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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

I Am Ashamed Of Where We Are As A Country

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 08/17/17 17:42

by Dave Mindeman

I have seen a lot of politics in my time. I have seen the good and the bad. Leaders from the right and the left. I have done what I can....opposed some policies and promoted others. But I have to say that I have never been embarrassed about being an American. At least up until now.

At this moment, I am more than embarrassed. I am ashamed. Ashamed that we have a President who refuses to call out racism. Ashamed that I must cringe every time he opens his mouth. Ashamed that other countries see what America has elected (sort of) and react with puzzlement if not outright horror.

This is not my America. And I am absolutely shocked that people that are informed and involved could ever stand with this repugnant display of authority. During Watergate, Nixon, a Republican, overstepped his authority and committed illegal acts. As a Republican, it took Republican statesmen to call him into question and end his tenure in the Oval Office.

On Aug. 7, 1974, U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., U.S. House Minority Leader John Rhodes, R-Ariz., and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, R-Pa., made it clear to the embattled Nixon that he faced all-but-certain impeachment, conviction and removal from office in connection with the Watergate scandal.

They did not ask him to or tell him to resign - but they did make clear that impeachment proceedings were imminent and his support among his own party was at its lowest point.

President Trump is approaching that moment. But where are the Republican leaders willing to confront him with his situation? Where are the statesmen and stateswomen willing to speak truth to corrupt power?

Charlottesville has been a defining moment. And still, elected Republicans are refusing to denounce him personally for what he has said and done. Trump is in a self made bubble - and much like Nixon, he demands that unless you are with him personally, regardless of party, you are his enemy.

Republicans have a history of waving the flag and promoting patriotism and love of country. Is standing silent in the face of corruption the actions of patriots? Are you comfortable saluting a flag that has a leader that shows the American people and the country so little respect?

I am ashamed. Ashamed that the United States no longer can claim any moral leadership for the world. Ashamed that the offical White House rhetoric makes the world cringe.

I do not want to be ashamed anymore. This President must be impeached.

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Charlottesville: A Question Of Self-Examination And Healing

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 08/13/17 23:16

by Dave Mindeman

White supremacy is an affront to the moral values of this country and will never ever be tolerated in any form.

Is that a hard thing to say? I would say that most people would agree with the above statement. It doesn't seem controversial.

But those words seem to stick in Trump's throat. They are difficult to say for him. Kind of like the words, "Putin is a bad guy."

When Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, there was some ridiculous talk of a post racist society. That we had conquered the hate. That we could now move forward.

But for a variety of reasons, including Trump's constant birth certificate diatribe, we seemed to revert back to a more ugly time.

Today, I have been thinking a lot about this quote from Nelson Mandela:

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." - Nelson Mandela

And I very much believe that to be true. Those young men that marched in Charlottesville with such hatred in their hearts learned that somewhere. They learned it from their family or they learned that from their peers. But they were not born with that attitude.

Our society, especially in the south, gives lip service to the idea that "all men (and women) are created equal". When Thomas Jefferson wrote that, he owned slaves. But those words transcended even his own shortcomings and ever since they were uttered, our version of a more perfect union has strived to end discrimination in all of its forms.... gender, racial, sexual orientation, transphobia, handicapped, ageism....all of these things have been tested in this society and found to be unacceptable - even if they are yet to be eliminated.

We have made progress...at least we were until our current President took that oath of office. His rhetoric, his bully pulpit, has been found wanting in leading our nation into the diverse future it is destined to achieve.

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of hope to the oppressed - not some monument to European alliances. The people who come to our shores want to participate in the greatest democratic experiment of all time. And we, as a nation, benefit from their willingness to begin anew on our shores.

We have had some very ugly history in regards to that progress. The history of African Americans is not one of choice. They were forced into labor for multiple generations. And when they were finally given their freedom in the land of the free, they endured a lesser status because too many people would not accept the color of their skin as equal to those who formerly held them as property.

That deep seeded flaw in the American character needs to be ended once and for all - but some people, especially in the south, keep passing that flaw down to generation after generation. And it is not a genetic flaw as Nelson Mandela pointed out. It is a flaw of character. It is a flaw of the human condition. It is a flaw instilled in us by fear of losing power and privilege. Power and privilege which we do not deserve and which our religious heritage says is not bestowed upon one race over another.

What happened in Charlottesville is something we have both feared and felt inevitable. People who try to rationalize this event with cockeyed explanations and excuses need to stand down. We cannot heal until we face up to what this really is. It is hate, plain and simple. You can rally around symbols and say it is just a different philosophy, but we fought a viscious and costly World War to recognize it as hate and to banish it to the crypts of hell it deserves to be locked into.

This isn't about economic disparities. This isn't about sharing resources. This country is big enough and rich enough that we can solve these problems without choosing to hate those that are different. We are supposed to be the example of moral attitudes that the world can follow., But what we have been seeing lately is the moral equivalent of barbarism. And we must put an end to it.

We have a President that has been given this leadership role...and he has failed miserably. In just a few short months, we have abdicated Western leadership, moral leadership, leadership on human rights, and being a champion of peace. And it feels like more failures are yet to come.

Charlottesville cannot be a bipartisan debate. It is not a left or right issue. It is our test. Our moral test as a country...as a people.

Forget the politics and the strategies and the excuses. We need to confront this problem...all of us. Whether it is a blatant racist attitude, an ignorant tolerance, or just plain indifference...all of that must end.

We must change this...heal this...find the right path. It is crucial that we find a way - and it must be done with a united front.
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Blood And Soil

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 08/13/17 01:16

by Dave Mindeman

It is discouraging to watch what happened in Charlottesville and then watch the discourse that follows.

This isn't hard to explain. It was an attack on the civil order. It was hate. It was a criminal act.

And yet, I read some of the most ridiculous arguments about this as if there are "shades of grey". Some Trump supporters blame the victims. Some argue that to criticize the President over his reaction is unpatriotic and shouldn't be questioned. I even read one comment that said the city pulled back their police intentionally in order to create "martyrs". How sick do you have to be to think that way?

Prior to Trump, most of the country accepted the existence of the newly named Alt Right (really just white supremacists of all stripes), but they were universally condemned in their beliefs and actions.

But Trump changed that. After he won the nomination for the party, he played this game in regards to white supremacists. He knew they supported his rhetoric and offbeat ideas - and in return he tacitly approved of their participation. He gave them cover. They could come out from under their collective rocks and hide their hate rhetoric within the First Amendment, a right they share with all Americans, but with the additional allowances of a President who refuses to condemn them - giving them a voice that normally would never make it to mainstream discourse.

Charlottesville is the culmination of this developing new order. That "Blood and Soil" chant was particularly chilling. That phrase refers to a nationalist philosophy that Hitler embraced giving priority to genetic ethnic descent and homeland property. These ideas sprouted in rural areas first, among people who were still recovering from the depression....

Ultranationalists predating the Nazis often supported country living as more healthy, with the Artaman League sending urban children to the countryside to work in part in hopes of transforming them into Wehrbauern (soldier peasants).

Gatherings of these hate groups is a dangerous thing. And although they have the right of assembly - they can be publicly challenged in their hatred. And they absolutely do not have any right to violence. Frankly, their entire philosophy depends on violence. So many of them brandish their weapons menacingly hoping to obtain intimidation of their opponents.

There can be no disagreement that what happened in Charlottesville is a terrorist act. At least under normal circustances. An act like Timothy McVeigh...like Eric Rudolph. Trump is quick to condemn the acts of religious fanatics with Arabic heritage. But stumbles for the proper reaction involving a terrorist act coming from people within his base.

A President has to be a President of all our citizens. He does not get to apply Constitutional protections or access to legal recourse to a favored few.

Today, Trump has failed another test. He couldn't bring himself to condemn a actions of groups that were clearly hate crimes - a political act of retribution.

He is not a true President of all the people.
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