AN OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO THE REBUTTALS OF MY BLOG-“SHAME ON YOU SPECTRUM”

On April 25, 2020, I posted a blog titled, “SHAME ON YOU SPECTRUM.”  It was a critique of the shoddy reporting spectrum had done on a racial issue that was being addressed in an article they published.  Subsequently Spectrum heard about the blog that was posted on my Facebook page and asked permission to publish it in their online magazine. Since that publication it has received numerous comments that I really do not have time to address.

Many of the comments in no way address the substance of my blog.  My blog was directed at Spectrum, its shoddy journalism and the poor job it did in having the story properly investigated based on the information available to it in the student’s tweet.  I did not discuss the professional record of the professor or what he has done with regard to race or race relations professionally, academically or otherwise.  As a matter of fact I neither mentioned the professor or the student my name.  Nor did I mention the professor’s ethnic background or origin in the piece.  Some have resorted to making personal references to me as well but that is not something that bothers me.  This is a usual tactic when the facts are not on your side. When the facts do not support you, the next strategy is to attack the person.  The purpose of this blog is to respond completely and explain my position, based on the facts in the tweet that was published in the original Spectrum article.  To support my position I will take direct excerpts from the tweet. I will place the Tweet discussion in “quotes” and italics to distinguish it from my commentary. The Student identifies herself in the tweet as “Meek.”

——Meek’s Tweets

The student says —“ I look at a final paper which got a 74, and I don’t get C’s on papers so I was confused.”

The note he left for her grade was not on the quality of her paper but on the content. The student’s professor wrote in his own handwriting.

“This paper aims to criticize stereotyping; yet itself is a good example of a stereotyping”

—Instead of the professor pointing to the quality of the student’s paper as the reason for her lower grade, he emphasizes the content.

I will now copy the tweet of the conversation and address why I believe Spectrum did a shoddy job of journalism.  Please remember that the primary focus of my attention is the journalistic investigation of Spectrum and its lack of pursuing the bias of the professor and its effect on his ability to properly and fairly grade the student’s paper.  The discussion begins with disagreements about the content to which, the student directs the professor to her references in support of her position.  Here’s what the tweet says:

“Me: You’re going to have to tell me how I did that

Dr. M: You talk about how white people made stereotypes & that’s not true

Me: I said white people within America made stereotypes of Black Americans, & I gave the proof for that

Dr. M: It wasn’t white people, it was slave owners”

 “Me: The slave owners were white…

Dr. M: No the slave owners were slave owners

Me: (emoji’s) But it wasn’t only slave owners who perpetuated that stereotype onto Black people within America. And I gave articles and letters and sources for that” 

As you notice the student refers to her sources to support her position.

Someone mentioned that the paper was not about white privilege, but in the conversation the issue of “privilege” is discussed.  Again I am quoting the tweet.

“Dr. M: Well you also talk about white people stereotyping black people now, & when you say that that includes me & I don’t stereotype black people.

Me: No, I stated in my paper how those stereotypes are still held in society today to keep put black peoples as 2nd class citizens”

 “Me: Because in the racial context white people have a privilege over all Black people. That’s what my paper was pointing out. Systematic racism that holds black people back

Dr. M: You can’t blatantly talk about privilege like that, because Black people have privilege too.”

It is at this point that the conversation turns and the professor’s personal bias is revealed.  The conversation takes a specific personal turn that was not apart of the student’s paper. It goes into an area that reveals the professor’s personal ire about several issues that transpired on the campus of Andrews University.  Incidents that it appears he personally disagreed with.  This is where his personal bias crosses a line and reveals how it may have intruded into his ability to fairly evaluate and grade his student’s paper. Listen carefully and follow the conversation of the tweet.

“Me: black people do not profit in the racial context of America within its system. Any black person who does well is DESPITE the system not because of it

Dr M: That’s not true there are black people who get jobs just because they’re Black”

“Me: You need to give me examples of that, because when….when does that happen.

Dr. M: I can’t give you an example because you know the person”

“I knew exactly who he was talking about at this point, as he was talking about @mtn_atw and he said that because he knows N–(name excluded) and I are friends. Not only that, but for those who don’t know N–(name excluded) is our VP of diversity and inclusion that we got after #ItIsTime

“Me: you need to give me examples or you’re doing the same thing you’re accusing me of doing which is claiming things without fact.

He moved on and kept saying that I wasn’t listening. And that I am part of the problem of prescribing things I go to cause of my race and not myself”

“But he came back to it and said

Dr M: A few years ago when P——(name excluded) (@bpolite4life) did that thing where he said the school has systematic racism, it doesn’t because I’ve never seen it.

Me: ….Well you wouldn’t see that because it isn’t aimed towards you nor are you looking for it”

“Dr M: No it’s elitism. But fine, the school, as in the higher ups said that we do and what happens. They say we need a Black person to fill a role and the school spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to fulfill this role that does nothing.”

“Me: We’re both adults. So we’re not going to sit here and act like you’re not talking about M—— N—– (name excluded) and his role as VP of diversity and inclusion.

Dr. M: Well he got hired cause he’s black and that’s what the school wanted”

“Me: You can’t say that because that dismisses the credentials that he literally has. He has his JD, he was a practicing lawyer. He’s doing a great job. And for someone who keeps saying they’re not racist, that’s literally a racist remark you’re making.” 

“We go back and forth and he keeps belittling my line of thinking and my experience saying that not everything happens because I’m black and if it does it’s cause I keep telling people that’s what I am when I need to focus on there only being one race, the human race” 

Everything in the section above and afterward has nothing to do with the student’s paper, but further reveals the professor’s personal views on race and incidents that transpired on Andrew’s campus.  In the discussion he reveals his own personal disagreement with charges of “systemic racism” at Andrews University  and mentions what he sees as evidence of the racially biased hiring of an African American, which he calls “elitism.” All of these topics are issues that he and the student clearly have differences of opinions about. However, none of these topics have anything to do with the content of his student’s paper.  But it does open a window into how he may have arrived at the grade he gave his student. This is why I said SPECTRUM did a shoddy job of reporting.  They totally and completely ignored the direction the professor allowed this conversation to go and all of the things he said to his student.  Listen to rest of the conversation she records in the tweet.

“So I got super emotional and we argued for 30min & I was like “listen, we’re not seeing eye to eye here so I haven’t finished grading papers I need to step back & I’ll come back & grade these later”

And as I was leaving he said “oh you couldn’t handle it huh, you can’t handle it”

“So he told me that my problem is that I don’t listen and that I will never be able to fight racism while being so racialized and that I will always be contributing to the problem unless I try to fight this with Christ as the center.”

“Me: saying that races do not exist does not solve the problem at all because it diminishes all those who have gone through issues because of their race and I am not only unable to not be perceived as Black but I’m proud of being black”

“Dr M: you’re proud of that? You have pride in that?

Me: yes I am proud of being black

Dr: Well you need to fix that

Me: why can’t I be proud in being black

Dr: why would you be proud of that?”

 “Me: black people have gone through so much and yet we still…

Dr: well so do Serbs (he’s Serbian btw)

Me: we’re not talking about Serbs rn!”

 “He keeps yelling at me, I still have some tears running down my face cause I’m so angry. Somehow we got back to @mtn_atw

 and he said “what has he done what has he changed”

 “Me: as a black woman im very happy and feel better that he’s here.

Dr: what if you’re not black

Me: I know Latinx and LGBTQ people who are happy he’s here

Dr: what about white men?

Me: HES NOT HERE FOR YALL CAUSE YOURE NOT OPPRESSED”

“This went on from 2:25-3:33. I was so emotional that I said “we’re not seeing eye to eye, I’m just going to go cause you don’t get it.”

Dr: Your problem is that you don’t listen, you’ll only contribute to the problem when you keep going on like this, learn to calm down & relax”

“Me: Don’t ever tell me to relax or calm down. Not when you keep invalidating an experience you’ll never understand.”

There are one or two excerpts that I left out but you get the picture.  It should be noted that when the professor was asked if this tweet was a fair representation of the conversation between him and the student, his initial response was yes.  I understand that later he disputed some portions of the conversation, but even after those claims he still agreed with the tenor of the conversation.  It was based on my reading of this diatribe that I came to my conclusion about the shoddy, inadequate journalistic job that Spectrum did in covering this story.

I will mention again that at no time do I mention any names; neither the student nor the professor.  Any illusions or inferences to such come from the student’s tweets. That is not for me to do. Others in response to my blog have chosen to do so.  They have chosen to discuss the professor’s nationality and country of origin, issues that I have chosen to steer clear of.  My use of the word “anglo” in my original blog was used in the generic sense. I could have used “caucasian,” but others have used the word “anglo” in publications and writings to refer to the “white” community in a generic or general sense.  If that somehow was misinterpreted by someone that is unfortunate, but in my view a weak attempt to shift the focus from the real issue. Please don’t try to skirt the real issue.

Some have brought up the professor’s record on racial issues and his long history in the area of race relations to defend him in this instance.  While all of that may be true, that has nothing to do with my article.  My blog was about the job Spectrum did in allowing their article to be published without the proper investigation into the case.  Based on the information available in the facts of the story Spectrum should have demanded that more research be done into the background of the professor. Was this bias that was revealed in his conversation with this student, ever experienced by other students he has taught?  They did not pursue this issue at all. Was Spectrum advised not to publish the story as it was presented and if so, why did it ignore this advice and still publish the story?

Why is it that so many people were quick to defend the integrity of the professor without looking at tweet, which my blog was based on?  Why is it that they did not view the issue from the perspective of the student, an African American female, or see the unequal relationship between an employer and his employee.  Not one person who has objected to my piece mentioned the unequal relationship between the professor and the student and how unprofessional, aggressive and abusive his actions were toward her.  She says in the tweet that when she is about to leave and I quote, “he said “oh you couldn’t handle it huh, you can’t handle it”.”  Is that kind of aggressive language appropriate from a professor toward a student, really? Why is it that so few people who read the article and my response are not more troubled by this?  Could it be that white racial privilege is so powerful that it takes precedence over every other sensibility?  If this were an African American Professor engaged in a conversation like this with a White Female Student would those defending the professor be as charitable and understanding?  Only those who voiced their rebuttals can answer that question.

SHAME ON YOU SPECTRUM

I just read an article from Spectrum titled, “You Will Never Understand Racism Like I Do.” The article is a clear example of what is wrong with the conversation about “race” in America.

First, whenever a conversation about race is discussed with whites and about whites, it is usually if not always from the white perspective. The anglo culture becomes the undeclared, unchallenged norm from which all other perspectives are judged without dispute. For example, in Theology, theologians call the interpretation of non-white theologians(African American, Hispanic, Asian) with a different perspective “liberation theology,” thereby removing their theological interpretation from the mainstream of thought and marginalizing their perspectives instead of critically challenging their own long held suppositions.

The article in Spectrum begins with some long held ‘white’ suppositions about race that need to be challenged. One is “white” innocence or naivety that whites always appeal to whenever they say or do something that is beyond the pale of decency or protocol. The new trend is to call anything they say that is out of order an attack against “political correctness.” You will hear this whenever someone white goes off the rails and says something so abhorrent or obscene that it defies any sensibility or ethical sanity.

Second, the article did a poor job of investigating the facts in general and the specific incident surrounding the student’s original engagement with the professor. As the article points out, the student was the professor’s “reader.” As such, she regularly graded papers for the professor from other students and knew the quality of papers other students turned in and the grades they received for the work they produced. What caused the “red flag” for her was receiving such a “low” grade when she knew that the quality of her paper exceeded that of other students in the class. It was this fact, based on her knowledge of papers that she previously graded for the professor that caused her to challenge the grade she received. It was upon inquiry, that she discovered her professor’s objection with her paper was based more on the “content” than its quality. He disagreed with her position on “white privilege'” and based on that disagreement, gave her a lower grade.

Spectrum ignores this discriminatory issue that students of color often face and to what extent this kind of racist behavior, either consciously or subconsciously effects the ability of Anglo professors to fairly treat and grade them. How often have students of color been subjected to harsh, unfair treatment or a lesser grade, because they were non-white; or because their views did not comport with those of their white professor? Why is it that Spectrum did not in any way explore this issue? Why did they not investigate whether this particular professor had a history of this kind of behavior of racial bias in his grading in previous classes or with previous students?  Instead it dealt with the very low hanging fruit of trying to understand, sympathize or justify the professor’s actions as a possible misunderstanding or lack of sensitivity, portraying the matter in more unambiguous or defensible terms.

The reality is, the professor allowed his racial bias to cloud his ability to fairly analyze and evaluate the quality of his student’s academic work. He penalized her unduly because her views on race did not agree with his. Her position on white privilege triggered in him hidden biases that he had about the issue and caused him to mistreat her and punish her for voicing that opinion in her paper. In his position of power, this bias was exacerbated when he penalized her academically by giving her a lower grade.

Spectrum’s shoddy reporting leads to another problem. Spectrum made several factual errors in the article.  It said the “It’s Time” movement was the result of an MLK program.  That is factually inaccurate.  It is well documented that it actually was a Black History Chapel.  But I guess to Spectrum, it was just another “Black” program so what difference did it make…”MLK,” “Black History,” …Tomàto…Tomäto…what’s the difference, why bother getting it right, they all look alike.

I could go on about the authors treatment of the faculty member’s “colorblind” view of race in order to explain away his comment to the student that she shouldn’t express pride for being black, using some kind of false spirituality in trying to make Jesus complicit in his bigotry by saying we are “One in Christ.” Really?  Why is it that no one ever tells Jews to stop taking pride in being Jewish because we are “One in Christ.”  I wonder how that would come across?

Spectrum, like many, so called “liberal” magazines, thinks it can get a pass with this kind of inept racial reporting because from time-to-time it tries to hold the General Conference’s feet to the fire on issues like Women’s Ordination or creation science.  But it continues to do a poor job when it comes to making an honest credible effort on issues of race, specifically related to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Does Spectrum have the kind of editorial board and racial representation with individuals in positions of power so that when it ventures into subjects like this it will do a better job of getting to the REAL problem and hold itself accountable in the future?  Only time will tell.

TAIWAN & HOW THEY AVOIDED THE COVID—19 PANDEMIC—WHILE BEING 100 MILES FROM CHINA

To all the people that have fallen for Donald Trump’s bigoted diversionary attempts to focus on and blame China for his inept, flawed, failed leadership in handling the coronavirus pandemic in America, here are some facts.  Taiwan is 100 miles from Mainland China.  It has regular flights from the Wuhan province of China, where COVID—19 is said to have originated, yet Taiwan was able to contain the spread of the coronavirus through early action and ramped up production.  Today Taiwan has seen just 5 deaths and has had fewer than 350 cases of the coronavirus.  Most of the schools and businesses in Taiwan remain opened and again, Taiwan is 100 miles from China.  How did they do it?

When Taiwan heard about the COVID—19 outbreak late last year, just as America did, they sent their CDC doctors to the Wuhan province of China to investigate, unlike America and the Trump administration that ignored the intelligence reports warning about COVID—19 and the potential threat to American troops in November 2019.  Their doctors concluded that this could lead to an epidemic and now a pandemic.  With this news Taiwan went to high alert and became vigilant.  On January 1, 2020, they began monitoring every flight from the Wuhan province and checked passengers with symptoms coming into the country (fevers/respiratory problems). They triaged patients at the airport if a passenger exhibited those symptoms.  The government cared for them and observed them. If the symptoms worsened, they were sent to a fever clinic where they could receive further hospitalization and recover.  If they showed no symptoms they were released.  Later they stopped all flights from Wuhan & other level 3 alert areas. If someone entered Taiwan from a level 3 area they were quarantined for 14 days so that they could be observed.

They also examined their PPE supplies.  They discovered that they had 44 million surgical masks & 23 million people in Taiwan, which is less than 2 masks per person.  Immediately they stopped the export of surgical masks from Taiwan.  They nationalized their manufacturing companies, got together all the suppliers for the masks and told them to work cooperatively to increase production for Taiwan.  Within 3 weeks they were able to increase production from 2 million masks per day to 10 million.  They have no PPE shortages and there is no hoarding of mask problems in Taiwan.  Because they have national health care, each citizen is able to receive with their health care card 10 free masks a week.

How was Taiwan able to achieve this? They learned from the SARS epidemic.  During SARS they taught the public about the importance of quarantining, washing your hands, avoiding the use of mass transportation, etc. Because of these precautions and preventive measures; seeing the crisis ahead of time, planning ahead, pooling their resources and working together cooperatively they were able to head off the pandemic. In Taiwan 75% of their citizens vote in their national elections.[1]

Taiwan didn’t waste time calling the coronavirus a hoax, a Chinese plot to undermine their government or saying it would just go away after a few minor incidents. They acted swiftly and decisively.  They pulled all of their manufacturing resources together and got the job done. They didn’t focus on China, though the Mainland was 100 miles from Taiwan.

Taiwan has less than 350 cases of the coronavirus and 5, yes I said 5 deaths.  So stop looking at CHINA and look at your President, DONALD J. TRUMP.  He is the reason we have over 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and over 30,000 confirmed deaths. The wise man says, “Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot. People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils. While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.”——Proverbs 26:23—26 NLT

 

[1]Democracy Now, Interview, Dr. Jason Wang, Stanford University, 4/3/2020.

The Topic No One in the Media wants to Discuss

So what would happen if the Democratic Nominee for President is Pete Buttigieg and in November he ends up facing Donald Trump for the Presidency.  To date, unless I have missed something, I have yet to hear anyone in the mainstream media address the “elephant in the room.”  They have mentioned his age and lack of experience and even his dubious record with the African American community in South Bend, but no one has mentioned the fact that he is “Gay.”  

Are we serious if we think this will not matter in America?  It seems almost irresponsible for the press not to have addressed the issue when you stop to consider that Barack Obama’s race and Hillary Clinton’s gender all were issues that the press delved into during their runs for the presidency.  Is it wrong for it to be discussed and/or addressed as an important issue that voters will consider when they decide whom they will select as president?  Of course it’s not wrong.  If you think that when someone draws that curtain, they will not take that into consideration when they make their selection for President of the United States, you are delusional.

Your age, race, religion and life experience will all be important factors in determining how you make your decision.  Generationally, sexual orientation will probably be less of an issue for millennials and new Generation Z voters, who have grown up in a more gender neutral society. But that will not be the case for Gen X, Boomers and older.  The older we are, the more race, religion, education and social standing will come into play to inform our decisions.

There are two factors I would like to discuss in determining the decision that older generations will make.  They are race and religion and how they converge.  As an African American, it has always been the case that our community has been a mixed bag.  What do I mean?  African American’s have for the most part been socially liberal because it has been in our best interests.  It has always been the civil rights of African American’s  that are least upheld and most in jeopardy in our society.  Therefore African Americans have always been on the front lines of standing up for civil liberties and equal protections under the law.  

Yet, at the same time the African American community has had a history of being religiously conservative.  African Americans are noted for their fidelity to whatever religion or faith tradition they are members of.  To this assertion, the noted historian John Henrik Clarke says, “Black people will out-Catholic the Pope.”  In the case of gender issues and sexual behavior, African Americans have been very conservative in their views.  And when it comes to the gay and lesbian community, some might even characterize Blacks as bordering on being homophobic.

This notwithstanding the fact that in the arts, there is no small representation of gay and lesbian African Americans who perform as actors, musicians, singers, and ministers-of-music, etc., in our community.  It is quite a contradiction when you consider how intolerant we are publicly, while privately allowing known closet homosexuals to regularly participate and lead out in our midst.

So how do we handle the presidential candidacy of Pete Buttigieg and his possible Democratic Presidential nomination?  Does his gay status disqualify him from being president?  And should a Christian refrain from voting for him on that basis?

Let’s look at the arguments for not voting for him.  I have already seen posts on Facebook quoting Bible texts that call homosexuality an abomination before the Lord.  I will not dispute any texts of scripture and will not engage in such discussion.  I will simply say the Bible calls many things an abomination to the Lord, such as: “Lying lips,” “Adultery,” “Eating certain unclean foods(Fish, Fowl, four footed creatures),” “consulting numerologists” or “horoscopes,” “the devious,” “haughty eyes,” “shedding innocent blood,” “being a false witness who utters lies,” and the list goes on and on ad infinitum.  Suffice it to say all sin is repulsive and detestable to God.  I might add, when you really look at what is most abominable to God, those things that deal with lying, deception, falsehood and deviousness, are mentioned far more often, than any of the sexually deviant behavior that we tend to single out in the scriptures.

Based on this knowledge, why does Pete Buttigieg’s gay status disqualify him from a Christian’s vote, while Donald Trump’s pathological lying, adultery, xenophobia, sexism and racism not disqualify him.  Are not all these acts abominable to God? Can someone explain the duplicity? Does God categorize sins this way?

Paul explains it like this, he says, “What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”—Romans 3:9-12 NIV

When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus and the priests and rulers asked him to render a verdict against her, his response was, “He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” 

One final word.  The wise man makes an interesting statement about the things that are detestable to God.  This is what he says: “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.”—Proverbs 6:16-19 NASB.  Now here’s the question.  If those are the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord, whom does it sound like the wise man is describing, Pete Buttigieg or Donald Trump…

THEY JUST DON’T GET IT…

For the past three days President Donald  John Trump has taken center stage on the National platform.  First it was his State of the Union Address and then his “Press Conference” in the East Room of the Whitehouse. In both instances Trump held what could be best described as self-promotional pep rallies, rather then Statesmen like addresses to the national.  There was no contrition or even an attempt at some kind of innocent naïveté on his part for his impeach ordeal, but instead the continued bold defiance that he had done nothing wrong along with vicious mean-spirited verbal attacks against those who brought him to account, characterizing them as “horrible people.” 

But what struck me most was the analysis of Trump’s antics by most of the mainstream press, Fox News excluded.  For the most part their analysis sought to portray Trump as a narcissistic, petulant, prevaricator, who is so self absorbed; that he only sees the world as centered around him.  They spoke of how unpresidential and divisive his antics were and how those who opposed him would feel the wrath of his retribution. And while some of those things may be true, I realized that after 3 years of the Trump presidency, they still just don’t get it. 

Okay, sure Donald Trump is a narcissistic pathological liar, but that’s not has been driving his antics over the past several days.  Donald Trump is a CELEBRITY.  He is a PERFORMER.  And if there is one thing Donald Trump knows, he knows the power of celebrity.  Doesn’t anyone remember what he said to Billy Bush in that opened mic when talking about grabbing women’s privates.  “When you’re a star they let you do it.”

One of the interesting things about the power of celebrity is how people will do anything, just to be around them, or say they know them, or want a piece of something that belongs to them.  People seem to lose their sense of reason in the presence of celebrities.  

Have you ever understood why fans scramble to pick up sweaty headbands, wristbands and towels from basketball, or football superstars when they are thrown into the stands after games? Because they were used by a celebrity. You couldn’t pay me to dive for anyone’s sweaty towel no matter whose they are. But that’s the power of celebrity and Donald Trump is a master at understanding its power as a politician.  

He realized it as a candidate when the networks began to follow every one of his campaign stops, when they were attracting thousands of people because of the ratings they were generating. And once Trump realized it he immediately used it to his advantage.  How ironic it is that the news organizations who created the monster are now excoriating him because he won’t play by their rules.

He uses twitter just like a celebrity to communicate directly to his fans and his followers are diehard loyalists.  They don’t just love him, they are in love with him.  That’s why nothing he does will ever change their allegiance to him.  Because when you’re in love with someone, there is nothing they can do, no matter how wrong it is, that will ever break your love and commitment to them.

So what was Donald Trump doing in the East Room of the Whitehouse when he took time to call off the names of every member of the Senate and Congress, make personal comments about them, while affirming them positively and praising them as heroes.  Do you have any idea what it means to someone when a celebrity calls your name, recognizes you, allows you for 15—30 seconds to share the spotlight with him and applaud you for what you’ve done for him.  The looks on each of their faces, as Trump took time to call each of their names, was so powerful that you could not imagine what that did for them.  But Donald Trump knew exactly what he was doing. He was creating memories in each of their minds that would last a lifetime, and it only took him a little over an hour to do it.

And while the press was busy analyzing Trump as a narcissistic sycophant, Donald Trump was creating a room full of zealots who will give their lives in blind support of him to the death, no matter what he does, because people yearn for someone or something meaningful to commit their lives to and follow.  And this is the greatest danger of Donald Trump.  When he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one would do anything to him, this is what he was talking about.  He was creating a room full of radicals who would do just that.  And they were not only in the East Room of the White House, they were watching him during the State of the Union Address on Tuesday night and attend his campaign rallies being held across the nation.  While we are psychoanalyzing Donald Trump, he is creating a nation of extremists who will die for him. 

Think for a moment about the last few presidents we have had.  The major difference between the candidates is, one candidate the people may have liked or loved, but the candidate who won was the one his/her supporters were in love with.

Trump—Hillary Clinton

Obama—Romney

Obama—McCain

Bush—Kerry

Bush—Gore

Clinton—Dole 

Clinton—HW Bush, Ross Perot 

Bush—Dukakis 

Reagan—Mondale

Reagan—Carter

As you look down the lists, which one was loved by their supporters and which one was their supporters in-love with them?

One final question, of the Democratic candidates presently running for president, which one could you see yourself falling in love with…Quick somebody better draft Oprah

Donald J. Trump Unrestrained—Uncontrolled—Unaccountable—Who is Responsible?

As I listened to the circumlocutory argument of Alan Dershowitz in his attempt to justify the unconstitutional, self-interest motivated actions of President Trump; I wondered to myself how did we get here?  After over 1,100 days of the Donald J. Trump presidency, who is most responsible for his unrestrained, uncontrolled, unaccountable actions?   

Is it the press, the 4th estate, that abdicated its watch dog position by allowing itself to be rendered powerless and bullied into a fake news oblivion?  Or perhaps the political parties, democrats and republicans who for so long have stood for nothing of significance and sold themselves to the highest special interest bidder, and in the process became an easy mark for a take over by a con artist like Trump?  Or perhaps the average citizens who have become so disinterested and disconnected that no one cares anymore about what happens in Washington; must less the city council or local school board.

Let me suggest another culprit.  May I posit Evangelical Christians and more specifically White Evangelical Ministers. The strongest and most ardent, loyal blind supporters of Donald Trump are White Evangelical Ministers.  Not only do they support him, they have refused to chastise or correct any of his moral failings and inconsistencies.  To the contrary, their rhetoric has instead emboldened him.  And what rhetoric might that be?  It is their constant preaching that Trump has been ordained by God to be President of the United States.  Paula White, President Trump’s “spiritual advisor” has proclaimed her undying loyalty to him publicly and has deemed every attack or criticism against him as an attack of the devil.  She has been joined by a plethora of white evangelical pastors across the nation who make their support of President Trump no secret.  

Some who support him have seen his foreign policy decisions as a fulfillment of prophecy.  One of note is Irving Baxter from “End Time Ministries.”  He has interpreted Trump pulling out of the Paris climate accord and similar global treaties and alliances as thwarting the devils plot to create a “one world system.”  He has said that Trump is being used to dismantle the devils plot to control the world and any opposition of Trump is working in cooperation with the devil.

With this kind of support from Evangelical Ministers, would anyone be surprised if Donald Trump in some twisted way has concluded that no matter what he does, God is on his side?

But Evangelicals are overlooking a glaring flaw.  Donald Trump has a serious problem with the truth.  To date Trump has been recorded to have told over 16,000 false or misleading statements since he began his presidency.  Trump is a pathological liar. Proverbs 12:22 NLT says, “Lying lips are an abomination to The Lord. Another translation says, “The Lord detests lying lips.” How can God use a liar to do his bidding?   Not only is the lying person corrupted, but the activity corrupts others.  Proverbs 25:26 GNB says, “A good person who gives in to someone who is evil reminds you of a polluted spring or a poisoned well.”  And finally John 8:44 NLT tells us that the devil is the “father of lies” and lying is “consistent with his character.”

The blind support of a liar is dangerous to the liar and the one who supports them and thus the dilemma with Donald Trump and White Evangelical Ministers. President Trump may have misconstrued their unbridled support as positive affirmation for any immoral behavior he chooses to engage in, if he believes it advances and solidifies his hold on the presidency.  And while Dershowitz’s serpentine summations may have seemed sinister, the reality is the poisoned pill may have been planted in the mind of President Trump by Evangelical Ministers.

This is why all those called to the ministry must maintain their prophetic office and political independence.  They must always remember to remain true to their calling and speak always and only for God.

When Micaiah the prophet was summoned by Ahab to give counsel concerning a matter of national importance, he was told that the other prophets who preceded him all predicted success for the king.  He was urged to agree with their good report. But Micaiah responded, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.” 1 Kings 22:13-14. 

THE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

The Trump Impeachment, what does it mean?

Here’s “Something to Consider.”

Since Donald Trump has assumed the office of President he has systematically attacked the truth.

The result has been the devaluing and dismantling of all truth and all systems that use truth as a check and balance against the presidency. That means the press, the congress, the constitution, the law and any other system that uses truth as a code of ethics have been rendered null and void during his presidency.

Since Trump became president he immediately began an all out assault on the press. His attack has been so successful that the phrase “Fake News” is synonymous with the most prestigious news organizations, both print and media, in our nation. He has polarized the congress so that there is no partisanship and no such thing as compromise. He has undermined all established law enforcement institutions such as the FBI and other intelligence agencies, labeling them as the “deep state,” hence fostering suspicion and distrust of our law enforcement agencies against his office. 

But his greatest assault has come through his daily false communication. Since becoming president Donald Trump’s lies, false and misleading statements, distortions, inaccurate information and misrepresentations have numbered in the  tens of thousands. According to the Washington Post Fact Checker, on December 16, 2019 President Trump’s false or misleading statements reached 15,413.  That is an average of 15-16 lies a day since he became President of the United States.  That literally means, every time the President speaks he tells 15 lies.  We know he does not speak publicly every day so the reality is, when he speaks publicly he tells between 25-30 lies.  He tells so many lies that it is impossible for those responsible with reporting the truth to keep up with correcting him.  This means that the general public has no way of knowing the difference between lies and truth.  And since Trump is the President, by virtue of his office, he is given the presumption of truthfulness, so that even if someone were to say he is lying many people would not believe it.

And the result: today people make no distinction between truth and lies. Even those who believe that truth is important, have given into Trumpism by refusing to attack his assault on the truth.  They have willingly submitted to his habitual lying and have treated his misrepresentations as normalcy. 

So what does all of this mean?  It means that the president has successfully changed the standards of truth, order and ethical morality, into something that no one can recognize in the larger society. This lack of recognition has come from the total confusion of truth and lies.  In Trump’s America, truth and lies are indistinguishable and in many instances have exchanged places. The Bible gives a description of the condition in America today.  It says: 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 CJB—“When this man who avoids the law comes, the Adversary will give him the power to work all kinds of false miracles, signs and wonders. He will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. This is why God is causing them to go astray, so that they will believe the Lie. The result will be that all who have not believed the truth, but have taken their pleasure in wickedness, will be condemned.”

We are seeing the words of Paul fulfilled before our eyes with the distortion of truth becoming a lie and lies becoming the truth. And the most tragic reality is that Evangelical Christians are the leading force in support of the man who is the purveyor of lies. They are Donald Trump’s most ardent and loyal apologist’s claiming that he is God’s ordained vessel. 

So how does this relate to Donald Trump’s impeachment and what spiritual implications does it have for us? If truth is a lie and a lie is the truth, then how can an impeachment, a legitimate legal constitutional process be used as a standard to judge Donald Trump? How can any code of ethics be used when truth is a lie and lie has become truth in Trump’s America. It’s all “Fake News.”

Donald Trump has sinisterly and skillfully made it impossible for the nation to use any legitimate legal standard or code of ethics to police him because he has already dismantled the integrity of truthfulness and order in all socio-political areas of our country. He has removed the authority of every check and balance of society by undermining its trustworthiness. And those who support Donald Trump have completely dismissed the reliability of most major news outlets, the legal system and the congress whenever they challenge the actions of Donald Trump. So then how can a free press, the congress and the constitution, effectively serve as a check and balance against the executive branch of our government?

As you listened to the debate on the articles of impeachment, those who defended the President never argued against the facts. And why did they choose this tactic? Because in Trump’s America where lies are truth and the truth are lies, facts don’t matter. Facts are “Fake News.” 

So what spiritual lessons can we learn from the impeachment process? We can learn that we are closer to the end of all things than we realize. Why? Because convincing people with “the truth” is no longer a viable means of achieving reconciliation or presenting the Gospel.  The impeachment process will reveal that reason, truth and common sense are no longer objective approaches to solving problems or convincing people to make rational decisions.  The power of the Holy Spirit will become indispensable to the promulgation of the gospel because mere sensible, sane arguments about “the truth” will become irrelevant and illogical to larger and larger segments of society.  Because the false has become true and truth has become false, the anointing of God’s Spirit will be more necessary  than ever before. And that spiritual outpouring will need to be reflected in an irresistible love and selfless service for others that has not been seen known or experienced since the early Christian believers who turned the world upside down. No more talk, no more debate, no more Facebook post arguments, just action…

In the words of a well-known aging actress from the famous classic movie, ALL ABOUT EVE, “Fasten Your Seatbelts, It’s Going to be a Bumpy Ride. 

LeBron, Daryl Morey & Colin Kaepernick & Free Speech

It began with what seemed to be a harmless tweet that read, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”  But upon further investigation it was discovered that the tweet was a known slogan associated with the pro-democracy protesters of Hong Kong seeking justice and freedom from communist China.  The tweet came from Daryl Morey, General Manager of the Houston Rockets, the team of former center and Chinese icon Yao Ming and because of the team’s many connections to China through Ming the tweet seemed misguided and insensitive.  Quickly the owner of the Rockets distanced himself from his general manager’s tweet, stating that the comments did not speak for the organization followed by similar statements from Morey, who made it clear that the tweet was his own and not the organizations. 

What began as a seeming harmless tweet quickly became a national incident with geopolitical implications as the government of China began to pull the plug on scheduled NBA games while several NBA teams were in China for the contests.  With billions of dollars attached to various business ventures in China the implications of such a rift with the government could be quite costly not only for the league but several individual athletes and business industries with lucrative ties in China.  The NBA Commission became flustered going back and forth with statements that seemed to be neutral on the tweets but finally supported the time held principle of free-speech that is honored in America in support of Morey. And then things went sideways when LeBron James was asked to comment on the incident and the tweet of Morey.  LeBron’s comments portrayed a position that suggested he was critical of Morey and his tweet, calling it misinformed and Morey uneducated.  And now the incident has become an opportunity to once again shift the focus from Daryl Morey to another African American male, namely LeBron James.  

Many, particularly conservatives, have castigated James for his unAmerican stance of refusing to support Morey’s tweet of those seeking democracy in Hong Kong and the sacred right of free speech in America.  And here is where I find this criticism of James to be ironic and hypocritical at the same time.  

Have we all forgotten someone named Colin Kaepernick who in the United States exercised his right of free speech by silently and non-violently protesting against the killing of unarmed innocent African Americans?  Where were the chorus of voices supporting his right to free speech from conservatives in his behalf?  Why did they not come forward to support Colin Kaepernick, when he was taking a knee during the national anthem in protest?  Conservatives seem more concerned with the free speech of the democratic freedom fighters in Hong Kong, than an African American who exercises the same right here in America.  No, LeBron James is not the issue, Colin Kaepernick is the issue.  He still is unemployed and still sits at home while quarterbacks with much less talent play for NFL teams in America today.

Whatever you may think about LeBron’s comments, if you truly believe he was wrong and out of line to mischaracterize the tweet of Daryl Morey and fail to support his right o free speech, then you must stand in support of Colin Kaepernick.  To do less is to reveal your own bias and hypocrisy.

“President Twitter”

Of the 25 hardest jobs the world, the position of President of the United States is listed at #20.[i]  But if you ask John Dickerson he would disagree with this ranking. In the May 2018 issue of The Atlantic, Dickerson calls POTUS “the” hardest job in the world.[ii]  With its ever-expanding responsibilities, 327 million citizens to represent, 2.1 million federal employees and four trillion dollar budget can anyone dispute Dickerson’s claim.  And when you add to that the eight major responsibilities of the president as:(1) chief of state, (2) chief executive, (3) chief administrator, (4) chief diplomat, (5) commander in chief, (6) chief legislator, (7) party chief, and (8) chiefcitizen, the President’s plate is pretty full.

And while there may be some disagreement about which job is more difficult, few would argue the fact that no one person has more world influence than the President of the United States. Every decision a president makes, whether they like it or not, will have a ripple effect far beyond themselves and each choice can impact the nation or world socially, economically, politically and morally.  Because of this, it behooves us to be concerned about how the president uses that kind of influence. It raises serious questions about the president, his priorities and the issues that warrant his attention each day. As such, it is reasonable for Americans to expect its president to be extremely judicious, cautious and wise in what will occupy his time.  This raises serious questions about the President’s use of twitter and the content of his tweets.

Personally, I believe President Trump has revolutionized the way that national figures communicate with the American citizens and has completely eliminated the press as the conduit of information between the politician and the people. Whatever you want to call it, with his use of twitter the president has dismantled and undressed the press by reaching the general public directly with his tweets and in so doing, bypassed the news media completely. In my view the press still has not recovered and a significant segment of the population no longer relies upon the 4thEstate as its gatekeeper for information on politics.

With that said, in my humble opinion, the issues that should gain our greatest concern is the frequency and content of the president’s tweets, and what it says about how he uses his time. On an average day the president tweets between 11-12 times.  That averages out to about 4,178 tweets per year.[iii]  During his first year in office, from January 20, 2017, to January 19, 2018 President Trump sent out 2,548 tweets according to the Trump Twitter Archive.

Have you followed the content of the president’s tweets? He has engaged in back and forth jousts with various critics from the news media, the entertainment world, to sports figures and league issues, to politicians, etc., etc. He has given his personal critique of various television programs and/or performers. He has engaged in hurling insults at those whom he deems his “enemies” or “critics.” He has used his tweets to insight racial and immigrant insensitivities. There seems to be no topic that is off limits as subject matter for his tweets from the sublime to the ridiculous.  And every now and then some public policy issue will make his tweets.

His latest attack zeroed in on LeBron James and Don Lemon, and the inauguration of the I-Promise public school that James was instrumental in opening. While some have pointed out the derogatory racist and sexist remarks that the president has consistently directed towards non-whites and women in challenging their intelligence; my focus is somewhat different.

I wonder why it is that few seem to ever question the president’s stewardship. Can anyone justify the amount of time the president spends tweeting about the topics, personal diatribes, conflicts, obsessions and biases that he publicly discusses and what it says about how he does his job? Can anyone at any job, no matter what job it may be, engage in the amount of tweeting that the president engages in, about topics that have nothing to do with his/her job and remain employed?

What does the president’s tweets say about how he spends his day? Who has time to watch interviews with Don Lemon? Do you? Has it cross anyone’s mind to question how President Trump spends his day? Is he in the West-wing with 20 screens watching TV all day? The president has at times called into some television programs to respond to certain issues when his name has been mentioned in the discussion. Is this what we elect a president to do? To spend his day responding to every criticism leveled against him on television or social media?

My final point, think for one moment of what American’s would be doing or saying if Barack Obama spent one scintilla of time tweeting during his presidency about the issues, subjects, people and personal conflicts that President Trump has engaged in. Think of what Fox News, Trumps main cheerleader, would be doing if Obama were doing this amount of tweeting.

I wish I had a job where I could spend my day tweeting all day long…Don’t you…

[i]Zambas, Joanna, Top 25 Hardest Jobs in the World, careeraddict.com., October 25, 2017.

[ii]Dickerson, John, The Hardest Job in the World, theatlantic.com, May 2018.

[iii]Lyons, Joseph D., “How Many Times Does Trump Tweet A Day? The President Basically Lives On Twitter.”