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By Rosendo Rodriguez III
“Life is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be convincing and life does not.” Neil Gaiman
What once seemed like a practical joke pulled by a self-promoting real estate mogul and reality show host has now become real: Donald J Trump is now the presidential nominee for the Republican Party. After defeating sixteen of the “best” (a term I use loosely) that the right wing had to offer during a primary battle resembling “The Hunger Games” (plotting, backstabbing, romance, name calling and clique building, in a carnival atmosphere where the contestants have rich patrons they can call upon in times of need), he played to the cheap seats, winning over the uneducated and ignorant masses. By appealing to the inherent racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and Islamophobia of the conservative movement, Trump freed himself from the tethers of tact, judgment, and political correctness that restrained his rivals and sprinted toward the nomination. Examples from the past that show how nightmarish our nation’s future could become under a Trump regime...and why we should prevent it from taking place. It is my earnest hope and prayer that I can move you take action by going to the polls this November.
“For some time I have never said what I believed, and never believed what I said and if I do sometimes happen to say what I think. I always hide it among so many lies that it is hard to recover it.” Niccolo Machiavelli
Long on rhetoric, short on substance, Trump’s messages are full of promises that sound great, and are easily palatable to those who do not know better. (Sadly, there are many such people in our society.) “I’m going to hire the best people” and “We’re going to make America great again” are phrases he loves to bandy about without regard to how to the electorate may one day hold him to account. How could words like “Make America great again” appeal to millions and mobilize them on Election Day? Remember”Yes We Can”?
“There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Social media has a long memory. There is a treasure trove of sound bites, documents, and videos on sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, etc., that show Trump in the past supporting positions opposite those he now purports to champion. He has and will continue to vacillate on many issues concerning foreign and domestic policy, bending to whichever political wind blows the hardest on any given day. In this age of instantaneous access to information, the uninformed or undecided can compare his past positions with what he currently finds politically convenient.
As a voter, you have the right to demand both accountability and consistency in the person who will assume the highest office of the land.... and the most powerful one in the world.
"I am neither Hawk nor Dove, rather, an owl who hopes to watch, to learn, to be wise." -U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Trump, in an effort to appear presidential in May of this year, chose to bone up on foreign policy by paying a visit to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger policies of amoral realpolitik during the Nixon administration were responsible for the supplying of arms to oppressive regimes around the world, war crimes on a large scale, and the condemning of millions to brutal dictatorships, and societal chaos. At his suggestion, President Nixon ordered the unrestricted bombing of Vietman, Cambodia and Laos – so much so in fact, that the tonnage of explosives was greater than the total amount of bombs that the allies had dropped on Europe during the Second World War. In a world with a nuclear armed North Korea, a Russia with a contracting economy and dreams of a Soviet style re-emergence, a military muscle flexing in China in the South China Sea, as well as post-Arab Spring Middle East, subtle diplomacy will require a deft hand and a light touch. Speaking softly and carrying a big stick is anathema to Donald Trump, yet another reason he ought to be rejected at the polls.
"In the corporate world, sometimes things aren‘t exactly black and white when it comes to according procedures" - Former President George W. Bush defending actions taken by Harken Energy while he was a board member
Donald Trump loves to claim he is worth over 10 billion dollars despite financial experts arguing to light that he is worth significantly less.
"The first principle is that the ultimate substance of enemy strength must be traced back to the fewest possible sources, and ideally to one alone. The attack on the sources must be compressed into the fewest possible actions.... “-Carl von Clausewitz, On War.
As a voter, you have the right to demand accountability from your leaders, as well as those who want to lead. Trump states his tax rate is "None of your business," highly suspicious when he bounces between delaying the release of his tax returns during an audit, and rejecting the possibility of it outright. Concerns regarding his taxes raise questions that you, the voter ought to know the answers to. Since the '76 presidential election, each of the nominees from both the democratic and republican parties have released their tax returns. The American public is the boss that every president must answer to, and like any job interview for a position that deals with sensitive information, life and death decisions, or in this case the leadership of the most powerful country in the world, an employer has the right to access information about a prospective emp1oyee‘s health and financial history. The claim that he cannot do so during at tax audit is a falsehood; for two reasons. First, the IRS has already made it clear that nothing is stopping him from doing so. (Hell, even Richard "I'm not a crook" Nixon released his tax returns during an audit.) Second, and most importantly, Trump has done it before. When he wanted to acquire licenses for his casinos in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he gave his tax returns to the respective gaming commissions in those states, as he was being audited. It is perfectly all right for Trump to release his tax returns to gambling authorities while being audited by the IRS so long as he gets to line his pockets with profits from his gambling dens, but not to the citizens of the country for which he wants to lead.
"I hope that in the next century we will come to terms with our abysmal ignorance of the Muslim world. Muslims aren't a bunch of wackos and nuts. They are decent, brilliant, talented people with a great civilization and traditions of their own, including legal traditions. Americans know nothing about them. There are people in that part of the world with who we are simply out of touch. That's a great challenge for the next century." –US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
In 1989, Donald Trump wrote a book called "The Art of The Deal", in which he rants about his wealth, his financial prowess, and the real estate swindles that he supposedly accomplished. Today, he refers to this book as blueprint to his success, and how it is proof that he would make a competent President of the United States. He, like Hitler, used a book as a tool of self-promotion and propaganda, but the parallels do not end there. Like Hitler ranting against Jews in his speeches at his rallies in Nuremburg, so too does Trump rail against Muslims at his rallies nationwide. Like Hitler forcing Jews to register themselves to the authorities, so too does Trump call For Muslims in America to be registered with the authorities and to put an end to Muslims emigrating to our country Like Hitler demanding pledges of loyalty from his followers, so too does Trump call for loyalty pledges from his supporters. Like the generation of Hitler's era having ample evidence of his madness that stemmed forth from his writings and actions, so too does the current generation of Americans have proof of Trump's malevolent designs towards Muslims. Unlike the earlier generation however, our generation has the chance to smother the fires of neo-fascism before them have the chance to turn into a full blown conflagration of hatred against Muslims. Thankfully there are individuals within our government that are sounding the alarm in regards to Trump‘s messages and actions of hatred. US Congressional Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn) compared Muslims who support Donald Trump to chickens rooting for Colonel Sanders by stating "You think that you're going to be the chicken that doesn't get fried up. I think you better guess again.” It is worth noting that Rep. Ellison's is one of the only two Muslims members of Congress. It is also worth noting that he was sworn in using the Holy Koran when taking his oath of office. A Koran that once belonged to Benjamin Franklin. Also, common American Muslims citizens are typically loyal to their country, as are the tens of thousands living in the "Arab Capital of America," Dearborn, Michigan. Therein lies the rub, when it comes to Trump's messages of hate; The degree of radicalization of American Muslims as compared to those of other countries is almost non-existent. The terror attacks in Belgium and France have their roots among the alienated and disaffected youths, which are victims of prejudice and poverty. European Muslims suffer from greater discrimination in the workplace, and have higher unemployment rates and earn significantly lower wages than their non-Muslim counterparts. Preying on the feelings of European Muslims who are treated like second class citizens, terrorist groups like ISIS find fertile ground for recruitment. American Muslims however, enjoy an extremely high degree of contentment, and are much more willing to cooperate as patriotic and law abiding citizens by helping to stop acts of terrorism. Rarely successful terror attacks such as the ones in San Bernadino, California, and at the Boston Marathon were "lone- wolf" style attacks, exceptions to the norm and highly inaccurate reflections of American Muslims despite what Trump would have you believe. His call for a ban on all Muslims traveling to The US would prevent highly respected foreign diplomats and politicians such as newly minted London mayor, Sadiq Khan from entering the country with an economic delegation by mere virtue of his faith. Such a ban would also stop Muslim students, and professors from studying, conducting research, and educating Americans. Muslims are our neighbors, friends, loved ones and they proudly serve in our military. At the very least, we owe them the love and respect that can only come from exercising the vote against Donald Trump. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat the sins of omission that allowed Hitler to rise.
“As much as when you see a blond with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, 'Hey, she must be stupid or have something else to offer,' which maybe is the case at times. But then again there is the one that is as smart as her breasts look, great as her face looks, beautiful as her whole body looks gorgeous, you know, so people are shocked.” Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and former Governor of California.
Donald Trump’s views regarding women seem to be stuck back in the 1950s, an era that many conservatives love to harken back to as the good old days of yore. An era when a woman knew her place (the kitchen), stayed at home and didn’t work, and spoke only when spoken to. (An era also where minorities weren’t uppity, and homosexuals didn’t exist.) Female moderator Megyn Kelly, at a Republican debate, dared to call out Trump on his derogatory comments towards women, the most notable being a reference to Rosie O’Donnell being a “fat pig.” Instead of having the decency to apologize on air in front of millions of viewers, he doubled down during a telephone interview with a journalist and states that Megyn Kelly was “unfair” and that one could see “blood coming out of her eyes...blood coming out of her...whatever.” Do we as a society not recognize that this sort of behavior by Donald Trump has now become the Face of the Republican Party, and, if he isn't stopped this November, what America could come to represent?
"Then she took the head out of the pouch, showed it to them, and said: 'Here is the head of Holofernes, general in charge of the Assyrian army, and here is the canopy under which he lay in his drunkenness. The Lord struck him down by the hand of a woman" -The Book of Judith, 13:15, The Holy Bible.
We now live in an era where women have achieved more power, prestige, and honor, than at any other point in human history. The US Women's Soccer team draws millions more fans than the men's team, (and unlike the men, they’ve actually have won the World Cup...several times in fact.) TV Show hosts; writers, and comediennes such as Lena Dunham, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Samantha Bee, as well as the aforementioned Megyn Kelly, have all torn down taboos, barriers, and norms through their acerbic wit and superior intellect. Oprah Winfrey has overcome obstacles of racism and sexism and now has a multibillion dollar media empire that she employs as a force of good in order to help improve people's lives and shed light on injustice. I would not presume to tell someone who they should vote for but I will tell you that that the clock of Women's and Civil Rights will be turned back to the detriment of all, should Trump win. Everyone, regardless of gender, have had women in their lives that they have looked up to, therefore should fight alongside during the upcoming election and ensure that Trump is stopped.
"We ask for miracles in regard to the Supreme Court. One Justice is eighty-three years old, another has cancer and another has a heart condition. Would it not be possible for God to put in the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?” -Pat Robertson, evangelist, host of "The 700 Club", and 1988 presidential candidate, launching a "prayer offensive" to remove liberal Supreme Court Justices
On February 13th, 2015, I groggily awoke in my cell in the early afternoon and began to engage in my daily rituals: I put on the coffee pot, as I always do; I gave my ass a good scratching, as I always do (and yes, I washed my hands); I put on the radio, as I always do (to Fox Cable News - I was in the mood for comedy that day); and I began to brush my teeth, as I always do. As I was pouring my first cup of coffee, the commercial on the radio ended and as I took my first gulp, I heard the broadcast blare out "BREAKING NEW5: UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA DEAD AT 79 IN TEXAS". I was so shocked that I tried to inhale the coffee that was drinking and instead shot it out of my mouth and nose, thinking "This can't possibly be true", but sure enough Scalia was found dead of a heart attack in his bed at a hunting ranch in west Texas. The most rabidly conservative Justice on the Supreme Court of The United States (hereinafter referred to as SCOTUS), staunch defender of the right wing, and the most vociferous supporter of the death penalty, had died... and so had the conservative majority of the highest court of the land. I am hopeful that the next president will appoint a liberal Justice to the SCOTUS, and he or she will be instrumental in finally ending the death penalty, as well as rectifying numerous unjust precedents that have been set in the past. This election will have reaching ramifications for the next generation as will the person the President appoints to fill the vacancy left behind by Scalia. Do we really want Trump to make such a momentous decision?
"The jury box and the ballot box are the only places where citizens can tell their government what to do, and the government has to listen," -Charles Morgan Jr., Civil Rights Activist and ACLU Attorney
There is a mainstream conservative legal philosophy known as "originalism", which is the belief that courts should interpret the text of the US. Constitution in the view, according to Scalia, of "what it meant when it was adopted". Let us consider then, for a moment what that means. If you were alive in the 18th-century when the Constitution was adopted, it was a wonderful time to be a white, Christian, male member of the landed gentry. If not, well, you would not get to enjoy the new found rights and protections that the constitution would afford to citizens of the United States. Of course, it did not apply to slaves – or women – they were considered chattel at the time and wouldn’t gain the right to vote until the 20th century – so one could pretty well count on not having any equal representation under the law as long as they were black, brown, Native American, non-Christian, foreign, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, poor, disabled, incarcerated, anti-gun or pro-choice. “It is his writing that, because a death sentenced prisoner had a "fair trial", even if that prisoner could provide exculpatory evidence showing he or she was "actually innocent", that prisoner should still be executed, which concerned me the most. During the eight-plus years that I have been incarcerated on death row, I have met individuals who have had incontrovertible evidence proving their innocence; two that I know of have been freed and narrowly escaped execution, but, tragically the rest either continue to languish in their cells, or were murdered by the state of Texas. Mind you, those were the only ones that I've known about and the only ones in Texas...I shudder to think about all the ones I never knew, as well as those across the country. Hopefully, you would feel the same way, and it will motivate you to elect a candidate that would fill Scalia's vacancy with a compassionate, free-thinking, liberal Justice who believes that the U.5. Constitution is a living, breathing document, Donald Trump must not be given the chance to appoint someone who shares his political beliefs of the kind that you have examined throughout this article; our society has progressed way too far and generations before us have fought way too hard these past 250 years for it all to come to nought.
"Nothing concentrates the mind as the prospect of one's own destruction" -Samuel Johnson
Our country is an ongoing experiment; like all experiments there will be trial and error, mistakes and successes. Like those who conduct experiments, you too have a duty to take precautions and perform your own research. You can do so by involving yourself in the political process, whether you are a campaign volunteer for a politician, a volunteer for a voting registration drive, a volunteer at the polling booths on election days, or simply casting your ballot during an election. You can be active no matter where you are or in whatever situation you find yourself in. Case in point: I am sentenced to die, but I still have family and friends that I love and care about both in the free world and within these walls. It is for them that I do what I can with whatever resources I have to let others know that a person like Donald Trump will prove to be a great detriment to the prosperity, safety and security of this nation. I find it quite amazing that the only two presidents that my nieces, nephews, my, son could possibly know during their formative years will be a person of color, and God willing, a woman.
|Rosendo Rodriguez 999534|
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351
SHAMELESS HYPE AND PROMOTION: I was given the idea to write about this by my brother, fellow socialist comrade, and prisoner, Thomas Bartlett Whitaker, whose writings and companion piece to this article can be found here on the minutesbeforesix.com website. Don't forget to read them as well as the writings of others and do not forget to click the "Donate" button here at MB6. Remember, the best nation in the world is Donation!