Thomas Jefferson, architect of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, and educator and philosopher. Mr. Jefferson is honored as one of our nation's founders. While this is true, it is also very much true that we now recognize he was a very conflicted man: a slaveholder who couldn't bring himself to believe that "all men" were in fact created equal. We recognize, excepting for the racists still among us, that slavery was a grievous injustice and cruel beyond any ability to measure, yet he is still "our third President".
I understand that President Obama, because of his mixed race heritage and obvious "blackness", triggered a knee-jerk revival of the latent racism of millions of Americans. "Not My President" signs, buttons, and statements became common on the Right-Wing, and funded by billionaires like the infamous Koch brothers, the "Tea Party" became a political force. I found their combination of racism and absolutism appalling. All the while though, President Obama defended their right to object to his policies and to otherwise disagree with him: how many times did he say that to be American was to defend the rights of others to disagree? Nearly hidden from view were the Right-Wing militias training in the hills for another revolution and the return of the KKK... and the First Lady was derided as "an ape in heels", questioned as to whether she was really "a trans" and their two daughters adopted... Mr. Obama remained, through it all, a gentleman who could sing Amazing Grace...
This brings me to our current President. Since his election, I have consistently referred to him with respect as "Mr. Trump" -- not quite being able to refer to him as "President" -- but being a patriot, I wasn't going to be disrespectful: he would be Mr. Trump, regardless of what he said or did, or the policies he pursued. But yesterday, ah yes fucking yesterday: are you catching how ticked-off-over-the-edge I now am? Yesterday, in a campaign rally in Montana, Mr. Trump pretended to throw a reporter over his shoulder, applauding the assault of a Guardian reporter by the then Congressional candidate. AND this action (and his words) right after the torture and assassination of another journalist by the Saudis. This is beyond the so-called "pale".
AND I am embarrassed that two other events did not push me over the edge: Mr. Trump referring to a woman and fellow citizen as "horseface"! Can you imagine how the Right-Wing would have exploded in outrage if President Obama had referred to a woman and fellow citizen as "horseface"? But this, but this is my complete embarrassment: I still referred to Mr. Trump as precisely that: "Mr. Trump", after his policies established "Trump Cages" for children separated from their parents -- parents fleeing to America to protect their children! I am ashamed of myself that I let "patriotism" keep me from a cold rage. So here it is: Mr. Trump had no right to pretend-attack a journalist: that he did so proves he is unworthy of the office he holds. Mr. Trump had no right to PUBLICLY refer to a woman and fellow citizen as "horseface": that he did so proves he is unworthy of the office he holds. Mr. Trump -- while he clearly has the power to do nearly anything that he wants -- had no moral obligation or right to rip children from the arms of their parents: parents who believed that the Statue of Liberty still meant something to us North Americans: that he did so, and had them put in "Trump Cages", proves he is unworthy of the office he holds. He is NOT MY PRESIDENT!
I have a button that I picked up, before the 2016 election actually, that is a picture of Trump with the single word "BULLY" on it, (that was made only in reference to his mocking of a physically disabled reporter). Well, from today until he is defeated or otherwise removed from office, I will be wearing that bully button: he is not my President: I am worth more, YOU are worth more, than his bully can buy! No longer is he "Mr." from my pen, laptop, or mouth. He deserves no respect whatsoever. Oh, and I would easily trade the folks in Montana who laughed and cheered Trump's antics, for the folks from Honduras who are fleeing their homeland for the safety of Lady Liberty: they too are worth more than a bully in the White House! Damn right, they are!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.