By Tiberiu Dianu
1. Introductory Remarks
Many people, because of convenience, lack of time and the like, limit themselves to read, listen, and watch – in a word, to check for – the media that reflects their own points of view and philosophy of life.
I, for one, have been in the habit of checking for the (adverse) liberal media even before the 2016 presidential elections. However, after the elections, I have to confess, my browsing through the mainstream and local media (most of them, essentially, liberal) has been bringing me cherished and enchanting moments of entertainment.
Tiberiu Dianu has published several books and over 100 articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC, and can be followed on Medium. https://medium.com/@tdianu
Not only because the media keeps on referring ecstatically to Obama in their articles. But also for the distorted projection of reality, which the same articles purport to describe, creating a Lewis Carroll’s looking-glass type of effect. And all these articles “strike down upon” Donald Trump “with great vengeance and furious anger” in the Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction style.
Come to think of it, Obama was so bad throughout his presidency that he managed to turn the Democrats into total losers on all fronts. By losing in a row the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the presidency for his successor in 2016, he got the perfect “triple whammy” for a politician. So much for his “legacy”. And still, the media considers him a genius. Isn’t this entertaining?
The Left, who was “left” out of power (and “left” only with the media) has been in constant denial and tries to impute to the guy who actually WON (Donald Trump) all the possible evils. You can have a better chance detecting spots in the sun than finding positive things about Trump in the liberal scribblers’ op-eds.
I am a long-time resident of Washington, DC, a city run in perpetuity by Democrats, so what I browse (as if I had another choice) is the leftist local media. Which, except The Washington Times and Washington Examiner, is either liberal or radical left (in translation: “moderate” or “progressive”). In a city dominated by the African-American minority I guess that I, as one of the 36% non-Hispanic whites and 4% conservatives, can claim I am a “minority,” too. But I digress.
Taking into account that on November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected for president by 57 percent of white non-Hispanics, 28 percent of Hispanics, and only 8 percent of blacks, I think it is fair to say that the president is not exactly the African-American community’s cup of tea. More about tea, a little later.
Having this non-optimistic perspective in mind, I took some time to figure out what exactly has dented the black community’s enthusiasm for President Trump.
Therefore, I would like to address a series of op-eds published in The Washington Informer, the April 5 (online)/April 6 (paper), 2017 edition. The Informer is a female-owned weekly newspaper, targeted at the African-American population of the Washington metropolitan area. The journal has a circulation of 50 to 60,000 copies, which, for a city of over 800,000 residents and a predominantly black population, shows that there is still room for improvement.
The newspaper publishes a number of six opinion pieces per issue and, with the readers’ indulgence, I would go briefly through them in order to make my point. The debated issues are: judiciary, health, labor, press, housing, and racial divide. Let’s take them in order.
Cedric Richmond, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), opposes Gorsuch nomination and requires the US Senate to do that, too.
He claims that appointing Judge Neil Gorsuch in a position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court would have serious consequences for all Americans, and especially African-Americans, since the judge has displayed hostility to the rights of minorities, women, people with disabilities, and workers.
Richmond recites the liberal mantra that the judicial branch has the power to interpret the laws of the land and the “Constitution is a living and breathing document that is meant to evolve with our society and it should be interpreted as such”. In translation: since the Democrats have been completely stripped out of power in the US Congress, they don’t have the votes to pass anything.
So, the only way to dodge the constitutional prerequisites is to give a judge or panel of judges in a local court, or five justices in the Supreme Court, the power to “interpret” a “living and breathing document” outside the original meaning of its creators. In other words, the “living and breathing document that is meant to evolve with our society” can be, in actuality, a new law, masqueraded as an “interpreted law.” Employing this successful technique, liberal judges have created new laws of the land by “interpreting” provisions inexistent in the Constitution and creating “rights” out of the blue, such as: the right to abortion, the right to universal health care, and the right to marry a member of the same sex.
Fortunately, on Monday, April 10, 2017, the Senate employed the nuclear option (since the Democrats were threatening with the filibuster), and confirmed Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice with a simple majority of votes of 54 to 45.
In the near future, Gorsuch’s vote might prove important in cases related to President Trump’s travel ban (the president’s second travel ban executive order), religious freedom impacted by providing services to same-sex couples (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission), and the right to carry concealed weapons in public (Peruta v. San Diego).
Jesse Jackson, the famous political figure and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, advises Trump to form a bipartisan coalition in order to get “true reforms.”
More precisely, he refers to the American Health Care Act, deemed to replace Obamacare (The Universal Health Care Act), which was torpedoed by a right-wing Freedom Caucus faction of the Republicans in Congress for being too soft a version.
Yes, Reverend Jackson, by all means, a “bipartisanship coalition,” pretty much like the one his predecessor created, right? Wait a minute, was there any? It is notorious that Obama “cared” a lot about “bipartisanship” when he forced an unpopular health care law on the back of the Americans with just a slim majority in Congress. And when he lost that majority (because of the same infamous law), he has become famous for ruling by executive orders until the end of his second mandate.
Let’s remind to everybody here the fact that on September 28, 2016, President Obama’s veto against a bill that allowed legal action against Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks was overridden by Congress for the first time in his administration (with the votes of his fellow Democrats).
Now, Reverend Jackson urges President Trump “to fulfill his campaign pledge by reaching out to Democrats and forging a new majority to make health care a right in this country”. By the way, health care is not a “right”, it’s a “service” and Jackson just acknowledged that in his last phrase.
Julianne Malveaux, the well-known progressive political commentator, decries the fact that Alexander Acosta, the president’s nominee for secretary of labor, got a narrow approval from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions by a 12 to 11 party line vote.
In her view, Acosta was “slippery” when he was asked if he would “stand up for workers” because the Labor Department should take care of “the little person” and not “take care of corporations.” Mrs Malveaux is terribly upset that the president has proposed a 21 percent cut in the department’s budget, potentially eliminating some programs dear to Democrats, such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program, Job Corps Centers, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Women’s Bureau, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration unproven training grants.
On the other hand, she laments that President Obama proposed that the overtime ceiling (according to which workers qualify for time and a half under a certain salary limit) be doubled, from the current $23,660 to $47,320, while Acosta indicated that he would prefer “something in the $33,000 range.” Question for Mrs Malveaux: who stopped President Obama to raise the overtime ceiling? Now it’s a bit late for lamenting and criticizing. Because – don’t we all know? – “elections have consequences.”
Although Acosta is the first Hispanic on the Trump cabinet, a Harvard undergraduate and has law degrees, he is already described as “a disappointment for workers”. The fact that he is an “anti-regulation” guy (in translation: less bureaucracy), pretty much like his boss, President Trump, seems to give chills to Mrs Malveaux.
Austin Cooper, president of Cooper Strategic Affairs, Inc., a lobby group, is preoccupied that the White House press secretary for President Trump, Sean Spicer’s briefings have become “nationally televised verbal saunas of stress.”
Why is that? Because the presidency “is constantly at war with the media”. I just love the fact how Democrats, famous in offering you a flawed premise to debate, start later on to corner you and force you to accept that you are wrong and they are right.
Take any example. Here’s one: we should accept the “undocumented” (in translation: illegal) immigrants because they are “also” immigrants (like the legal ones) and America is “a country of immigrants.” Here’s another one: transgender people have “the right” (not in the Constitution yet, but a liberal judge will make sure to “interpret” this accordingly) to select a restroom of their choice (despite the fact that the person has not changed his sex in court, according to the law). Here’s a more recent one: I don’t have to pay taxes since President Trump does not reveal his taxes (is this an obligation?).
The employed technique consists in causes and effects being reversed. In reality, it’s not the president who is at war with media; it’s the media who is at war with the president. And this has been the case since Day Number One, when Trump announced his candidacy, until now. Has been there any break in this war, Mr Cooper? Not that I know of.
However, for Mr Cooper, this has been already a stressful situation. He, as a journalist, is stressed that the media starts the war against the president, and the president hits back. Unbelievable! Maybe we should impeach him.
Another reason for “stress” is the access for media to the president. Why? Because the administration “always feels that the press is looking for a scandal, focusing on the wrong thing and only wants to trip up the president.” Oh, my goodness! So many reasons for real concern, and all of them true, right?
And from here, another false premise for another comparison dear to Democrats: Trump is like Nixon who, also, “was a monomaniac on the stump, obsessed with enemies lurking within”. The subliminal message of all these Trump-Nixon comparisons, used here and elsewhere by the liberal journalists is that sometime Trump might be impeached. Which is Maxine Waters’ mantra and “best hit”. Only that she doesn’t have the votes to put it in the Top Ten Chart.
Charlene Crowell panics that “the future of our country’s commitment to housing is in jeopardy” since the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) becomes smaller, and that many HUD programs with “bipartisan support” will end.
Case in point: the HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program would absorb $3 billion of HUD’s proposed $6.2 billion agency cut, which is almost half, according to the White House Budget Blueprint. Other programs listed on a proposed $1.1 billion in cuts include Choice Neighborhoods and the HOME Investment Partnerships.
Choice Neighborhoods program provides funding and technical assistance for “distressed public,” while the HOME Investment Partnerships program focuses on creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income families. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of HUD, insures mortgage loans, with down payment as low as 3.5 percent for families who cannot afford a large down payment for a conventional loan.
The author admits that “in recent years, FHA-backed loans are the most used by black and Latino consumers.” She also forgets what happens when the real estate bubble breaks: financial crises like the one in 2007-08. That was a result of a real estate bubble that had begun during the 2000s (more precisely, during President Bill Clinton’s second mandate).
And she also forgets about the $13 trillion debt held by the public, created by Obama, a debt that keeps growing. Like a preacher in the desert, Mrs Crowell psalms about more programs that “deserve to be supported and funded” and asks for Congress to restore the $6 billion in HUD funding. In translation: zero cuts.
The author doesn’t seem to care too much about gentrification, which, in areas like Washington, DC, surges as a visible and intense phenomenon. Nor about the positive effects that gentrification brings to the poor areas and their residents, described at a short interval of time by The Afro-American, another African-American journal from the DC Metropolitan Area.
7. Racial Divide
Askia Muhammad, a senior editor for The Final Call newspaper and a Washington Informer contributor, approaches the issue of racial division in the country, which has been old and still visible.
Mr Muhammad attempts to make some points, according to which, while he was visiting his hometown in Mississippi, in the Delta in particular, and in the South in general, although some curiosities happened (like white children being reared in black neighborhoods “down south” or some black families moving in white areas, “on the north side” of the towns, “where neighborhoods have paved sidewalks and manicured lawns”), not much has changed really.
The author seems to reminisce about the times when on one side of the highway were fast-food establishments with black staff and black managers, while on the other side were businesses (like banks, pawnshops, hardware, auto, and loan stores) managed by whites with black workers. Those times have remained unchanged.
Also, he reminisces about the last year’s NCAA tournament day, when the Mississippi State University’s black female basketball player, Morgan William, brought victory for her team against University of Connecticut. Which makes me reminisce, too, about why White Men Can’t Jump.
The author is candid enough to admit the fact that in the area the segregationists were the Dixiecrats. And that was before President Nixon’s (“here you go again!”) “Southern Strategy” punished the Democrats in the South for President Lyndon Johnson’s support for civil right legislation. The Ku Klux Klan is mentioned, too, but the author does not remind us that the organization was formed by Southern Democrats after the Civil War.
In retrospect, I remember how obfuscated was once Anthony Kapel “Van” Jones, Obama’s former “progressive” (in translation: Marxist) Special Advisor for Green Jobs. In a CNN show during the presidential elections, Jones was totally displeased that members of the white nationalist groups would support Trump (as if they were less American than Van).
When conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord confronted him with the historical fact that the Ku Klux Klan was formed in the post-Civil War years by Southern Democrats, Van blew up: “I don’t care about history!” Of course you don’t, Van, unless history serves your racial narrative.
In the end, Mr Muhammad complains that the “Trump Revolution” would “reestablish that “natural order” of things where white folks are in charge – right or wrong, win or lose” but he admits that nothing much has changed in the “deep, deep” South.
It is unclear from the article what the author’s expectations about the Southern communities are. With a plethora of Democrat presidents – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama – one would have hoped for racial problems to have been fixed already in the direction desired by the author. Is it Trump’s fault that he “solidifies” what has been almost unchanged for decades? And if some people had frustrations over this, they should re-direct them toward the aforementioned presidents.
8. Concluding Remarks
Apparently many in the liberal black community have been trapped in Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole and see everything distorted, like in Alice’s looking-glass. The only difference is that Alice was acting candidly, while the black leaders are in denial and act with malice.
Such op-ed pieces embark the reader on a journey in Lewis Carroll’s symbolic world, populated with mirror-like opposite themes. In this surreal world good is bad, big is small, fast is slow, forward is backward and, not in the least, the visible becomes invisible.
The liberal black leaders do know they will be stuck with Trump for a four-year round, and possibly for a second one. Lewis Carroll’s two books reflect two worlds – Wonderland and The Looking-Glass – mirroring each other. And “the trader” of the story, The Mad Hatter, is a returning character, appearing in both books.
From now on, it all depends on how crafty the black leaders will be when they respond to Mad Hatter’s “Tea Party” invitations. For his first invitation, at his Inauguration Day, part of them chose not to attend. That was not a smart move.
In the near future, The Mad Hatter may invite them again: either in Wonderland, in order to enjoy a fine cup of “Tea” and biscuit, and play a nice game of cards, or in The Looking-Glass, where he can engage them to a much longer, complicated, and stressful, game of chess.