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.