January 15, 2017

Donald Trump/Steve Harvey/John Lewis/REALITY.....

Note:    this is an edited version of a Facebook post.

So....about that meeting between Donald Trump and Steve Harvey (and the President-Elect's statements against Representative John Lewis):

If I were to be petty:    let's remember that President-Elect Trump did not serve during the Vietnam War. While the President-Elect in 1968 enjoyed exemption from serving during the Vietnam War due to BONE SPURS IN HIS HEELS,   Representative John Lewis was probably still in ways recovering from having his skull bashed in more than once during the Civil Rights Movement.   After all, Representative Lewis, "who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington, played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States."

Let's look at this:   After reading an article in which Representative Lewis expressed his sentiments about the "election" of President-Elect Trump and subsequent decision not to attend the Inauguration, the President-Elect went on yet another Twitter rampage during which he referred to Representative Lewis as "all talk, no action".

I need not list the arrests, the injuries, the grave injustices that Representative Lewis experienced as a young man who believed in true equity, equality, and social justice many years before the President-Elect was removed from the draft because of bone spurs.    Looking at Representative Lewis' record both from the turbulent 1960s and now, are those actions the actions of a person who is "all talk, no action?"   HARDLY.

With that, is President-Elect Trump's meeting with Steve Harvey, while simultaneously insulting a social justice warrior, an example of President-Elect Trump's desire to be "everyone's President" as his both he AND his wife shared during the Republican National Convention? HARDLY.

Unfortunately, President-Elect Trump is speaking from a very old and tired playbook, one that will resonate with anyone who is NOT paying attention.   For the record:   not every African-American lives in poverty, and this is exemplified by the FACT that hedge fund manager and Venture Capitalist Robert F. Smith was, this year, appointed the FIRST African-American Board Chairman of Carnegie Hall.   Additionally, not every inner-city looks like a battlefield, and if the discussion is truly to be had one has to balance that tired view of the "inner cities" (coded language) with the reality-based view of cities and towns that, once prosperous cities in the United States, are becoming ghost towns (there are myriad of recently published articles that support that statement, and I need not reference them because - because GOOGLE).

In the book Black Like Me - a fantastic and fascinating read, by the way - John Howard Griffin recounts a time during which he was being called across the United States by community leaders during the turbulent 1960s. Those community leaders were asking what they should do about the uprisings in African-American communities (and that's a WHOLE different discussion). When Mr. Griffin asked those leaders if they had really gone into neighborhoods and met with leaders in those neighborhoods (and he specifically referred to churches and barber shops), the response was one of dismay. The author's response: "That's why people are angry. You SAY you want to help them, yet you don't talk to them".

President-Elect Donald Trump HAS spoken to some people, yes.   However, has President-Elect Trump REALLY gone into communities and asked members of those communities what they need?

Yes, meet with Steve Harvey. That's great. Yes, Steve Harvey took a diplomatic stance on this, and that's great too.  Furthermore, it needs to be said that Steve Harvey is not just a comedian, radio host, and host of television's "Family Feud":   Mr. Harvey and his wife are the founders of the Steven and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, a foundation whose mission is "to provide outreach to fatherless children and young adults by promoting educational enrichment, one-on-one mentoring and global service initiatives that will cultivate the next generation of responsible leaders."   The Harvey Foundation's programs include both the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men and Girls Who Rule The World:  Mentoring Girls, Creating Leaders.    Not shabby stuff, to say the least.

There are, however, scores of organizations, non-profits, and foundations that provide mentoring in the African-American community that were founded by people on the ground, one of those being Munir Bahar's COR Community, a group that focuses on keeping children both active and healthy.

It is vitally important to note the work of Mr. Bahar and COR Community:   as President-Elect Trump has in his speeches lamented the blight and crime that in his view pervades African-American life, Mr. Bahar's organization is truly special as its focus is on physical health, and the organization is in the process of refitting a group of abandoned Baltimore rowhouses into a fully-equipped fitness facility (if there is anyone reading this who knows more about COR Community, please chime in).


So - and while I am hesitant to write this as it may be interpreted that I am giving President-Elect Trump a pass - the talk with Steve Harvey was one that may have been easy.  After all, they are both famous.
If given the CHANCE, however, would President-Elect Trump have a conversation with Mr. Bahar, a man who is unapologetic regarding his love for young people and the consequent profound distress we all feel when we look at SOME urban areas?

Furthermore:  insulting a civil-rights hero who happens to be of the same hue as the man with whom you've just met shows a GRAVE lack of concern and interest in doing REAL, substantive, and on-the-ground work, the type of work that has nothing to do with "meeting the stars". The lack of sincerity evident in the President-Elect's actions and choices is at best reprehensible.

SHOULD President-Elect Trump have been truly sincere and SERIOUS about wanting to help the African-American community, he would have immediately made a statement after the horrific shootings that took place at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
*but of course not, as that would have resulted in his disavowing the KKK and the legion of White Nationalist groups existing in the United States.  Dylann Roof, recently sentenced with the death penalty, is an avowed White Supremacist.   Mind you, there has been NO commentary about that from our President-Elect.*

He should have IMMEDIATELY made a statement about police brutality in the wake of the Baltimore Uprising in April 2015 or even in the wake of Ferguson, Missouri.
*but of course not, as that goes against his stated desire to institute a national stop-and-frisk policy and would have lost his the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police*

He should have gone to Baton Rouge and Minneapolis during the summer of 2016, and he did not.

*read statement about FOP endorsement and national-stop and frisk*

Instead, during that time period he was having "Make America Great Again" rallies during which he told security to "kick out" African-Americans and protesters, and also said that "In the OLD days, we would make sure that they wouldn't protest again".

That's all for today.....make with this what you will.   It's all so Shakesperian....

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