The Law of Unintended Consequences: From Obama to the Precipice of Armageddon

It’s time to Break It Down!

Charles Blow is a noted journalist, commentator, and currently a visual op-ed columnist for The New York Times. He is one of my favorite writers and speakers on a variety of subjects that include diversity and inclusion, recalcitrant exclusion, and all things Trump related. I readily confess he’s one of only two people whose tweets I follow daily. The other, just for the record is Eugene Scott, Harvard University Kennedy School graduate, a fellow alumnus of the University of North Carolina, and reporter for the Washington Post, covering identity politics. Mr. Scott is also an Alpha, so that makes him golden with me. But I digress.

Last Friday The New York Times published an Opinion written by Mr. Blow, entitled, “The Lowest White Man.” The title is predicated upon the words of our 36th President. Blow noted, “As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a young Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Trump’s supporters are saying to us, screaming to us, that although he may be the “lowest white man,” he is still better than Barack Obama, the “best colored man.” I could end this post right there. That’s a drop the mic revelation/conclusion. But I have more ground to cover.

While I have made those same assertions repeatedly, and for quite some time, I derive great satisfaction from the fact one of the more thoughtful and incisive journalists with which I am familiar has solved this downward spiraling vicious cycle of an equation and arrived at the same determination. The terse reality is this is no great secret. I have addressed the elephant in the room before. Yet, too many people with every reason to know better simply refuse…to admit it, to say it, or to concede that they even believe it.

As Blow posits, Trump is the manifestation of white folks inherent right to be wrong…and to still be right. In other words, he is the embodiment of the unassailability of the twin demons, white power and white privilege. To give up on Trump at this stage of the game would be the equivalent of abandoning the implicit deal America has made with white citizens from Jump Street. Our government will assist in underwriting white safety and success, even at the expense of other people in this country, e.g., Native Americans, African Americans, or new immigrants.

Of course, if you’re not a rookie in America, you know this is not a new ballgame. The concept of elevating the lowest white man over those more qualified and/or deserving did not start as a construct in Lyndon Johnson’s mind. Nor will it end with the various expressions of Donald Trump. No, it’s woven into the very fabric of the Stars and Stripes.

When Trump declared that he was on a mission to make America Great Again, the perked-up ears of his would be constituency heard, “make America the once and again proud haven for all white people.” Now just to be clear, this clarion call did and does not resonate with every single person who happens to be white. But for those for whom it does, it was and still is as powerful and irresistible as the Siren Song was to Odysseus.

I have friends who lurk, assiduously searching for each and every clue that the spell will soon be broken, and Trump’s Borg-like following will be as history, a thing of the past. They’ve tried everything, from imagining what the State of the Union would be if President Obama had said or done a fraction of the maddeningly absurd litany of miscreant infractions for which Trump is responsible, to enumerating and regularly updating the list of his atrocious behavior.

When Barack Obama was elected President, a significant number of people permitted themselves to believe his becoming Commander-in-Chief ushered America into a post-racial age. We know clearly by now, such was definitely not the case. In fact, it was just the opposite. Through no fault of his own, Obama instantly became the touchstone, a galvanizing element for a determined and pervasive opposition.

A group of leaders among GOP bosses convened on the evening of Obama’s first day in office. Robert Draper delineated details in his book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.” This was early evidence, but only a tip of the iceberg detail. At least 14 of the era’s most elite level Republicans, including House Members Eric Cantor (VA), Kevin McCarthy (CA), Paul Ryan (WI), Pete Sessions (TX), Jeb Hensarling (TX), Pete Hoekstra (MI), and Dan Lungren (CA), along with Senators Jim DeMint (SC), Jon Kyl (AZ), Tom Coburn (OK), John Ensign (NV), and Bob Corker (TN). The non-lawmakers in the room included Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, and Frank Luntz, a longtime GOP wordsmith. Notable among the absent were Senator Mich McConnell (KY), John Boehner (OH), whom Draper wrote, had acrimonious relationships with Luntz. They met for several hours in the Caucus Room, a high-end D.C. establishment, and plotted ways to not only regain political power, but to block every legislative initiative Obama would eventually propose.

But that’s not all. The Tea Party movement sprung up as a response to Obama and his proposal to provide financial assistance to bankrupt homeowners. One of the major forces behind the initiative was an organization known as Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group funded by David Koch.

And then there were the populists who argue even today that Obama was the primordial cause of all our nation’s ills. They churn out memes attacking, belittling, and demonizing Obama, and naturally, in praise of Trump. It’s what they do.

Perhaps, more than all the other factors, Donald Trump’s fixation on Birtherism sealed his support with a big fat Judas kiss. That solitary act alone catapulted him to the zenith of Republican Primary contestants; a lead he never came close to losing. He survived allegations of sexual harassment, admitting on tape to female genital grabbing, saying on camera a woman was bleeding from her…whatever, proclaiming John McCain was not a war hero, and a host of other faux pas, any one of which would have sank virtually any other candidate’s chances at becoming the nominee of a major political party.

With positions like those above taking root, it’s fairly easy to see how the road for Trump’s rise was paved. However, as Newton’s Third Law attests, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The resulting application of this Newtonian Law was the “Resistance.” Thousands of people gathered in cities across the country and around the world to give voice to protest over Trump’s election. Due to this reaction, those who support Mr. Trump, paradoxically, view Trump as some sort of victim. They fail to see what they self-righteously deem Trump Derangement Syndrome, as an organic response to all the myriad diabolical measures they took against Mr. Obama. They take absolutely no responsibility for their role in the downward spiraling vicious cycle I referenced earlier. Take a look around. There is nowhere to go, but down.

That brings us back to Johnson’s lowest white man aphorism. Or, as I dubbed this post, The Law of Unintended Consequences: From Obama to the Precipice of Armageddon!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/opinion/trump-immigration-white-supremacy.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/robert-draper-anti-obama-campaign_n_1452899.html

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/01/16/the-law-of-unintended-consequences-from-obama-to-the-precipice-of-armageddon/

A Congresswoman Used Profanity: Trump Declared She Dishonored Herself, Her Family, and Her Country!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Last Thursday, the same day she was sworn in as a member of the 116th Congress’ Freshman Class, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who supports efforts to impeach President Trump, underscored her position right out of the gate. On Day 1 in Congress, January 3, 2019, she called for the impeachment of Trump in an op-ed article she co-authored with John Bonifaz for the Detroit Free Press. In that regard, she instantly distinguished herself from most of the Democrats’ top leaders, who caution that movement on the issue of impeachment, if there is any, should be set aside until after Special Counsel Mueller completes his criminal investigation.

Under normal circumstances, that move, in and of itself, would be a potently newsworthy step. It did, after all, instantly differentiate the newbie from a number of her moderate and centrist Democrat colleagues in general, and from Party leadership in particular. As it turns out, however, the op-ed was just the prologue.

Later that day, Tlaib attended a reception for the MoveOn campaign and spoke on stage. She ended the speech recounting a conversation she had with her son: “Look, mama, you won. Bullies don’t win,” Tlaib said. “And I said, baby, they don’t, because we’re gonna go in there and impeach the motherfucker.”

Social media exploded, the news media was abuzz, and Trump and his base feigned everything from shock to disgust, to flat out apoplexy. In making my personal assessment, I am willing to give social media and the mainstream news outlets a pass. After all, that’s what they do. When a public persona, especially a politician, runs afoul of generally accepted standards of communication in the public square, they pounce. For them, this was no exception.

I am not a proponent of whataboutism. I routinely challenge it whenever conservatives point to what President Obama did or didn’t do, or what Secretary Clinton said or didn’t say. I add the undebatable caveat that neither of them is President, because in almost every case, the matter I am discussing applies to the current President and his behavior, practices, and/or statements.

At this point I submit that conservatives and the media outlets they prefer seldom express similar concerns with the legendary and multitudinous profanities of Donald Trump. As a matter of fact, in the instances I have engaged with conservatives about such matters, and in many other instances which I have simply observed, conservatives spend an inordinate amount of time defending, justifying, reframing, and in a (concocted by me) word, Trumpsplaining his frequent off-color language choices.

As an example, in discourse with a Trump supporter over the weekend, I shared a link in which Donald Trump was captured using the same profanity as the one that instantly elevated Mrs. Tlaib’s media profile. His response? That was a bit old, and was before he was President. He also emphasized the way she spoke to a sitting President. Not one to be easily deterred, I then shared the link to a story about a meeting last Friday with Democratic leaders, in which Trump fired off so many expletives that Trump, the Donald Trump, is reported to have actually apologized to Speaker Pelosi. To that, this Trump supporter responded that he gets the way Trump uses language, and then noted that Trump says he has no time for PC. With that, he reiterated that Tlaib “used it towards a POTUS…not to mention the level of immaturity.”

It’s almost as though he parroted Trump talking points. At that juncture, this was my response:

“The way she used it towards a POTUS.”

“So…when he does it, it’s merely using language and avoiding PC. When his   opponents use it to address him…it’s out of bounds?

I don’t think so. Moreover, the things he said before he was president, especially if he said them while he was running, count, since his supporters voted for him, either because or despite the fact he said them.

He didn’t invent coarse language. But he cannot immerse himself in it, and then have immunity from having it used against him. It’s either acceptable or it’s not.”

Trump, who is known for being Mr. clapback, responded to Congresswoman Tlaib’s comments, which also included the “I” word (impeachment), by saying she had dishonored herself, and also her family. He added, he also thought it was disrespectful to the United States of America. Isn’t it interesting how neither Trump nor his acolytes e-v-e-r think that he has dishonored himself, his family, or our country? FYI, below are the two links I shared with the gentleman.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zOoj96dv4uI&feature=share

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-profanity-meeting-with-democrats-pelosi-government-shutdown-2019-1?utm_content=bufferf7f18&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer-bi

So where does that leave us? I will not even attempt to speak for anyone other than myself. I have friends who call me Old School, and OG. I crossed a significant chronological milestone 10 days ago. Some would say I’m just old, and I’m OK with that. Leading with that allows me to say I tend to side with the view of the Democratic leadership on the question of pursuing impeachment, possibly for reasons that differ from theirs. In fact, I may actually view the situation more conservatively than some of them. I do not think it’s wise to pursue impeaching Trump now, or at all.

Why, you may ask? Simple. I view it as an arithmetic thing, a practical matter, and a strategic issue.

The House almost certainly has the wherewithal to navigate impeachment proceedings and indict Mr. Trump. Howsumever, the Senate is an altogether different animal, operationally. The decision on a conviction resides in the Senate, and requires a 2/3 (67 votes) majority. This is not 1973. In the hyper-partisan age we find ourselves, there is a virtually nonexistent chance that the current Senate, which has a GOP majority, will evict the current tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (Washington, DC). That’s the arithmetic thing.

Doing so without the imprimatur of compelling evidence from the Mueller investigation is a matter of zero probability in my estimation. That’s the practical matter.

Finally, when an overzealous GOP House successfully indicted Bill Clinton on Articles of Impeachment, the fallout was such that Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House at the time, who pressed the Clinton impeachment process, would eventually resign. Top Republicans of that era came to believe that Clinton and his Party recovered primarily because Americans voters viewed the GOP’s aggressive investigations and impeachment effort as misguided and politically motivated. Republicans serving at the time also believed Clinton profited politically from government shutdowns they forced to extract budget concessions from Clinton. Consider the parallels; tread lightly. That’s the strategic issue.

I suspect the Mueller investigation will yield evidence that will undoubtedly tempt some House Democrats to impeach Trump. My Advice is don’t do it! Take a deep breath and investigate, investigate, investigate. Remind every American, over and over, and over again of the litany of reasons Donald Trump and his cast of shady characters does not deserve to have its collective contract for services renewed for a four-year extension.

That’s my rant for today. A Congresswoman Used Profanity: Trump Declared She Dishonored Herself, Her Family, and Her Country!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below:

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

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-rashida-tlaib-dishonored-family-impeachment-comments-2019-1

https://youtu.be/nTDySwwxom0

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/01/09/a-congresswoman-used-profanity-trump-declared-she-dishonored-herself-her-family-and-her-country/

 

Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2019 Edition

Posted on January 2, 2019

It’s time to Break It Down!

During this holiday week, here’s a reprised edition of “Break It Down!”

This Issue has been revised from the Break It Down post I originally conceived, created, and published December 29, 2010, and subsequently re-posted in amended formats December 28, 2011December 31, 2014, December 30, 2015, December 28, 2016, and January 3, 2018. This is my first post of 2019, and the 601st Edition of Break It Down, which debuted August 20, 2007 on the BlogSpot platform. I migrated the principal site to WordPress August 3, 2012, approximately three weeks before the Fifth Anniversary of the blog.  You may find this and most other posts at either site.

With this post I wish you a blessed and bountiful Happy New Year. Now, enjoy today’s blog.

The one-half fortnight between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a unique occurrence in the unfolding of the American version of the Gregorian Calendar.  It is the only instance in which the space of a mere seven days separates two major holidays. Unquestionably, the timing is propitious.  Millions of holiday travelers return home from their Christmascommemoration and revelry, just in time to get a day off to “celebrate” the New Year…and recuperate from the old, most notably their extracurricular activities, including the exploitsof New Year’s Eve.

In last week’s post, I presented a re-formatted airing of my personally crafted Christmas Concert (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/12/27/twelve-days-of-christmas-the-e-concert-2018-edition/) from past Noels.  This week, I doubled down and reverted to my trusty time capsule. Once again, this tack permits new readers to catch-up by seeing the piece, it allows long-time readers to reflect upon both the passing year as well as the theme lifted in the post, and finally, it ensures that those busy readers, with no time to invest in checking out a new blog during the holidays, will not have to miss anything. It’s a win, win…win!

With that loosely framed preamble behind us, here’s the déjà vu all over again:

Since we are still in the Sweet Spot of the holidays, I shall practice minimalism. For your purposes, that means the blog should be available, but not intrusive. To that end, I am taking a page from the Christmas e-concert, but going a step further. Instead of a concert, I give you a song…of reflection.

Robert Burns, a Scot, wrote a poem (Auld Lang Syne) in 1788 that has come to symbolize the spirit of mass contemplation that people around the world invoke as the clock strikes midnight, signaling not just the dawn of a new day, but of a new year. Undoubtedly, you have been somewhere, at sometime, when you joined those assembled to sing Auld Lang Syne, which loosely translated means, Times gone by.

Once again, that time is upon us. After thoughtful reflection on my 2017, I have had no choice but to conclude, my travails have been few and small, especially when compared to my blessings, which have been both abundant and vast! All praises to the one true, omnipotentomnipresent, and omniscient God; a mighty fortress is He.

No need to thank me for my inherent thoughtfulness. But, by all means, “Drink a cup of kindness,” or eggnog, or Champagne, or “name your favorite adult beverage,” for me. And, if you are a teetotaler, water will do nicely, thank-you!

As I complete my first post of 2019, and, prayerfully and faithfully reflect upon 2018, I leave with you this familiar Irish Toast:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I invite you to click on the links directly below, which lead to an A cappella and a Jazz interpretation of Auld Lang Syne, arranged and performed by the late Lou Rawls (and listen to the remainder of this week’s edition of Break It Down):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0z_MamGk2c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkWqUR-YdWs

It has been my unique honor and privilege to visit with you briefly for each of the 52 weeks this year. I hope you have derived a fraction of the pleasure reading the blog posts that I have experienced from preparing and providing them to you. May 2019 bring you the fulfillment of all your fondest desires. Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2019 Edition!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below:

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/question279.htm

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/01/02/happy-new-year-heres-to-auld-lang-syne-redux-2019-edition/