The Trump  Shocker, One Year Later

How Much More Of This Dangerous Screwball Can The World Take? Is There Still A Future To Believe In?

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 9th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

One year ago this January 10th, people around the world – at least those of us who couldn’t make it until the wee small hours when Hillary Clinton finally made her consession – to the stunning news that America’s 21st Century answer to a P.T. Barnum pitchman on steroids won the keys to the Oval Office and one of the world’s most powerful offices.

Elmwood Village, near a polling station in Buffalo, New York on January 8th, 2017, in the hours before the stunning news that Trump won. File photo by Doug Draper

The day before – election day – I crossed the border to Buffalo to visit friends and take in the atmosphere as people lined up at the polls, and a few moments from that day may stay with me for years to come.

The first was a visit to Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo where a group of family members and friends were gathered inside a mausoleum at the final resting place of Shirley Chisholm – a U.S. Congresswoman who, in 1972, became the first Afro-American woman to run for President – to pay tribute to her historic run before going home to witness what they hoped would be the election of the first woman president of the United States.

A group of family and friends gather at the final resting place in Buffalo, New york of U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chosholm, who was the first Afro Americaan woman to run for U.S. president in 1972. It was election day 2017 and this group went home hoping to celebrate the electon of the first woman to the U.S. presidency. Before sunrise the following morning, the hope had died. File photo by Doug Draper

They were already in a celebratory mood when they asked me to take a picture of them with Shirley Chisholm’s name chiselled in the marble above. Beside Chisholm’s name were the words ‘Unbought and Unbossed’, her campaign slogan which reminded me of one of my favourite Bernie Sander’s slogans from his 2016 insurgency run for the presidency – ‘Billioniaires Can’t Buy Bernie’.

A second, more vivid moment followed during a visit to a polling station at the Unitarian Church Hall in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village where a young woman, a University of Buffalo student, came out of the poll, shaking her head as our eyes met, and said; “We’re doomed!”

White nationalists, among them Trump’s base or as he himself sometimes calls them, “deplorables”, marching in a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer, chanting racial epitaphs. Trump refused to denounce them, calling at least some of them “nice people”

The woman, who looked like she was in her early 20s and may have been voting in her first presidential election, looked down at the Bernie Sanders button I decided to wear to make a statement that day and told me that she and dozens of other students from the university lined up at the same polling station earlier that year, in the spring, to vote for Sanders when he was still running against Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination in the Democratic primaries.

After waiting for what seemed like an hour, she told me they were told they couldn’t vote because they had not properly followed the Democratic Party’s archaic rules for registering to vote in party primaries. ‘Like I said, we’re doomed,” as she walked away.

Those words remain haunting given everything Trump has done with his insane tweets and the poison pen he has used to sign executive orders to destroy civil rights rules and social services for lower income people and the poor, gut environmental protection regulations, including international agreements to address climate change and threats to the Great Lakes, and, last but not least, gin up global tensions to a point where reputable experts on world affairs worry about the possibility of nuclear war.

Then again, there is real cause for hope, starting with the day after Trump’s January 2017 inauguration when people from across the United States and Canada bussed and flew in to Washington, D.C. for one of the largest marches for women’s rights, and for freedom and peace for all, in history.

Women’s March in Washington D.C. on January 21st, January 21st, the day after Trump’s inauguration and far larger in numbers who turned out. Some now say this was the driver for so many women elected to office in the just-held November 7th, 2017 state and county elections across the U.S.

From that day forward, signs went up on lawns in Buffalo and other regions of the country with messages like ‘Resist’, ‘There Is No Planet B’, and ‘Hate Has No Home Here’.

‘Sanctuary churches’ and ‘sanctuary cities’ emerged in defiance of  Trump’s efforts to bar or ban whole classes of immigrants or refugees on the grounds that some of them may be criminals or terrorists.

There have been repeated rallies and demonstrations held across the U.S. and in Canada and other countries, including (this past April) the most robust Earth Day march I have witnessed since the 1970s,in protest to the dark places Trump is trying to take his country on and the world on a whole host of issues.

Signs like this, this one on the lawns of a Buffalo, New York church, have become common in the Buffalo area in the months following Trump’s inauguration. File photo by Doug Draper

Then there is the ongoing investigation by U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller into what was going on with Russian agents and the Trump campaign during the election, and hopefully enough will come out of that to commence impeachment proceedings.

And most recently, there were elections this past Tuesday, November 7th  in states and counties across the U.S. where Republicans peddling Trump’s divisive, heartless garbage were smashed by opponent candidates – a good number of them fielded by Bernie Sanders’ more progressive ‘Our Revolution’ movement – in regions of the country like Virginia where Republicans would normally win.

So maybe, just maybe, we are not doomed. In the spirit of the banner slogan Bernie Sanders used during his 2016 presidential campaign, perhaps there will be a future we can believe in after all.

The following Ad, urging Americans to support a campaign for Trump’s impeachment, has been regularly airing on cable news networks in the U.S., and is still airing at the time of this post. Click on the following screen to watch it –

.Further to Doug Draper’s Niagara At Large commentary above on a year of Trump –

Two of America’s Most Celebrated, Pulizter Prize winning columnists pin the tail on the Trump donkey

Ask anyone who is a studious reader of newspapers to name the top ten columnists in the United States and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times and Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post would almost surely make the list.

Here are a few lines from their recent columns that many other political observers are now echoing over and over again.

First, from an October 31st New York Times column, syndicated in The Buffalo News and many other newspaper, by Thomas Friedman –

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

“Trump is a person who doesn’t connect dots — even when they’re big, fat polka dots that are hard to miss. Rather, he thinks inside narrow little boxes built from his own simplistic impulses and applause lines — and that tendency is leading us into a web of contradictions abroad. …

”Nothing Trump ever says has a second paragraph. His whole shtick is just a first paragraph: Build a wall, tear up the Iran deal, tear up TPP, defeat ISIS, send troops to Niger and Afghanistan to kill terrorists, kill climate policy, kill family planning, cut taxes, raise military spending. Every box just marks an applause line he needed somewhere to get elected. Nothing connects — and we will pay for that.

“Indeed, if you want to know what it looks like when a country follows a leader with no second paragraph and no ability to connect dots, visit London. I was there last week. Britain’s political system is in turmoil and its economy is facing declining growth prospects, because a bare majority voted to follow leaders with no second paragraph — we’ll just quit the European Union and everything will be fine, they said.

“Well, now it’s a fine little mess they have. The ruling Conservatives have no clue how to quit the E.U. without doing even more damage to their country’s future. That’s what happens when you vote for “disrupters” who never spent a second thinking through how all of their disruptions connect the morning after the morning after.

Sound familiar?”

Finally, here are lines from a an October 19th, 2017  column by Washington Post editorial writer Eugene Robinson that also received widespread circulation –

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson

“One person who obviously didn’t know “what he was signing up for” is President Trump. Others include Trump voters who believed they were electing a decent human being to be commander in chief.

“What Trump reportedly said to the grief-stricken widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who gave his life for his country, is not some kind of minor miscue or media-fueled distraction. It speaks to the core issue of Trump’s character and demonstrates, as clearly as any incident to date, his unfitness for the office he holds — and dishonors. …

“Trump is a weak, narcissistic man in a job that requires strength and empathy. I’m not sure that empathy is a concept he even understands. He acts as if he believes that feeling someone else’s pain is strictly for losers, not winners.

“None of this is a surprise. We learned a lot about Trump during the campaign when he attacked the Khan family, who lost a son in Iraq, for having the temerity to attack him politically. We have a president who believes that making the ultimate sacrifice for the nation is less important than supporting or opposing Trump. …

“The Washington Post reported Wednesday that earlier this year, Trump phoned the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, who was killed June 10 in Afghanistan. In the course of the conversation, Trump offered to send the father a personal check for $25,000 — but did not follow through. The check was finally sent this week only after the Post asked about it.

“Sadly, that’s typical Trump. He makes a grand promise, which allows him to feel big and generous — which is the whole point. Even in interactions with Gold Star families, it’s all about him. Later, having played the role of Trump the Munificent, he forgets about it and goes in search of the next opportunity to shore up his fragile ego.

“No one should expect him to grow in office. He’s 71. At that age, either you have compassion, self-knowledge and a conscience, or you don’t.”

Just as a postscript, in all of my too many decades of following politics, I can never recall mainstream media columnists – and not just a few of them – writing lines like this about a U.S. president this soon in his presidency – NEVER! – Doug Draper, NAL

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


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