It’s MLK week, and while we are reminded that Hate cannot drive out hate (only love can do that), here are some events from the week that should be driving you to rage.
Go Home Roger!
This week President Elect Trump announced his intention to recall all American Ambassadors on the day that he takes office. Though it is indeed normal for there to be a replacement of the Ambassador corps when a new executive takes office, having all of them drop their credentials all at once is far from common. This approach is in line with the other suggested changes from the new administration but certainly downplays the significant experience and efforts of those in the foreign service to be experts in their field and keep America’s interests at heart. Additionally, it further underscores an unspoken assertion from this administration that civil service and government management is something that any person could do regardless of their experience or levels of preparation.
Worst Press Conference Ever
In what is somehow turning into the second most controversial action of his week, the President Elect held his first Press Conference prior to the upcoming Inauguration as President. The event that should have been a home run with smiles and promises of a brighter future instead was a rehash of the campaign including discussions of the wall on our southern border, a lengthy explanation from his lawyer about manila folders and the President-elect reminding us he could run both his company and the country at the same time, but he “doesn’t want to.” Incidentally the idea that Trump could in any way separate himself from his company and his role as POTUS is laughable. (*For reference look up Dick Cheney and Halliburton.)
In addition to clapping (which is usually not proper at a Press Conference) the President elect also chose to berate the press corps and specifically accuse CNN and Buzz Feed of being “fake news.” Though this sort of vitriol is usually saved for the White House Press Room, it is no surprise that Trump would take this tack with the Press Corps as he has shown no respect for the fourth estate up to this point. The real question will be about the response to the President-elect’s action from the Press many of whom take very seriously their role as a check for the people on government and who have usually supported their own. While a candidate still has some flexibility on how they are examined and discussed by the media, the president has no such privilege. His role and actions must be (and in many cases) required for all citizens to examine and scrutinize. Will the Press or the American people stand for being cast out of the White House (as some Trump supporters have suggested)?
The Press Conference was also brought to a head by the implications of misconduct or even collusion with Russian Authorities (Putin) for Trump to win the election as well as a visible beef between Trump and the intelligence community. Regardless of how you view the incoming President, any commonsense American should hold some significant concern about any leaders who has such contention with groups that have traditionally acted as internal and external supports for the office even before taking his oat. The Press and the Intelligencia still work (at least in the open) with a general modicum of respect for the office and to see such open hostility is cause for any American to be concerned.
There is also an interesting opportunity for new media platforms to rise to the occasion and take the mantle formerly held by the dogged journalists who broke the Pentagon Papers, Sexual Misconduct in Congress, and NSA Surveillance to use the incoming Trump Presidency and its engagement with the press as a renaissance in modern journalism. The new digital journalists and readership has a significant potential for readership and real time updates that the Trump presidency could do well not to ignore or antagonize. Should the media not rise to the occasion, however we could find ourselves with the only News from the White House being the prepackaged statements and congratulatory press Conferences which was seen at the beginning of he week.
We are Really Doing This?
This week Congress took the first steps toward a repeal of Obamacare with both the House and the Senate voting to make the first budgetary steps to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Though there is still a long path to repeal and replace, this first step has definitely raised the ante on the poker game playing out between Democrats, Republicans and ultimately a significant number of Americans (30 million) that could find themselves without health care.
Come at me Bro
This week in the final days of the blackening of the White House and the national countdown to Trumps smartphone being confiscated by the Secret Service, the President Elect aimed his Twitter based vitriol at another target: Congressman John Lewis. Though Trump has since walked back his comments after a huge internet blow back, the row initially began when Trump called Lewis “all talk” and “no action” after Lewis said Trump was not a “legitimate” president. This led to the President elect further deriding Lewis’s district and action as a leader which sparked tremendous outcry from the internet including John Lewis’s books selling out on Amazon and the hashtags #JohnLewisAppreciation and #JohnLewisisMyHero. Though this spat did not likely sway any Americans to or from the President Elect, it does hold one important lesson for the Trump administration that it is not beyond scrutiny or reproach. John Lewis is a walking hero who has been a long standing ally of all people who love justice and support equality. In addition to his time in public office he is part of the group that in essence invented modern civil disobedience and has followed the courage of his convictions more closely than many in the halls of Congress or government. In short don’t come for the man seated next to Martin Luther King on the eve of MLK day. What we should consider, however is how quickly a few comments between an esteemed Congressman and the President elect escalated into a national outcry with citizens taking sides. This sort of brinksmanship and raw nerves before Trump even takes the oath is a foul portent and should this sort of culture continue does not bode well for the open discourse and compromise which our founders intended for our governmental process.
The Angry Negro is apologetically a fan of Huey Freeman and and the Hate List, and should Aaron McGruder be reading this, please bring the Boondocks back to print. We need Huey, Caesar, Riley, Grandad, Jazmine, Tom, and even Ruckus back in major publications more than ever.