Our Great Divider
President Donald Trump is railing against those athletes who are kneeling during the National Anthem and the display of colors. He is ignoring the fact that they are doing so as a peaceful protest against police treatment of people of color and racism in general.
Trump clearly has no understanding of the US Constitution which he swore an oath to “preserve, protect and defend.” In this particular case the First Amendment protects the right of people to free speech and peaceful demonstration. Kneeling as a protest before the flag is a powerful visual symbol and certainly is “speech” whereas money used to buy elections most certainly does not fit the speech definition.
Our Great Divider doesn’t know or support the Constitution or respect the rule of law as shown by his total disregard of the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution. This clause was put in to protect the United States from corrupting foreign influences. In Trump’s case he is making millions from foreign countries and foreign diplomats who attempt to garner influence by renting from Trump hotels and doing business with other Trump financial entities.
Several constitutional amendments, specifically the 15th, 19th and 26th, protect voting rights, yet our president has established a commission, the Election Integrity Commission, which seems established to specifically deny the right to vote, and especially targeting minority and poor people.
Congress passed a statute prohibiting nepotism after Kennedy appointed his brother to the position of Attorney General. Donald Trump’s top advisors in the White House are his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and his daughter, Ivanka. Where is the rule of law?
Now the flag which these athletes are kneeling before is more than our colors. It’s an expression of our cherished American values. These are things like a handshake and your word serving as a contract, respecting women as well as all and various religions, embracing immigrants and diversity, and helping people rather than hurting them.
The National Anthem was written during the bombardment of Fort McHenry when dawn’s early light celebrated our flag, battered, but still flying—a proud moment in a battle against America’s enemies. In Trump’s case, he is trying every trick in the book to counter the investigation of Russia’s war against America’s free elections, and god only knows what else. He is known to have stood in the Oval Office of the White House and given the Russians classified and top secret information. These acts in my opinion are deplorable and even treasonous. How can it hurt to conduct a thorough investigation of Russian meddling?
The protest by the NFL players and other athletes is a courageous display of patriotism in a country being torn apart by a divisive president who’s narcissistic and racist values will taint this country and people and, yes, our future generations, sadly perhaps forever.
Racial Slurs and Misattributions in Sandoval County
Often arguments for or against any particular policy are quite dry. This was not the case at the filled-to-capacity Sandoval County meeting, held Oct. 5, to discuss their Right to Work ordinance, which will likely be introduced in Bernalillo soon. Public comment was overwhelmingly opposed to the ordinance, which was written by special interest groups to weaken unions.
Dr. Holden-Rhodes, Sandoval County Commissioner for District One, offended a group of concerned citizens while stating his case for a union-breaking ordinance. His demagogic technique for convincing the crowd consisted of a racial slur and poorly thought-out misattributions. He called out a teacher who had spoken against the proposed ordinance, telling her that it was her and her ilk who were responsible for the state of education in NM. He appears to want his constituents to believe that teachers and their union are solely responsible for New Mexico’s educational ranking. He also maligned the Teamsters Union, stating that the union employer which had helped him pay his way through college had so much goombah stuff going on that he was surprised they are still in business. This insinuation that the Teamsters Union is full of Italian mobsters and the teacher’s union is working against the children in the state was especially offensive to me as a working union driver who is the child of a teacher and a retired state employee. As I left the meeting early, I am uncertain if Dr. Holden-Rhodes went on to blame union officers for our crime rate or firemen for our fires.
The ad hominin attacks Dr. Holden-Rhodes used have no place in the creation of good policy and should be left to radio talk pundits whose knee-jerk mistakes will only mislead voluntary listeners. The company he referred to as having “goombah stuff” going on employs well over a hundred hard working men and women who are able to support their families and local businesses without relying on government aid by putting in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Teachers in New Mexico do a great job with limited resources in a state where a slew of factors harms their ability to educate their students. It is disheartening that policy makers are willing to rely on racial slurs, numbers which have clearly been misattributed and, in this case, legal defense from a Koch-backed interest group instead of peer reviewed research to make policy decisions.
In the future the Sandoval County Commissioners will hopefully begin to do their due diligence before introducing corporate-sponsored legislation. At this meeting they seemed to be trying to make a sale by relying on misattributed numbers and the fear of organized workers. Because the numbers the councilmen used were not even correlated to employment, education or well-being, it starts to take an appearance of impropriety. Had they the respect to look for potential confounding issues and acknowledge the voice of the crowd, maybe the anti-union stance could have been justified. This was not the case, however, leaving me to wonder if political quid pro quo is at play.
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