Rage: #MAGA Deflection

Labor Day and 9/11 do not always fall within the same calendar week. I would normally re-share a vintage post this week, commemorating the fallen heroes lost during that tragic episode in our country’s history. Even though the date occurred Friday of last week, I want to share a passage from that post, denoting the scope of what our nation lost in that act of terror. 

Even after nearly two decade, with nineteen years’ worth of context building, and the accompanying development of perspective, the numbers behind Nine-Eleven are chilling.  Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, and thousands of others were injured, and many more sustained post-event trauma.  Examples of the carnage include:

2,977 Victims killed (not including the 19 hijackers)

2,606 Killed at the World Trade Center Towers

125 Killed at the Pentagon

40 Killed in Shanksville, PA

87 Killed on American Flight 11/NYC World Trade Center North Tower

60 Killed on United Flight 175/NYC World Trade Center South Tower

59 Killed on American Flight 77/Arlington – The Pentagon

40 Killed United Flight 93/Shanksville, PA

19 Hijackers

246 Passengers Killed on the four planes

19 Hijackers Killed (on the four planes)

2,996 Killed on Nine-Eleven

411 Emergency workers killed at the World Trade Centers

341 FDNY fire fighters killed

Paramedics killed

23 NYPD officers killed

37 Port Authority Police Department officers killed

EMT’s killed

658 Employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. (Investment Bank) killed; most of any employer

1,631 Bodies positively identified from World Trade Center Towers

1,122 Bodies (41%) remain unidentified

Bone fragments were still being found in 2005 by workers preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building

72 Additional remains found in 2010by a team of anthropologists and archeologists

To paraphrase FDR, September 11, 2001, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked. Condolences to the families of those who lost their lives due to those horrific events. May their memories be a blessing.

Back to this week, the latest tome taking on the credibility, or lack thereof, of Donald Trump was released yesterday. Rage, by Bob Woodward, of Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein fame, hit the shelves yesterday. There have been a number of books, claiming to reveal all manner of insider details about Trump and his administration. If methods are any indicator, Rage should be a giant step ahead of any other book, to date. Woodward conducted 19 interviews with Trump, 18 before the book went to press, 7 initiated by calls from Mr. Trump, and at least one Oval Office appearance. According to Woodward, the interviews totaled 9 hours and 41 minutes.

I’m not going to link the book. It’s sure to be a best seller without my help. It has been teased for about 10 days now, with Woodward doing a host of TV appearances, including, 60 -Minutes, and CNN. Two years ago, Woodward never spoke to Trump when he wrote Fear: Trump in the White House. That detail purportedly irritated Trump, regarding the previous book. He appears to have gone out of his way to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Whether John Kelly not being around to act as gatekeeper this time around was the key difference, or not, in terms of whether Woodward got to speak to Trump, at all, Mr. Trump seemed determined to ensure that he weighed in numerous times, and by presidential standards, sometimes at length, this go-around. A number of elements have been teased. In lieu of the preceding preamble referencing 9/11 and the lives lost, the central issue for most observers seems to have been Mr. Trump choosing to downplay the COVID-19 pandemic with the American people. In early February, he told Woodward (as verified by the tapes/no fake news here) that the virus was much more deadly than the flu, while weeks, if not months later, he was still telling the American public it was under control and would soon go away. Even now, he eschews masks, and glibly notes, “it will go away, someday.”   

As with most things pertaining to Trump, the line of demarcation between his loyalists and advocates, and those who are inherently skeptical of his words, actions, deeds, and motives, is clear, bright, wide, and chasmic deep. His peeps, when last seen, were adamantly insisting that The Atlantic piece by Jeffrey Goldberg, asserting that Trump called American soldiers who died in battle were ‘Losers and Suckers,’ was a hit piece, full of fake news, because it contained anonymous sources. Do you ever notice how Trump frequently refers to “many people say,” and “they said,” and the like? Those are anonymous sources, that Trump acolytes find totally acceptable. But I digress. Bereft of their favorite patsy, a source they can disparage, because in this case Trump, himself, is the source, the best excuse I’ve heard his dearly beloved come up with is, “if he had told the truth, the left would have accused him of trying to instill panic.”

To those of us who deign to hold him accountable, it’s a simple matter. He misled (lied to) the American people. Repeatedly. There are other details of note, but as noted, I’m not marketing the book. Just noting that it’s out there. The title itself comes with its own backstory. Apparently, Mr. Trump is aware that he has a special effect on people. Woodward noted that he said he creates rage. I actually appreciate that he has that level of self-awareness, and that he was able to admit it. I never doubted he knew, because, I think it’s intentional. His admission was the prize in the Cracker Jack box. The rage, in my opinion is two-fold. For his base, it’s empowering; a sense of agency. For the rest of us, it’s a compelling distraction. The sort of thing designed to induce one to take their mind off the prize. We are called to do better. It’s imperative to stay focused, and not fall prey to Rage: #MAGA Deception!

I’m done; holla back!

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

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Labor Day: It’s All About the Workers Redux ’20

It’s Time to Break It Down!

(This post appeared originally in this space on August 31, 2011. It was re-purposed and presented again September 3, 2014, September 7, 2016, September 6, 2017, September 5, 2018, September 4, 2019, and once again today, September 9, 2020)

As you know, Monday was Labor Day. As with most holidays, I knock it down a few notches so readers can enjoy their time off, and ease into a vintage post, if they so choose. At its core, according to the U.S. Department of LaborLabor Day in the United States was designed to commemorate the creation of the labor movement; dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  The holiday focuses on contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.

First observed in September 1882, the event has always been observed on the first Monday of the month.  Initiated by the Central Labor Union of New York, the celebration became a federal holiday in 1894.

In addition to its formal structure and purpose, Labor Day has a number of symbolic associations.  It is considered:

The unofficial End of Summer

The last 3-Day warm weather weekend for vacationers

By High Society standards, the last day for which it is appropriate for women to wear white

The beginning of the College Football Season (Maybe)

The start of the NFL Season (Hopefully))

The conventional kick-off of hard-core political campaign season

Backto-School shopping (Eh, well, sort of)

Labor Day also validates and recognizes an often-controversial mechanism that frequently divides American opinion; labor unions.  Scorned by many who fancy themselves as Free Enterprise Capitalists, unions and their members have not only been actively involved historically, in debates that framed public policy for American workers, they have won or forced hard-earned concessions that in the shimmering glow of reflective perspective, must be considered to have fundamentally altered the playing field (known as the workplace), including:


Health Care Benefits

Paid Vacations

Equal Pay to women

The Development of Child Labor Laws

The 5-Day Work Week

The 40-Hour Work Week

The8-Hour Workday

Worker’s Compensation benefits

Female Flight Attendants permitted to marry

These and many other important cherished and effective employee rights are attributable to the efforts of the American Labor Movement.  But, this is not an ode to Labor Unions.  Unions also have downsides.  They create or contribute to:

The potential for strikes

Additional costs to all employees (membership dues; whether a member or not)

Loss of individuality (ability to represent one’s self in a grievance)

Subject to fines & discipline by the Union

Disincentives to productivity and competition

Lack of promotions

Burdensome salary demands (relative to the market)

Loss of profits (and/or pay) due to strike

Inefficient & ineffective contracts

Increased unemployment due to failure to reach agreement w/management

The first Labor Day celebration was led by a Labor Union.  The history of the Day has been linked, inextricably, with Labor organizations, ever since.  But if it is the American Worker the Day was intended to commemorate.

The political convention season, largely virtual for the first time ever, is behind us, and there are 55 days until what many people will assert is the most important election of our collective lifetimes. We are confronted with many issues, but for most of us, no matter which side of the political spectrum we fall, few are more critical than who will be elected to carry the mantle of the presidency effective January 20, 2021. You already know the incumbent team, as well as the contenders. But that is not fodder for today. In due time, I’ll address the race.

Meanwhile, contemplate “Labor Day: It’s All About The Workers Redux ’20,” and while we’ve got plenty of issues to temper our celebration, we should indeed celebrate America’s phenomenal Labor Movement. I’m done; holla back!

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

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Chadwick Boseman: Rest In Eternal Peace & Power Kind Sir

It’s time to Break It Down!

It is said far too frequently of young talented individuals, they left us too soon. Boseman in his 43 years on this orb called earth delivered enough iconic performances (of icons), to last a lifetime, and he made it look easy, while doing so. Still, he left us too soon.

He took the silver screen by storm in noteworthy performances rekindling the life and times of men who didn’t need to be named, in order for it to be understood about whom one was speaking, including, Jackie Robinson in 42, (2013), and The Godfather of Soul, James Brown (2014), in  Get on Up, and a jurist who’s first or last name was all that needed to be uttered to make clear the subject, (Thurgood) Marshall, in 2017. He delivered signature performances in all three films. 

But the film and role for which Mr. Boseman, undoubtedly will be immortalized is, the Marvel Comic Universe’s Black Panther, in which he forever etched himself into the memories of millions of viewers and fans, as King T’Challa, of Wakanda. For the novel Marvel Universe fans, he will always stand out as simply, the Black Panther. He appeared in several episodes of the franchise, in addition to one in which he starred.

Boseman initially achieved new fame in 2016 with his performance as Black Panther in the MCU’s Captain America: Civil War. He subsequently played the character in an eponymous 2018 film, which earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. He returned as Black Panther in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) and was contracted to appear in at least one additional MCU film prior to his death.

He played other roles, to be sure, including early in his career when he performed in a string of guest appearances on television and was a series regular on the short-lived Lincoln Heights (2008–2009) and Persons Unknown (2010). He starred in the independent film The Kill Hole (2012). Boseman also had supporting roles in the films Draft Day (2014) and Gods of Egypt (2016).

In the past couple of years, he headlined the film 21 Bridges (2019) and had a supporting role in the film Da 5 Bloods (2020). His final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, is scheduled to be released posthumously.

A native of Anderson, SC, Chadwick matriculated at HBCU, Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the year 2000. He returned to his venerable alma mater to deliver the Commencement Address in 2018.

Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, the same year he first portrayed Black Panther. He kept his condition private, continuing to pursue his acting career while receiving treatment for the illness. After a four-year battle, he died last Friday, August 28, 2020 from complications related to the cancer. Condolences to his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward. “Chadwick Boseman: Rest In Eternal Peace & Power Kind Sir!”

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.” 

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