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.