Archives for category: Donald Trump

img_9018 Truth Isn’t Truth, or Is It???

In all my years of following religious conservatism, never would I ever have imagined that truth would be accepted as not truth, also known as false.

On Sunday, on Meet the Press, Rudy Giuliani, while defending Donald J. Trump, blurted out “Truth isn’t truth” as a means of explaining how two seemingly credible sources could so convincingly argue two contradictory accounts of the same conversation.

Without delving too deeply into exactly which truth isn’t true, I’m tempted to argue that Rudy is right. The presupposition that truth isn’t truth has been the basis of American political discourse since its founding.

The truth that the New World was dispossessed prior to European settlement is a truth that isn’t true. The truth that indentured servitude was a sovereign right bestowed upon white landowning males is a truth that isn’t true. The truth that God ordained man to be head over woman whose exclusive duty was to serve him and bear his offspring was a truth that isn’t true. That men who lie with men as one would lie with a woman and that women who lie with women as one would lie with a man would each be doomed to eternal damnation is a truth that isn’t true.

Indeed, the landfill of American virtuosity it littered with truths that aren’t truth. From white picket fences to apple pie to baseball and rock-n-roll, are all truths that are only true for a select few.

Last week, a naked truth that we all wish was not true was revealed. Scores of Catholic priests conspired to rape and abuse countless little boys and little girls over the course of many generations, exposed the truth that sexual anorexia in the name of religion is detrimental to psychological and spiritual health, not to mention demonic and may very destroy all of Christendom.

The lie that truth isn’t truth is the spiritual truth peddled by religious conservatism since it’s inception with imperial rule. Such truths proclaim that first peoples aren’t first. That black people aren’t people. That God’s chosen people aren’t chosen. And that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

Thus Giuliani’s revelation that truth isn’t truth is not such a radical departure from the canon of heresy that is the bedrock of religious conservatism. It is quietly preached in the halls of congress as lies are abided so that religious falsehood can be exacted in the courts.

The truth that life is sacred is betrayed by the lie that sexual violence is inconsequential. The truth that God hates fags is betrayed by the lie that the richest one percent are entitled to more wealth than the ninety-nine. The truth that global warming is not man-made is betrayed by the lie that Mexicans are murders and rapists. The truth that gun ownership is a god-given right is betrayed by the lie that parents seeking asylum for their children is not. The truth that Barack Obama was not born in America is betrayed by the truth that he was.

The lie that truth isn’t true is perhaps the truest untruth Giuliani has ever uttered for it reveals more about Make America Great Again religious conservatism than we can ever imagine.

The lie the truth isn’t truth should shock and surprise all who seek truth, justice, and the American Dream. But since so much of the American Dream is just a Dream we have become accustomed to trusting in truths that are untrue. As such, Giuliani’s lie that truth isn’t truth will soon be accepted as mere rhetorical relativism used to justify supporting an administration that is remaining true to its promises to make America hate again in the name of God!

No! But the question is true. America is caught between a truth and a lie. The truth is: we are the land of the free, the home of the brave. The lie is: we are the land of the free, the home of the  brave. The truth is: we are a nation founded by slave trading barbarians who happened to be brilliant enough to enshrine their personal ambition to achieve ultimate freedom into the Constitution of the United States of America. The truth is: mortal lies were executed to secure said freedom and justified by the ends that such lies would achieve. The truth is: the American liberty enschrined in the Constitution was etched on the backs of more than 13 million blacks bodies. The lie is: truth must be sacrificed so that the sanctity of freedom and democracy might be preserved. The truth is: that same lie that brokered black bodies continues to undermine the Constitution that liberated those whom it never had in mind. The lie is: the truth must be suppressed so that the noble ideals of freedom and democracy can be achieved and experienced. The truth is: a land that is truly free is only free because it has told the truth. The lie is: those who have sworn by conscience to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are betraying the ideals of freedom and liberty by doing so. The truth is: the freedom and liberty that has made America great has only come when such people have withstood the lies of tyranny, despotism, and nihilism…without compromise. Ironically, during an age when America is arguably in its freest state, black Americans are being asked to be true to America, by way of a lie. This lie says that the only way to be a true American is to stand in silent complicity to her crimes. The lie is: telling the truth through peaceful protest is unpatriotic. The lie is: black Americans are ungrateful to the America that rations her grace to only a few. But the truth is: every time black America tells the truth about America, America only becomes more true, be it abolition, Jim Crow, Ferguson, or Trump. Indeed, the very existence of a black America exposes the American lie and keeps her accountable to her many truths that have become self evident. Is America a lie? No. But the notion that telling the truth about America is un-American is the greatest lie ever told…and no lie can live forever.

Are they? Are they? Are the allies of rabid racists “Fine People?” Yes, according to our Fine President. Those cheering alongside racists, fascists, neo-Nazi, white supremacists, white nationalists, and the KKK are “Fine People.”

When he first said this, I was quite surprised. How could he say such a thing. Right there in the hallowed lobby of Trump Tower, in front of those gold-plated elevators, steps away from Fifth Avenue? I was aghast. Surely the President of the United States of America did not equate racists with anti-racists, fascists with anti-fascists, KKK with anti-KKK.

But why on earth am I surprised? This man has said and done the worst things. Worst than any publicly praised political figure in my lifetime. “Grab em by the pussy.” “Mexican rapists.” “Little Marco.” “Crooked Hillary.” Ever since the day he descended the escalators of that same lobby, Mr. Trump has said the most appalling things. Things that many would never say. Things that we all think and may say in the most intimate of spaces. Such things that haven’t been said out loud beyond the go-go bar nor HBO in a generation. Things that would make Sarah Silverman blush, he has dared to utter into the living rooms of the ever faithful American religious right wing conservative, and beyond.

But perhaps that’s why I’m quite surprised. It’s quite surprising to see such sedition in plain sight, with my very own eyes…and hear them with my very own ears. I’ve heard of them through the lips of many others, as they lamented the water hoses, the police dogs, the lynch mobs, the death camps. For generations “Fine People” have been committing evil atrocities, prompting equally “Fine People” to rise up against them.

The “Fine People” of the North, came down to fight the “Fine People” of the South in order to put an end to slavery. The “Fine People” of the Allied armies, joined forces to defeat the “Fine People” of Italy, Germany, and Japan. The “Fine People” of the Civil Rights Movement led a non-violent movement against the “Fine People” of the Jim Crow South, many of whom held many a fine picnic just beneath the lynching tree. The “Fine People” of the United States of America invaded the “Fine People” of Vietnam, and the “Fine People” of Saddam’s Iraq, and the “Fine People” of Bin Laden’s Taliban who weaponized a plane full of “Fine People” bringing down two towers filled with “Fine People” on September 11th, 2001. All very “Fine People.”

Everyday I live and work and worship with “Fine People,” living “Fine Lives” longing to hear the words, “Everything is just fine.” “You are doing everything well and right. You are in no way and by no means implicated in anything that is evil or undesirable or inhumane. You are powerless to do anything beyond the many good things you are already doing. You are fine. Everything is just fine. Or is it?

What’s most surprising about Trump’s charge that there were “Fine People” on both sides, is its brilliance. It’s brilliant because, as Americans, we all just wanna be “Fine People.” This has become the bar for all of western humanity. Mr. Trump himself was accused of having a family of “fine people” by the very opponent that he accused of paying off her husband’s rape victim. Many voted for President Trump, under the assumption that he was a “Fine Person” with “Fine Children.” In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter protested “fine white people” who deeply believe New York’s Finest are policing just fine, thank you very much, despite the unarmed death of the not-so-fine black body of Eric Gardner. Almost all of the policemen who committed these murders have been acquitted because they are “Fine Policemen” called to protect and serve “Fine White People.”

The problem with “Fine People” is that they are rarely fine, “bless they’re hearts.” “Fine People” are really restless, fearful people willing to do anything to reach the not-so-high bar of feeling just fine, thank you very much. “Fine People” are willing to forego just about anything to remain just fine. “Fine People” are only willing to tweet the bare minimum to insure that everything remains fine. “Fine People” are satisfied with waiting out the rage so that we can get on with the fine business of representative government. “Fine People” are only moved to action when the immediate luxuries of they’re “Fine Lives” are frightened and frustrated.

More than anything, “Fine people” want us all to believe that everything is fine so that those of who are far from fine, will do the least amount necessary to bring about any real  and lasting social change. For this reason, both the fascists and the Antifa were far from fine in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. One side was evil, the other courageous, each committed to fulfilling its respective agenda: one, the complete annihilation of non-white races…the other, the full equality and inclusion of all people…both by any means necessary.

This is the view of the President of the United States regarding race in America. According to Mr. Trump, racism, bigotry, violence, and hate happens “on many sides, on many sides” as he reluctantly condemned the horrific events that took place on Saturday, August 12, 2017 after a self-avowed Nazi sympathizer plowed into a crowd of peaceful protesters. After years and months of actions and rhetoric aligned closely with white nationalism and white supremacy, the President of the United States was confronted with an opportunity to distance himself from such ideas. 

After a victorious campaign that capitalized on the notion that third millennia America is no longer great due to radical Islamic terrorism, Mexican rapists and carnage on the Black streets of Chicago, the president was gifted with the golden opportunity to denounce his deal with the devils of white supremacy. Their premeditated pep rally on the streets of Charlottesville on Friday, August 11th, their violent clash with nationally renowned clergy and activists, the vehicular homicide committed by a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer who mowed down a mob of justice warriors were all gracious opportunities to give lip service to the lie that POTUS is not a violent hate monger. 

Instead of prolonging the pitiful charade of racist or nah, Mr. Trump put the nail in the coffin with these six simple words, “on many sides, on many sides.” This racist accusation of multi-faceted, many-sided racism, bigotry, and prejudice is not new to this not-so-new discourse on race in America. 

The notion that racism is polychromatic is what sustains the lie that #AllLivesMatter. The insistence that racism, bigotry, and prejudice happens on many sides, on many sides is what justifies the DOJ investigation into white college admissions. His belief that racial violence happens on many sides, on many sides inspired Mr. Trump to make it his mission to target the innocent Central Park 5 and delegitimize the citizenship of America’s only Black president. 

During the darkest hour of 2017, the President of the United States decided to equalize inequality by condemning all sides of American history. But just as an eye for any eye leaves everybody blind, so does the insidious retort, on many sides, on many sides. Condemning racism, bigotry, and prejudice on many sides, on many sides is worse than saying nothing at all. If everybody is guilty, then no one is. If every side is at fault, then all sides are justified in their actions. If racism is endemic on many sides, on many sides, then James Alex Fields, Jr’s Nazi activism is just as justified as Heather Heyer’s martyrdom for justice. 

On many sides, on many sides is the perfect way to keep an already divided nation evenly divided. On many sides, on many sides will do little to heal the wounds of the those hurt on August 12, 2017, but will do much to keep all sides angry enough for the Commander-in-Chief to consolidate just enough power in just the right places to keep himself in office. While this will never work for those fighting for justice, let’s just see if it works for him. 

IMG_4626It’s June. June! It’s only June. Everyday since November 8 the news has been nonstop. From #pussygate to characters streaming in and out of Gotham Tower to #fakenews about crowds to failed attempts to ban Muslims to Spicers press briefing antics to crazy nonstop tweets to #fakenews about #Obamagate to failed Obamacare appeals to #Russiagate and on and on and on. It just hasn’t quit. It’s June. June! It’s only June.

It hasn’t even been six months, but already there is plenty of proof that we have been Trump-ed by traitors. A traitor is a person who betrays a friend, country, or principle. Traitors have infiltrated our government under the guise of piety and American Pie in order to rob us of our dignity for the sake of personal gain.

But the traitor is not Trump. Trump is who we have always known him to be, a self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist who will do whatever it takes to advance his own agenda. The real traitors are all 54 senators and 247 house leaders who are betraying American values by defending Trump’s self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist antics. The traitors are the white evangelical church leaders who are betraying American values by worshipping a God who is ambivalent to exhorbitant wealth, women’s rights, immigrants, refugees, extreme poverty, and racism. The traitors are the rust belt middle class pretending to be pitiful and poor to mask their fear of blacks, immigrants, refugees, and industrial progress.

These deep and subtle betrayals are what makes all this Trumpian chaos so horrific and unimaginable. Prior to November 8, I assumed I had friends who held differing views and values. Prior to November 8, I assumed I lived in a country with a constitution that states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Prior to November 8, I assumed that my interests were being served by a democratic government that would protect me from the wiles of authoritarianism, nationalism, unrestricted capitalism.

But since the election of Donald J. Trump, I can no longer be led by such ill-advised assumptions.  Since November 8 it has become clear that those who have voted for this self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist president are self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racists themselves. While Donald J. Trump is indeed problematic, the real traitors are these treasonous wolves in sheep clothing who pretend to be pious and patriotic in order to carry out their own self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist agendas against the poor, the immigrant, the refugee, and the American who still believes in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for all people everywhere. Such values no longer Trump all.

For nearly two years I’ve been yelling, “OMG, I love Empire!” By “empire,” I didn’t necessarily mean the American empire, but the hit TV show, Empire. For months my televisional week revolved around Empire. I was obsessed with its characters. I was infatuated with Jamal. I was captivated by Cookie. I loved the terror exacted by Lucious the patriarch.  I loved the bougie hip hop #veryblack shade that was constantly being thrown as a #veryreal constant of the upward spiral of blackness in an empire defined by the demise of blackness. And because I love (big “e”) Empire, I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time.

The delay is due to my reluctance to critique the very things I love…and I do love the American empire (little “e”)  so very very much. Perhaps too much. So much so that I am guilty of hating the abuses of America more so because of how they besmirch the American ideal, and less so because of the abuses themselves.

But at the end of the day, America is an empire in the purest form. And anyone committed to justice for all has to question their love for the American empire. The great James Baldwin said it best when he said, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”  

But the problem is, empires are generally not open to criticism. To call into question the assertions of empire is to question the very premise of imperialism itself. The problem with empire is that the promises and guarantees, therein, require the execution of grave injustices and brutal atrocities. To question such executions is to threaten the empire that I am devoted to loving. Jamal and Cookie and Lucious are but figurative commodities depicting the imperial realities for which I aspire. A reality in which blackness and queerness and power personified is privileged are centered in imperial conquest.

But then, I am reminded that empire is not defined by diversity but dominance. A dominance that if spoken against is in itself an unspeakable betrayal. To speak against empire and live in opposition to empire is existential treason of the highest order. For this reason loving empire is dangerous. Loving empire endangers the marginalizations that are created by empire. Blackness, queerness, and liberty and justice for ALL do not coexist in empire. Freedom of speech that is prophetic and subversive is a threat to empire. To truly love empire is to love oppression, to love stratified power, to love armies, and homogeneity, and hegemony. To love empire is to love all the things that sustain empire. To love empire is to love all the things that denounce who I am. Loving the American empire is juxtaposed to black selflove, queer selflove, and the sacrificial love of the other.

As such, I love America more than any other country in this world, but because it is an empire I must persist on an internal self-critique of my complicity to the evil that sustains its imperial allegiance.

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I get it. You were fed up. You couldn’t take it anymore. You’re tired of being told how to think, what to say, where to go, and who to love. You are fed up with being called a racist. You are tired of feeling guilty for being white. You are tired of being forced to pay for entitlements that your don’t want or will never need. You resent having to earn a degree in order to make a living. I get it. You are fed up. So you said, “Fuck it, I’m voting for Trump.”

I get it. You are fed up. You want to be heard. You must be heard. You will be heard! And I hear you. Actually, I’ve heard you all along. I’ve heard you all my life. I know what you believe, as you rammed it down my throat. I know what you think, because you forced me to learn it from your one-sided textbooks. You’ve actually been very outspoken about it, from the pulpit, the town square, and the football stadium. I sat silently on your couches and at your dinner tables and in your pews. I’ve overheard exactly what you think about blacks, Jews, gays, and woman. I’ve sat close by scared to disagree. Scared to tell the truth. I was skeptical of your skepticism, but wanted you to be true because you seemed so right. I wanted to believe you. I needed to believe you, but I knew you would never believe me. And when I shared my naked gay truth, you did not believe me. In fact, you rejected me.

So, yes. I get it. You’re fed up. You are so pissed off with the liberal revolution surrounding  you that you voted for Trump. You chose him over me. Your friend. Your veteran. Your testament. You wanted to send the message that you are anti-abortion, anti-black power, anti-gay, anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I get it. Trump’s subversive rhetoric was refreshing. He told it like it is. He didn’t care what anyone thought. And to you, that was liberating. You were waiting for a world where you could be who you are and say what you want without impunity. As such, you elected a president who has done the same.

I get it. You are fed up. You are tired of being laughed at, condescended, silenced, and dismissed. That’s totally understandable. And now it’s time for the rest of us to shut up and listen. It’s time now for we liberal elites to listen and understand your pain…to empathize with your plight, now that you have elected a demagogue into the White House. It makes perfect sense. People suffering so much pain that can only be alleviated by a protest vote, deserve to be heard.

So, yes. I get it. You are fed up. You demand to be heard! But what you must understand is this: It’s really difficult to listen to your silent protest vote, when for generations you haven’t tried to hear mine. The futility of your argument rests in the fact that your vote alone is your pain elixir, while we fellow citizens on the left carry the deep pain of racism, sexism, and xenophobia that our sacred vote has yet to absolve.

donald“If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a DUCK!”

It’s been almost two weeks and I just can’t seem to shake it. I mean, really? Really? Perhaps I’m caught in a political death spiral. I just can’t believe this circus of a reality show that we are watching. With the unsurprising selections of Bannon, Flynn, and Sessions what we feared about a Trump administration has become frighteningly clear. Racism will be as central during the presidency as it was during the campaign! There is no further need to “wait and see.” It’s as clear as the nose on my face.  I just can’t seem to grasp how we as a culture are so blatantly laying aside principles for pragmatism, as if the two are somehow separable. How can we accept racist, sexist, and bigoted social ethics as the means to economic growth. Yes, I know, I know. The transatlantic slave trade, Jim Crow, and the industrial revolution were all built on the backs of white supremacy. But today, with eyes wide shut, we are witnessing the revival of targeted dehumanization as the means to economic growth. Blacks, Mexicans, Islam, Jewishness, women, China are all open game! It’s as if every group except European Christian male whiteness is fair game. I mean, really. I just can’t avert my eyes. Even as one well-schooled in the spiritual dynamics of race, class, gender, and sexuality, I still find this all quite astonishing. After years of research and study, dialogue and debate, dissent and reconciliation it’s still unbelievable to witness the blatant rabidness of racist rhetoric that is about to enter the walls of the White House. It’s so obvious that it’s proving difficult to diagnose, but we just need to call it what it is! I don’t care how prosperous our economy becomes or if the face of Isis is wiped from the planet. Any success accomplished on the backs of the most marginalized is destined for failure. Sure, short-term progress is possible or even probable. But at what cost? As Trumpism seems to be tramppling all over the respectable politics of human dignity and decency, it is becoming more and more clear that if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a Trump!

I AM human. I AM black. I AM gay. I AM Christian. I AM devastated. I AM disappointed. I AM shocked. Yes. I knew it was possible. Which is why…I debated. I donated. I wrote. I posted. I preached. I prayed. I voted. I have always known the potential of hate and fear and ignorance. I have always suspected that people are less good than they appear. I have always reserved a sense of suspicion in the face of optimism. While others celebrate victories, I usually resist total jubilation. I was all in for Clinton because I knew President Trump could win. I resisted Bernie, because I feared President Trump would win. I know the depth of racialized hate in the United States of America in the name of God, because I have been called a nigger! I know the pain of homophobia in the heart of America in the name of God, because I have been called a faggot! I know the unbiblical hermeneutics that are used to construct a justification for the rage preached from American pupits, because I have been excommunicated! It is real. It is alive and well today. Say what you want about the economy…and jobs…and health care, but we all know that it is WHITE HOT RAGE that elected President Trump. It is the red-blooded hate that resists the unfamiliar. It is real. It is deep. It is ripe. It has always been here. We thought it was defeated, but it is back. I AM ok. I have seen and felt worse than this. I will heal. But I AM not sure America will, or even wants to.

Well done, President Trump.
Well done, United States of America.

 

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Obama is retiring. Having served faithfully as the first Black Commander-in-Chief, it’s time for him to vacate the White House. Just as the inauguration of 2009 allowed us to see what we had never seen before, the inauguration of 2017 will allow the same. For the first time in American history we will witness a Black president pass the torch to a white president. Who will it be? It’s the final weekend of the 2016 campaign and no one is certain. What we are certain of is that, once again, the results depend on the Black vote. So much is riding on whether or not Blacks will turn out to vote at 2008 levels. If Blacks do not turn out to vote for the First white Woman president in 2016 to the same extent that we turned out to vote for the First Black president in 2008, then there may not be a First white Woman president in 2017. Once again, the burden of the country falls on the back of the Black vote.

Ironically, Republicans have long realized how pivotal the Black vote is. Long before many Blacks knew and long before many liberal whites knew, the Republican party knew what was at stake with the Black vote. While Blacks were gleefully gloating over our First Black president, the Republican party was strategizing the demise of the Black vote. While Republicans were strategizing the demise of the Black vote, Black voices were being dismissed for screaming #BLACKLIVESMATTER. So with new legislation to suppress the Black vote and no new legislation to uplift the Black voice, the burden of the country falls on the backs of Black people. Whatsoever shall we do? While I am certainly WITH HER, I am a lil frustrated that the Black vote is being pressured at the last minute. Why should the voiceless poor in Black America lay aside the cares of our Black world to arrive at a poll that may not let us in. Why should the voiceless poor in Black America show up to cast a protest vote against Trump when #BLACKLIVESMATTER protesters go unheard. Suddenly, on the weekend finale of the 2016 campaign #BLACKVOTERSMATTER.

Ironically, it was not the Black vote that moved the Obamas into the White House. It was the white vote, particularly the young white vote that #FelttheBern hot enough to elect Obama. That 54% of young whites #FelttheBern for Obama and turned out to vote for the First Black president is more epic than the fact that 96% of Black voters turned out to vote for him. Those 54% of young whites who #FelttheBern may not turn out to vote for the First white Woman president, thus placing the burden of a Hillary victory on the Black vote. Yes, voiceless Blacks are under tremendous pressure to lay aside the cares of our Black world to arrive at a poll that historically suppresses the Black experience. So, while young whites who #FelttheBern exercise their right to stay home because they just don’t trust HER, Blacks will shuffle along to the polls to prevent a Trump presidency from illegitimizing the legacy of the First Black president…and prevent further damage to the Black experience in modern America.