Sunday, December 18, 2016

North Carolina Legislature’s Unconscionable Power Grab

Stealing Democracy

By Mildred Robertson   
As the North Carolina State Legislature convened to “allegedly” provide support for victims of Hurricane Matthew and the wild fires raging in Western North Carolina, they quickly moved on with their agenda to steal power from the rightfully elected governor who defeated Republican incumbent, Pat McCory in November. The thinly veiled power grab is not just an assault on Governor Elect Roy Cooper, but an assault on the very core of democratic rule in our state.

Recently North Carolina has become ground zero for the reinvigoration of the Southern Strategy that harkens back to the racism of 1950s and 60s. This strategy, which is grounded in racial and religious intolerance, is wielded by Republicans to motivate white racism and implement draconian laws to subjugate and disenfranchise minorities and progressive seeking truly democratic governance. We have seen the ravages of race-based politics on both the state and national level.
It is clear that the North Carolina legislature has no regard for the will of the people. In recent years it has gerrymandered voting districts, instituted backward thinking legislation such as HB2 that draws negative national attention and damages business development, and held impromptu late-night and other special sessions to sneak legislation through the general assembly. The Republican-led General Assembly is indifferent to the will of the people, the principle of good governance, and the rule of law.  
As this lame-duck governor packs his bags to vacate the Governor’s mansion, the General Assembly proposed 28 bills for him to consider prior to his departure. Among those bills are attempts to strip the incoming governor of the power to make appointments. This is particularly ironic, in that when McCory took office the Republican legislature expanded the number of political appointments he could make from approximately 500 to 1500. Now that Cooper is in office, the General Assembly passed legislation to make 1,200 of McCory’s political appointees permanent state employees, limiting Cooper to 300 appointments.  Further, they propose that cabinet appointments go through Senate confirmation which will result in the same kind of obstructionism that we see in the presidential Supreme Court nomination. 
But their assault is not limited to the incoming governor. A Senate Bill attempts to change the makeup of the State Board of Elections so as not to have a Democratic majority.  Election Boards determine which votes count. This comes on the heels of an August finding by a panel of federal judges that the Republican-led legislature used racial discrimination to undermine the power of minority voters in the state.
Hundreds of North Carolinians have gathered on Jones Street since the session began to voice their opposition to the legislature’s most recent run on democracy. They have vociferously opposed the legislative shenanigans designed to wrest power from the North Carolina electorate and disempower the democratically elected governor.
We cannot be discouraged as we witness the assault on democracy from the highest levels of national government down to our very own state legislative buildings. We must all raise our voices to let our elected officials know that we expect our government to be fair.  We expect our vote to count. We expect our voice to be heard.   We expect our elected officials to put good governance above partisanship. We expect government for the people, by the people.  We will not rest until we have reached those goals.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


By Mildred Robertson
As Americans attempt to sort out the chaos surrounding the 2016 election, an effort is underway to normalize occurrences that are anything but normal. In this era of political correctness, it is amazing that an amoral, racist, misogynistic  despot has acquired the most powerful position in the world. The words I have chosen to describe Trump are words frequently used to describe him on the internet.  Yet the mainstream media, deferring to the office and not the office holder, is imploring us to accept the will of the people and to give the president-elect a chance.

The problem with this reasoning is that were we to accept the will of the people, we would be heralding the election of the first woman in America’s history and not this lewd, mean-spirited huckster. At a tune of 1.7 million and counting, more Americans cast their vote for Clinton than for Trump.  My vote in North Carolina had less weight than the vote of a citizen in Wyoming or Nevada. The archaic Electoral College has literally changed history, not once, but twice in my lifetime. First, when Al Gore lost the election by several thousand votes…a bitter pill; but with that kind of margin it is a pill you can swallow.  

But this election will take much more than a spoon full of sugar to go down. Clinton throttled Trump by much more than a million votes, and yet it is his transition team that is preparing to take the White House in January. It is his team and not he himself, who will take up residence in the White House. Apparently the White House digs do not afford the opulence to which Trump and Melania are accustomed. There are no gilded toilets in the White House, I suspect.

There was so much that went wrong with this election. First, there was the beguiled media, which saw Trump as no real threat to democracy and a boon to the bottom line. Driven by ratings, they hung on each outlandish word Trump spoke. Early on he was able to establish his false narrative with very little opposition or fact-checking by the media. He garnered millions of dollars in “earned” media which is just another way to say that by being outrageous he could be guaranteed the lead on the nightly news casts and the daily headlines at no cost to him or his campaign.  By the time the media comprehended that they were being used, they had already played into Trump’s hands. Progressive media outlets began to fact-check Trump real time. But, to his supporters, it just looked like harassment.  It also helped his image as a supposed outsider.

Then there was Bernie Sanders' campaign and the other third party candidates. Bernie had a platform and a message that resounded with millions of Americans.  His campaign had an impact on the Democratic platform and gave voice to many who felt the Party did not adequately reflect their values. Bernie had every right to run…but he ran too long. Time and effort Clinton could have expended sharing her detailed platform with the American public, she spent beating back Sanders and his vociferous followers. 

And of course, there were the spoilers…Stein and Johnson, with no chance in hell of making any kind of impact on the political dialogue. Never mind that neither had anything substantive to say. Their campaigns accomplished the only thing they could accomplish…they gave the election to Trump.

Clinton too could have done things a little differently. She could have talked more about her platform rather than Trump’s lack of fitness to occupy the office of the Presidency. Frankly, that discussion should not have been necessary in that it was patently obvious that he was and is ill-prepared, emotionally unstable, and temperamentally unfit to lead the free world.

And then there was the electorate. God love them. There were poor (and not so poor) white folk who felt that all would be right with the world if only the black, brown, and yellow folk would just get out of the country. They probably don’t think they are racist.  They just believe America is for Americans.  And to be American you have to be, well…white.

There were the suburban white women who valued white superiority over gender equality. The Trump coalition also included a fringe that proudly accepts the racist banner and the ugly, hateful and violent behavior that goes with it.  And there were the ultra-progressive Democrats and the mainstream Republicans who would rather see Trump win than to vote for Hillary.

And, of course, we cannot forget the Black folks and other people of color who just decided not to bother to vote at all. This mixed bag of coo-coo resulted in an unpredictable campaign which was miscalculated by journalists, pundits and pollsters at every turn.   

For good measure, let’s just throw in Vladimir Putin and Russian espionage, Assange and Wiki-leaks and FBI Director Coomey and the email server. All of these entities tugged at the very fabric of our democracy, and we began to unravel.  And, of course, we must not forget the Electoral College, where victory is based upon whether you appeal to the urban masses or the homogenous middle country.

There was absolutely nothing that was normal about this election. The system says Hillary lost, but technically and in fact, she won.
There is nothing normal about accepting this outcome.

We have been poorly served by this electoral process. It is a problem that must be solved. It is an outcome that must never happen again.

If America really is the light of the free world, this cannot be our new normal.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016


By Mildred Robertson

Eight years ago it appeared that America had turned a corner in the road as it elected its first Black president. It was refreshing to think that this strange exercise in Democracy had matured. It seemed that the Founding Fathers had gotten it right. It appeared that they had, in fact, created “a more perfect union.” 

Fast forward eight years and we find that America has made a 180 degree turn and elected a racist, sexist, misogynist who is both unprepared and unqualified to hold the most powerful position in the world. He has done all that he can to separate us, categorize us and pit us against one another.

Two America’s seem to exist in Trump-World—“Us” and “Them.” The real test will be who actually falls into those categories when Trump-World takes shape in January. Will the millions of poor, uneducated, underemployed and unemployed white men and women who so proudly cast their vote for Trump find that they have been bamboozled?

You see those of us who recognize Trump for who he is already know that Trump-World will embrace a society built for the elite—the “Us’s” of this world.  The rest of us, the average citizen who will become one of “Them,” will be crushed by taxes, low wages, fewer health-care options, unemployment, isolationism and war-mongering.

We already know that the Republican-led Congress will institute “trickle-down” economics that never trickles down. We know that struggling families will have to figure out how to feed, clothe and shelter their children on minimum wage salaries and that senior citizens who have worked all their lives will have to fight to survive without a safety net. Folks who briefly enjoyed the security of health benefits, even the chronically ill, will be stripped of those protections…possibly never to be insurable again.

What the masses who voted for Trump don’t’ seem to realize is that they will fall, not into the “Us” category, but will become one of “Them.”  Blacks, Hispanics, other people of color, the foreign born and poor, uneducated whites will all be in the same basket. It will be a shock to many of his supporters who view the “Us and Them” equation much differently.  What they do not seem to see is that Trump has no empathy, no care, no understanding for the plight of anyone other than himself.  His goal always was and always will be his personal attainment of money and power.

Oh, he may try to assuage the wounded egos of poor white males who feel that opportunity has bypassed them by allowing them to terrorize communities of color. He may permit them to freely roam the streets in white sheets and hoods, march in formation, burn crosses and raise their hands in a salute to his sovereignty.  This comes directly from the South’s old playbook. Moneyed barons historically organized mobs of poor white men to keep the rest of those relegated to servitude in line. Then those barons pocketed the bounty from the corrupt system for themselves.

It is clear that he learned this technique at the feet of his own parents. Unfortunately, the things they did not appear to teach him was how to respect another human being; how to be fair in his business dealings, how to be honest in his discourse, how to listen and how to reason.  It is frightful that this nation has entrusted the fate of the world into the hands of such a man. I shudder to think what our foreign affairs will look like in four years.

The rise and fall of great nations has been captured in the annuals of history. In each instance, destruction occurs as a result of the careless use of power and the abuse of those least able to bear life’s burdens.

Don’t be fooled. The fact of the matter is that whether you are among the group designated as “Us” or “Them” your ultimate fate may be the same. Because when the bottom drops out of our society, the top also will surely tumble.

Friday, November 4, 2016



By Mildred Robertson

The 2016 election is an anomaly. The absurdity of it all could not have been better written by Stephen Colbert’s comedy writers. Our airwaves have been assaulted by everything from outlandish accusations of alleged criminality to unfettered vulgarities.  The media has ceded its considerable power to a backstreet carnival barker who has almost single-handedly plunged our political process into a dark abyss.

Now, as we stand on the threshold of an historic election that should have been about breaking barriers, national security, the right to health-care and a living wage we must instead make a choice on who scares us least…who is less likely to destroy our nation as we know it.

It is not that Hillary Clinton did not try to talk policy. If you take the time to surf her website you will find her position on raising income and restoring economic security to the middle class. She talks about how to create good-paying jobs. She is focused on closing the racial wealth gap, protecting voting rights, and fixing our immigration system. Clinton wants to fight climate change and create an economy based on clean energy, and she wants to provide quality, affordable education for all Americans. She has a plan to address global threats and her administration plans to focus on protecting American values at home and abroad.

But she hasn’t been able to talk about any of that, because the media-made buffoon is sucking up all the air in the room. Trump has turned earned media into an art, feeding off the media’s insatiable desire for ratings. Every news network has been guilty of hanging on to his every word; eager to “break the news,” regardless of how outrageous or patently false his statements or those of his surrogates may be.

The media has failed to carry out its Constitutional obligation by pandering to Trump and his surrogates and leaving the public to sort through the mile-high pile of excrement that emanates daily from the Trump campaign. Trump surrogates have regularly appeared on news shows spewing half-truths, lies and innuendos, broadcast, in many instances, as though they were fact.  It is amazing that Kelley Anne Conway can unabashedly equate Hillary Clinton’s email blunder with the alleged tax evasion, child rape and shady business practices of her candidate without being challenged, let alone led down a path that resulted in a discussion of policy. She and the other surrogates are expert at deflecting all media queries to come back to the same old script where Clinton is a demon and Trump is the savior.

To that end, media have spent the past 6-8 months reporting on the horse race as affected by one outrageous Trump statement after the other. They talk about whether his attack on a Gold-Star family, or a former beauty queen, or an alleged assault victim will end his campaign. “What do the numbers say?” Apparently that is the most pertinent question for 2016 news reporters covering the campaign.

If you have learned anything about either candidate’s position on any issue of importance to you, it is because you took the initiative to research it yourself. You will not see it on the nightly news. You probably won’t find much of it in a newspaper or a magazine. You can read about emails, tax evasion, lawsuits and FBI letters, but you won’t find much about how each candidate’s policies will affect your life.

And isn’t that the point of a free press?  Shouldn’t we be able to glean from at least the main-stream media, a clear picture of what might be our nation’s direction under a particular leader? Instead, we’ve heard of policies about a wall that will never be built, and a candidate who will never be jailed, hung or shot.

Heaven help us if this election is NOT an anomaly.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Early Vote Offers Relief

By Mildred Robertson

 I live in North Carolina and I voted October 20th , the first day of early voting in our state.  After months of mean-spirited, uninformed, raucous, political discourse, I was finally able to make my voice heard. It was cathartic. 

I exhaled; much as you do when you exit an unhealthy relationship…when you come to the end of a particularly tedious course…when you have done all that you can do and wait for the universe to dispense the final outcome.  And in so doing, I find myself now looking back over the last 18 months to see if I can make any sense of the madness. 

Order is not the stuff this election was made of; so making sense of it is no small matter. It still eludes me, how this caricature that is Donald Trump ascended to the top of the Republican Party. His rise, I believe, is indicative of a disease that is slowly creeping through the party; poisoning its very essence.  

It began with the hateful, small-minded, dogmatic rise of the Tea Party which has literally destroyed the Republican Party from the inside out. In a white backlash, the populist upstarts overtook the Party after President Barack Obama took the White House in 2008.  They combined the themes of social and political conservatism, white supremacy, and religious zeal that left little room for “otherness.” During the mid-term elections traditional Republican politicians faced a stringent litmus test based on these themes. Those who failed were unceremoniously tossed aside.  

The Tea Party’s  zeal mirrored that of Joseph McCarthy, as politician after politician was called out for not being conservative enough, not hating Obama enough, not being isolationist enough, not being religious enough. The party within the Party had no particular policy platform. They did not seem to know what they were for…only what they were against.  

They quickly became identified as the Party of “no.” And the professional politicians…those who understood the art of governing…the need to reason together and sometimes compromise; those politicians were left powerless.

The result was a deadlocked Congress that accomplished little if anything, leaving President Obama to struggle with the nation’s challenges alone. Each of his hard-fought victories only stoked the Tea Party’s resolve, and they took hating the Commander-in-Chief to an entirely new level. They disrespected him in the Chambers of Congress, accused him of holding the presidency illegitimately, and opposed every initiative he put forth…even ones they had previously supported.   

This negative agenda resulted in a nation that languished on the verge of economic recovery. Obama was able to pull the country back from a precipitous economic crash that had been fueled by economic strategies that enriched those at the top of the economic pyramid, but left the rest of the nation in dire straits. But, as much as he tried, he was unable to push through much of his agenda to speed the recovery and give relief to the middle class.  

It was this backdrop that gave rise to Donald Trump. Although of questionable political allegiance, he wooed the disgruntled white, male, conservative electorate who felt unrepresented by the Democrats and betrayed by the Republicans. He promised a nation where white males would again dominate. He represented a time when white men were kings, and women and other minorities were whatever men wanted them to be.  

Trump had no problem disrespecting hated groups like immigrants and other minorities. He had no filter when talking about the president or other political foes. He said things this group of disaffected citizens had always wanted to say, but lacked the courage to do so. He made being politically incorrect in vogue, bringing out the worst in his followers.

As such, he has shaped one of the most divisive political campaigns in my memory. He has ripped the scab off of some of America’s darkest predispositions. He has dashed all talk of a post-racial America. He has brought to light the misogyny that still runs rampant in our society.

If any good is to come from this misdirected campaign, it is that we Americans must face our true selves. While it is a minority of Americans who appear to harbor these hateful, backward opinions, it occurs to me that at least one of every four people I come into contact is likely a Trump supporter who has embraced his dark view of the world. A quarter of my co-workers, people I pass in the mall, see at the grocery store or run into in my neighborhood want to return to segregation, isolation, and back-street abortions.
It is a sobering thought.

 Perhaps we will look into this mirror that Trump has provided us and determine this is not the America we wish to see. Perhaps those on the right and those on the left will attempt to move toward the middle so that we can find common ground and create a government that better represents our collective needs and desires. Perhaps it will help us to rise to be our better selves. Perhaps we will realize that living in a democracy means that we don’t always get exactly what we want all of the time. Maybe we will see that through compromise, common sense and human decency, we can make a society that serves us all.  



Friday, October 21, 2016



On November 8, 2016 we will close the book on perhaps the most brutal presidential election cycle in our nation's history. Many North Carolinians made their choice yesterday during the first day of early voting. Their votes, and those still to be cast November 8th will set this nation's course for the next four years and beyond. If you haven't already done so, make your way to polls and let your voice be heard.

Already voted?  Your work is not done. Please encourage those within your realm of influence to get out and vote as well. You can promote the need to vote at your church, in your community and among the various organizations to which you belong. There also are numerous opportunities to volunteer to assist in the Get Out the Vote initiatives in your community.

If you want to learn more about the candidates running for office in North Carolina, go to:

Many died to protect our right to vote. Honor their memories by showing up at the polls. Give voice to our ancestors who made the ultimate sacrifice so that our voices might be heard.

Vote between now and November 8th!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sorry, Melania: Donald Trump is NOT a Gentleman

By Mildred Robertson

As I sat and watched MSBNC on Monday night, I was amazed as Melania Trump defended her husband by saying that she knew he was innocent of sexual abuse charges because he is a gentleman.  While I empathize with family members who are thrust into the public eye by the ambitions and/or indiscretions of a loved one, I could not come up with an ounce of sympathy for Melania.

You see, her interview did not appear to be that of a dutiful wife who is truly blind to her husband’s indiscretions and shortcomings. Her appearance instead, appears to be a calculated attempt to gain sympathy from women voters who are abandoning Trump’s campaign in droves. She decided to squander what little reputation she has to argue that all the women who have come forward to confirm the damning statements made  by Trump himself are somehow liars, or of ill-repute. The Trumps chose to take this approach even after attacking Hillary Clinton for allegedly doing the same to her husband’s accusers.  They even went so far as to parade those accusers before Hillary during the 2nd Presidential debate.

Even the debate itself belied Melania’s description of her husband as he stalked Clinton around the debate stage.  He commented after the debate that he checked Hillary out from behind and was not impressed; clearly a statement that a real gentleman would not make. He has spent much of his campaign rating the appearance of women with whom he comes into contact on the campaign trail.

 It is also clear that public discourse during this campaign has been dragged into the gutter based on Trump’s utterances. He has demonstrated that he has no respect for women, children (including his own), the military and their families, minorities, immigrants, the physically challenged, both the Democratic and Republican parties and various of their members, religion, the media …. Must I go on? His comments about these groups are clearly not those of a gentleman.  

That a woman would “stand by her man” is not a novel concept.  I am sure Melania Trump knows exactly who Donald is. I understand it. I even have compassion for her as her family endures this very public humiliation.  If she chooses to forgive her man’s indiscretions, no matter how reprehensible, that is her personal decision to make. If she decides to discount her husband’s own words, and buy into the conspiracy theory being promoted by Trump and his campaign, I say to her “do whatever allows you to sleep at night.” But to defend the indefensible; cloak it in gentility and ask America to accept it as its own truth is inexcusable. It is an insult to all the true gentlemen in this world.

You see, in my 64 years on earth, I have never heard a gentleman call a woman a “” or a “cu_t.”  That is not to say that I have not heard such words, though I don’t believe I have ever actually heard someone called the “c” word.  And while the “b” word is used fairly commonly, I suggest that is not common terminology for one who considers himself to be a gentleman. It is not common practice for a gentleman to grab a woman in her crotch, or otherwise, without her consent. It is not the general behavior of a gentleman to simply kiss a woman because he chooses to do so, with no indication from the woman that those advances are acceptable.  Gentlemen do not commonly stroll into a woman’s dressing room and observe her in various stages of undress without her permission.  Gentlemen do not refer to their offspring as a “nice piece of ass.” These are all things gentlemen do not do. But based upon interviews, and video and audio tapes of Trump himself, these are common practices for him.

 So I do not know where Melania got her definition of a gentleman. But I have to emphatically say, “No, Melania,” Donald Trump is NOT a gentleman!

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Uncommon Nominees Lead Parties
By Mildred Robertson

The 2016 Presidential election will be noted as perhaps the most bizarre in the annals of American history. This distinction will not be achieved because, for the first time, a woman will head the ticket of a major party as the presidential nominee, although that is a noteworthy detail. What has made this election unique is the nature of the race itself.

The country faces numerous challenges that are vital to our continued stature as the premier super-power on the world stage. We are facing economic challenges as we wrestle to balance domestic and international trade to fully participate in the global economy while creating a robust business climate within our borders. We must continue to work to create international partnerships that will support fair trade practices and create good-paying American jobs.

The browning of America has pushed racial tension to new heights, and racial profiling and militaristic police tactics have pitted the Black and brown communities against municipal governments across the nation. While still the most affluent nation in the world, according to Pearson's Global Education Index,  America ranks 14th in the world for “cognitive skills and educational attainment.”  A Bloomberg poll ranks health care efficiency in the US at 44 out of 51 countries surveyed. The International Centre for Prison Studies states that America has more prisoners than any other country in the world. All of these issues and more loom large on our horizon. These are the issues that the next President of the United States will face as he or she strives to move us forward toward peace, growth and prosperity.

So, it is bizarre that the nominees for the 2016 presidential election and the media are talking about a beauty queen’s weight, women’s menstrual cycles, the relevance of the size of a man’s hands to other body parts, how one might be weak following a bout with pneumonia, or how it is not nice to poke fun at those with disabilities. 

Granted, these topics were all introduced by Republican nominee Donald Trump as part of the presidential discourse. But both the media and the opposing party have allowed Trump to set the tone for this presidential race.

First, the media seemed to think that ratings were more important than the final patriotism as they gave Trump millions of dollars in free advertising as he said one outrageous thing after the other, guaranteeing him prime-time news coverage on a regular basis. He was allowed to introduce myriad falsehoods into public discourse that an uneducated and unsophisticated portion of the electorate embraced as gospel fact. Those in the Republican Party who didn’t believe his many falsehoods eventually embraced the fact that a lot of the Republican base were willing to give Trump a pass as long as he was able to defeat Hillary Clinton, and just got on board.
Meanwhile, Clinton wrestles with a millennial vote unfamiliar with her true record. Many of them have come to accept an obfuscated representation of who she is and what she has stood for over the years. Clinton has failed to break through years of negative media directed at her and the Clinton machine, and she holds an unenthusiastic lead among Blacks and Latinos. 

So, with only a lukewarm Obama coalition behind her, she has taken to poking the bear rather than staying on message.   This tactic has impeded her efforts to clearly enunciate the challenges that face our country and express how her policies will address them.

She has learned that she can’t focus on what appears to me to be a pretty solid platform, and make headway with the electorate. But when she pushes Trump’s buttons she can make him veer off the script that has been carefully crafted to make him seem more acceptable to the reluctant party liners who have pledged “never Trump.” All it takes is a poke at his wealth, or his misogyny to send Trump off into a Twitter storm that will ultimately result in bad press and a drop in the polls.

I get it. Poll numbers and bad media mean something in an election. But it is an election, folks, for the highest office in the United States; the most powerful country in the world. This election is far too important than to hinge on emotions. It is too important to be decided by media coverage, or the antics of a carnival barker.

We have real problems that need real solutions. The fact that someone as incompetent, dishonest, racist, misogynistic and unstable as Donald Trump is one step away from the presidency is more than bizarre. It is dangerous.

There is just a little more than a month before most Americans go to the polls to elect the 45th President of the United States. Let’s pray that the majority of Americans can dig through all the drama, falsehoods, and knee-jerk emotions that have dominated this election. Let's hope that the majority of us can make a sound judgment based on facts about what is best for our nation. Otherwise, on November 9th we may wake up to a country in chaos—a country we don’t even know. A bizarre America where facts don’t matter, leadership is self-serving, aimless and corrupt, and the average American is left, like many enterprises with whom Trump did business, holding the bag.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016 Presidential Election Debacle


By:  Mildred Robertson

I watched Monday night’s debate in both amazement and horror as I observed the debacle which is the 2016 Presidential Election. Let me clarify that I am a Hillary supporter. It is not a default vote for me. I believe that she is capable and qualified to lead this nation as the first elected female president, and I will proudly cast my vote for her. It is definitely NOT a vote for the lessor of two evils.
I see only one evil, and the fact that this individual who apparently has no redeeming characteristics is two heartbeats away from the White House frightens me more than Putin…more than Korea…more than Isis.   It is incredible to me that at least a third of Americans, and maybe more, find Donald Trump to be an acceptable choice to lead the most powerful nation in the world.
To date, Donald Trump has articulated no discernible policy in any area of politics. In foreign policy he has discussed building a wall to stop immigration and pulling our country into isolation by defaulting on our NATO obligations. Disturbing…yes—policy…no. He has laid out no plan as to how he would accomplish either goal. (We know Mexico is NOT going to build the wall!)
On domestic policy, he insists that he would force businesses to bring jobs back to America. This is ironic in that he himself has exported many jobs outside this country. And again, he has expressed no solid policy on how he would accomplish this goal. Nor has he laid out a reasonable fiscal plan to “Make America Great Again.” According to experts, his proposed economic policies would propel us back toward the recession from which Obama just dug us out. And he is proud to evade paying the very same taxes that are used to support infrastructure, fire and police departments and schools; the very foundation of safe, thriving communities.
His response to social issues are just as bizarre, as he courts the African American vote in one breath and promises to nationalize “Stop and Frisk” in the next; a practice which has been found to be both discriminatory and unconstitutional. He still refuses to say that he was wrong in demanding President Obama’s birth certificate and claims to be proud of having “forced” him to present it. Tone deaf in everything associated with discrimination, he does not see the parallel between his demand, and the historical Southern practice of making Black people present papers to prove their status.  He justifies his early business practices of red-lining by saying that everybody was doing it.
Trump and his organization have embraced racists, disparaged African Americans and Latinos, attacked women, offended fallen soldiers and their families, and denigrated war heroes. It appears that he also may have evaded taxes, carried out illegal practices in his foundation and bilked contractors out of money that they earned and deserved. He has a history of being a philanderer, and has no understanding of religious practices; even though he tells the religious right that he is a deeply religious individual. He is a proven liar and may possibly have amorous feelings toward his own daughter.
When you couple his total lack of preparation and qualifications for the Office of the Presidency with his moral deficiencies, it is amazing that millions of Americans are capable of choosing this man to lead them. It is amazing that they would embrace this caricature of a human being and say “He speaks for me.”
It says more about millions of Americans than it does Donald Trump that someone of his ilk would be allowed to become the standard bearer of a national party. It means that every third person I see in the mall, or on the subway or in a restaurant or on my job has likely embraced the racist, bigoted, immoral and dimwitted philosophy this campaign represents.  While millions support Donald Trump, let’s hope that millions more stand up and say, “This is NOT who we are! This man does NOT speak for me!”  
We all have the opportunity and the obligation to say just that on November 8th.  


Thursday, July 21, 2016


Using Wealth to Effect Change

By Mildred Robertson

As I struggle with the reality of America’s socio-economic condition in 2016, I am appalled that our national and political discourse is eerily reminiscent of the 50s and 60s when majority culture Americans clearly embraced a racist system that brutalized and dehumanized blacks and other minorities.  

Many in our nation are clearly agonizing over this symbol of 21st century oppression; the authorized targeting of black Americans and other minorities by our system of justice. It appears simple enough to agree that a man, woman or child should not be executed  for trivial infractions such as driving with a busted tail light, playing in a park, or simply walking to the corner store for a drink and some skittles.

Black people are amazed, and perhaps shocked, that so many people cannot see how the unfettered slaying of blacks for non-violent (or non-existent) violations is wrong, and deserving of punishment for the perpetrators. We have been amazed that people equate the call for justice against police who brutalize our citizens to an assault on the police who truly protect and serve.

We have been amazed that the majority culture is somehow surprised that someone got pissed off enough to pick up arms against the police. (Please do not start a twitter feed about this statement. I am in support of effective, compassionate fair policing, and value those who do a good job.)  Surely thinking individuals had to know that some in our society would become so desperate for justice in the absence of any, that they would attempt to make up and execute their own justice.

But violence is not the way. I believe we have the power to make meaningful change in our society.  All of us... every one of us!

As we wrestle to find strategies that will turn our community and our country around we must ask, what can make a difference for young minorities growing up in this hostile society.   How can we make it better?  The answer is already here, in our own community! The way to independence, justice and social equality is monetary.  That is the key.

We can continue to appeal to the conscience of America , but we must understand that many in our country have no conscience. We can look to our religious leaders, but find many of them are simply demagogues.  We can look to our political leaders, but discover that many are corrupt. We can and should pray, but God expects us to do our part.  The big question becomes, “what is my part?”

We must begin to strategically use the massive amount of dollars that pass through the black community to provide the leverage necessary to effect social change. According to the 2016 Nielsen Report, black households earning $75,000 or more per year are growing faster in size and influence than whites in all income groups above $60,000. If we were an independent nation, our spending power would place our Gross Domestic Product at the 15th largest economy in the world. The report goes on to say that marketers need to take note and market to this growing demographic.  And that is where the power lies.

We must take those dollars and make them work for us. We can effect social change by supporting those entities that are fair and equitable. More importantly, we must deny our dollars to those entities that support the continued subjugation of blacks and other people of color.

Do not be deceived, Black communities used to thrive, boasting their own banks, grocery stores, theaters and service providers. But in the early 20th Century the majority culture went to great lengths to destroy this budding economy, as evidence by the destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa Oklahoma and other such communities around the nation.  They understood the power that economic independence offers. In fact, that is why many of our political leaders are preachers, or own their own businesses. This financial freedom allows an individual to be authentic, without fear of economic ruin. 

The next great movement will not be a political third party, or a grassroots organizer, or even a movement such as Black Lives Matter. The next harbinger of social change is the realization by blacks and people of color that they already have the power to effect change and secure justice. Once we look in our pockets and decide to strategically utilize our wealth, we will be able to make meaningful, lasting social and economic change.

In the famous words of James Carville…”It’s the economy, stupid!.”

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hate Speech Ruling America's Political Discourse

By Mildred Robertson

Words matter.

If that were not so, the Founding Fathers would not have put specific protection in the Constitution for free speech.  The Bible would not have stressed that talk can do tremendous good or evil (Psalm 12:4) and that “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

Unfortunately, Americans have missed the nuances of how the civil liberty of free speech is supposed to work for the greater good. Free speech was granted to us not to allow perverted politicians to stir up political turmoil and hatred among classes of people, but to ensure that even the least powerful among us would have a voice.

That perversion, fueled by hate speech in the highest political arena, has driven an unprecedented wedge between people of different ethnicities, cultures genders, religions and sexual orientations. We are all pushed to choose a side.

While the investigation is still underway, it appears that some people in Dallas chose a side. I believe that the investigation will show that the perpetrators of these acts were frustrated by the inaction of this nation on the hundreds of unjustified killings of black men, women and children for minor infractions that would probably not have resulted in arrest for a white American. Please understand that I in no way condone the police killings in Dallas; but I understand how a young, frustrated African American might arrive at that decision.

It is a story we have heard over and over again, and the result is always the same. We say a prayer.  We have a march. And next month, another black man, woman or child is needlessly gunned down for no apparent reason, other than being black.  And that voice that the Founding Fathers protected for us is nowhere to be heard.

 We are bombarded daily by a media that has lost its way; filling our airwaves, newspapers and magazines with the opinion of this pundit or that one. They pull out the rap sheet on any victim of a police shooting, and post a mug shot rather than a graduation picture. News is rarely reported these days, and if it is, it is because social media has forced it. This is the very same media for whom the Founding Fathers crafted a special protection in our constitution.

 Words have created an image of the black man that makes the world fear him, regardless of his station in life, the way he carries himself, how much money he has or how much education he gains. It does not matter to America. It does not matter to the police who have been called to protect and serve, not just white America, but me too. That is why there is a “Black Lives Matter” movement, because someone has to change the conversation.

 Listen to the words. . . . There is no threat in them.

 Saying “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that blue lives don’t matter, because they do. It doesn’t mean that white lives don’t matter—they do. It does not mean that brown lives don’t matter. Brown lives also matter.  It would be wonderful for us to say “ALL LIVES MATTER” and for that to include my black self, my son, my brother…but heretofore that has not been the case. 

The fact is, words matter, and America needs a new lexicon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


By Mildred Robertson
June 8, 2016

I sat last night, and watched in disbelief as MSNBC and other news outlets disenfranchised millions of voters by announcing Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Presidential Party.  This election season has given pause to thinking Americans. The system is broken. We must do something to bring this democracy back into balance. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am a Hillary supporter. I was pretty sure she was going to win. Those who had been doing the math expected this as the final outcome. But to call it before millions have even had the opportunity to cast their vote is a total overreach on the part of the media.

This last turn of events is only one in a long list of perversions to the election process that, I believe, is fueled by the media and threatens our very freedom. First there was the 11-ring circus that was the Republican Primary where the multiplicity of voices gave rise to the carnival barker that is Donald Trump.

Had the Republicans been able to field an array of qualified candidates who intelligently debated the serious issues that face our country, we might have gotten a serious presidential contender that offered a realistic alternative to the Democratic nominee. Instead, we got a presidential primary reality series orchestrated by a television personality whose arrogance is superseded only by his proclivity to lie and misrepresent both himself and his opponents. This was facilitated by the media who used the entertainment value of a Donald Trump candidacy to boost ratings, with little thought given to the impact of this free coverage on the democratic process. No other candidate could have afforded to buy the time that was freely given to Trump to espouse his stupidity, hatred, bigotry and racism, which unfortunately, was embraced by millions of Republicans.

For ratings, the media allowed Trump to suck up all the air in the room, leaving no space for thoughtful, meaningful debate. Each news day has been dominated by his most recent outrageous antics, with few media questioning either the veracity or the news worthiness of his statements. Now, in the 11th hour, some media have stepped up to challenge Trump, but it is too little, too late.

And then there is the Democratic Primary. Neither Bernie nor Hillary has gotten much attention, until now. Oh, there was momentary coverage when someone attacked Hillary for this, that or the other. Bernie got some airtime when he claimed unfairness in the Democratic Party Primary process, but for the most part, neither has received much media play as it relates to their basic platform.

For the media, it is all about personality and perception…seldom about substance. If it is not about Benghazi, emails or Bill—if it doesn’t involve raging against the system or millennials who are disenchanted with the status quo, then it’s just not going to get airtime.  Media coverage has focused on what separates us, what vexes us rather than issues that will impact our future and determine our path in a world facing many serious challenges.

Our nation must address issues associated with global warming, nuclear threats, social unrest, aging seniors, childcare, equality for women, minorities and others outside social norms.  We have no time for “must see TV.”

The freedoms given the media were provided to ensure the free exchange of ideas, a fundamental tenet of a free society. As one trained as a journalist, I understand the sacred nature of this provision in our Constitution. But what the modern day media has done with the freedoms afforded it by our Constitution is nothing short of sacrilegious.

I certainly fear government intrusion into the inner workings of the media. But somehow, someone must determine what is true journalism and what is entertainment. It is, I believe, unethical for the media to cause millions of Americans to feel that their votes are irrelevant. When ratings become more important than democracy…when being the first to break a story is more important than the impact that breaking news will have on millions of Americans, it appears to me that the media have fallen short of the lofty expectations of our Founding Fathers. 

In journalism school they taught us that there were some situations where it was not alright to speak. We don’t generally print the names of rape victims, or children involved in crimes. We don’t broadcast the name of a murder or accident victim before the family is notified. We don’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

Isn’t that what happened last night? Could this announcement not have waited until the polls closed today?  Of course it could, but not if you wanted to be first. 

It is my prayer that those states casting their ballots today will not be deterred by media whose desire for ratings is the sum total of what they have become. I hope that voters cast their ballots despite the unethical, ratings hungry behavior of some media. Every vote counts, regardless of what the media says. It must for our democracy to stand.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Election 2016 – Hard Choices

Let’s be adult – it’s not about marbles

By Mildred Robertson

I am a Hillary supporter. I believe, that with all her knots and bruises, she is the best person in the field to follow the path President Obama has so appropriately charted for America. Hillary believes what I believe. It is not something that I have to turn to the media pundits to figure out.

She believes in universal health care.  I know that, because I heard her voice call for it, first, long and loud, back when her husband first took office.  Her record will show that she has an understanding of the impact of things like child care, pay equality and paid leave on not just the women of our nation, but our entire economy.

She believes a woman should have sovereignty over her own body, and that every human being in this country should be treated with respect.  She knows the Black community often doesn’t get a fair shake when it comes to the legal system, employment, education, and a myriad of other factors that help to continue and widen the economic gap between people of color and the rest of America and she wants to do something about it. She knows that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are not charity, but an essential part of what makes us a civilized nation and provides an essential safety net for countless Americans who otherwise would languish in utter poverty.

She knows what it takes to lead. She has done it in the chambers of Congress and in the board rooms of countless heads of state world-wide. Whether it is foreign policy, health-care,  the support of historically black colleges and universities, voting rights, or sensible gun laws, Hillary and I agree on many things.

She is Hillary, not Bill. She did not sleep with Monica Lewinsky.

She is Hillary, not Bill, she did not institute the current prison system. 

Does she always tell the truth?  I don’t know.  Do you?  Does she get paid well for what she does? Certainly! Isn’t that your goal in life as well?

I do know that if the media dug around in my past as they have hers, they would probably come up with a thing or two that would make me look somewhat unattractive. I do not always make the right choice. Sometimes, over a 30-year span, I get new information or a new perspective, and sometimes I simply change my mind. How about you?

I want to vote for Hillary in November. That doesn’t mean that I think she is perfect, but I believe she is the best prepared and positioned candidate to be the 2016 standard bearer for Americans who want to move this country forward.

However, if Hillary does not win the Democratic nomination…if Bernie Sanders comes out victorious in July and successfully captures the nomination, I will NOT take my marbles and go home.  I will gladly walk into the voting booth on November 8 and cast my vote for Bernie Sanders.

I understand that Sanders speaks to many Progressives in a way he does not speak to me. I understand the fervor. After all, I was a die-hard Obama fan when folks were saying “Obama who?” I know what it means to see something in a candidate that no one else sees, and to passionately believe that the person can make a difference. So I get it.

What I don’t get, is the decision by many Sanders supporters to vote for Sanders or no one. When you look at it up close, you could change all the “she believes” in my previous statements, and write “he believes” and there would be very little daylight between the two.

The opposition is another story entirely. Any Republican candidate put forth thus far spells disaster for this country and every part of the Progressive agenda. For any Progressive supporter to opt out of this election because his or her preferred candidate fails to gain the Party nomination is immature, short-sighted and dangerous. 
Remain in play.  

Defeat the REAL enemy. 

That enemy’s name is neither Bernie nor Hillary.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Donald Trump…Bullying his Way to the White House

By Mildred Robertson

This election season has been nothing, if not entertaining, as we watch Donald Trump bully his way to the White House. It is disturbing to think that such a flawed character could claw his way to the top of the Republican heap, and even more disturbing that the media and, apparently, millions of Americans have allowed him to do so.  His cheap theatrics have made him a media darling and the late night show’s punch line.
That is all well and good if we are talking about the fall television line up.  But folks, we are talking about a clearly troubled personality’s possible ascendance to the highest office in the world. To place the delicate negotiations of U.S. foreign policy, the sensitive issues of personal freedom vs. social good, or the pressing issues of economic stability in the hands of a megalomaniac is unthinkable.

It appears, however, that it is something that every American must think about. Because in November of 2016 a man who has no respect for women, minorities, the poor, and effectually, anyone who is not him, may well take the reins of this great nation and have the opportunity to drive us into the ground.
When we examine this situation, several questions immediately come to mind: How did we get here?  Who is at fault? What can be done about it? And if he wins; “What next.”

Let’s first play the blame game. Clearly, Donald Trump is a creation of the media. It is my belief that he started this journey as a publicity stunt; his goal, to raise his visibility and embellish his brand. But once he began the process and garnered millions in free publicity and an equal number of dissatisfied voters (idiots) who were willing to support him, I believe Trump realized that the presidency might possibly be within his reach. Once having reached that conclusion, he began to make more and more outrageous statements, filling the 24-hour news cycle with Trumpisms. His followers also fed the media machine by being thugs and beating up any who dared to protest Trump’s racist, sexist rants.
Under the guise of journalism, the media hung on his every word, noting that now Trump was the legitimate front-runner in the Republican Primary. Even though the media now timidly accepts its role in Trump’s ascendancy, there is little it can do. The genii always refuses to go back in the bottle.

Well, now that we know how we got here, and who to blame, what can we do to stop Trump’s rise to power. First, Americans are going to have to stop acting like spoiled children who must have their way despite the consequences, and take a good, serious look at our country. Between the gloom and doom the Republicans have been preaching since America elected a black president and the media’s proclivity to only tell the bad news, Americans have come to believe that we are in dire circumstances and about to teeter over the brink of disaster.
The facts simply don’t bear that out.

Under this administration businesses have added 13.7 million new jobs, unemployment has fallen to 5%, and 17.6 million Americans have gained health insurance…all accomplished with a congress that fought these policies tooth and nail[i]. And that’s just a short list of accomplishments.
That is not to say that there are not critical issues that still need to be addressed. But all-in-all, America is on a much more solid footing than when Obama took office 8 years ago.
So be dissatisfied if you must, but also be realistic about the basis of your dissatisfaction. The unease felt by millions of Americans has much more to do with race than it has to do with social, economic and political progress. And that is what Trump is tapping into.

So I challenge Trump supporters to be honest. Are your racist roots so deep that you would allow them to strangle common sense and hand over the White House to a power-crazed despot such as Trump?
As Americans we must stop the name calling, the racist and sexist epithets and concentrate on what it really means to make (keep) America great.  Although the Founding Fathers were also flawed human beings who apparently did not clearly understand the words they penned… “All men (people) are created equal.” We each do have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our country was founded upon the belief that people with differing opinions…lifestyles…life choices…religious beliefs could live together under the rule of law; each maintaining the purity of his or her personhood while supporting our nationhood.

I believe that to be a fact. I implore each American citizen who walks into that ballot box in November to lay aside petty differences and concentrate on what will truly make America strong.  Failure to do so will result in unrest, anarchy, and possibly the demise of our nation as we know it.  This November can mark a beginning, but regrettably, it may also mark the end.
A post Donald Trump America is not one I wish to envision, much less experience.