Random thoughts, observations and suggestions from the Inauguration and the aftermath.
To Donald, Nancy and my Republican friends who ardently support you.
Years of working with the homeless and inmates have taught me to always endeavor to see life from the other guy's perspective. I sincerely trust with this column that you will afford me the same courtesy.
One can never mature until you understand that the other guy has a legitimate point of view that needs to be addressed and no one is all right, all the time.
You will never come fully into your own if you continually demean people and dismiss all their concerns as worthless carping from a bunch of liberal, lazy, unpatriotic, rabble rousers.
Brendt Hill, my democratic, libertarian-leaning friend from Michigan, puts it this way,
"I will never get anything done if I only work with people who agree with me or like me. Whenever I sit down at a negotiating table across from a guy with an opposing agenda, I accept the following premise. When we leave that table, both of us should leave somewhat unhappy because we must come to grips with this reality. No one gets everything he wants, but it’s what we can live with after concluding negotiations that makes it a successful undertaking. If one gets 50-80% of his demands it is better than a 100% of nothing."
Indeed, that is the art and cornerstone of a good business deal.
Your inaugural speech--in reality, not a soaring, noble unifying oratory, but basically preaching to your core supporters---did touch upon some valid points.
We need to put America first and ensure that we are sufficiently strong before thinking about anything or anyone else. Charity begins at home and ends abroad. A broke, weak person or country cannot help anybody else. Whether we are black, brown or white we all bleed red and a good, sound, functioning economy will cure a lot of discontent.
And, so it is, “money answereth all things."
For too long, politicians have been focusing their time and efforts on staying in office and meeting the needs of big-ticket donors. The little guy has been forgotten in their lust to remain in power and exploit the benefits of their office. Power should return to all the people from the urban sprawl of Detroit to the windswept plains of Nebraska.
Law and enforcement should be respected and maintained and securing our borders should be a high and necessary priority.
So, it was with dismay that I read the first and subsequent press conferences of Sean Spicer, your Press Secretary. The first addressed the size of the crowd at the inaugural ceremony. Admittedly, this was an example of creating news and controversy by the press, and despite what you may believe, Fox, Breitbart and Newsmax, your media friends, not only CNN, they all do it.
A prime example was the New York Times reporter who stated an (and later rescinded) that the bust of Martin Luther King was removed from the Capitol Dome.
Sir, you must quickly realize we live in an angry world, stoked by fear and doubt, designed to make one react foolishly and make newsworthy missteps.
This is what sells newspapers and impels people to watch newscasts like 60 Minutes, O’Reilly Factor and the Kelly File.
With so many newspapers, magazines, 24-hour news channels and radio shows like Rush Limbaugh competing for our attention, content, if not available, must be created in order to remain relevant, watchable and keep listeners.
Do you think the primary motive behind NBC paying Megyn Kelly $20 million is public service?
She is an attraction, a side show in the "news/ entertainment" business.
These are profit-making enterprises and they are willing to do all possible to make money, including reporting fake news and framing articles, to create as much controversy and reaction as possible.
The following was Sean’s response:
"We do know a few things, so let's go through the facts. We know that from the platform where the President was sworn into 4th Street, it holds about 250,000 people. From 4th Street to the media tent is about another 220,000. And from the media tent to the Washington Monument, another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the President took the Oath of Office. We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama's last inaugural. This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -- period -- both in person and around the globe. Even the New York Times printed a photograph showing a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original Tweet in their paper, which showed the full extent of the support, depth in crowd, and intensity that existed."
This is an inauspicious beginning.
They will continue to prod you if you continue to respond to things like that which are irrelevant to the larger picture. Unbelievable!
A perfect example of that peculiar human obsession to be always “one up” on the other guy. Who cares about the size of a crowd if I do not have a job, no unemployment compensation, no health insurance or I am being gunned down on the streets of Chicago or being slaughtered in a night club in Orlando, Fl.?
It would be interesting to know how the guy in Georgia sitting on a pile of rubble that was once his house, now blown away by the recent tornados, feels about the lying liberal press incorrectly reporting the number of attendees at the ceremony.
You have said that we have a myriad of problems to solve. Problems left behind, in your words, by the worst president we have ever had.The one you and Joe Arpaio of Arizona declared to be an illegitimate president because of his place of birth. You were especially proud of your part in inducing him to produce his birth certificate.
You and the sheriff finally admitted that, yes, he was born in America, thereby tacitly acknowledging that all your efforts were a shameful, despicable, monumental waste of time, unworthy of responsible, mature adults.The one who many, many of your supporters stated was a Muslim, secretly out to sabotage America.
Your proponents said his wife was a gorilla, an ape in heels that they were tired of seeing parade the halls of the White House.
And what about Glen Beck ridiculing his children?
Do you remember the Congressman interrupting his speech with the shout, "You lie, Mr. President.”
I wonder what your reaction would be if someone rudely interrupted one of your speeches. How about Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona angrily pointing her finger in your face upon alighting from Air Force One in her state?
Here is what you said about that guy, "I just went to the Oval Office and found this beautiful letter from President Obama. It was really very nice of him to do that. And we will cherish that. We will keep that."
Your Historical Reactions and Tendencies
It is worrisome, your reactions to petty jabs.The leader of the free world should be bigger than that.
You should not waste your time on non-productive, unprofitable exercises which will further erode your low esteem with a lot of America.
You do not attack John Lewis, a civil rights icon.
You do not call Meryl Streep, universally regarded as the best actress of her generation, vastly overrated.
You do not mock disabled reporters.
You do not engage in "locker room" talk.
You must remember that you have a lot of undesirable baggage of your own, and if you continue down this path, they will constantly goad you to supply them with even more ammunition to incense and ridicule you.
The comedians and late night hosts will eat you for lunch.
Here is the gist of a Bill Maher joke on his program:
"On the podium, the day of the inauguration, there was only one guy married three times with children by three different women. It was not the black guy, nor the old guy from Georgia, not the one from Texas. Not even the white-haired, historically notorious philanderer from Arkansas."
While being sworn in, I noticed that you placed your hands on two Bibles--your childhood version and the Lincoln Bible.
Can you identify and agree with these two statements related to them?
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Jesus on the cross)
"With malice towards none and charity for all." (President Lincoln on his second inauguration after a bruising Civil War)
Most of the people who voted for you wanted “real hope and change" not petty banter and tweets.
Shyya Weberman, my orthodox Jewish friend, who voted for you like Nancy above, believes that your election was a result of divine intervention.
I do not disagree because with God all things are possible. God can use anyone, even those we do not like.
Up to this point, I have not liked your behavior, I decried your antics, and I did not vote for you. I deplore bad manners, discourtesy and crude behavior in any human being.
Moreover, it is unbecoming to a man in your exalted position.
Nevertheless, you are my president and you won the game fair and square, according to the rules. So these demonstrations are really only cathartic for the participants and are ineffective.
We live in a different world today and the time for these types of protests have passed.
I fully endorse your tweet that mentioned your thoughts on the Women's March.
"Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly."
To confirm your assertion, CBS News has reported that you won the election by a total of 77,000 in the three swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin.
These demonstrations of Black Lives Matter, Right to Life and Million Man March only expose blowhards like Al Sharpton and Madonna who temporarily shout past each other, to no avail.
We, all of the protestors, and you need to put on our "big girl panties" and "big boy drawers," roll up our sleeves, get to work and/or vote to make a difference.
Spicer gave another press conference informing us that you believe 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, including deceased people and illegal immigrants.
The available evidence does not support this position.
Apparently, you are discontented that Hillary won the popular vote. It seems to irk you that you are on the short end of anything. You have an irrational craving and abnormal need for acclamation, affirmation, approval and agreement at every turn, no matter how outlandish your declarations.
It did not happen with Jesus Christ and it will not happen with you. Come on man, you won, let it go and move on.
Everything you have done up to this point confirms to me the image of the stereotypical New Yorker.
Ken Jacobs, my Republican friend who voted for you, considers you brash, caustic, loud-mouthed, argumentative, haughty and combative, but is convinced that you are the right man at the right time to do the right job.
Perhaps, he is right. You may become a clear indication that people do get the government they deserve.
And, it is true that God can accomplish his purposes through unlikable, undesirable characters like Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.
So, you stand at the crossroads of greatness. You have the opportunity to show us--the non believers - to disprove all of our negative opinions about you.
And, yes, we should all pray for you, because it does not benefit any of us if you fail.
Here is my prayer:
Dear Father, we all exist at your pleasure and discretion. We are all clay pots in the hands of the Master Potter and the heart of the king is in the hands of the the Lord. You are able to turn it and fashion us into whatever suits your will.
We fully acknowledge that righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people so we pray that your righteousness will be accomplished in this land.
Therefore, this day we present our president and ourselves as willing vessels into your hands so that your will be done.
We pray this in the name of Jesus.
So, no more wasting time on insignificant issues.
Start, at the very least, acting presidential like your predecessor.
Develop a thick skin and concentrate, in a dignified manner, on causes that matter.
No more press conferences on unimportant b@#%%*+^t,.
Disregard, as KellyAnne Conway, one of your spokesperson, termed it, "alternative facts."
In the final analysis and in the grand scheme of things, WHO CARES?
V. Knowles is a husband, father and prison minister with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick. He is also the co-author of HOLA America: Guts, Grit, Grind and Further Traits in the Successful American Immigrant.