Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday was a bold attempt to push forward his trademark nationalist agenda—protectionism, restrictions on immigration, a military buildup—but it was also notable for the ways in which he tried to protect himself from charges of racism and xenophobia.
These bad men emboldened by Trump are not representative of everyone who voted for him, the same way the Orlando nightclub shooter is not representative of all Muslims. But they do exist, and they must be condemned, to the same extent that a Muslim man would be condemned had he shot two white men in Kansas.
Five years ago, a black boy was shot for nothing. And many Americans made him a blank screen upon which they projected their racialized stereotypes and fears. They could not allow him to be a harmless child walking home. No, they needed his guilt.
Even if Donald Trump doesn’t go through with the trade wars that Steve Bannon — his Rasputin with a splash of Goebbels — seemed to promise again last week, the damage inflicted by their war on American values will be immediate and then possibly permanent.
Two weeks after signing two orders on immigration, President Trump signed three orders on crime and law enforcement, including one that targeted transnational drug cartels. Although immigration and drug enforcement have their own federal agencies, many cops seemed eager to jump into the fray, setting the stage to begin a roll back of the modest gains made in holding police accountable.
When I was young, I was taught that liberals and Democrats were brainwashed and trained to ignore the truths about what was really going on in America. Arguing with a liberal was a complete waste of time, my dad would say. No child should be taught that the only options in this life are to “hate or be hated.”
Oh, brother — civil war is churning and burning, and an awakening is in the air after a deeply wrong election, which the loser won. Yes, sisters are stepping up to save the day. That’s what President Trump hates most: when women judge, challenge, or dare to defy him — or get three million more votes on Election Day.
Jeff Sessions who has served two decades in the Senate from Alabama, was confirmed by a 52-47 vote after strong pushback from Democrats concerned about his record on civil rights. In a rare move for a senator recently confirmed to a Cabinet position, Sessions took to the floor of the chamber and called for members of Congress to have some “latitude” in their relationships with members of the other party.
Silenced on the Senate floor by Republican colleagues, Elizabeth Warren took her criticism of Trump’s attorney general nominee out to the hallway — and found much larger platform. The action prompted a tide of support on Facebook for Warren under a hashtag #LetLizSpeak after she went outside the chamber and read the letter in a video posted on the site that drew more than 5 million views.
I’ve always known African Americans face challenges — discrimination in health, housing, hiring, and a racially biased system of “justice.” But at some level, I had grown comfortable in a nation paced by Oprah, LeBron, Beyonce, and Barack. So when we hit this season of reversal, I was more surprised than I should have been. I had forgotten about being black. Meaning, I had forgotten that for us, setback is nothing new.
The Donald and his thuggish regime of demagogic nativists from the far-right fringe are hoping we’re the timorous America. They shout that the people voted for the fair-haired strongman, and now they expect him to save them from bloodthirsty terrorists sneaking into America from Muslim nations. But wait — first of all, the majority of us did not vote for him. So spare us the lie that you have a “mandate” to discriminate.
The Minnesota senator slammed Republicans for attempting to recast their colleague as a voting rights champion. “I know Senator Sessions. We served together since I joined this body… and I know his record on voting rights,” Franken bellowed. “He’s no champion of voting rights.”
Trump has been behaving, in word and deed, in ways that most of us raise our children to understand are unacceptable. How do we explain this to our children? Well, we tell them what we’ve always told them. We do not lie. We do not bully. We do not hate. Because we are Americans, and this is our country to save.
Trump’s decree targeting sanctuary cities comes amid concerns that already-existing sanctuary cities and towns were not doing enough to protect their residents under the Obama administration, which oversaw an unprecedented number of deportations and erected family immigrant detention centers that continue to imprison children with their mothers.
Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was a triumph of racial resentment and fears about demographic change, a primal scream from whites who are anxious about an America that is becoming increasingly diverse. But for all the xenophobia that Trump encourages, his supporters will be disappointed to learn that white Americans are headed, inexorably, for minority status, based on legal immigration and birth rates.
You can learn a lot about Jeff Sessions from the 585-page transcript of his 1986 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As a young U.S. Attorney angling for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, Sessions was less than lawyerly, and often equivocating, in his responses to questions about his record.
The law is the law, but Trump and his far-right cohorts want to change the law to render protections for vulnerable communities worthless. Trump and Sessions are part of a right-wing wave dedicated to rolling back civil rights protections. The idea of what can happen without the protections of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act does not keep them up at night.
It’s time for us to double down on what can be seen as the progressive community’s shared campaign for populist justice. We can beat back the brutishness the Reign of Trump promises — if we seriously unite. So, yes, buckle up. But more importantly, buck up!
If there is any consolation on the King holiday of 2017, it is the assurance that the American backlash is sure to generate new forms of multiracial resistance in the spirit of America itself. The union of free Americans who ejected slavery, embraced voting rights, shook off Jim Crow, and elected a mixed-race president is nothing if not resilient.
In real life, MLK was far more radical than the cherry-picked lines from his speeches would suggest, a man who moved further left over the course of his long and weary fight for civil rights. The next time you see MLK corrupted and misused as a tool of capitalism, racism, and unchecked white supremacy, recall that MLK said “a riot is the language of the unheard.”
After a 13-month investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice released a 164-page report Friday detailing the abuse of force by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). According to their findings, officers’ brutality often goes unpunished — especially when its perpetrated in communities of color.
The fight to make the Democratic Party a more representative institution was not a fight around advertising but was directly connected to the demands of historically excluded groups to be included, not as window dressing but as central players. This entire history is being denied in the name of upholding some sort of supposedly pure fight for economic justice.
On the surface, President Barack Obama’s farewell address recounted his achievements, values, and still-hopeful vision for America—much like the best speeches. But not far below was a clear template telling his supporters how and where to defend against threats by Trump and the GOP to the America they believe in.
Senator Sessions’ record suggests a remarkable consistency in support of policies that contradict and subvert the Reconstruction amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantee citizenship, equal protection under the law, and the ballot to all Americans.
Sessions was responding to questions at a sometimes rowdy Senate confirmation hearing, the first in a series of hearings this week for Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees. “End racism Stop Sessions” and “End hate Stop Sessions” read some of the signs carried by protesters.