I have just come from the meeting of the 48th Ward Democratic Committee in South Philadelphia, where I presented my credentials as a Committee-member. we had nominations for officers-Anton Moore, a live wire of a young man who is dedicated to the community, was elected Ward Leader; I myself was elected Assistant Secretary. I will join other great activists in bringing in the people of our neighborhoods into the democratic process, just in time to fight the Trump agenda.
Tomorrow I’ll take part in a meeting of Philly For Change, a grassroots progressive group allied with Democracy For America, the organization formed after the Howard Dean campaign in 2004. Once a month we meet and discuss various public issues, such as immigration, gun control, legislative districting, and natural gas fracking, as well as listen to candidates for public office tell us their programs. It’s a great combination of serious discussion and good fellowship. Philly For Change meets every first Wednesday at 7:00 PM, at Tattooed Mom, the bar-restaurant-club on 5th and South streets in Philadelphia.
Greetings, and happy holidays!
Yes, I am over the shock of the reality of Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States, keeper of the nuclear codes, leaders of the “free world.” How did it come to this? Was Trump really the avatar for change he made himself out to be?
Donald Trump-a billionaire (as far as we know) real-estate tycoon who inherited the business from his father (who discriminated against minorities renting is apartments; who used his father’s connections to attain deferments from the draft for Viet Nam; who has insulted almost every one of the “other” demographic groups-Mexicans, Muslims, the physically handicapped; who acts like women are his playthings to just grab wherever he chooses; who offered simple sound-bite rhetoric to complicated foreign policy issues, like the civil war in Syria; who joined the ‘birther” crusade that said Obama was not born in this country; who, in spite of his “protectionist” talk on trade, had his brand of ties made in china, his brand of clothing made in Mexico, and the furniture for his hotels made in turkey.
Now, barring a miracle in the Electoral College, he will be our President, the face we have to show the world who and what we are as a people. Is it anything to be proud of?
The Trump campaign has brought out of the woodwork the racism in this country, against African-Americans, Asian-descended people, Muslims, Jews, and LGBT people-swastikas sprayed on walls, arsons fires in churches, taunts of kids in schools, and physical assaults. How can we tell kids that bullying and terrorizing minority kids is wrong, when they see the President of the United States do it and get away with it?
Racism, long confined to such code works as “inner city” or “law and order,” has returned into the political mainstream, due to Trump’s campaign. Along with endorsement of such veteran racists as David Duke-who bragged that Trump campaigned on what he, Duke, has preached all along-the movement called the “alt-right” has stepped from the shadows; it shows itself to be savvy with the internet, but it’s really a rebranding of the same old racism and white supremacist claptrap.
And of course the “left-liberal slanted” commercial news media presents like there’s nothing wrong, it’s a normal transition from one administration to another, and the white supremacists around Trump are no big deal, downplaying the racist nature of the Trump support. Also, there is the tired old trope of the “white working class” which supposedly was all in for Trump, as if working-class whites are more susceptible to racism than other white economic groups. And the talk is revised complaining of “identity politics,” that in our endeavor to deal with racism and sexism in this country, we have neglected the problems of low-income white. (Calling this “identity politics” is a way of trivializing racial and gender issues; many people don’t like politics, seeing it as campaigning over nothing.)
The media idea is you have to work on EITHER race and gender issues OR class issues-as if they were separate; I have seen much overlap of them. Why not BOTH AND? We CAM and MUST simultaneously take on the issues of race, class, and gender, they are intertwined. So many occupations are dominated by particular racial and gender groups, such as the sleeping car porters, almost all African-American, organized by A. Philip Randolph. It is Native American people, standing fast at Standing Rock, North Dakota, who are taking the lead against the Dakota Access pipeline, which would run through their ancestral lands and contaminate the drinking water of everyone in several states.
(That leads me to the geniuses in charge of our glorious “free enterprise” system, the great entrepreneurs who, is you keep the government off their backs, will usher in an era of prosperity, just by allowing them to take as much money as they want for themselves. They know the technology for non-fossil energy systems in available-wind turbines, biofuels, solar panels-but they want to stick with the only thing they know about, good ol’ dead dinosaur carcasses turned into oil and gas after millions of years-the process of extracting the oil, gas, and coal has been a ruin for the environment and a disaster to surrounding communities of people who have to breathe the fumes and smoke of these fuel sources. Can’t these “geniuses” think of anything else?)
And what of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton? During the primaries, the DNC apparatus was biased in favor of Clinton against the insurgency of Bernie Sanders, a man of decades of experience in political and social activism, and who has galvanized a generation of young activists, who has identified himself proudly as a “Democratic Socialist,” and who has flooded stadiums and assembly halls with enthusiastic young supporters, and who has funded his campaign with small donations averaging $27.00 apiece, who has inspired art and song in support of him. BUT the party apparatus, in its “wisdom,” loaded the primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton, the safe, Wall Street friendly, “don’t cause the corporations to worry” choice-and failed in the long run. It’s as if our political leadership has no recourse except candidates that say nice things about racial and gender minorities but don’t want anyone to interfere with their domination of the economy, which Bernie Sanders (God bless him!) has challenged.
We have to be careful about the election results. This is from NBC News:
231,556,622 people were eligible voters;
46.9% did NOT vote;
25.6% voted for Clinton;
25.5% voted for Trump. Not much of a mandate for Trump, is it?
Recounts are taking place as of this writing, and the popular vote has been growing for Clinton. Yet Trump won the Electoral College vote, of an institution dating back to when the Constitution was written in 1787, when low-income people were deemed unsuited to decide political issues, when the vote was limited to white male property owners, the economy was primarily agricultural, and communication was through dirt roads. This is a governmental dinosaur long overdue for extinction, an elitist body that mocks whatever ‘democracy” we have left in this country.
And of course Clinton and the democrats, instead of fighting this injustice, are expected to give up, not fight it, just as they did in 2000, even with ample evidence of voter suppression in Florida-it didn’t hurt George W. Bush that his brother Jeb was Governor-and the screaming mob of Republican activists yelling while the votes were being recounted. (Liberals are expected to always defer to their conservative superiors.)
All attempts to protest these problems are called “sour grapes, get over it,” like it’s little league baseball, and not the fate of the most powerful nation on the planet. Did the Republicans graciously handle their loss in 20087 to Obama? No, they went to work almost immediately to undermine his presidency, formulating the “tea party” movement which terrorized congress-members in town meetings-as opposed to the reasoned debate we’re supposed to have in a democracy-bringing forth the “birther” movement that stated that Obama was born in Kenya and therefore not the legitimate President, putting forth racist cartoons about him, linking his policies with the now-extinct Soviet Union, and blaming Obama for George w. Bush’s trillion-dollar deficit-so much for “personal responsibility.”
(That is the point of conservative politics all along, since the New Deal- Formerly dominant groups, either based on economic class, race, or gender, have had their dominance challenged, and these former out-groups have entered positions formerly reserved by the dominant groups; the former dominant groups had the idea that if they were Not dominant, they would be subordinate, like they could not comprehend the idea of equality, which they juxtapose against “Liberty,” meaning “If the government gets out of the way and not interfere with the natural order of things, the dominant groups would stay dominant.” The former subordinate groups are seen as usurpers against the rightful rulers, affluent white males.)
And let us spend some time with the religious right movement-the same movement that would eliminate abortion and the right of women to control their bodies, would make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious excuses, and who in general would make their idea of “Christianity” the law of the land (even while getting hysterical about Islamic Sharia law). After their chosen candidates, like Ted Cruz, failed in the primaries, the religious rightists jumped on the Trump bandwagon, knowing him to be a dirty-talking whoremaster, corporate conniver, racist, and tax cheater, just so they can get some of their own people into cabinet positions. Are they facing a period of decadence, a downslide?
And, let us note the cynicism you hear out there-“Trump is in, there’s no point in protesting, they won’t pay attention, and so what’s the point?” The point is we come together as a group, to know there are many more of us who want to fight back against any injustice Trump may think up, to give confidence to politicians who want to fight the Trump agenda, and-possibly-to convince other officeholders that it’s safe to challenge trump and all he stands for.
That’s what we’ll do-take to the streets, write to our editors and politicians, and let them know how we stand-bye!
Lately there have been comments that since Donald trump has been “elected” President-with the Electoral college vote and have the voting public NOT voting- we who oppose his agenda should be quiet, put up with it, and not complain. There have been protests all around the country of people who oppose trump’s agenda-racist, sexist, homophobic, and downright neo-fascist, judging by the people he has on his staff, like Steve Bannon.
Conservatives act as if their opponents should stay in their place and be quiet; this is true especially about the anti-trump protests, which conservatives have accused of being entirely violent and anti-social; this from the faction that would love the state to use violence and force against their opponents, who have raved all along about staging a revolution if Obama of Hillary got elected, and who feel they have to take their guns for a walk all the time. THEIR violence is supposedly more moral than OUR violence. This accusation of violence is an attempt to de-legitimize the opposition, to say we are not decent and nice people and we should be ignored in public discourse.
What about when Barack Obama was definitely elected President? There were the complains that he was a Muslim from Kenya and not legitimately qualified to be President. From the start, the republican congressional leadership vowed to do everything they could to make it impossible for Obama to govern. SO, why should be accommodate trump?
And the aftermath of the trump victory has seen many incidents of racist intimidation, such as anti-Semitic graffiti, physical assaults on Muslim and African-American people, and taunts and verbal harassment. The trump victory was no mere election but an opportunity for the neo-fascists and racists to crawl from the woodwork and into the mainstream of politics.
Let me be clear-I will join in the protests against the trump agenda, and I will not ask the permission of those who would benefit from it-the plutocrats who benefit from tax breaks what working people have to make up for, and the racists and neo-fascists who enjoy the false of security of “racial superiority.”
the elections are over, thank God, and it has been, to use that elegant word, contentious. Hillary Clinton has conceded the election to Donald Trump-an act that Trump himself wasn’t sure he would do if HE lost.
I am NOT please with the Trump victory, and it’s not just a case of “my candidate lost.” AMERICA lost this election, all that has been decent about it. Due to this election, the racists and neo-fascists have crawled out of the baseboards and into the mainstream of political discourse.
Hillary Clinton may have conceded the election-which is the tradition to respect what is left of our democratic tradition. HOWEVER, I will NOT concede my rights to any one, let alone Donald trump, who, in spite of how the media may pretty him up, remains a racist, sexist, ignorant, narrow-minded plutocrat who talks to the American people like they are ignorant yahoos-his political base.
For me, I DEFY Donald trump. I will continue my life and my learning and my activism. I will continue to take part in the issues this country faces. And in the long run, I and the rest of the progressive forces of this country WILL be victorious.
America will be free!
This afternoon, I performed again in Conversations Across Time, the show hosted by my friend Vivienne Crawford; and again, I portrayed Lyndon Johnson, and Mark Hoffman portrayed Michael Schwerner, one of the three civil rights activists who, while trying to register Black people to vote in Mississippi, were killed the Klan, with collusion by the local police.
The theme was to urge people to vote; it is a precious right to have, not to be neglected, especially when we have a flat-out racist-sexist-fascist psychopath running for President. People like Schwerner, Goodman, and Cheney gave their lives to make sure people have the right to vote; please, don’t let their sacrifice be for naught, get out and vote tomorrow.
You can contact PhillyCAM at phillycam.org.
Tomorrow and Tuesday (after I vote), I will be at PhillyCAM again performing on Conversations Across Time; THIS time, we will be performing LIVE, and I will again play Lyndon B. Johnson, and we will discuss the urgency of getting out to vote-PLEASE get out and VOTE! PhillyCAM is on channel 29 on Verizon FIOS and channel 66 on Comcast. I urge you to watch the show, and I urge you to vote like your country depends on it, because it DOES.
The supporters of Donald Trump have indicated they would not graciously accept that they would lose the election; many have threatened violence and “civil war,” which I seriously doubt they are capable of. They would be, however, capable of localized acts of terror, like trying to destroy houses of worship or murder, on an individualistic basis rather than as part of a conspiracy. With the Internet, however, such terrorists could network ideas and information of events and tactics with each other.
And yes, I called them “terrorists;” self-proclaimed white “Christians” have been terrorists-look at the Klan and the medieval Crusades and the Inquisition.
Trump has been of no help; he had indicated that he may or may not make a concession speech or accept the outcome of the election WHEN he loses. His campaign has been one long trip of narcissism, barroom brags and threats passing as policy statements, assaults real and threatened upon his critics, and, worst of all, his welcoming into is coalition the most notorious racists and neo-fascists in the nation, bringing h=them back into the political mainstream, giving them a platform to spout from.
After the election, these are the elements who will scream that the election was stolen from them, and who threaten violence; this is the comeuppance of the Republican party, which has worked form before Obama was inaugurated to deny his legitimacy as President, who has fostered the “birthers” like Trump, who thought the “tea party” phenomenon would bring them back into power, but has instead turned on the party establishment. After the election, one fight ends, and another begins; let’s be ready.
You simply MUST get out and vote this November 8; the stakes have never been higher for this country for a long time. Donald Trump is simply unfit to be President of the United States. His calling to build a wall against Mexico, characterizing all Mexicans as criminals, rapists, and drug dealers; his call for a ban on Muslims entering this country; his contempt for women in any capacity but subordinate to him; his associating with the most infamous racists like David Duke, and aligning with the racist “alt-right” movement; his encouraging assaults on protestors in his rallies; his willful ignorance about foreign affairs and the launch system for nuclear missiles; his refusal to say he would abide by the election results, win or lose-all these indicate the kind of President he would be, a dictator.
A myth in our politics says that “If we give the running of our government over to businessmen, they’ll run it as a business, efficiently and cost-effective.” Well, let’s see how businesslike Trump has been-Trump steaks, Trump vodka, Trump Shuttle airlines, trump magazine, Trump World magazine-all failed business ventures. Trump University-charged with fraud. His casinos and hotels-bankrupt. He has been able to negotiate his way out of trouble, since the bankruptcy laws are so weighed in favor of corporate types like him; but does he think that Putin, Kim Jong Un, or the Ayatollahs of Iran would cut him any breaks, give him any favors?
And Hillary-there is no other choice but to vote for her. Hillary Clinton DOES have political and governmental experience, albeit too much playing safe on the side of corporations. I fear that, IF we the people don’t constantly monitor the Clinton administration 2.0, it would be just like Bill’s regime, too much in favor of the corporations and shying away from those nasty unions, signing such trade deals as NAFTA in Bill’s time, and TPP, which lies dormant in Congress like a disease.
I believe a collapse, or at least a severe alteration is the “two party system,” is on the way; the most successful insurgencies in this election, in each of the parties, have come from people from outside the major parties-Bernie Sanders in the Democratic party, Donald Trump in the Republican-representing the aspirations of each party’s base.
But look at the differences between each party’s base! Bernie Sanders’ who wears the title “Democratic Socialist” with pride, spoke out against the corporate corruption of our democracy with their campaign “contributions,” and has mobilized a new generation of young activists, who can run for officer lower down the ticket-Senator, Governor, US Representative, state legislators, municipal council-members, township supervisors; those lower-tier offices, while they don’t usually generate the press coverage that a presidential run would have, would be the offices that have the most direct impact on people’s lives. This new generation does not fear the word “socialism,” like back in the Cold War era, and they don’t share the idea that something is no good if it doesn’t increase the profits of hedge-fund managers.
As for Trump, he has reaped what the Republican party has sown-coded appeals to racial animosity formed the staple of republican campaigns, such as the Goldwater campaign of 1964, to the “law and order” and the Southern Strategy of the Nixon campaigns of 1968 and 1972, the Reagans campaign of 1980, where, in Mississippi, near where three young Civil rights activists were killed by the Klan, he proclaimed, “I believe in States Rights,” the slogan for the effort to suppress the Civil rights movement, and to preserve the slavery system before the Civil War. Plus, we can’t forget how that genteel country-clubman George HW Bush was not above allowing his manager Lee Atwater to bring out the Willy Horton ads, with the fear of Black men being released from prison to rape and kill white people.
A part of the phenomenon of working-class people voting for obvious plutocrats is fear-the fear of losing their jobs and their source of income to pay bills and provide for their families; not at all a small thing. Also, people are socialized to go to the same place and the same time and leave at the same time for work-it becomes an ingrained habit, and the worksite becomes like a cult, where the devotees depend on the Leader.
Commentary has mentioned how these tactics of fear around race, and how racial prejudice among working-class white people is effective in bringing out the votes for Republicans, has been SO effective; but think about it-what has this meant for working people of all races and demographics? How have they benefited, besides a false sense of security? These same politicians who worry so much about the safety of the public give tax breaks to corporations and allow them to export jobs to nations with poor human rights records, to utilize their impoverished workers who are beaten down when they even think of organizing into unions. Sooner or later, the tactic of race-baiting stops working, and workers know who their real allies and enemies are.
I take this time to talk up the Labor Studies program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where I am studying now. It is a valuable program, providing education for union activists and officials in Labor Law, Comparative Labor Movements, Labor History, Labor and the Media, among other topics. Now, following good capitalist logic, the administration of the university plans to eliminate the program because it is not “profitable”. (Does a thing HAVE to make someone else richer to be of any use to society?) I am one of several students taking part in a movement to preserve the program, and we are joined by labor bodies in the nation. To join the movement, please look up http://savethelaborcenter.weebly.com/.
And AGAIN, get out there and VOTE like your nation depends on it, because it does. Bye!
Among the various activist groups I’ve worked with over the years is Philly For Change, which is the Philadelphia affiliate of Democracy for America, which spun out of the presidential campaign of Howard Dean in 2004. We meet on the first Wednesday of the month, at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets in Philadelphia. Here, in a fun relaxed setting, we discuss important issues such as government accountability and school funding, as well as listen to political candidates give their platforms and we vote on which candidates to endorse and work for. The group’s web site is philly4change.com.
The videos below, found in my YouTube channel, show the previous meeting of Philly For change. The first video is of my friend, Tracey Gordon, running for the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.