A fierce warrior of a woman, a Black woman to be exact, it was my beloved mother who turned me on to reading. She made me check out and read books from the library--she read them too--because she believed in education and that reading would expand my mental capacities. She also believed in the power of reading to develop independent, critical thinking, and I had to sit in front of her and not only explain but critique the texts that I had read. Her strategy worked. I read a lot of very good books growing up.
In the end, reading for me was not only a gratifying, edifying experience, it expanded my imagination, whetted my curiosity, and forced me to dig deeply into books, magazines, and any other text I laid my hungry eyes on. Browsing in bookstores remains one of my all-time favorite pastimes to this day. Reading also engendered in me a life-long love of the power of the word, and the many books that I have read during my lifetime have influenced my thinking immensely.
Besides just merely enjoying the experience of reading, it also instilled within me the importance of critically examining texts I read, which helped me better understand people from all over the world and the profound, racial, tribal, psychological divides that can separate people. And that these differences might possibly be assuaged, if we all could just get past the thorny barriers of skin color, color of eyes, texture of hair, language, geographic, social, cultural and political differences that have historically constructed walls between us.
In my opinion, the deep level of ignorance that exists in the United States today is precisely because reading is no longer encouraged, valued or celebrated. Instead shallowness and ignorance, promoted by contemporary media outlets like Fox News, the Sinclair Communications outlets, and Breitbart--where about 40% of the citizenry receive its information; the other 60% percent get theirs from places like The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, and NPR--are worn as some kind of badge of virtue! This ignorance is one of the most important factors that led to Donald J. Trump being elected president in 2016, in my opinion. The result? We are more balkanized in our opinions than ever before (except perhaps during the Civil War), with each group of people firmly and resolutely holding on to deeply rooted beliefs and unwilling or unable to communicate with each other. These groups remind me of two sinking ships passing each other in the dead of night, lost on a huge ocean of antagonism.
On one ship are the loud, boisterous hate groups threatening whatever civility American citizens might have left that could bond us together in an element of humanity--a requisite, if we are to survive here as a viable nation--and the other more progressive group standing around just as angry, but mostly stunned into whispering silence.
Neither group seems to comprehend the imminent dangers ahead, under the "dark star" presidency of Donald J. Trump, who continues to enrich himself by shredding the emolument clause and who uses this polarization in our national discourse to maintain power, as he, his family, and cronies practice kleptoparasitism, the art of stealing food and money from others.
"The Donald" operates like a Don, a Mafia kingpin. Daily, he, his family, and Cabinet officials, with a corrupt GOP at the helm, continue to divide the nation with their indifference toward the rule of law and their blatant lies (Trump alone has lied over 3200 times, as of this writing, since becoming president). All designed to systematically steer this country toward fascism, tyranny and authoritarian dictatorship. Trump's movement toward authoritarian rule is nowhere better revealed than in his May 21st 2018 tweet, where he falsely stated,
"I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes--and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!"
This unprecedented, blatant attempt to obstruct justice tweeted from a sitting American president is misleading, untrue and a sure signal of Trump's naked desperation to end the inquiry into his campaign's collusion with foreign powers to win the 2016 election. First of all, there was no embedded spy but an "undercover agent" of the FBI, which was conducting a legitimate investigation into Russian ties between Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, two Republican men working for the Trump campaign, who had ties to Russia. Both men have since been indicted in Special Counsel's George Mueller's Russian probe.
In my view, what "The Donald" is attempting to do with his "demand" in ordering up an investigation of the investigators, when HE is the subject being targeted as someone who possibly broke the law, is a blatant attempt to change the subject, a distraction and play to his base, and the height of cynicism. This kind of deception is incredibly corrosive to the fabric of this nation! Don't take my word for it; just look around. Trump is gutting essential institutions of the federal government as I write these words, the state department, treasury, law enforcement--the FBI, the Department of Justice, the EPA and other essential governmental services, as well as daily discrediting whatever press and media he doesn't like with his juvenile tweets, while there are mass shootings in schools and other public places, in small towns and big cities alike, while gun violence in churches and homes and Nazi-inspired rallies with hateful, racist rhetoric become the norm.
If these aren't the traits of a slow moving encroachment of fascism and dictatorship, I don't know what is. Not only is Trump gutting the underpinnings of essential government institutions, he demands that government personnel be loyal to HIM personally and not to the United States Constitution. As Alfred McCoy wrote of Trump in the AlterNet on May 22nd 2018:
"Given his inordinate obsession with the legacy of Barack Obama, epitomized in a report, whether true or not, of his ritual "defiling" of his predecessor's Moscow Hotel bed via the "golden showers of Russian prostitutes, there's a curious, yet coherent logic to his foreign policy. You might even think of it as "Golden Shower" diplomacy, meaning whatever Barack Obama did, Trump seems determined to undo with a visceral vehemence; the Trans-Pacific Trade pact (torn up), the Paris Climate accord (withdrawn), the Iran Nuclear freeze (voided), close relations with NATO allies (damaged), diplomatic relations with Cuba (frozen), Middle Eastern Military withdrawal (reversed), end the Afghan War (*cancelled), the diplomatic pivot to Asia (forgotten)."
This is astonishing in the history of the country and concerned citizens better believe it will hurt the United States tremendously, as the nation moves into the future, and all because of the narrow, ignorant pique of a small minded, hate-filled, racist little man!
What we are witnessing is a sorry mob of Trump-drunk constituents, partisan law enforcement and judges, all the while government officials (both Republican and Democratic, mayors, senators and representatives) remain mostly silent, neither protesting nor lifting a finger to maintain the Constitutional order of the nation. This silence rules while Trump and his insatiable beltway bandit kleptocrats run amok robbing the treasury, lining their pockets with taxpayer money and destroying every social contract supporting the well-being of the nation. Trump came into office promising he was going "to drain the swamp," but it has been revealed (as many of us already knew), he is the swamp!
When this "My Take" is published in June 2018, I cannot predict where the nation will be because of the moral, ethical rot that is spreading swiftly like a cancer throughout the body-politics of this country; add ignorance and incompetence to the above mix.
What I can predict is this: the place we will all find ourselves in then, in relationship to this current administration, will not be trustworthy. It will be a sorry state of affairs, possibly headed full steam towards another civil war, which I hope doesn't happen. The urgent remedy I see is the removal or resignation of this terrible, divisive president, which truthfully, I have little hope will happen, despite the country's whirl pooling in a death spiral down the drain. Many of us find ourselves angry today, frustrated, divided geographically--urban versus rural--by culture, religious affiliation, politics and racially. In the end though Trump and "Trumpism" cannot succeed, if we vote to stop him. But if we fail to vote, not only in midterm elections but in every election, for every office and hold our elected officials accountable, every year and during every cycle, we will only have ourselves to blame when we find ourselves living in this republic under a tyrannical dictatorship.
Once again, we here at Black Renaissance Noire offer you another engaging, provocative issue to read, contemplate and digest. We are privileged to publish fiction by Marcus Guillory, Louise Belulovich, Eric Priestley and Adeola Adeniyi; non-fiction and reviews by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, Shonda Buchanan, Didi Anofienem, and Joseph McLaren; visual images by Joe Overstreet, Gerald Ellis, Renee Stout, and Eric Girault; and poetry by Samson Allai Kartaoui Jardine, David Lander, Jan Castro, Keith Flynn, Claudette M. Webster, Danny Bellinger, and Theo Konrad Auer. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback on this and every issue. Your continued support of our efforts is greatly appreciated.
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|Publication:||Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2018|
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