh), adorning the box.

Oh yeah, She will definitely introduce herself, proclaiming, “My Name is Gabby Douglas; I Am Not My Hair!”

I’m done.  Don’t just holla; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com.

A new post is published each Wednesday. For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabrielle_Douglas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIne_GGnezI

http://todayinlondonblog.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/08/07/13161200-gabby-douglas-mom-weighs-in-on-hair-controversy?lite

http://espn.go.com/olympics/summer/2012/espnw/story/_/id/8232063/espnw-gabby-douglas-hair-criticized-social-media-sites

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-gabby-douglas-hair-gender-race-20120803,0,2974115.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/la-sp-oly-notes-20120807,0,1766101.story

http://www.examiner.com/article/gabby-douglas-million-dollar-endorsements-already-on-kellogg-s-cornflakes-box

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Not_My_Hair

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtYarYhKa9c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mop9csVOF6E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b2Sex5pLV0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_5jIt0f5Z4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7rSv5NvAK8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krV0dNimaCo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmZ-jAkmDiU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l18IJs1YsIo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TyK7dL-p18

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgizvw0EUCY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyjQiEHEhdo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSQNOSltJks

http://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/la-sp-oly-gabby-douglas-marketing-20120808,0,7580377.story

http://www.essence.com/2016/08/08/gabby-douglas-hair-haters-twitter-claps-back

https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/really-were-talking-gabby-douglass-000000324.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1698641/

The GOP: A Party At Odds With Its Leader

It’s time to Break It Down!

The two major Party political conventions are now in the rear view mirror. Last week, Donald Trump received a 6-point bounce from the GOP Convention, which was held in Cleveland the previous week, and he surged ahead of Hillary Clinton according to a CNN/ORC Poll.

Whether in a head-to-head matchup between the two candidates, or in a four-way matchup that included the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, and Libertarian Gary Johnson, Trump led. One-on-one with Mrs. Clinton, Trump’s lead was 48% to 45%. When the other two candidates were entered into the equation, the lead was 44% to 39% in favor of Trump, with Johnson garnering 9% and Stein 3%.

This week, following the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, Clinton received a similar bounce, 7 points to be exact, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll. As a result, this week she surged back ahead. Just as with Trump the previous week, Clinton leads in both a head-to-head matchup with Trump, as well as in the four-way scenario, including Stein and Johnson. When looking just at Clinton and Trump, she leads 52% to 43%. In a four-way scenario, it’s Clinton leading 45% to 37%, with Johnson and Stein at 9% and 5%, respectively.

Coming out of the conventions the tempo of election season will ratchet up, possibly sharply. If anything is clear about this election year, it’s not typical. To be fair, each Presidential campaign is unique in its own right. But this year…that is true on steroids. While both candidates approach November’s election with historic negatives, only 34% view Mrs. Clinton as honest and trustworthy, while Mr. Trump tops that with a whopping 35%, I think most observers, whether supporters or detractors, see Donald Trump as the most unusual candidate in our life time. I have not even heard anyone suggest anyone as a close second.

A key aspect of this point of view is both the folks who are for him, as well as those who oppose him agree this is true. It is the underlying foundation of why this is so that results in disagreement. His surrogates argue, and his supporters seem to concur, that Trump is bringing a robust sense of self, and a limitless confidence that though we are broken as a nation, he can and will fix us. In fact, he boasted at the GOP Convention that he is the only one capable of pulling off this amazing feat. Quite naturally, the candidate endorses this characterization of himself.

Alternately, his detractors view Trump as divisive, dangerous, and delusional, and many are effusive in saying that is the case. It is far from surprising that Democrats as a group take the latter view. One would anticipate that Republicans as a group embrace the former view, and many do, especially rank and file voters. However, that explicit factoid does not cloud an obvious caveat. There is a clear and possibly widening breach within the Grand Old Party. This is not a new development. A number of Trump’s 16 vanquished competitors tried to paint him as everything from not being a conservative to in more than a few instances, not even being a Republican.

For his part, Mr. Trump has repeatedly found ways to bring discomfort to and elicit disdain from members of his own Party. He debased most of his Primary competitors, he declared Senator John McCain was not a war hero…ostensibly, because he was captured, and, after the Democratic Convention, he took on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan. Captain Khan, an American citizen of Pakistani heritage was born in the United Arab Emirates. He moved to the United States with his parents when he was two years old, and was killed June 8, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

By attacking honored members of the group known as American Gold Star families, Mr. Trump effectively abandoned his Build a Wall platform plank and instead channeled a version of Ronald Reagan when he uttered the phrase, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Trump crossed a line that some in the military consider sacrosanct, and that even many of his erstwhile GOP cronies consider, a bridge too far. In doing so, he tore down the wall of partisanship that usually delineates Republicans and Democrats during Presidential Campaigns. A number of Republicans issued statements supporting the Khans, and several went further and denounced Trump. My own observation is denunciation without rescinding endorsements is a vacuous endeavor, signifying they either didn’t really stand behind the verbal wrist slap they are giving Trump, and they still really fervently support him, or…they no longer support Trump, but do not find it politically tenable to say that in clear and unequivocal terms.

Gold Star families are families that have lost a loved one in a war. Mr. Khan, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention, took exception to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. He wondered aloud if Trump had ever read the Constitution, and offered to loan him his own copy. He opined that Trump has sacrificed nothing, nor anyone. In turn, Trump, who fancies himself a counter puncher took a day or two to respond, but Saturday he did, and he has barely stopped since then.

He questioned whether Mr. Khan wrote his own speech, or if the Clinton Campaign penned it, he argued that he has sacrificed…by creating thousands, actually tens of thousands of jobs, appearing to equate employing people with the Khan’s having lost a son. He also rhetorically asked if there was a reason Mrs. Khan didn’t speak, after which he suggested that perhaps she wasn’t allowed to do so. Most Americans outside Team Trump understood this to be a direct swipe at Mrs. Khan’s Muslim faith. Mr. Trump and everyone related to his campaign disavowed that view.

Republicans were already generally beside themselves because Democrats were able to usurp several of the GOP’s pet themes, including love of country and support for the military. Trump’s reflexive pushback against a Gold Star family escalated their concern to near hyperventilation. The depth to which key members of the Party could no longer restrain themselves was evident as Party luminaries, including John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell spoke out in support of the Khans, and some cases offered scathing rebuttals of Trump’s sentiments. By yesterday, a number of high-ranking Republicans declared they would be voting for Mrs. Clinton.

According to NPR, Senator McCain issued the most comprehensive statement, nearly 700 words, in which he drew a bright red line delineating Trump and his comments from the Republican Party. He said:

“I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.”

Senator McCain also called upon Trump to set a better example, warned that Arizona is watching, thanked the Khans for immigrating to America, and assured them their son’s service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Senator McConnell, according to Politico, offered a subtler, more tempered response. He said:

“Captain Khan was an American hero, and like all Americans, I’m grateful for the sacrifices that selfless young men like Capt. Khan and their families have made in the war on terror. All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services.”

Speaker Ryan, as reported by Reuters News Sunday, made a terse, but poignant statement on the situation. Speaking of Captain Khan, he said:

“His sacrifice – and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan – should always be honored. Period.”

Yesterday, Mr. Trump announced that he would not be endorsing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain in their pending Primary Election bids. Just a day earlier he gave a shout out to Ryan’s competitor in the upcoming Wisconsin Primary, Paul Nehlen. CNN reported that in Ryan’s case Mr. Trump said:

“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country. We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet,”

The last sentence approximates a phrase Mr. Ryan used shortly after Trump had vanquished the field of 16, and was the last man standing among GOP candidates for President. He did not immediately endorse Trump. Ryan did eventually endorse the nominee.

In Senator McCain’s case, as referenced above, he and Trump have clashed dating back to early in the campaign. In explaining his position on not endorsing the Senator, Trump said:

“I’ve never been there with John McCain because I’ve always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets.”

Fortunately for Senator McConnell, he is not up for re-election. As such, he does not have to spend any time contemplating a Trump endorsement, or lack thereof. It is worth noting, Ryan and McCain are expected to prevail in their primary races.

Yesterday, Trump created a bit of controversy as he accepted a Veteran’s Purple Heart and commented that he’d “always wanted one of those…this is much easier.” Not surprisingly, that created some pushback.

Last night one of Trump’s surrogates attempted to deflect (I think it’s called a pivot in campaign parlance) from the resultant raging firestorm by blaming the death of Captain Khan on decisions made by President Obama and Secretary Clinton. Katrina Pierson, who frequently appears on CNN to defend Candidate Trump made the following claim to Wolf Blitzer:

“It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagements that probably cost his life! So I don’t understand why it’s so hard to understand why Donald Trump was confused.”

There is a lot going on with those two sentences, so it is easy to understand why she was confused. That assertion is, in and of itself, an extraordinary claim. More importantly, in the final analysis, it is a clear sign of a surrogate, who like her candidate, spoke in an overhyped, underprepared manner.

Mr. Trump, Ms. Pierson, and a host of Trump acolytes have raised conspiracy theories to a near art form. This claim would require one incredibly otherworldly conspiracy. Why is that, you may ask? I’m glad you inquired!

As cited previously, Captain Khan was killed in Iraq, June 8, 2004. On that date, history reflects the Commander-in-Chief was George W. Bush, and the Secretary of State was Colin Powell. Fact check complete; bye Felicia…I mean Katrina.

The cherry on top of all this dissension is by the end of the yesterday, reports emerged, and were reported by CNN that frustration was boiling over among Team Trump insiders, all the way up to head honcho, Paul Manafort.  As they used to say back in the day, “Keep your ears on.”  This could become a real page turner.

It has been a tough week for the Republican nominee. However, the campaign is long and new and unpredictable events impose themselves on the process frequently. To that end, this too shall pass. Until it does though, it is appropriate, if not essential, to take note of, The GOP: A Party at Odds With Its Leader!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com.

Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”

Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

 Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/02/politics/donald-trump-paul-ryan-john-mccain-endorse-primaries/index.html

http://www.americanow.com/story/society/2016/07/25/cnn-poll-trump-leads-clinton-nationwide-after-gop-convention?fb=an

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/01/politics/trump-vs-clinton-presidential-polls-election-2016/index.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/full-text-khizr-khans-speech-2016-democratic-national/story?id=41043609

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3718041/Muslim-American-Gold-Star-father-Khizr-Khan-says-s-grateful-words-support-Paul-Ryan-Mitch-McConnell-amid-continued-attacks-Trump.html

http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/08/01/mccain-hammers-trump-khan-family

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-paul-ryan-226543

http://www.voanews.com/content/what-is-a-gold-star-american-family/3444224.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khizr_Khan

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/07/31/khizr-khans-speech-ghazala-khans-comments-and-donald-trumps-replies/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humayun_Khan_(soldier)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ghazala-khan-trump_us_579e08a0e4b08a8e8b5e61ba

http://diplomacy.state.gov/berlinwall/www/exhibitions/tear-down-this-wall.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-responds-to-dnc-speaker-khizr-khan-2016-7

http://www.npr.org/2016/08/01/488213964/gop-criticism-mounts-as-trump-continues-attacks-on-khan-family

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/khan-mconnell-trump-226485

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/house-speaker-ryan-fixes-trumps-fail-khan-family-sacrifice-should-be-honored/

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/katrina-pierson-implies-obama-clinton-are-to-blame-for-humayan-khans-death-in-2004/

The Voters (Delegates) Have Spoken: Hillary is the (Democratic) Nominee

It’s time to Break It Down!

As we greet this new day on planet Earth, there are a number of great truths; few more apparent than that there is a gulf separating the two major political Parties, a space that spans poles (no pun intended). The philosophies and ideologies that frame the views and the accompanying talking points of the Republican Party, which convened last week in Cleveland, are frequently pitted in diametrical opposition to those of the Democratic Party, now underway in Philadelphia.

More often than not, it seems the media, intent upon the devolution of all civil discourse, fans the flames of discord. It may be to garner ratings, or to gain clicks, or to sell newspapers or magazines. Regardless of the intended purpose, far too regularly, a media outlet is front and center in the midst of the resultant turmoil.

Last week, the GOP gave us four days flush with varying degrees of drama. Let me say up front, the early analysis suggests that, at least in the short term, the drama was a plus for Candidate Trump. He started this week with a 6-point bounce, and a lead of then Democratic presumptive nominee Clinton. According to CNN, Trump leads Clinton 44% to 39% in a four-way matchup between the Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and the Green Party. In a head-to-head match-up with Clinton, he leads 48% to 45%.

If anything I suppose those results give credence to the maxim, “There is no such thing as bad publicity…also framed as “All publicity is good publicity.” At least it seems that way when you consider the chaotic nature of the GOP’s four idyllic days in “Believe-land.” To summarize that amazing moment in time, the highlight of which was formally elevating Donald Trump to the status of Party Nominee, here are my personal highlights:

  • Monday – Melania bites Michelle. No, not in a man bites dog kind of way. Rather that is hipster patois for copying one’s style, copping one’s moves, or in this case plagiarizing one’s speech. That may actually have been the low moment of the Convention. It was certainly the negative event that consumed the most media time and energy. It totally “trumped” the day’s earlier events, when a small group of Delegates attempted briefly to oust Trump as the Nominee-in-waiting, and Ohio Governor, John Kasich opted to follow through on his pre-announced plans to skip the Convention (held in Cleveland).
  • Tuesday – Dr. Ben Carson uses Alinsky, Lucifer, and Hillary in the expression of a singular circular thought. It was the kind of classic Carson logic with which we have become all too familiar. You know, the sort that assails Obamacare, asserting it is the worst thing for America since slavery. I suppose I should give him credit for ascribing to slavery a negative light. OK, thumbs up, Doc.
  • Wednesday – Ted Cruz addresses the GOP Convention, and, after having advised Mr. Trump of his intentions days in advance, and providing a copy of his remarks earlier in the day, to absolutely no one’s surprise, he refused to endorse Donald Trump. Suddenly what had been reported by CNN for two days was treated as a shocking development…by the media. There was gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, and a general post-mortem consensus that Mr. Trump should have deleted Senator Cruz from the program, given what he knew, and/or Senator Cruz should have, knowing what he knew, just stayed home. But where would the drama have been in that?
  • Thursday – Donald Trump talks for 75 minutes in his acceptance speech, a modern day record, before finally “humbly and gratefully” accepting his Party’s nomination. In his uniquely “humble” way, he declared himself the only person capable of resolving the litany of problems he enumerated that require fixing, in order to make America safe, work, first, one, and of course, great…again. If I didn’t know better I’d think a master Reality TV producer engineered their convention. But that’s just me.

This week, it is the Democrat’s turn to step up and show their wares. At the outset, it looked at though the media and the Convention were jointly committed to create just as much excitement, or drama, if you will, as the Republicans brought us last week. Even before the Monday opening, Wiki-Leaks released a series of emails Sunday that showed high ranking officials of the DNC conspiring to devise schemes to denigrate Senator Sanders. The resulting fallout led to the resignation of the DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Initially, DWS planned to gavel the Convention into Session, and to gavel it closed, even though she had resigned. This…was an incredibly bad idea. Yes, the optics were less than desirable, but more importantly the concept itself was profoundly flawed.

Fortunately, sanity prevailed, and some Democrat, or perhaps several, figured out that the most effective strategy to pursue if you dig yourself into a hole…is to stop digging. To that end, the erstwhile Chair relinquished the remainder of her duties and responsibilities, and stepped to the sideline. The result was, after looking and sounding like a hair-on-fire story throughout Sunday night, and Monday morning, the Democrats reinvented the opening day by the time the Convention was gaveled into Session at 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.

The actual Convention session went off largely without a hitch. In fact, the proceedings were so understated from a drama point of view, that CNN’s resident GOP counter-programming critics were either mostly silent, or altogether AWOL. That means, unlike the Trumpster Fire that lasted all four days of last week’s Convention, Day 1 of the Democrat’s Convention was a critical success.

Even after losing DWS, there was still a level of anticipation that Bernie’s supporters would bow up and crash Mrs. Clinton’s party. The media kept trying to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with what ifs, and queries of what might happen next. By the time the evening was over, Senator Sanders, who wrapped up the evening, had given a clear and passionate endorsement of Secretary Clinton, Senator Cory Booker, NJ, gave a stem-winding speech, Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a strong speech touting the candidate that drew high praise, and the cherry on top, though it was not the final speech, was a masterpiece by First Lady Michelle Obama.

By now, we have like last week, traversed half of the Convention. Last night’s highlight, naturally, was a speech by former President Bill Clinton who wove a series of anecdotes and short stories into a compelling tapestry about Mrs. Clinton. There was a considerable amount of discussion about whether Bill would be able to effectively humanize his wife. In all fairness, he has frequently had a blind spot when it comes to Mrs. Clinton. Last night, that did not appear to be the case.

Clinton’s speech on Clinton was substantial in every conceivable dimension. However, it was Bernie Sanders, in fact, who delivered Tuesday’s highlight. The Clinton and Sanders teams negotiated an agreement that led to the Senator formally making a motion that led to the Party nominating Hillary Clinton by acclamation. While I am sure there will be strains of the Never Hillary Movement in the future, that single act moved mountains in diffusing the most substantive elements of any remaining resistance. In effect, Sanders demonstrated he would continue to do his part to unify the Party.

With that said, when Mrs. Clinton, who appeared via satellite Tuesday night, formally accepts the Nomination tomorrow, it will mark the moment when the gloves come off…for all parties. The sparring between the two sides has grown in frequency and tenor in recent weeks. However, methinks, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Years from now, when we look back on it, the crossfire between Clinton and Trump is likely to be deemed legendary. In just under 15 weeks, this whole thing will be a wrap, kit and caboodle. Today we can reflect on Mrs. Clinton having become America’s first female major Party Nominee for President. Indeed, The Voters (Delegates) Have Spoken: Hillary Is the (Democratic) Nominee!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com.

Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”

Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://www.cnn.com/?refresh=1

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/07/25/cnn-trump-clinton-poll-newday.cnn

http://www.ktiv.com/story/32477726/2016/07/19/melanias-speech-under-fire

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Carson

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/07/25/dnc-convention-michelle-obama-entire-speech-sot.cnn

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/cory-booker-rousing-dnc-speech-rise/story?id=40870837

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/07/25/dnc-convention-elizabeth-warren-entire-speech-sot.cnn

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-bernie-sanders-convention-speech-transcript-20160725-snap-htmlstory.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/watch-donna-braziles-full-speech-at-the-democratic-national-convention/2016/07/26/18425980-5377-11e6-b652-315ae5d4d4dd_video.html

http://www.whio.com/news/news/national/read-bill-clintons-speech-democratic-national-conv/nr5gZ/

Trump Towers Over the Never Trump Movement: Drops the Title “Presumptive!”

It’s time to Break It Down!

Last night was the culmination of 13 months of what can only be appropriately deemed a Trump tour de force. We can now say Trump has been marching inexorably toward the nomination as the Republican’s 2016 candidate for President since June 2015. Last night, Donald J. Trump, Jr. exulted in the dual honor of reading the results of the New York Delegate distribution, and simultaneously putting his father over the requisite 1,237 (of 2,472) Delegates that Party rules require in order for a candidate to clinch the GOP Nomination. There was more business to be handled, for sure, such as Convention Chair Paul Ryan announcing the official tabulated results, but for all practical purposes, it was over when Don, Jr. read the State of New York’s Delegate designation.

The reality, of course, is it ended long before that. It ended when Trump cobbled together sufficient momentum to force his final two GOP Primary competitors, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, to yield and shut down their respective campaigns. A few diehards refused to abandon the notion of Never Trump. This is a concept, by the way, that I repeatedly suggested, quickly after it emerged, had no shot at succeeding.

The Republican National Convention Kicked off Monday. During the afternoon session a few rogue Delegates attempted to launch an insurgency, mainly to disrupt the proceedings, but with no real hope of actually executing any kind of bloodless coup, politically speaking. Trump delegates, Convention Chair Ryan, and Convention Whips made sure noting came of that wild hair.

Having dispensed with the untoward impulses relatively early, the GOP seemed on the road to zeroing in on how best and most fervently to bash Mr. Trump’s opponent in the November Election, Hillary Clinton. However, the highlight of Monday evening festivities was to be a featured appearance by Melania Trump, who was tasked with the unenviable assignment of humanizing the candidate, her husband. By most accounts, her speech was successful, if not in providing any special anecdotes or insights about her husband or his psyche, in casting her as and individual who could proficiently calm her nerves long enough to read from a teleprompter (Donald must be really proud) and convey how she transitioned from having been an immigrant to becoming a citizen…the right way.

While the early feedback noted that she did not accomplish Job 1, framing Donald in a softer light, she did, as a non-politician, hold her own in front of God, a teleprompter, a packed arena, and a television audience of tens of millions. Granted, her husband is the politician, not her, so she should get points for completing the assignment without committing any discernible faux pas. But wait, before the Quicken Loans Arena could be cleared (Monday evening’s proceedings did run long), a counter-theme emerged. It appeared, in weaving her story of the evening, Mrs. Trump may have appropriated substantial parts of several passages from a speech that Mrs. Obama delivered during the 2008 Democratic Convention. There is much more that could be said about this matter, but I suspect you’ve already seen or heard it. In the unlikely event you missed it see the last link below.

Back to the subject at hand, the title makes clear this post focuses on Donald Trump’s biggest victory to date in his quest to become President of the United States. You may recall, the magic number GOP candidates were aiming for and needed to become the Party’s nominee was 1,237. Here is a breakdown of the total Delegates won by candidate:

  1. Donald Trump – 1,725 (1,237 Required)
  2. Ted Cruz – 475
  3. John Kasich – 120
  4. Marco Rubio – 114
  5. Ben Carson – 7
  6. Jeb Bush – 3
  7. Rand Paul – 2

When one thinks back and recalls that at one point the Republican field of candidates consisted of 17 candidates, it is certainly appropriate to appreciate that Donald Trump not only survived the crucible of a rigorous campaign, he fundamentally restructured the Republican Party. It may not have a revolution, in Bernie Sanders parlance, but it certainly was a revolt. That may sound extreme at first glance, but think about it in big picture terms. In June of 2015, when he announced his candidacy, Trump’s odds of winning the GOP Nomination were slim, possibly slim and none. While it is conceivable that Ben Carson, and or, Carly Fiorina had longer odds, being a Black Republican or a woman (and like Trump, having no previous political experience) and all, virtually every other candidate was high on the scale of political hierarchy that includes Governors, former Governors, and Senators.

For a little perspective, here is a list of Mr. Trump’s 16 vanquished rivals:

  1. Jeb Bush (Former Governor of Florida)
  2. Ben Carson (Retired Neurosurgeon)
  3. Chris Christie (New Jersey Governor)
  4. Ted Cruz (U.S. Senator, Texas)
  5. Carly Fiorina (Former Business Executive)
  6. Jim Gilmore (Former Virginia Governor)
  7. Lindsey Graham (U.S. Senator, South Carolina)
  8. Mike Huckabee (Former Governor of Arkansas)
  9. Bobby Jindal (Former Governor of Louisiana)
  10. John Kasich (Governor of Ohio)
  11. George Pataki (Former Governor of New York)
  12. Rand Paul (United States Senator, Kentucky)
  13. Rick Perry (Former Governor, Texas)
  14. Marco Rubio (U.S. Senator, Florida)
  15. Rick Santorum (Former U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania)
  16. Scott Walker (Governor of Wisconsin)

To go even further back down memory lane, there were times in the early going when many, if not most folks, thought Trump would never actually enter the race, and then a prevailing sentiment was he never release a Financial Statement, and I’m sure almost everyone knows he still has not released his taxes. This last point should not be downplayed. Every candidate since Richard Nixon has done so. By flouting convention and refusing to do so, Mr. Trump is almost certainly setting a precedent that others will surely follow in the future.

The Convention is halfway over. Last night, Tiffany and Donald Trump, Jr., (two of Trump’s children) along with Chris Christie and Ben Carson spoke. From my vantage point, Tiffany gave the speech folks anticipated Melania might have, and Don, Jr. spoke, both about his father and about the political dynamics of the country. He may have been the star of the evening. Christie assiduously prosecuted Hillary Clinton for the vast array of Republican grievances, while Carson ridiculed her links to Saul Alinsky…and his links to Lucifer, and therefore, her links to Lucifer. You had to see it to appreciate it, or to not appreciate it sufficiently.

Just for kicks, last night’s speakers mentioned Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton a lot. However, it is worth noting that, according to CNN, they mentioned Clinton more – Trump 61, Clinton 79. Nothing will unify the GOP like voicing opposition to the Clintons. While we’re at it, it is also interesting to note that 80 (3%) of the 2,472 Delegates to the Convention are African American. That’s more than at Romney’s Convention in 2012, so I suppose the GOP can feel pretty good about itself on that score. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats can match the GOP’s enthusiasm. I’m confident they will exceed the level of diversity.

Tonight’s speakers will include Newt Gingrich, his wife Callista, and Trump’s son Eric. The Party’s Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence will also appear. Then of course, Thursday will mark the piece de resistance, when Trump and Pence will officially accept their Nominations. Each day of the Convention has bee thematically labeled. The themes and days were paired, as follows:

  • Monday – Make America Safe Again
  • Tuesday – Make America Work Again
  • Wednesday – Make America First Again
  • Thursday – Make America One Again

Don’t worry about the themes though. If last night was any indication, adherence to it may be hit or miss. I will certainly not suggest the Convention has been compelling TV.

The Party and Mr. Trump will likely feel much better about last night’s session than the one Monday night. It is unlikely Tuesday’s speakers will have anything approaching the SNAFU emanating from Melania’s “borrowed” comments,” which Trump and the Party denied, deflected, and/or took an opportunity to dissemble when discussing (as is the Trump-world fact-free way).

Don Jr., however, did not escape scrutiny.  As it turns out, Huffington Post reported he did use words from a passage in the May issue of a conservative periodical called “The American Conservative.” According to HuffPo, the author of the article, F.H. Buckley assisted Trump with his speech, and granted him permission to use the passage in question.  The bottom line is, this is not deemed to be as serious as Melania’s case. I can look ahead and see that this will be an issue moving froward. Look out Philly! See the next-to-the-last link for a more detailed discussion of this instance. This brings me full circle back to the main point…”Trump Towers Over the Never Trump Movement: Drops the Title ‘Presumptive!”‘

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com.

Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”

Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

 Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melania_Trump

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_Jr.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanka_Trump

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Trump

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffany_Trump

http://www.starnostar.com/Barron-Trump-Wiki-Barron-William-Trump-Wiki/25731/Star-Celebrity/

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/07/19/rnc-convention-jeff-session-nominates-donald-trump-sot.cnn

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article90627912.html#emlnl=Breaking_News_Alerts

https://www.yahoo.com/news/outbreak-dissent-trump-powers-toward-prize-071013170–election.html?ref=gs

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-republican-convention-2016-live-1468976559-htmlstory.html

http://wgntv.com/2016/07/19/donald-trump-formally-nominated-as-republican-presidential-candidate/

http://www.wthr.com/story/32480241/donald-trump-clinches-gop-nomination-mike-pence-nominated-for-vp

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/jul/19/trump-triumphs-as-gop-nominee-completing-stunning-/

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/07/19/donald-trump-republican-president-nomination/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/07/19/donald-trump-officially-nominated-at-rnc.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/R-Alloc.phtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quicken_Loans_Arena

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/black-republican-delegates-speak-trump-convention-n586776

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/2016-presidential-candidates.html?_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-jr-plagiarism_us_578eef03e4b04ca54ebf7b6c

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-republican-convention-2016-live-melania-trump-s-rnc-speech-appears-to-1468901655-htmlstory.html

Black Lives Matter: Of That I Am Certain!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Fact. There are many Americans who simply refuse, under any circumstances, at any time, in any place, to consider the prospect their country in general, and especially themselves in particular, ever tolerate even the hint of a suggestion that they harbor the most remote scintilla of racist thought, deed, or action in exercising their life’s functions. In fact, if you happen to suggest that one of these people is racist, that person will deny it, quickly and robustly, and then just as speedily and fervently, insist that by the mere introduction of such an idea, you, in fact, are the racist.

While I firmly believe this to be true of Americans as a whole, it is in my opinion super-turbo-fied for white Americans. Take a moment to breathe deeply before opting to just go directly to your neutral corner and employ searing eyes and an angry heart to throw shade at such a bodacious premise, or at me for displaying the temerity to author it.

The thing is, there is well-documented, widely accepted American history that explains, at least in part, why so many otherwise intelligent and reasonable Americans think that way, even in the 21st Century. There are, in some people’s mind, perfectly logical events that underpin the fundamental structure of this premise. Like it or not, this is a thing, a very inconvenient American truth. Let’s take a walk back in the historical annals of time and space.

Meet Dred Scott! Dred Scott sued for his freedom, on the grounds that he and his wife had for years lived in a free state. His case eventually went to the Supreme Court. In his March 6, 1857 ruling, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Roger Taney declared that Scott had no right to sue because as a black man he was never intended to be an American.

Speaking of the clause in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” Taney wrote:

“It is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration.”

Taney went on to say the following:

“The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect”

“It is difficult, at this day, to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the constitution was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior race, and altogether unfit to associate with the white races, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect, and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.

Chief Justice Taney wrote the majority opinion. The court held that Scott was not free based on his residence in either Illinois or Wisconsin because he was not considered a person under the U.S. Constitution–in the opinion of the justices; black people were not considered citizens when the Constitution was drafted in 1787. According to Taney, Dred Scott was the property of his owner, and property could not be taken from a person without due process of law.

In fact, there were free black citizens of the United States in 1787, but Taney and the other justices were attempting to halt further debate on the issue of slavery in the territories. The decision inflamed regional tensions, which burned for another four years before exploding into the Civil War.

Now most people would read the aforementioned and undoubtedly be prone to say, that was a 159 years ago. The United States fought a war (the Civil War) that exorcised the stench of the demons of that ludicrously inhumane ruling. Without a doubt America and black Americans, yes we are Americans, were freed from the heinous circumstances that made such a reckoning by the foremost jurist in the highest court in the land even possible. And you would be right…as it relates to most people.

But most is not all, and in this instance, it is particularly important in the case of one among those numbered in the some, not in the most. Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, former Fox News Host, & 2016 GOP Presidential Candidate articulated a belief last summer, while he was pursuing the 2016 Republican nomination for President, that the Dred Scott Decision, rendered by the Taney Supreme Court…is still the law!

Interestingly enough, he made this argument while defending an individual’s right to ignore a Supreme Court ruling. While defending Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses out of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage, Mike Huckabee said:

“The Supreme Court’s 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford – which held that all blacks, free or enslaved, could not be American citizens – is still the law of the land even though no one follows it.” 

“I’ve been just drilled by TV hosts over the past week, ‘How dare you say that, uh, it’s not the law of the land? Because that’s their phrase, ‘it’s the law of the land.’ Michael, the Dred Scott decision of 1857 still remains to this day the law of the land, which says that black people aren’t fully human. Does anybody still follow the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision?’”

And lest you feel compelled to dismiss this Troglodytic comment as a mere aberration by this pillar of contemporary Republicanism, the former Governor, former Fox News host, and former Presidential candidate has somehow convinced himself that federal “enabling legislation” is necessary in response to court rulings, or they don’t count. Further, he’s also endorsed pre-Civil War nullification schemes and suggested he might deploy federal troops on U.S. soil to prevent women from exercising their reproductive rights. But I digress.

This, all of this, from Robert Taney’s legalistic machinations, to Mike Huckabee’s political ramblings explains, in no uncertain terms why Black Lives Matter (BLM). Almost anyone who follows the Movement, either as a an activist/member, or from an intellectual and/or academic perspective, can tell you that neither the Movement nor the acronym BLM is intended to convey the sentiment that Black Live Matter and others do not, or that Black Lives Matter more than others, or that Black Lives Matter because they are more important than White Lives, Asian Lives, Latino Lives, Native American Lives, or any other lives.

Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza founded #BlackLivesMatter in 2013. The movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. Black Lives Matter became nationally recognized for its street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown, resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, and Eric Garner in New York City.

#BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and their allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialog among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement. All in all, I think that is a noble endeavor.

BLM’s Home Page footer includes the following defining language:

#BlackLivesMatter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

BLM, in an effort to help familiarize interested parties with their operational objects shares a list of Guiding Principals on its Home Page. Those ideals include:

  • Diversity
  • Restorative Justice
  • Unapologetically Black
  • Globalism
  • Collective Value
  • Transgender Affirming
  • Black Women
  • Black Villages
  • Empathy
  • Black Families
  • Loving Engagement
  • Queer Affirming
  • Intergenerational

I’m not a #BLM activist. However, as a black man in America, born and raised in this country, I absolutely understand why the Movement is not only justified it is essential. I unequivocally reject the notion that #BLM is racist. In fact, the Movement is a direct response to disparate treatment on its face. In addition, just in case anyone actually needs to be reminded, it is necessary because of a daunting history of minimizing and denigrating responses to Black Life.

That history, in and of itself would justify such a Movement. However, as I noted above, there is also a contemporary mindset that embraces the notion that Black Lives are not equal, and have no rights that need not be respected (by White men). In an America in which an individual counted among our nation’s thought leaders (Pease do not suggest a man who has served as Governor of a sovereign State of the United States of America is not a significant molder and shaper of public opinion) can openly hold, project, and promote those views…“Black Lives Matter: Of That I Am Certain!”

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Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://www.ushistory.org/us/32a.asp

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2932.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dred_Scott_v._Sandford

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdYSPhETw2Q

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise

http://blacklivesmatter.com

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-blacklivesmatter-idUSKCN0ZP04A

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/opinion/the-truth-of-black-lives-matter.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/11/politics/rudy-giuliani-black-lives-matter-inherently-racist/index.html

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Stop+and+Frisk

http://www.nyclu.org/issues/racial-justice/stop-and-frisk-practices

http://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/stop-and-frisk-policy-new-york-city-police-department

http://www.ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/issues/discriminatory-policing

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/19/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-is-all-but-gone-from-new-york.html

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/07/11/vice-president-joe-biden-intv-black-lives-matter-giuliani-comment-sot-tapper-tsr.cnn

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/10/philando-castile-killing-nra-racial-divide

http://rare.us/story/nra-finally-comments-on-castile-shooting-after-criticism-heres-what-they-said/

https://latest.com/2016/07/civil-rights-organization-nra-finally-addresses-philando-castile-shooting-calls-it-troubling/

http://uproxx.com/news/nra-dallas-shooting-statement-philando-castile/

https://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/black-dallas-surgeon-tells-police-i-support-you-that-doesnt-mean-i-dont-fear-you/

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20160711-black-doctor-describes-night-of-dallas-police-shooting-i-will-care-for-you.-that-doesn-t-mean-that-i-do-not-fear-you.ece

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-dallas-chief-20160711-snap-story.html

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20160709-open-carry-creates-confusion-during-dallas-police-ambush-but-supporters-say-law-works.ece

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/man-falsely-accused-in-dallas-speaks-out-721474115753

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/about-that-good-guy-with-a-gun/2016/07/11/3ed098fe-47a2-11e6-acbc-4d4870a079da_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

http://www.snappytv.com/tc/2349535

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/12/opinions/is-black-lives-matter-racist-john-mcwhorter/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/07/12/don-lemon-shares-racist-encounter-tsr.cnn

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2016/07/transcript_of_president_obamas.html

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20160712-at-memorial-service-obama-comforts-dallas-challenges-the-nation-over-race-violence.ece

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20160712-in-dallas-speech-obama-holds-up-mirror-to-a-tense-sorrowful-nation.ece

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/07/baton_rouge_obama_police_shoot.html