Register & Vote: The Foundation of Our Democracy

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday was National Voter Registration Day in the United States. It is observed each year on the fourth Tuesday in September, and this year coincided with the advent of autumn. There are 40 days left until the 2020 General Election, and unregistered voters have only a few days left to register in order to qualify to vote on November 3rd. The occasion is a nonpartisan endeavor intended to emphasize bringing attention to our democracy, exercising our franchise, and of course, engaging in executing our civic duty.

In 2016, 100 million people didn’t vote. I remember entertaining conversations with many people four years ago who opted out. They all had reasons. Some contended their vote would not count, others argued the candidates were same/it did not matter which one would win, still others didn’t go to the polls because of one of many voter suppression tactics, and last, for the purpose of this post, far too many individuals succumbed to apathy. In reflecting on the aforementioned rationales, I am reminded of an old witticism, repackaged to apply to voting:

Upon learning of a new acquaintance’s voting status, Mr. Smith inquired, “Mr. Jones, why did you not vote? Was it due to ignorance, or because of apathy?”

After giving the query his full consideration, Mr. Jones replied, “Mr. Smith, I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

The reality is voting is central to making our government work effectively. I once had the honor and privilege to oversee a local election. It was a huge responsibility, and an incredibly important event in our community. There are always lots of moving parts, bracing tension, and a whirlwind of frenzy surrounding elections; even more so during the quadrennial that features the Presidential Election. This year the ante has been upped by a President who has cast aspersions on the process, and fomented an assault on the USPS in a year when, due to a global pandemic, voting by mail will be the desired, and for many, necessary option for more Americans than in any previous election in our history.

Let me be clear. This post is not about the President, or the Postmaster; nor is it about Democrats or Republicans. It is about you doing your part to ensure that our government, on all levels, works the way it is supposed to, and reflects the will of “We The People.” To that end, I urge you to do your duty. “Register & Vote: The Foundation of Our Democracy!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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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.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at; 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 relating to this post, consult the links below:

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.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at; 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 relating to this post, consult the links below:

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.

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10 Things I Believe: 10 Things I Do Not!

It’s time to Break It Down!

I believe:

  1. There is an omnificent, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent (Almighty) God.
  2. Aside from God, no one else has any or all of those traits.
  3. The earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun.
  4. Gravity is a thing.
  5. Man has traveled to, and walked on the moon, and in space.
  6. Mary Trump
  7. The Middle Passage was cruel and devastatingly inhumane
  8. The 2020 Election is “A Serious Matter!”
  9. Racism is real…in America today; “This Is America!”
  10. Black Lives Matter.

I do not believe:

  1. Black Lives Matter means Blue Lives Don’t.
  2. The righteous will be forsaken
  3. COVID-19 is a hoax
  4. Rules requiring mask-wearing during the pandemic violate anyone’s rights.
  5. Satan-worshipping pedophiles are plotting against Donald Trump (QAnon).
  6. African slaves were guest workers
  7. African slaves were also immigrants
  8. There is a last straw…for Trump supporters
  9. Opting out of voting is the answer (to anything, except how to give up).
  10. Donald J. Trump is a big-brained stable genius.

Naturally, there are many more things I believe, and a good deal more that I don’t. Ten is a nice round number, and an apt cut-off point. The beauty of this post is, you may disagree with every single item I have posited above. The line of demarcation is clearly delineated. Those are things I believe, or do not believe. None of which is subject to change because it doesn’t align with your views. Have a great Wednesday. “10 Things I Believe; 10 Things I Do not!”

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; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” 

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

Obama Plays The Inexperience Card Redux ’20

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Note: This is a Reprised and Amended Presentation of My Original Blog Post)


Today, in acknowledgement of the 13th anniversary of “Break It Down,” As I have done occasionally in the past, I am revisiting my inaugural blog post.

Before launching into the post, it’s certainly appropriate to contextualize my original post within the parameters of our contemporary timeframe. To do that, I note that post was about a young lion, Barack Obama, coming into what would become his era. Last night, the Democratic Party, via virtual Convention, officially installed Joe Biden as this year’s nominee. Whereas, Obama was one of the youngest to ever carry the banner, Biden is the oldest. That bit of history/trivia is augmented by his selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate. Senator Harris will be formally installed tonight. She is the fourth woman to be part of a Presidential Ticket, the third as a VP Candidate, and the first woman of color. Biden has had two unsuccessful runs. This outing will determine whether he will be able to register the third time as the charm, while Senator Harris is attempting to break the proverbial glass ceiling for women on a ticket.

Their work is cut out for them, in the form of the Republican opponents. The GOP will conduct it’s Convention, part virtual, part in person, in Charlotte, and part at the White House. The virtual aspects of the Conventions was necessitated due to COVID-19. Donald Trump, of course, is the Party’s nominee, and he is expected (at least by me) to retain Mike Pence, the current VP, as his running mate. I mention it in passing, only because there is speculation in some corners that Trump will replace Pence, perhaps with a woman. While Trump and his loyalists like to brand him as an anti-establishmentarian, the thought that he’d engage in such a high risk, low reward gambit strikes me as unlikely. If there is any present day pol that’s unlikely to elevate a woman to his second-in-command, the name Donald Trump leaps out at me. Enough about the conventions.

Tempus fugit (Time Flies)!  Tomorrow marked a 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 twelve years (and 685 editions) ago.  Having related the story a number of times over the past several years, I will not repeat the complete details today.

I will note, however, that on that summer’s eve, I contemplated and discussed, 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, not so unlike what Donald Trump did in 2015-16.  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, was exposed as a patently errant assessment. Without question, just as many people missed on their own un-Nostradamus like projections regarding Donald Trump’s prospects.

I want to make one more note about the blog.  In addition to this week marking the Twelfth Anniversary of Break It Down, today’s post commemorates the Seven-year Anniversary of my using WordPress as the primary Host Platform for the blog.  The link, is simpler and more straightforward than the Blogger (Blogspot) link,  The site design and presentation at WordPress are cleaner, and less busy than the setup I used at Blogger.  Please note, while I may eventually 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 classic “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 that a very smart guy, genuine humanitarian, and erstwhile successful leader presided over what was widely perceived as a disastrous presidency. President Carter’s solitary term was fraught with innumerable policy failures (see the Shah of Iran, double-digit inflation, runaway gas prices, & 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 event he prevails. If he does, 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.


Posted on Mon, Aug. 20, 2007

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


Obama posits virtue of inexperience

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


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 especially reminded of how supremely confidently the Senator approached his moment.  I shall always recall that it propelled me to write, “Obama Plays the Inexperience Card!” Needless to say, he has gained an enormous amount of experience in the years ensuing since then.

As I wrap this up in 2019, it is with a completely different appreciation for what an inexperienced Barack Obama brought to his job, vis-à-vis what a politically inexperienced Donald Trump is currently bringing to the job. Mr. Obama inherited a fragile country with a downward spiraling economy, a nearly double-digit employment rate, and a foreboding 700,000 job losses per month. By the time he left 8 years later, the unemployment rate had been halved, to less than 5%, the country enjoyed the longest period of consecutive job gains, 75 months, in history, over 11 million jobs had been added, including 1.2 million in his last 6 months in office, while the Dow Jones rose from a slumping 7,949 when he took office to 19, 887 when he exited. No President controls every single lever that triggers all that happens during his (or her) tenure, when things go south, he/she occupies the space where the proverbial buck stops. Conversely, when things trend rosy, he gets a fair amount of the accrued shine.

In that light, Mr. Trump entered office in a much different environment, benefiting from what can rightfully be called the Obama Recovery. Let’s be clear. There is definitely still work to do. But anyone who suggests that Obama didn’t bequeath more and better than he inherited is full of bovine excrement. Full stop!

With that said, these are the salad days of the Trump Administration. It must be said he has delighted his base. At least the ones with whom I have spoken believe he’s the cat’s meow, and they say (whether they believe it or not) he’s been doing exactly what they hoped for when they voted for him. I would suggest that anyone who didn’t vote for, or support him, or who is undecided about supporting him, should let that sink in for a moment or two, or twenty.

Team Trump contends Democrats, liberals, the Main Stream Media, and some nebulous ill-defined entity referred to as the deep state, are solely responsible for all that has stymied or delayed even potential successes by the Trump Administration. So, health care, travel ban (or whatever appellation one cares to affix to it), Transgender Military Policy, Charlottesville Messaging, the Obama wiretapping claim, the Flynn firing, the Comey firing, the Spicer firing, the Priebus firing, the Scaramucci firing, the Bannon firing, and oh by the way dare I say, his tweets…Can we really blame all that on the Party that held a minority in both Houses for two years, and that still holds only one House of Congress, or on a media that has no votes, and presumably no say in who Trump hires in the first place, or fires for that matter, or on the deep state, whatever the Sam Hill that is?

If you are a Trump trooper, you can, and you almost certainly do. If you are not, then you probably think such an assertion is sheer lunacy on its face. Perhaps…just maybe, he is finding difficulty gaining traction because he is not only fighting through an experience deficit, but he is operating with a startling lack of curiosity, matched only by an overabundance of hubris. All things considered, I am inclined to look back on the time when I wrote, “Obama Plays the Experience Card,” and conclude that we (who should be a grateful nation) were considerably better served than with the current inexperienced occupant of the Oval Office. So today, my emphasis is…“Obama Plays the Inexperience Card Redux ’20!” 

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; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” 

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

The Veep Sweepstakes: It’s Kamala

It’s time to Break It Down!

There is not a lot to say. This post could practically write itself. It’s political by nature, but it’s bigger than that. In an era in which the current occupant of the Oval Office is viewed in many quarters as a culture warrior, Senator Kamala Harris’ addition to the Democratic Presidential ticket represents a cultural bet; an historic one at that, and one that is not without risks. There is much more that could be said, than what I will address in this post. There are nearly 12 weeks; 83 days actually, between now and the election. Electoral politics will not disappear between now and November 3rd. More about the race another day. 

It was Sunday, March 15, 2020 at the CNN/Univision Debate with Senator Bernie Sanders in Phoenix, the 11th and final contest, when former Vice President Biden revealed he would select a woman as his running mate, should he advance as the nominee. By that time, Biden was in the midst of completing a comeback that included winning primaries convincingly and having most of his Democratic competitors bow out. Senator Bernie Sanders subsequently suspended his campaign on April 8th. In the ensuing four months there has been more than a little speculation about whom the woman would be, who would rise to the top of the search list. News reports have indicated that the Biden team vetted at various levels, at least 11 women.

In the final analysis, Vice President Biden chose one of his fiercest competitors as his choice to take on the presidential race this fall. As observers handicapped the various choices, many analysts opined that Senator Harris’ chances might be hindered due to the kerfuffle between the two during the Democratic Presidential Debates. When asked earlier, Biden insisted that Harris was a serious contender, and was both capable of and qualified to do anything she wanted in the service of our country. Yesterday afternoon, he validated that assertion by making the Junior Senator from California his running mate.

Kamala Devi Harris is stepping into the breach and bringing a varied and accomplished resume to the table. She is a person of color; a Black woman. She is the daughter of immigrants. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan was a breast cancer scientist who emigrated from India in 1960 to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California at Berkeley. Her father, Donald Harris, is a Stanford University Emeritus Professor of Economics. He emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at Berkeley. Kamala, born in 1964 in Oakland, California (let the Birth Certificate detectives get on that), identifies as African American, attended an HBCU (Howard University), pledge an historic African American Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha (Oldest in the nation), and grew up attending a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple. She is also a wife and mother. She married attorney Douglas Emhoff in August of 2014 and is stepmother to Cole and Ella.

Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee. As such, he will be ensconced as the Party’s candidate next week at the virtual Democratic National Convention. He will be center stage, opposite the man whose position he hopes to claim, the President of the United States. But make no mistake about it, Kamala Harris will not be far away. She will be just the fourth woman ever to be on an American Presidential ticket, and the third to seek the Vice Presidency, following Geraldine Ferraro (Walter Mondale), in 1984, and Sarah Palin (John McCain), in 2008. Of course, Hillary Clinton was at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2016. Ferraro, who died in 2011, was a Democrat, as are Clinton and Harris. Mrs. Palin is a Republican.

It is instructive to note, none of the previous three candidates were part of a winning ticket. Undoubtedly, Biden-Harris hope to break that trend. The Senator’s career arc includes having served in the Alameda County (Oakland) District Attorney’s Office, in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, in the City Attorney of San Francisco’s Office, as District Attorney of San Francisco, as Attorney General of the State of California, and of course, as a United States Senator from the State of California. She sought the Democratic nomination for President, and for a brief period was the front runner. She suspended her campaign December 3, 2019.

Yesterday, August 11, 2020, she gained a new assignment; candidate for Vice President of the United States. She will continue to serve in her capacity as a United States Senator, at least until the November election. Make no mistake about it, in this moment, we celebrate Senator Kamala Harris. Still, it’s important to note that to its credit, Team Biden pulled off its search without a leak. They made the announcement on their own terms. It may seem a small thing, but in the digital age, it was surely no mean feat. In fact, Joe Biden might call it “a big eff’n deal.” At the very least, it bodes well for what will be a need to manage effectively, efficiently, and with precision, the myriad large and small details of a fast paced, often unpredictable presidential campaign. “The Veep Sweepstakes: It’s Kamala!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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Donald Trump Addresses The John Lewis Issue: The Swan Interview

It’s time to Break It Down!  

OK, truth in advertising requires that I advise you there was much more in the AXIOS interview than questions about Congressman Lewis. To get the full impact of what transpired, you may benefit greatly from clicking on the link below and watching the YouTube video of Jonathan Swan’s recent (last week) AXIOS on HBO Exclusive interview with Donald Trump.

I wrote about John Lewis last week; didn’t mention Donald Trump. In this post, I am focusing only on four Swan questions, all of which centered on the late Congressman John Lewis, and Mr. Trump’s responses. Yeah, it’s a quick read. You’re welcome!

I’ll get right to it:

Swan: How do you think history will remember John Lewis?

Trump: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. He chose—I never met John Lewis, actually, I don’t believe.

Swan: Do you find John Lewis impressive?

Trump: I can’t say one way or the other – I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive, but no, he didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches, and that’s Okay. That’s his right. And again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have. He should’ve come. I think he made a mistake. I think he should’ve come.

Swan: But taking your relationship with him out of it, do you find his story impressive – what he’s done for this country?

Trump: He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights. But there were many others, also.

Swan: There’s a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as the John Lewis Bridge. Would you support that idea?

Trump: I would have no objection to it if they ‘d like to do it. I’d have no objection to it, whatsoever. 

Although not an exhaustive list, the interview also touched upon COVID-19, sometimes referred to by Mr. Trump as the China virus, China, Tulsa, Fox News ratings, canceled rallies, good and bad Governors, testing, the great job the U.S. has done with the virus, Russian bounties, fake news, never having discussed the bounties with Putin, global warming, daily intelligence briefings, the angry place that is the world, Russia/Afghanistan, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, having taken out ISIS, conditions under which Trump would not accept November’s election results, ballots vs. applications, Ghislaine Maxwell, Portland, anarchists, protesters, Antifa, and Chad Wolf, people rounded up without being told why they are being detained, Democrat run cities, Trump’s hope that there is no such thing as systemic racism, HBCU’s, Mr. Trump’s oft-repeated trope that he has done more for African Americans than any president, possibly other than Lincoln, but including Lyndon Johnson. 

This was not discussed at length during the interview, but just for the record, President Johnson was responsible for enacting The Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Voting Rights Act of 1965, the appointed the first Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, the first Black cabinet officer, Robert Weaver, and the first Black member of the Federal Reserve, Andrew Brimmer. But I digress.

Alas, the focus of this post is Congressman Lewis, so this is where I close. “Donald Trump Addresses The John Lewis Issue: The Swan Interview!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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Dear John: Rest In Peace!

It’s time to Break It Down!

John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an icon; an American hero. The man who singled-handedly popularized the phrase “Good Trouble,” slipped the surly bonds of earth 12 days ago. It is not for me to say where he will rest in eternity. All I know is he did yeoman’s work on behalf of his fellow man, while he walked this earth. Mostly he invested his life in service to the cause of civil and human rights. He sustained more than a few beatings while doing so. As a child, his mother frequently admonished him to stay out of trouble. As an adult, he committed to avail himself to “Good Trouble,” and he did so, as often as possible.

As a 23-year-old, he was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. As an 80-year-old, in his last public appearance, he visited Black Lives Matter Plaza, in Washington, as protest roiled, after the death of George Floyd. He insinuated himself in “Good Trouble,” many times over the course of the span of the nearly 57 years that separated The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and his last act of valor and sacrifice. As Mr. Lewis rose to much acclaim and notoriety, perhaps no single incident was more riveting than one of the occasions during which, he almost lost his life. He marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, on what is now known as Bloody Sunday. Law enforcement confronted the marchers, and terrorized and beat many of them, including Lewis.

John Lewis was a longtime civil rights activist, and organizer, and the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) when he first marched with Dr. King. However, he didn’t just start fast, he finished strong. He went on to become a US. Congressman in 1987, representing Georgia’s 5th District. He sponsored important legislation, including a bill to establish the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which was he first introduced in 1988. It was one of the first pieces of legislation the newly minted Congressman introduced. 

It was a long, hard-fought battle. He re-introduced the bill every year thereafter. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law in 2003. That was 15 years after Lewis initially introduced it. He was not easily deterred. The museum broke ground in 2012, and was completed and dedicated in 2016. The facility is a three-tiered, bronze building designed by David Adjaye between 14th and 15th streets. Until the coronavirus pandemic closed museums, the NMAAHC was among the top-visited Smithsonian museums, having welcomed more than 7 million visitors since its opening day.

Congressman Lewis was a warrior for civil rights and racial justice. He was the last surviving speaker of the ’63 March on Washington. In 2020, he was a sponsor of H.R. 51, the D.C. statehood bill that passed in the House of Representatives in June. One final act in his lifelong pursuit of “Good Trouble.” John Robert Lewis, a devotee of nonviolence, rose from humble beginnings in rural Troy, Alabama. His acts of courage, dedication, prescience, and the pursuit of civil rights and justice for his people were the hallmarks of his four score years on this orb. But in closing, I want to leave you with some of his most piercing and prophetic words. During his speech at the March on Washington, he said:

“To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now! We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again.

“And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now. We do not want to go to jail. But we will go to jail if this is the price we must pay for love, brotherhood, and true peace.” Loosely translated (by me), he was saying, if “Good Trouble” is what it takes, then by all means, give us “Good Trouble.”

“Dear John: Rest In Peace!” 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; 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.

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Who Is That Masked Man?

It’s time to Break It Down!

The year 2020 has earned numerous mocking descriptions, based on a near apocalyptic litany of, “if it wasn’t for bad luck, there’d be none at all,” cataclysmic events, including only the third Presidential impeachment in the history of the Republic, the tragic deaths of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash, the spread of a global pandemic, and the end of the magical string of economic and job gains that began early in the Obama era. Now as a nation, we have familiarized ourselves with an array of new nomenclature and habits ranging from COVID-19 to regular mask wearing for the most mundane of outside chores. Sports ground to a screeching halt, movie theaters shut down, schools from Pre-K to colleges and universities closed, or transitioned to online operations, and a larger than ever swath of Americans, who are still fortunate enough to have a job, are working from home.

Through it all, the one thing Americans could reliably depend on was the Leader of the Free World was spinning and weaving a tale liberally mixed with positivity, fantasy and denial. Despite, presumably being apprised and armed with the best and most accurate intel on planet earth, for months he suggested the ultimate relief was right around the corner, or just over the proverbial rainbow. Here’s a sampling of a dozen times Mr. Trump teased relief, that in reality, was nowhere in sight.

February 10th in a meeting with Governors (12 documented cases) – “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.”

February 25th at a roundtable in New Delhi (53 documented cases) – “[China is] getting it more and more under control. So, I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”

February 26th during a news briefing (59 documented cases) – “Again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

February 27th at a photo opportunity at the White House (60 documented cases) – “We have done an incredible job. We’re going to continue. It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear. And from our shores, we — you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows. The fact is, the greatest experts — I’ve spoken to them all. Nobody really knows.”

March 6th during a bill signing (278 documented cases/14 deaths) – “It’ll go away.”

March 10th during a meeting on Capitol Hill (959 documented cases/28 deaths) – “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 12th during a bilateral meeting (1663 documented cases/40 deaths) – “You know, we need a little a separation until such time as this goes away. It’s going to go away. It’s going to go way. I was watching [former FDA administrator] Scott [Gottlieb] — I was watching Scott this morning, and he was saying within two months. … It’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.”

March 30th during a coronavirus news briefing (161807 documented cases/2978 deaths) – “It will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away. And we’re going to have a great victory. … I want to have our country be calm and strong, and fight and win, and it will go away.”

March 31st during a coronavirus news briefing (188,172 documented cases/3873 deaths) – “It’s going to go away, hopefully at the end of the month. And, if not, hopefully it will be soon after that.”

April 3rd during a coronavirus news briefing (275,586 documented cases/7,087 deaths) – “It is going to go away. It is going away. … I said it’s going away, and it is going away.”

April 7th during a coronavirus news briefing (396, 223/12,722 deaths) – “It did go — it will go away. … The cases really didn’t build up for a while. But you have to understand, I’m a cheerleader for this country. I don’t want to create havoc and shock and everything else.”

April 28th in a news conference (1,004,908 documented cases/58000 deaths) – “I think what happens is it’s going to go away. This is going to go away.”

So, in the event anyone was to place Mr. Trump’s early spitball assessment that 15 cases would soon be zero, the cases by April 28th totaled just 92 shy of 67,000 for every one of those 15 cases he referenced on February 26th, a two-month span of time. For the record, that would total 1,005,000 cases. Yesterday, for the first time since early June, the death toll from the virus exceeded 1,000 per day. In the backdrop, Mr. Trump stood in front of a bank of reporters and TV cameras and in, given the above statements, made what amounted to a 180-degree reversal. After nearly three months, he revived the coronavirus task force and conceded the trauma that is COVID-19 would get worse before it gets better. Those who represent that as doing a great job, are undoubtedly skilled in the art of truthful hyperbole. (You either get it, or you don’t).

Over the course of the pandemic, three Golden Rule protocols emerged. They are frequent hand washing, social distancing (maintaining six feet of separation between yourself and other people especially folks with whom you do not share a household), and mask-wearing. Well before Donald Trump became a political figure, he was known to be a germaphobe, who disdained shaking hands. He revealed this nugget to the world, via his 1997 book, “The Art of the Comeback.” 

Taking into account his aversion for the microbes other people carry, it’s actually an interesting dynamic, that he resisted wearing a mask. It took months, millions of cases, and more than 100,000 deaths before he would deign to don a mask in public. At one point he offered that he refused to give the media, with which he has a perpetual battle, the satisfaction of taking his picture in a mask. While that may have been part of his motivation for what seemed both a stubborn and, under the circumstances, bizarre behavior, a likely deeper rationalization was his commitment to pitching himself as an exemplar of strength to his loyalists, and partisans. With that in mind, it is no surprise, many Trump supporters also eschew, if not downright refuse to wear a mask. In fact, a great many of them appear not to care much for social distancing either. I’m in no position to speak about their penchant for hand washing, or the lack thereof, but if they are rejecting two of the three principal protocols, they are certainly increasing their odds of contracting, or spreading the virus…or both.

A couple of interesting developments happened over the past week and a half. After publicly saying on a number of occasions, he had nothing against masks, but they were not for him, on a Saturday, July 11th trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he wore a mask in public for the first time. Then on Monday of this week, he tweeted a picture of himself wearing a mask, with the message

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

The message, though not resoundingly enthusiastic, positive or encouraging mask wearing, was still a sharp departure from Mr. Trump’s stance over the course of several months. His grudging acceptance of reason was welcomed by the medical and scientific communities, amid their valiant fight to subdue the virus. All things considered, it’s not even super important that the pressure for his ultimate submission was brought to bear, not by the nearly four million cases in the U.S., or as a result of the almost one hundred forty thousand deaths, but by his anemic polling, and resultant persistent efforts of his re-election team to persuade him to relent. It is what it is. What it is, was more than enough to cause me to inquire, “Who Is That Masked Man?”

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; 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.

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