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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,309

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It's a good thing racist whites are wrong, for their own sake

Racism is the belief that one race is superior to another, with White racists believing Whites are superior to Blacks. Racism isn't just morally wrong, it's scientifically wrong. But had Martians dropped in on Earth recently (or more specifically the United States) with an eye toward evaluating humanity, they could be forgiven if preliminary findings indicated some validity for racism, with Whites found often lacking in comparison to African Americans.

I'm White myself but I would forgive Martians for reaching that conclusion. The grace and keen insightfulness evident at the funeral for John Lewis yesterday was absolutely stunning, and that same grace and insightfulness has powerfully shown among people of color in each corner of our nation in recent weeks. Not that it hasn't always been there, but the impact of that grace on our society as a whole of late can not be minimized, not by any but the most bigoted of souls. African Americans are repeated victims of racism, they know the disease too well, but still they summon the power of love to promote the healing of us all. Righteous anger is present also, but rarely a heart that's closed. When I think of the words grace under fire, I think of men like John Lewis, and accounts such as the following. But in truth and with humility, I witness the same qualities shown daily by countless frequent victims of white oppression whose names I rarely know:

This is an excerpt from an article entitled: "What John Lewis taught me about forgiveness" published on the website "Teaching American History" (the bolding is mine)

"...Several tributes to Lewis included the story of a former KKK member who attacked the Freedom Riders at the Rock Hill, South Carolina bus station in 1961. Late in his life, Elwin Wilson, the former Klansman, motivated by the election of Barack Obama and Wilson’s own fear of hell, sought to find the man he beat in 1961 and seek his forgiveness. He discovered that man was Georgia Congressman John Lewis. Wilson traveled to Washington, met with Lewis, apologized for his actions, and Lewis forgave him. The two men became friends and made several appearances together, including one on Oprah Winfrey’s show.

When this story of forgiveness broke in the national news, I was teaching South Carolina history at York Preparatory Academy in Rock Hill, SC. My students and I invited Elwin Wilson to our class to talk about his experience. Wilson spoke about his gratitude to Lewis for Lewis’s forgiveness. He spoke about learning to turn his back on hate and love all of his fellow human beings.

I asked him if he had encountered any African-Americans who could not forgive him for his past actions as a Klansman and his role in attacking the Freedom Riders. He said, “No, but I have had white people say that they can’t forgive me.” I wanted to make sure that I understood him correctly so I asked him: “Do you mean former buddies in the KKK?” Wilson said yes. He had violated the secrecy oath of the Klan and that was unforgivable to them, he replied."

I do not subscribe to racism in any form, so of course I reject white inferiority, dispite seeming evidence to the contrary. Grace inhabits people of every race. The spiritual anthem "Amazing Grace" was written by a White Slave Ship Captain after all, when his eyes were finally opened. John Lewis overflowed with grace, but Elwin Wilson ultimately found some also. Martin Luther King Jr gave his life for justice, with the belief we all could become better people, though not all would answer that call. One of those who did was Lyndon Baines Johnson. a southern White politician who rode to power by mastering and manipulating the racial and racist currents of politics in his native Texas. LBJ was not perfect, no one is, but when destiny called he rose to the occasion, and used those skills he had mastered to get the most sweeping set of civil rights legislation since the wake of the Civil War, passed through Congress and signed into law.

All of us are capable of achieving grace, regardless of the race or races we are born into. But it sure helps to know grace when you see it, which fortunatelyt has been on ample display of late, never more evident than in the final words John Lewis wrote, or in those spoken yesterday at his funeral. There is time still for other ex Klan men like Elvin Wilson to be touched by grace and in so doing be redeemed by those who live in it with the love it takes to forgive them. But this nation can't wait any longer. It is time to turn the page on those whose eyes still refuse to open.My hope is with the young.

Short and Simple: Trump is a Hoax

I would love to see all of his catch all phrases flung right back at Trump. His presidency is all a hoax. Making America Great Again was just one big hoax. Trump holds fake Press Conferences. He gives fake Covid-19 updates. No president has ever told as many lies to Americans. No President has ever done so much to weaken America. No draft dodger has ever done more to dishonor the lives of the brave men and women in our armed forces, by defending Putin's right to place bounties on their heads. Under Trump's leadership we are putting the Confederacy first. The Civil War may be over, but under Trump's leadership we are making America break again.

Trump needs sharp social discord, and he needs to risk our lives

Trump is pinning his vanishing chance for reelection on three strategies, each one of which will cause great damage and much suffering for the people he claims he wants to lead. That latter phrase is a misstatement, however. Trump couldn't care less about actually leading anyone, he only wants a subservient public who will unquestionably follow him, with everyone else relegated to collateral damage. None of this is new nor surprising, but taken as a whole it is breathtaking in a terrifying way to realize just how far Trump is willing to go to hold onto power.

Strategy number one: Create a temporary illusion that our economy is rapidly returning to normal so that spending goes up and unemployment goes down. Trump expected to win reelection by claiming to have created "the best economy anyone has seen". He was powerless to prevent the massive economic hit America sustained when the pandemic exploded on our soil, so Trump has to pretend that all of that lost economic activity is about to come roaring back, and he needs some "encouraging data" to spin for that fantasy before presidential votes are cast. So America had to reopen for business, and children must be forced to attend classes outside of their homes, to free up their parents to staff the humming workplaces that existed before Covid-19. Trump's gambit is to create an illusion of economic and social normality now so as to capture the maximum number of votes possible, and to hope that the pandemic doesn't completely blow up in his face before November. Masks unfortunately undercut his intended imagery. The deaths that await us all after his reelection don't matter to Trump, simply that he remains in office. He will say and do anything to "prop up" the economy before Election Day, the human cost of deadly lies is irrelevant to Trump, if it's not faced before November. School kids and teachers are just fodder for Trump.

Strategy number two: Incite Fear. Stoke fear (among whites) of all members of every minority group. Stoke fear of all those not native born to America (except for Native Americans who should obviously be permanently feared). Stoke fear that atheists will forbid worship, that liberals will confiscate all guns, and that angry mobs of radicals will hunt down and murder God fearing law abiding patriotic Americans while turning our cities into war zones. Trump needs video footage to use in his apocalyptic propaganda commercials, so he has zero incentive to promote healing, and zero incentive to promote peace. He wants American nerves jagged, he wants our paranoia rampant. He wants to claim that it is either him or the abyss. If enough so called scenes of riots and "American carnage" aren't available for his political needs, Trump will try to create them, and that is the real mission of his secret police; to provoke violence, not to counter it. And Trump is being increasingly open with his racism because he wants a violent reaction to it.

Strategy number three: De-legitimize the election. Trump will do everything possible to convince Americans that this election is rigged against him. It's not enough to use the standard Republican playbook that the liberal mainstream media is biased against him, Trump means rigged, as in literally RIGGED. Anyone he can use to help weaponize his conspiracy, he will. Remember the imaginary three plus million illegal undocumented voters Trump claimed kept him from winning the popular vote last time? Trump has already accused President Obama of Treason, literally. He has already claimed China will print up millions of forged mail in ballots to fraudulently tilt the election to their secret puppet Biden. Trump is knowingly trying to destroy the confidence Americans have in our electoral system. The long term damage that he is doing to our democracy by doing so can hardly be even fathomed. But that doesn't matter to Trump. If he manages, by whatever means, to be declared the winner of November's vote, he will get to stay in power. At that point it won't matter to Trump if people believe that the election was rigged for him, he would consolidate his rule. And if Trump is not quickly declared the winner of the vote, it leads to one of two options. If we are really really lucky Trump, calculating that he can not win a show down, will ultimately exit the White House, claiming all the while that the election was rigged against him. The other option either ends our Constitutional Republic, or triggers our second Civil War.

Covid-19 Hospitalization figures are what matter, followed as they will be by numbers of deaths

Media is highlighting the wrong set of stats. The lead should be the number of daily reported new hospitalizations, and the charts being featured should highlight the seven day moving average of new hospitalizations, instead of the number of new cases. Yes I know that increases in hospitalizations are widely covered too, but the statistical lead remains the daily reports of rising new case numbers in various states. That is the first, and often the only, chart the public actually sees flashed on their screens.

Reports that focus on new case numbers are highly susceptible to orchestrated disinformation campaigns. They come in two forms. First is the classic Trumpism that we only have more cases now because we now conduct more tests. The second form of disinformation builds on the first. It's the assertion that Covid-19 is essentially harmless to 99% of the public. It argues that with more testing going on of course we'll find lots of people walking around with the virus, just like people are walking around with the common cold, and that should be seen as reassuring.. Not only is Covid-19 not spiraling out of control under these disinformation scenarios, but we are actually proving that it's really no biggie for the vast majority of Americans.

Both disinformation campaigns fall flat on their faces when confronted with evidence of rapidly rising hospitalization rates from Covid-19 however. People don't get hospitalized because they get positive test results, they get hospitalized because they got really sick, with or without a test. Ultimately, of course, all of the lies will fall to pieces as this pandemic marches forward, making a total mockery of all denials. Ultimately Covid-19 death rates will accelerate also (it's just beginning to happen) but deaths are the ultimate lagging indicator. Hospitalizations come much earlier, and every America understands that even the most benign outcome hospitalization is a serious matter, one that most of us go many years without having to undergo. Disinformation must be countered as quickly and effectively as possible, lives are being lost every hour, and stats on rising case numbers are not a powerful enough tool.

In 2016 Hillary had the mantle of the so called "Known Quantity" in the race.

In the final weeks of the campaign previously undecided voters, those who had "reservations" about both Trump and Clinton, broke decisively for Trump. Trump, for them, was less tightly defined than Hillary Clinton. That left them freer to project onto Trump their own hopes for how he would actually act in office if he was elected, which left most late deciders deciding for Donald Trump

When folks become dissatisfied/disillusioned with a "known quantity" they are more prone to try something different. This time around, after putting himself at the center of the narrative of everything that happens in the world, Trump overwhelmingly is the relative known quantity in this race. This at a time when belief that America is "on the wrong track" is cresting and reality for most Americans is still deteriorating. That won't hurt Trump with his core humpers, but Biden is already flirting with if not surpassing the 50% mark in presidential polls. Biden doesn't need for the majority of late deciding voters to break toward him. But they will.

The contours of this race are now set in concrete. Americans don't need to believe Joe Biden is better than sliced bread in order to vote for him, they just have to be dissatisfied with Trump's leadership. And if nothing else (though there is plenty else) Trump's failed stewardship of the Covid-19 crisis has made that conclusion inevitable. And every increasingly desperate attempt Trump makes to deflect public attention away from his mismanagement of the pandemic just underscores the fact that he isn't leading us out of it.

I don't think we should act like we aren't confident Biden will win

Instead we should project the inevitability of a Joe Biden presidency, assuring the public that help is on the way. People should be counting the hours to when Joe Biden WILL, not might, provide us with the real leadership we desperately need.The message that should take hold now is that Trump is a loser who failed and history is already turning the page on his sorrowful chapter.

Instead of trying to scare ourselves about Trump somehow still finding a path to victory, we should visualize the huge challenges ahead that will necessitate a sweeping Blue Tsunami come November in order to address .THAT should be our motivator. Everything and everyone who propped up the Trump regime has to be swept away and we have to get out there to try to make that happen, RESOUNDINGLY. We need to start believing that there are fewer than twenty safe Republican seats left in the U.S. Senate after what Trump has done to this nation, and just a hundred reliably red seats remaining in the entire House. We have to act as though almost any seat is potentially flippable, and then bust our asses to make that happen. Instead of worrying over Joe Biden possibly losing, we should be telling ourselves that with just a few more phone calls made, we can turn Florida, Ohio, Texas, Georgia, Iowa and even Kansas Blue. And if a state went Blue in 2016 by five points, it should go blue by twenty points in 2020. Those are the goals we need, that is what we should be giving our all to bring about. We have to drive a stake through the heart of the Republican beast AND WE CAN DO IT. Because it isn't enough to just defeat Donald Trump.

I understand the danger of being over confident, how that can feed into a lax attitude leading to complacency about the work needed to win November's election. Obviously we can't let up on our efforts to destroy what is rapidly becoming the Trump Junta. But I think the best way to do that right now is to project cold hard confidence that Trump is going down, hard. The looming certainty of his defeat both demoralizes whatever Trump voters still remain AND destabilizes Trump himself, making him less and less capable of pulling it together to stop shooting himself in the foot during the final weeks of this election.

One aspect of how Trump seized the Oval Office in 2016 was by pulling back from Twitter and cutting back on wild unscripted remarks at rallies over the final ten days of the race. Part of what makes the efforts of The Lincoln Project so effective is that they go deep inside Trump's head and fuck with him. They literally are driving him crazy, and the crazier he gets now the more out of touch he seems with what our nation needs. We want Democratic control of the Senate next session, right? Keep generating shots of Republican Senators running away from the likes of Kasie Hunt, fleeing down Senate corridors trying not to comment on the latest Trump outrage of the day.

Trump's daily outrages no longer serve his interest as a distraction from whatever he thinks he wants us not to look at instead. Now his outrages legitimately occupy center stage, because the whole damn nation knows that we need a real leader to steer us through this full blown pandemic that is cutting us down by the tens of thousands, and that sure as hell isn't Donald Trump. But it is Joe Biden. It is time for the public to look past Donald Trump to the President in waiting. It is time to make this a self fulfilling prophesy, and for panic to seize what is left of the Republican Party.

On the Fourth, under these circumstances, I want to share this song: "Black Hills"

Can we make a #DoYouKnowThisAsshole campaign go viral?

Can we enlist hundreds of thousands to pledge to share and promote every video that emerges of anyone with white privilege harassing people of color for behavior that they wouldn't even notice if that person were white? I know this type of exposure is going on now all of the time on social media, but can it be boosted even further by a more organized campaign?
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