Bellefontaine native Katie Kelly’s terrific letter to the Forum, Examiner, Nov. 11, 2016, was both revealing and chilling. Democracy, free speech and dissent gone asunder.
Knowing this article will meet with contempt, or outright hostility, in pockets of Logan County, I’m appalled that Donald J. Trump’s hateful image as president will be America’s face to the world on Jan. 20, 2017.
It makes me ashamed of my own skin color: white.
The Bible-thumping, conservative, Republican mind-set, which has always prevailed around her in my lifetime (71), can be suffocating, in my opinion. Even menacing, as Kelly points out so well.
If you haven’t read Katie Kelly’s letter, I highly recommend that you do so.
It’s serious and timely if you supposedly believe that we will always live in a “free society.”
I’ll finish later with some notes on Kelly.
Logan Countians, meanwhile, voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump on Nov. 8, 2016: more than 15,000 out of some 21,000 ballots cast.
Trump lost the will of the people nationwide, though. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but lost in the Electoral College, which actually determines the presidency. It’s the number of states’ electoral votes combined. A candidate needs 270 to win.
This is the second time in recent history the popular vote hasn’t decided America’s highest office. Both times it has gone in favor of a right-wing Republican. In 2000, a conservative United States Supreme Court picked George W. Bush over Al Gore.
That resulted in an out-right invasion of Iraq and hundreds of thousands of Americans also fighting in Afghanistan.
Adding to that misery, the United States suffered through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The incoming president has spouted belligerent war talk, including that he “likes and loves nukes,” meaning nuclear weapons. His hands will be on our massive nukes’ arsenal in less than two months. I don’t like even the thought of it.
I’ll address economic matters later.
Trump is a billionaire, who repeatedly brags about not paying his taxes for years. In his case, millions (or even billions) of dollars. You try getting away with that, owing far, far less. He’s the first presidential candidate in four decades not to release his tax returns. What is he hiding?
But above all, what really makes Trump unfit to govern a multicultural America is that he’s a racist, bigoted bully. By his own words and actions.
And he always has been.
Some 40 years ago, for instance, Trump wouldn’t rent apartments he owned to African-Americans.
In more recent years, he was a leader in the “birther” movement. He claimed that our first black chief executive, Barack Obama, wasn’t born in this nation. He was (Hawaii 1961). It was done simply because Mr. Obama’s skin is darker than Trump’s.
Now, we’ve got people (mostly white), popping up across the Untied States arguing amnesia and a clean bill of health for Trump.
He said and did too many nasty things for that.
By the way, our current president is a model of decency and civility compared to this ogre.
Trump has, in fact, been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, America’s oldest anti-black, anti-Jew, anti-Catholic, homegrown terrorist organization.
He’s demeaned practically every American ethnicity —except white people, of course.
Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in the United States, period.
Trump has assailed Mexicans — presumably all of them — as “rapists.”
He talks of building a wall along our southern border with Mexico.
A wall? There’s a totalitarian ideal if I ever heard one.
A Republican hero, former president Ronald Reagan, told a Russian leader at the time (late 1980s), “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The communists had built the wall on the east side of Berlin, Germany (1961) to stem the flow of people streaming to west Germany and freedom.
Maybe Trump should just check the wording on our Statue of Liberty in the harbor of his hometown, New York. Let’s just say it’s a much more welcoming vision of this country.
Millions of white Americans aren’t happy campers about the changing demographics in this nation, the browning of America, so to speak.
The president-elect fully capitalized on that anger.
The ugliness of this man doesn’t stop there, however.
The next commander-in-chief trashed the Muslim parents of an American soldier who lost his life for this country in Iraq.
He denounced another American military hero, Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential candidate (2008) John McCain, who survived five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. McCain wouldn’t abandon his fellow American captives, even when given the opportunity to do so. Of McCain, Trump uttered, “I like people who aren’t captured better.”
Trump, as you might have known, never served in the military.
He mocked a disabled man in full view of the public.
Numerous women have publicly accused Trump of lewd behavior toward them. It’s been verbal or physical, sometimes both. He calls all of them “liars.” He’s been recorded, however, calling females vile names.
I don’t buy this story being peddled after the election. Trump’s win is supposedly based on America’s working class wanting a “change” in the way things are being done in Washington.
And that “change” will be delivered by the Republican party?
The Republicans? Champions of the working men and women of America?
An extensive study of American history taught me only the Grand Old Party’s best, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, really cared for working folks (unless they own or run a business, that is.)
Since then, the GOP has fought tooth and nail against every important measure to help the common man and woman: Social Security, unions, better pay and benefits, shorter working hours, raises in the minimum wage, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or universal health care itself (like every other developed civilized nation on earth has).
This is a leopard (GOP) that hasn’t changed its spots in a century.
Look at recent history.
Over the last eight years alone, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have blocked all the legislation Trump voters claim would have helped them: jobs, education, infrastructure and so on.
Talk about smoke and mirrors. This is one of the most successful sabotage acts ever foisted on the American public. They even got the Democratic Party to take the fall for them.
Now, however, push comes to shove. They will control the presidency, House and Senate.
What are they going to tell the American people in 2017 and beyond?
We know more big tax cuts for the wealthy are already in the wind. That’s “change?”
Republicans have a very simple and powerful propaganda appeal, especially to white voters.
It boils down to “somebody unworthy is benefiting off of you.”
Don’t ever underestimate the influence of this message.
Welfare and food stamp recipients are often the targets of this crusade. We have a pair of Republican politicians around here, U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan and State Representative Nino Vitale, both of Urbana, who rarely pass up the opportunity to demonize the less fortunate. Their mantra being these “able-bodied” people won’t work.
It reminds me of someone pulling wings off a butterfly.
The most interesting information I came across during this last presidential campaign was from an Associated Press story.
According to exit polling, a majority of white Americans have voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election since at least 1972.
I never would have figured that one.
I should have.
Here’s the relevant point:
In the last four decades the voting pattern directly correlates to the following (none of it good):
The huge decline in union memberships. Only one in 14 private-sector employees today has bargaining rights with their employers. It wouldn’t be much worse in fascist or communist societies. Untold millions of good-paying jobs have been outsourced or downsized, never to return. Employer have slashed benefits (health care etc.) and pensions, shoved more of the costs onto employers, or eliminated them altogether.
Wages have been stagnant seemingly forever.
It’s been an unholy mess for most Americans.
Of course these white Republican voters — mainly conservative I believe — also help to elect local, state and national legislators. We’re overrun with them in choices in this county and state.
The thing is, however, these people often vote based on an anti- abortion, gays and same-sex marriage agenda. They haven’t done the majority of us any favors in one of the most crucial aspects of anyone’s life: economics. the ability to make a livable wage, keep a roof overhead, food on the table, clothes on the back, have money to educate children, for health care, a vehicle that operates and be able to put something away for retirement.
In other words, how well we get along everyday. Or don’t.
Improving on all of those issues should be the focus of any politician, not rummaging around in women’s health issues or peoples’ private lives.
Incidentally, the only conservative standard I strongly agree with is the Second Amendment’s right of the people to keep and bear arms. Our founders meant exactly what they wrote.
What I’ve written here is why I admire what Katie Kelly wrote.
Kelly’s peaceful and mature demeanor still led to her removal from an event advertised as open to the public. It’s a blatant denial of her most fundamental Constitutional right as an American.
Her right to disagree.
It’s called free speech.
What also bothers me is that nobody intervened to do the right thing. That is, leave the lady alone. Nobody.
I love history and the fact this happened at our own county historical society, of all places, is incomprehensible to me.
This sinister conduct resembles what segregationists in our south did for a century to deny blacks the vote.
I mentioned Germany earlier. In that country 75 years ago, it eventually resulted in gas chambers and crematoriums. Millions perished.
Don’t ever think the latter couldn’t happen here.
Thanks Katie Kelly. You’ve done a great public service. Yours is the kind of letter we see too little of in this county.
Jerry Turner, Quincy