Trump’s hollow tribute to Parks
Here comes the most meaningless sentence you’ll read today: Last week, Donald Trump paid tribute to Rosa Parks.
It’s meaningless because Trump obviously has no real idea what Parks did or what it meant. If he did, he could never have cursed Colin Kaepernick.
Oh, sure, he can mouth the words, as he did in the slick video posted online Saturday. To the accompaniment of swelling music and historical images, Trump narrated Parks’ famous act of defiance 62 Decembers ago, her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala. bus to a white man after the “white” section became full.
Her arrest ignited the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first act of the civil rights movement, and brought to prominence a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. And yes, Trump spoke truly when he lauded Parks for bravery and a legacy that inspires. But given the source, that praise could not have been emptier.
You cannot truly understand Parks’ legacy or appreciate her bravery and still declare, as he did in September, that NFL owners should say “Get that son of a b_h off the field” if a player follows Kaepernick’s lead and kneels during the national anthem. This is not to equate the athlete and the seamstress; her impact obviously dwarfs his –atleast,thusfar.Butitistosaythat,interms of motive, method and reaction, there is little substantive difference between the two.
It’s important to remember that it wasn’t just the indignity of being told to surrender her seat that made Parks say no that day. Rather, it was also decades of living with white people’s abuse, exploitation and violence under a system that assumed, as a matter of policy, that she was filthy, ignorant and unworthy. Which is not fundamentally different from Kaepernick’s frustration with police brutality that kills and wounds African-Americans while the courts do nothing.
Yes, his protest is often called unpatriotic and offensive. The same was said of Parks’ protest. Not incidentally, she broke the law; he didn’t. And as Kaepernick is called names and threatened by outraged white people, so was she.
Parks once said she refused to stand because she was “tired of taking it.”
Sixty-two years later, we can all easily see the things that fatigued her and other black people back then. And Parks, 12 years dead, is unthreatening enough to be “honored” by a Donald Trump.
Well, this is the same Trump who has led the metaphorical lynch mob against black athletes for doing essentially what Parks and her generation did.
Meantime, that football player Trump loathes risked his livelihood because he got tired of “taking” the brutalization of black people. He has faced condemnation and threat for demanding that all of us see what some of us refuse to. Like the seamstress on the bus six decades ago, Colin Kaepernick has ignited a generation because he decided he literally would not stand for it anymore.
He honors Rosa Parks more meaningfully than Donald Trump ever could.
Leonard Pitts After the tax bill, some ideas on promoting welfare reform
Now that the “Tax Cut Bill for the Rich” is on its way (thanks Democrats for putting up such a ferocious fight, you can come out now), I am pleased to hear Paul Ryan declare open season on welfare reform.
Welfare reform – where do we start? The possibilities are endless.
Let’s start with the biggest welfare scam: the war in Afghanistan. All of the military industrial complex has been gorging themselves on tax dollars for a record 16 straight years now – corporate welfare at its best. Despite the massive opposition from the combined Taliban air force, Taliban navy and Taliban ground divisions, our corporate welfare gang tells us they just might be able to round up this gargantuan band of desert nomads if they just had a little more money. Translation: We need a few more years of unaccounted, unaudited corporate welfare.
Maybe next Paul Ryan will go after another welfare scam: hedge fund managers. The new tax cut bill lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, but hedge fund managers have been paying 15 percent all along. And these are the solid Americans who brought you the housing crisis back in 2008. Instead of going to jail they were bailed out, then bonused. Gee, ain’t corporate welfare great?
Probably the Trump gang will dub this the “War on Welfare,” we’re so good at declaring wars. And maybe Paul Ryan, while he’s at it, will rename the middle class to the “Shut up, who asked you class.” Highly accurate I think. After all, the only choice we’ll have in 2018 is either: A. Republican Runaway Capitalism or B. Democrat Runaway Capitalism.
And you thought your vote meant something.
With tax reform, I am fearful Congress has moved to solidify an America of powerful bullies and oligarchs. How is liberty to survive? The current tax legislation was devised in secret, forced through without sufficient deliberation, promoted on emotional fantasy and deceptive claims, largely voted on unread. It represents irresponsible government on every level – Republicans for acting like a gang of frustrated fanatics; Democrats for standing by; all of us for failing our responsibilities as citizens to safeguard our democracy, our planet, our children’s future.
Thank goodness, a few brave women are standing up to powerful men presenting their nakedness. Sexual harassment is one dimension of the exercise of presumptive power. Is this tax bill another, taking from the many to give to the rich, concentrating even more power in the hands of the few? Will we really have to survive the next five to 10 years to realize there’s no trickle in a trickle-down economy?
The goal should be an economy where every American can make a living that provides security from hunger, access to health care and education, opportunity for self-fulfillment and compassion to others. That’s definitely not what we’re getting.
Susan Woods like microgrids and battery storage, and increased forecasting of potential sun and wind resources.
With the changes in how our electricity is produced and distributed, training needs to be updated to supply industry a workforce ready to meet these changes. Locally, there is sizable investment in research at the University at Buffalo and Alfred State to create materials and processes to increase efficiency of renewable energy production. There is no current local counterpart to train workers for the changes in the distribution system.
Penn State recently announced a program that fits this need. The Energy Storage and Microgrid Training and Certification recognizes that the design of microgrids and energy storage technologies that incorporate direct current power sources (like wind and solar) requires a different skill set than those to design the electric grid (which uses alternating current) over 100 years ago.
Vocational training is needed for installation, fabrication and design of renewable systems. SolarCity has started production and is due to ramp up production by the end of this year. Once an industry gains a foothold in an area, others follow as long as there is an available skilled workforce. At this point, there is no vocational training program in the area that specializes in renewables.
Dr. Kristina Johnson recently became the 13th chancellor of the State University of New York system. Coming from an industry background in renewable energy, Johnson should look to addressing these gaps in the educational system in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.
John S. Szalasny
Forcing Postal Service retirees to Medicare Part B violates pact
As a member of the federal community who served our country for years, I am concerned with an attempt to force current U.S. Postal Service retirees onto Medicare Part B, after they previously declined this coverage. While hailed as a way to improve USPS’ finances, this is nothing more than balancing the books on the backs of seniors.
Why should retirees who spent their careers serving this nation be forced to pay an additional $134 per month or more for health coverage they previously deemed unnecessary? Mandatory Medicare Part B coverage was never part of the agreement made upon employment, and it should not be forced on any postal retiree, especially retroactively.
Congress is currently attempting to fix the Postal Service’s problems by shifting costs to Medicare. I urge our legislators to reject any yearend deal that includes the current postal reform bill, H.R. 756. Retired postal workers proudly served our community and promises to them should be kept.
Outrage over cartoons instead of human suffering is appalling
It is appalling that there are people more offended by cartoons and symbolism than they are by the actual mistreatment of human beings. These are often the same people who would react differently to a situation if the involved person(s) was someone they personally knew and cared about.
If either of the preceding statements accurately describes you, please take a moment to look at those words again and decide if you want them to be a genuine description of your belief system and your approach to responding to events and people.