COVID and the Constitution: The NYT, Washington Post, and NBC Think! Rejected This But It’s Valid Anyhow

The last several weeks have seen over a million Americans contract the novel Coronavirus and over 60,000 (so far) succumb to the disease and its complications. Refrigerated trucks are being used as morgues, city parks are doubling as graveyards, and funeral homes across the country are on a backlog. Relatives of the many dearly departed, due to social distancing guidelines, are unable to attend the memorial services of the ones they loved and were able to sit in a room with a mere six months ago.

The soul of this nation is already beleaguered with fear and uncertainty. This has been made worse by statements made by President Trump in his daily COVID-19 briefings. Those of us who watch the briefings have witnessed he and the press go at it over everything from his presumed inability to act in a timely manner once he knew about the virus, verifiable statements that he made that he wishes now to deny and “cures” based on unfounded science or completely unsafe ideas akin to a stunt on MTV’s Jackass.

The bright side of this pandemic is that it has caused Americans to seriously take a second and third look at things like Universal Basic Income and Medicare-For-All; also known as socialism. While a dirty word among Conservatives and a dirty idea among moderate Democrats for some time, the sudden economic havoc that Coronavirus has visited on our society has given detractors no choice but to reconsider the capitalist bastion that we had heretofore become accustomed.

Those things are great, but I posit this crisis should also demonstrate the need for us to revisit the Constitution. Many citizens laud the Constitution as the basis upon which the country they deem the greatest on the planet was built, however, it’s the same Constitution that allowed us to be in the midst of a global health crisis under the direction of a president Trump.

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Since the days of Washington, the only requirements for one to be president have been age (at least 35), citizenship, and residency (at least 14 years). There’s no prior political experience required. Prospective candidates don’t need to have shown a certain number of years working in public service. They don’t need proof of so much as a freshman Poli-Sci class. The bare minimum is all it takes to throw one’s hat in the proverbial ring. In President Trump, that’s exactly what we have.

Voters on the left wonder how we ended up with a president who was a reality tv star. For me, Trump having been a reality television star doesn’t actually matter. Him having built questionable businesses, declared (business) bankruptcy, skipped out on checks and the other myriad things he has been accused of don’t rate on my outrage meter either. Not even his lies.

It’s what he didn’t do, and didn’t even have to do, to become the leader of the free world that concerns me. Most of us had to do more to land mediocre jobs right out of college than any president has had to do to be eligible to be considered a valid presidential contender.

When my fellow citizens walk around in a rage about Trump’s presidency, it’s as if they’ve forgotten that this country is unguarded against it by virtue of our failure to revisit and refine the Constitution to meet our current reality. In fact, the gradual leaning towards the bare minimum has come to kick us in the butt in myriad ways of life; education, customer service, even dating.

As long as we are a populace that is content to let charisma do the talking (no matter red, blue, or in between), we’ll always be at risk of having leaders who are not only inept but may not possess the regard for our citizens that is needed to drive the country in the best direction possible.

Not only will enhancing requirements of presidential candidates be more likely to prevent your average camera ham with no public policy experience but his 20-minute speeches on how things ought to be at Thanksgiving every year from being able to try his or her hand at the presidency, it just may bring a sense of honor and pride back to the office.

We’ve made amendments to address the abolition of slavery, presidential succession, and even legal voting age. Surely we can seriously work on amending our standards for the person we call the Commander-in-Chief. It may take some time. In fact, it may never happen. But, we can’t continue a vague process to run for president and automatically expect that the one who is victorious will treat the presidency as a solemn and duty-bound office. Trump’s 2016 campaign, supporters, and administration has proven that.

After all, when you expect little, you can end up getting so much less.

Dear Democrats: What The F*ck Are Y’all Doing? Flea Market Part II

The last time I wrote about politics, there were 8-10 Democratic hopefuls. At the time, I called the race a flea market because there were so many people running and a lot of them were randos who came out of nowhere.

Well, it pains me to say that it’s gotten worse. At last count, according to this article, there are 21 hopefuls. I don’t even know what to say.

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Remember the show West Wing? Even though I only started watching it well after it was off the air and on Netflix, I love that show. Same thing for House of Cards and Madame Secretary. Do you know why? Because every political move was written as if it was all planned. Politician A promised politician B a seat on some committee if politician B could convince politicians C-E to vote a certain way. The best part was when party A put up politician C to run for POTUS and talked politicians D-M out of running for POTUS for the benefit of the party.

I loved these shows because I could clearly see the parallels between real life and the drama that was written “for entertainment purposes only.” I was convinced that Hollywood, that had managed to um…”predict” so many other political happenings, had the inside scoop.

But, I swear….this Democratic race has disabused the fuck out of my conclusions.

As I’ve said many times, I’m a Centrist. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Mitt Romney primary Donald Trump. I’d even like to see Kasich give it another try.

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But when I read articles like the one I posted above and this one that talks about Democratic hopeful #47753037 selling bumper stickers so they can get on the debate stage, I become a tad perplexed at whether the Democrats even have a plan for lunch this Thursday, let alone their nominee or the direction of the country.

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Yes, I know that anybody who meets the criteria to be POTUS (and has the donors or cash to sustain a campaign) can throw their hat in the ring. I just wonder if the “top” Dems have stopped to look at what’s happening with the party right now long enough to realize that they’re going to have to use actual strategy this time around instead of just hope that Millennials will be so touched by student loan cancellation and Medicaid for all that they’ll rush to the polls to put whomever the Dems settle on into office.

Because you see, they did that last time and we all saw (and are seeing) what happened.

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Let me back up though.

In my opinion, the Dems have tried to engage in a sort of political foreplay. They got their constituents hyped about Russia, Russia, Russia. They’ve spent (and still spend) inordinate amounts of time pointing out every spelling mistake Trump makes on Twitter. Then, they pretended to take the ADOS Movement’s demand for reparations seriously.

But what happened?

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No penetration. You can forget about an orgasm.

They knew good and damn well that they had no real intentions of pursuing impeachment. Instead of organizing or drafting some type of substantive and REALISTIC policy initiatives, they wasted time pointing and laughing trying to make Trump look like a clueless illiterate buffoon (ie. the 3 months of “covfefe”). And last I heard, many of the hopefuls say that they agree with reparations but (in the words of Iris Murdoch) between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.

Then, they trotted people like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez out as the progressive voice that they know they will never support en masse because they know Millennials love that shit.

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I never thought I’d say this but Republicans seem to have more sense at this point than Democrats.

How?

They are backing one person. Even though many (if not most) of them think he’s the wrong choice for POTUS, they are putting the party above their own personal feelings simply to have the GOP rule the roost another 4 years. They are closing ranks; and although I take issue with many of the things that GOP’ers do and say, I must state that they are doing what’s logical when you want to win.

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I suggest the Dems do the same. I’m no political pundit but I think they need to all…ALLLLLLL…sit down and have a come to Jesus (that’s HAY-SOOS, not your Lord & Savior) meeting and choose 3-5 nominees to put up that they truly think can compete and defeat Trump. Then, those chosen can get busy strategizing and forming a sound set of policies that they can easily support during the debates and beyond.

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But this thing they’re doing now where everybody and their cousin is suddenly running is simply too many cooks ruining a broth that, to be quite honest, wasn’t that good to begin with.

Nevertheless, I’ll end this the same way I ended Part I. I wish all the candidates luck.

 

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It’s Official! Trump Is The Next POTUS and I Don’t Particularly Care

***Note: I began writing this piece the day of the Electoral College’s final vote, hence the first paragraph. More interesting things to write about came up so I’m just now finishing it.***

National Public Radio (NPR) and several other news outlets just confirmed that the Electoral College has cast its votes for Donald Trump to be the next POTUS. The process of counting the Electoral College votes is usually presided over by the sitting VPOTUS, in this case, Joe Biden. There are a couple of ways that lawmakers can object to their state’s choice but according to an informational write-up by the New York Times before this final vote took place, that hasn’t happened often in this country’s history and per the NPR article, it’s safe to say that it’s not going to happen this time around either.

Now that that’s out of the way, I have to repeat what I’ve been saying all year on my FB page: I am totally unafraid of a Trump presidency. I’ve read and watched people lose it and express all kinds of fear about a Trump presidency. Most of the white people I’ve heard outside of the internet talk about the diplomatic repercussions of a Trump presidency. Most of the people of color I’ve heard express concern talk about the prospective loss of various social programs. People have mentally constructed a future America that looks something like the Hunger Games at best and The Purge at its scariest.

While I intellectually understand those concerns, I don’t share them.

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Let me preface this by saying that I am someone who has had a lifelong battle with panic and anxiety. I know what it’s like to be afraid of everything and nothing all at once and not even be able to articulate what exactly everything and nothing may be. I understand the fear of uncertainty. I understand having to operate in a space where you are unsure if everything will work out the way you need it to. Yet, throughout the campaign cycle, election night, and today (Inauguration Day), nothing in me has said that I should fear Trump being the 45th POTUS.

From your average internet commenter to tenured politicians, Trump has been repeatedly called a “bully.” I don’t have much experience with bullies but what I do know is that they feed off of fear. The few bullies I’ve encountered were nothing without the power that comes from their targets being afraid of them. Knowing that they can cause terror in people’s minds only emboldens them to continue their treachery. Frankly, I believe that Trump never would have made as far as he did without the panic apparatuses running at full speed 24/7 to take every Tweet and use every statement he’s made over the last two decades to further excite an already fretful electorate. I saw him as the class clown out of the GOP nominees and if the media collective had done a better job of ignoring his foolishness, he may have faded into obscurity. Of course, I never underestimate the racism that fuels this society. Calling Blacks lazy and Muslims terrorists will always appeal to a certain pathetic segment of society.

Nevertheless, despite the shitshow that was the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos (candidate for Secretary of Education) and Dr. Ben Carson (candidate for HUD Secretary), and the fact that Donald Trump seemingly has an unholy bromance with his partner in narcissism, Vladimir Putin, I still feel confident that we will be just fine over the next four years.

I haven’t deluded myself into believing that Trump has somehow punked us and will keep every policy that our beloved 44th POTUS enacted for our benefit. I don’t believe that the GOP-led House and Senate will suddenly see the 8-year error of their ways and suddenly start to operate with the bulk of the American constituency in mind.  I’ve simply decided to trust that no matter how much of a trainwreck the new administration may end up being, I will always be secure. Our parents, grandparents, and beyond survived much worse than an unfit leader and a merciless law-making body. Surely we can too.

With that in mind, stay focused. Take care of your business. Make wise decisions and if you don’t know what to do, get good advice from someone who does. Try to be as prepared as possible for what these next four years may throw your way. Be your own rudder and do not leave yourself defenseless. Do not exchange fear for folly. If you choose to fight, to be a revolutionary, remember that you and yours are the most important beneficiaries of your work. Take time to live life and even enjoy it when you can.

Why I’ll Be Omarosa’s Friend

It’s November 15th, which makes us one week into the realization that Donald J. Trump, entertainer, and business mogul extraordinaire, will be the next president of the United States of America.

Since the night of the election that stunned many (not I) and even brought many of my peers to tears, there have been articles about disowning family members and declining Thanksgiving dinner invites due to those family members supporting Trump for president. We are to believe they didn’t know Uncle Bubba was a racist until this campaign season. I don’t.

Anyway, what has really caught my eye is an article about how Omarosa Manigault is saying she lost friends because of her stumping for Trump. She noted in a 20/20 interview that she lost connections with friends and family and even one of the women who was supposed to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding decided that her friendship with Omarosa was no longer worth keeping because of Omarosa’s endorsement of Donald Trump.

While watching Omarosa cry (literally) about the politics-based loss of her personal relationships, I didn’t necessarily feel empathy for her but I did wonder how close the friends and family could have been if her choice to support Trump (which I have always assumed was at least partly a career/financial move) was their complete undoing.

During the election, I read post after post from people saying, “if you support Trump, delete me now!” I thought it was cute. First of all, if someone enjoys hanging around your page for things other than your political stances, they may not be honest about their support of the candidate you hate (which we now know is partly who led Trump to victory). Second of all, many of these people would be hard-pressed to be able to come to that same hard line if the people they were telling to exit stage right were people they had to deal with in real life.

In my mind, if you have a real life friend whose political stances vary greatly from your own, you either engage each other to gain further understanding or accept that the rift is too wide and that topic is off-limits; you don’t disown them and throw away 5, 10, 15+ years of friendship because you two are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. You definitely don’t do that with a relative with whom you’ve had a perfectly fine relationship your whole life.

There’s a common school of thought that says if you support the sexist, racist, misogynist candidate, then that means you don’t respect my humanity and can’t be trusted to be my friend. I’d agree with that if we were talking about that random FB friend from your 10th-grade year, weekend drinking buddy, or your co-worker, Susan, who you only see M-F from 8-5. If they’re attending KKK meetings on weekends, trust me, they were doing that (or considering it) before Trump entered the race. But, I feel that under certain circumstances,  when Black people are relating to other Black people, there’s room for dialogue before releasing the blade on the guillotine.

The argument can be made that by endorsing Trump, Omarosa was upholding white supremacy and practicing internalized racism. Well, so is your great aunt who keeps referring to “good” and “bad” hair. So is your cousin who has always made fun of you for having a broad nose. So are you when you patronize that brand with the clearly racist marketing campaign and that uses nearly slave labor for cheap manufacturing. No, your aunt and cousin aren’t trying to run the country and your desire for style probably won’t be the impetus for the next world war. But implications are implications and impact is impact.

With that said, if someone is our bridesmaid-level friend, we should already know each others’ heart and mind. I can’t argue if Omarosa really believes that Trump’s plans (if they exist) will help the Black community or if she just knows how to seize opportunities (we all have bills). But, I will argue that it’s nonsense to dissolve crucial relationships over who someone checked on a ballot in one of the most horrible election cycles since I’ve been eligible to vote. Your friend offers emotional support. Your friend is there when you put your loved one in the ground or when the relationship you thought would last forever falls apart. To throw that away, to me, is insane; especially when you are holding on to relationships with people who also voted for your least favorite candidate and don’t actually give a damn about you outside of what you do for them (ie. your supervisor).

So, Omarosa, if you ever read this, I’m going to give you what you should have experienced when you told your friends and family that you were supporting Donald Trump:

Girl, are you serious? You know he’s a bullshitter and probably using you for some Black votes, right?….Well, I guess. I’m probably going to go with Hillary or write-in Bernard. We’ll see how this turns out though. Good luck with that. You want to go hit up the brunch special at Mattito’s this weekend?

That, in my estimation, is how you engage a friend.

Until next time!