Sunday, 11 August 2019

Is President Trump a racist?

The recent shenanigans between Donald Trump and various Democrats of color raised the question - could our president be a racist? 

Not that he would be the first. George Washington was a slave owner and chances are a majority of our presidents bear some taint of racism.

Not to be outdone, President Trump accused Squad members, Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib, of being socialist - a disappointing turn of events as I felt that Senator Bernie Saunders had finally taken the sting out of the “S” word back in 2016.

However, Mr. Trump’s accusation caused me to question my own socialist credentials. Like the Squad I had often been told to “go back to where you came from.” Although my detractors usually felt that Cuba would be a more fitting destination than Ireland.

Being a socialist was no big deal back in Wexford where a Labor Party TD was always returned. 

In fact, local socialist Brendan Corish became leader of the Labor Party and Tanaiste in the Coalition Government of 1973.

Brendan was also a devout and principled Catholic. He would have been delighted to meet Rep. Omar, get the story of her flight from Somalia along with a blow-by-blow account of her kerfuffle with Speaker Pelosi.

But am I still a socialist? Well, like Senator Sanders I believe in a single payer health insurance system. 

Like Senator Warren I don’t trust big business, nor do I think it’s a good idea for college graduates to owe a fortune in student loans.

To add fat to the fire, I don’t believe in invading other countries and blowing the hell out of them.

I guess that means I can still step into Mary’s Bar in Wexford whistling “James Connolly” and enjoy my welcome home pint without being accused of “selling out to the Military Industrial Complex.”

But if I am a socialist, I’m also a canny one. In these cantankerous times why advocate changing the current failing health insurance system to “Medicare for all?”

That’s sure to antagonize the vast majority of voters who receive private health insurance from their employers? 

Far wiser to let them keep their current coverage but provide a public option that will eventually prove its economic feasibility. 

That will keep everyone happy, particularly rust belt union members who’ve fought long and hard for their “benefits;” and remember those states must be carried in 2020 or Ivanka will be our next Secretary of State.

I’d love to give free college tuition to the masses – everyone deserves four years out of the rat race playing beer pong. 

But it’s too late. President Trump already gave away the shop to big business with his 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In fact, the “King of Debt” will be coming for your Medicare and Social Security benefits when his deficit hits trillions. 

As for the Squad, I agree with many of your sentiments but politics is the art of the possible.

And lay off Rep. Pelosi! You may think her day is done but she passed the Affordable Care Act when President Obama was going “wobbly.”

She and Mr. Trump are the two pre-eminent politicians in this land. Whatever about the president Nancy is no more of a racist than Brendan Corish ever was.

Don’t play into the president’s hands. He needs the Squad as you are right now, outraged and outrageous.

Americans, socialist and otherwise, also need you - to be incisive, logical and bold, as you strive for a new and fairer America. 

Discretion, however, is usually the better part of valor. There are other strong voices in the Democratic Party – particularly those who must fight close elections in districts that Mr. Trump won in 2016.

Think before you speak and don’t suck all the air out of the room lest you provide an oxygen mask to a flailing president who will use the basest methods to get re-elected even if that means kindling racial animosity.

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