Trump makes George W. Bush sound eloquent

I never thought I would miss President George W. Bush, our 43rd president, and I’ve never thought of him as a great, or even a good speaker. However, the speech he gave at a conference convened by the George W. Bush Institute was simply eloquent, excellent, thoughtful and compelling.

After keeping a low profile for the past eight years, he spoke up to decry the fact that “bigotry seems emboldened.”

Bush said, “Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.”

Why did George W. Bush choose to speak so forcefully, in a speech that did not mention “45,” but was at least partly directed at him? Perhaps, it was the violent protests in Charlottesville; he and his father, President George Herbert Walker Bush, issued a joint statement denouncing White supremacists, something that it took “45” forever to do. The younger Bush was blunt when he said, “Bigotry or White supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”

I knew that I would miss President Barack Obama (44). Like his predecessor, he has kept a low profile since leaving office, stepping out very briefly to campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and to reflect on the challenges we face in our democracy. Like President Bush, President Obama did not refer to “45” by name, but his speech in Virginia was a repudiation of virtually everything that our prevaricating current president stands for.

“Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed,” said Obama. “That has folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century. Come on!”

Seemingly scolding the current administration, Obama said, “Instead of looking for ways to work together to get things done in a practical way, we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up, because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”

Watching Presidents Bush and Obama reminded me of how far the quality of our nation’s leadership has fallen. I saw two men who, with absolute class, reminding us of our nation’s values and everything that is repugnant about the current administration. The contrast is the persistent crassness of “45,” an ill spoken, bumbling, coarse, and classless individual. He never met a fight he could not pick and escalate, never met an opposing viewpoint he could not demonize. He has belittled everyone he has disagreed with, from his own inner circle to football players he does not even know, calling them “sons of bitches.”

In his entire eight years of service, President Obama never disparaged his predecessor, President George W. Bush, even as he cleaned up some of his messes. In his several months of leadership, “45” has missed no opportunity to criticize President Obama. If I had a dollar for every time President Obama critiqued President Bush, I’d barely have enough money for a fast-food meal. If I had a dollar for every time “45” disparaged President Obama, I could dine at the nation’s best restaurants for a full week!

Class is visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center to look in on wounded soldiers, or hosting White House luncheons for Gold Star families. Crass is calling widow Myeshia Johnson, never mentioning her deceased husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, by name and telling her “he knew what he signed up for.” Class is refusing to disparage either predecessor or successor. Crass is trashing anyone and everyone, including his predecessor. Class is disagreeing with dignity and civility. Crass is name-calling, challenging people to IQ tests, making fun of ill and disabled people, making fun of war hero and veteran Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being shot down and captured during the Vietnam War.

To be sure, I don’t think that “45” maliciously called Myeshia Johnson in an attempt to cause her pain. I think he simply does not know how to talk to people, and we have plenty of evidence.

The recent book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” (Macmillan, 2017) explains that the sociopathic narcissist we elected is so fundamentally flawed that he could easily imperil our very survival by pushing us into war.

President Trump told Myeshia Johnson “he knew what he signed up for.” So did nearly half of our nation’s voters when they chose crass over class.

Julianne Malveaux is an author, economist and founder of Economic Education. Her latest book, “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy,” is available at Amazon.com and on her website. For more info, visit: www.juliannemalveaux.com. Follow Dr. Malveaux on Twitter @drjlastword.

The American flag is soaked in black blood

I am not sure why the national anthem and the so-called American flag are part of our nation’s sports pageantry. Before 2009, while the national anthem was played, sports gladiators were not required to suit up, stand up, and put their hands to their hearts; and why should they? The song that is sung is an insult to people of color. When I hear “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” I think, “the land of the thief and the home of the slave.” The Department of Defense paid the National Football League (seriously?) to promote a fake sense of cultural hegemony, and to spread the false notion that we are all on the same page when it comes to patriotism.

How could we be on the same page? How could the men who have been hauled out of their cars, pushed down to their knees, forced to justify the reasons they are driving high-end cars be on the same page with the men who “own” them, who may or may not support them, or may or may not kneel with them?

Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, not because he wanted to disparage the flag, but because he disparaged the many ways that African American people were being diminished by police brutality. Call the names, call the names, the men and the women who have been unjustifiably killed, call the names, and call the names of the many ways Back Lives Must Matter. Call the names, call the names, of the structural racism that cuts like a knife, or kills like a bullet. Call the names.

There are those who have a story to tell about so-called disrespect to the “American flag,” the same American flag that is drenched in blood. Black men went to fight in World War I and came back to this country and were lynched, because they refused to yield the sidewalk to white people. What flag did they serve under, and why should we celebrate it? Why do disingenuous fools, including “Mr. 45,” chide NFL owners with strangely coded language, suggesting a lack of loyalty? Where is the loyalty to the black men and women who supported a country that would not support them? The paradox of loyalty is that African Americans love a country that does not love us. We pledge the flag, drenched in blood, because we want something better.

Colin Kaepernick took a stand, and many of his colleagues support him because they cannot embrace a flag that supports the unjustified killing of African American men. Colin Kaepernick sacrificed his career to make a point, and he has been focused and fierce about his principles. Colin Kaepernick, by kneeling, encouraged all of us to stand up for our rights. Colin Kaepernick is a hero!

This protest is more, though, than Colin Kaepernick. This protest is about police brutality. This is a protest about the fake-Jake way some would bond us together, linking arms and elbows, trying to make a point. There is no point beyond the fact that young, Black men, who play football, baseball, and basketball see their brothers and cousins on their knees, legs and arms splayed, forced to the ground by oppressive police forces. The professional athletes freely kneel, because others knelt when they were forced to, because they were not free.

We can fly this flag all we want to, we can sing melodious songs about “the star spangled banner,” but the flag we fly in the name of sports is a flag that is drenched in blood. Players weren’t “encouraged” to stand at attention during the national anthem until 2009, when the Department of Defense paid money to make it happen. I’d prefer for my tax dollars to be spent more wisely. I’d prefer that some of that money went to washing the blood out of the flag.

Julianne Malveaux is an author, economist and founder of Economic Education. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available at Amazon.com and at www.juliannemalveaux.com. Follow Dr. Malveaux on Twitter @drjlastword.