Prom­ises not kept at Trump’s State of the Union Ad­dress in 2018

South Florida Times - - OPINION -

In Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, the truth is an elu­sive qual­ity to hold onto, and at Trump’s first State of the Union Ad­dress, many times it did not ex­ist. Many will call his claims dur­ing his speech mis­lead­ing, but I call them lies.

At this point in Trump’s pres­i­dency where new scan­dals/false­hoods are con­stantly preva­lent, many in lead­er­ship po­si­tions have been charged with break­ing the law, and Trump will claim in 2018 that Amer­ica is a pros­per­ous and har­mo­nious na­tion. Not only does he have the au­dac­ity to claim the gov­ern­ment is run­ning smoothly, but he seems to for­get that at any hour of any day, he can be im­peached.

With gun vi­o­lence at an all time high in the coun­try, and an opi­oid cri­sis en­gulf­ing the na­tion, Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has no strat­egy, and no one has been ap­pointed to lead these de­part­ments.

Ger­man Lopez of the VOX says,”Yet in the past year, there has been no move by Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to ac­tu­ally spend more money on the opi­oid cri­sis. Key po­si­tions in the ad­min­is­tra­tion re­main un­filled, even with­out nom­i­nees in the case of the White House’s drug czar of­fice and the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion (DEA).”

Trump gave one of the long­est State of the Union speeches in recorded his­tory, and he also clapped for him-self many times. This was one of the strangest things I ob­served, which was also one of the first that I can ever re­mem­ber. Again, the truth was not im­por­tant, but he did tell some good sto­ries.

He started out by telling Amer­ica that his po­lices is the rea­son Black un­em­ploy­ment rate is the low­est recorded in our coun­try’s his­tory. How­ever, there was no men­tion of Pres­i­dent Obama’s poli­cies, or even a thank you, but in­stead he took all the credit.

Trump is still won­der­ing why none of the mem­bers of the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus (CBC) agreed with his state­ment, and many of the mem­bers wore kente cloths at­tached to their cloth­ing. “Wear­ing kente cloth to the SOTU ad­dress with my fel­low CBC mem­bers was to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with peo­ple from Africa,” says Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va.

The mem­bers of the CBC were protest­ing the pres­i­dent’s poli­cies and the di­rec­tion he is tak­ing the coun­try. Once Trump was elected pres­i­dent, the lead­er­ship in the coun­try changed from di­verse to pri­mar­ily white and cor­rupt.

“We elim­i­nated an es­pe­cially cruel tax that fell mostly on Amer­i­cans mak­ing less than $50,000 an­nu­ally forc­ing them to pay tremen­dous penal­ties sim­ply be­cause they could not af­ford gov­ern­men­tal health plans,” said Trump in his speech. But this state­ment was not the truth, be­cause re­peal­ing Oba­macare’s in­di­vid­ual man­date will now force more than 13 mil­lion Amer­i­cans to lose their health­care cov­er­age. Not only will more Amer­i­cans lose cov­er­age, but the price of health­care will in­crease up­wards by 10 per­cent.

Dur­ing the State of the Union ad­dress, Trump was con­stantly mak­ing var­i­ous prom­ises, but his words did not match his ac­tions. Many of his poli­cies are de­signed to hurt poor and mid­dle class work­ing fam­i­lies, and help mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires be­come richer.

In terms of im­mi­gra­tion, Trump claimed that there were thou­sands of MS-13 Sal­vado­ran-Amer­i­can street gangs killing many of Amer­i­cans. There was no fac­tual ev­i­dence to sup­port that claim, but many Amer­i­cans are now afraid that many young His­pan­ics are crim­i­nals, law­break­ers, and not will­ing to work.

But the truth is that the ma­jor­ity of His­pan­ics are hard work­ers, and they be­lieve in the im­por­tance of fam­ily. Pres­i­dent Obama talked about com­pre­hen­sive cit­i­zen­ship to 11 mil­lion im­mi­grants and Trump is only talk­ing about 1.8 mil­lion im­mi­grants re­ceiv­ing U.S. cit­i­zen­ship.

At the end of the speech, Trump talked about what makes the Amer­i­can peo­ple great, and how we have the abil­ity to light up the world. But to keep Amer­ica great starts with lead­er­ship and ac­cept­ing the di­ver­sity of its peo­ple, and most im­por­tantly, the pres­i­dent’s words should line up with his ac­tions.

Ge­orge W. Bush won 537 pop­u­lar votes more than Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 elec­tion, giv­ing him the state’s 25 elec­toral votes for a to­tal of 271, five more than his Demo­cratic op­po­nent.

Gore did win the pop­u­lar vote, 50,996,582, to the Repub­li­can’s 50,456,062, but it is the Elec­toral Col­lege which de­cides the pres­i­dency. Hil­lary Clin­ton lost the 2016 elec­tion, though she got 65,853,516 pop­u­lar votes to Don­ald Trump’s 62,984,825.

What was par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy was that more than 500,000 Florid­i­ans, in­clud­ing 139,000 African Amer­i­cans, could not vote be­cause they are ex-felons.With blacks vot­ing over­whelm­ingly Demo­cratic and whites split­ting their votes, a Gore vic­tory was highly likely.

The elec­tion at once showed the need to vote and the rigged sys­tem in which it was held.

Florida has his­tor­i­cally put mostly un­sur­mount­able road­blocks to restor­ing exfelons’ civil rights. Her­ald/Times re­porter Mary Ellen Klas has noted the sys­tem dates back to at least 1868.

The state’s post-Civil War con­sti­tu­tion was re­quired to in­clude pro­vi­sions ban­ning slav­ery and guar­an­tee­ing the rights of for­mer slaves. One re­sult was that black reg­is­tered vot­ers out­num­bered whites 15,434 to 11,148 to – which laid the early ground­work for po­lit­i­cal shenani­gans to com­pound the stark racism.

Depriv­ing for­mer felons of the right to vote came with the English colonists, Klas re­ported in Au­gust 2016. And Florida was among states that ex­panded the ex­clu­sion­ary rules to in­clude mi­nor of­fences such as va­grancy and petty theft, along with ma­nip­u­lat­ing the court sys­tem, Mother Jones’ Pema Levy re­ported in Oc­to­ber 2015.

A crime crack­down un­der then Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2000s put dis­pro­por­tion­ately more blacks in prison and de­prived them of their civil rights.

The Bren­nan Cen­ter in a De­cem­ber 2016 re­port cited by Kris­ten M. Clark of the Her­ald/Times said that 1.6 mil­lion Florid­i­ans were de­nied the right to vote, rep­re­sent­ing 10 per­cent of the state’s pop­u­la­tion; blacks ac­counted for one in three of them.

A Sen­tenc­ing Project re­port which Levy cited said that 50 per­cent of all ex-felons dis­en­fran­chised na­tion­wide lived in Florida. Na­tion­ally, the per­cent­age for African Amer­i­cans was 3.35; for Florida, it was 19.39.

Ex-felons are au­to­mat­i­cally de­prived of their civil rights and un­able to sit on juries, run for of­fice or vote. But they can pe­ti­tion the State Board of Ex­ec­u­tive Cle­mency for restora­tion of those rights ei­ther on­line or in per­son for an al­lot­ted five to 10 min­utes dur­ing the four hear­ings held an­nu­ally.

The cur­rent cle­mency board com­prises

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